Special Ed lays down the law.

 Guy Boutilier performed the worst sin imaginable in Ed Stelmach’s caucus; he dared to speak up for his constituents. For the crime of showing a backbone and acting on behalf of the people who entrusted him with their vote, Boutilier has been kicked out of the P.C. Caucus. No hearing, no defense and no appeal.

 You can always tell when the government is doing something distasteful. The government always does these things late on a Friday night in hopes that it will blow over on the weekend when people are not paying attention. Eddie’s main man Tom Olson (Tom moves his hand and Ed’s mouth moves) certainly was involved in the timing of this decision at least. Stelmach is not media savvy enough to have chosen such a time for this move all by himself. I suspect that despite these efforts, this will not simply go away.

 When Ralph Klein kicked Oberg from caucus, Klein at least let the entire caucus discuss the issue. This incident speaks worlds about the dictatorial nature of Stelmach. Caucus was to meet this Tuesday where other party MLAs could have at least discussed the fate of Guy. Ed took the initiative however and unilaterally kicked Boutilier out in order to avoid having people speak in favor of Guy actually having done his job.

 The PCs are less democratic then ever and this rather proves it. Anybody who actually wants a voice in the legislature that represents their constituency had best either have an opposition MLA or move to Vegreville.

 Not much point in having constituencies when it is clear that Stelmach calls all the shots.

 It is critical that individual MLAs be allowed to represent their constituents. Otherwise we may as well simply elect one person as dictator. Only the Wildrose Alliance Party has policy demanding free votes and the protection of MLAs. I think that a man such as Boutilier who stands by his principles in favor of his constituents would make a nice addition to the party.

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Sounds pretty stupid. City council should love it.

 Ahh yes, the latest initiative from some bored gang of kooks is to lobby Calgary’s city council to allow people to raise chickens within the city.Wisely this gang of wannabe chicken farmers has used the key terms that doubtless will make the granola gang (Pincott, Farrell for example) salivate; “Vancouver does it, New York does it blah blah blah”. In the name of making Calgary more “cosmopolitan” I can see Druh and her gang of dolts rushing out there to approve people raising these little feces machines within the city.

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 I am pretty libertarian leaning. I am not a purist though and I do understand why we need certain restrictions within urban areas. Zoning and limitations of property use are essential when so many people live in proximity. Calgary (among most of the cities on the planet) realized that raising livestock is best left in the abundant rural land around the province.

 Chickens are loud, smell terrible and can transmit disease no matter how carefully they are raised. For those stuck on the free-range thing, we have organic produce available at countless outlets throughout the city. While free-range eggs are more expensive than normally produced ones, they still are infinitely cheaper to purchase than it would be to raise them in your backyard. Feed, cleaning, building and heating a chicken facility will make the economic case made for urban chickens completely unrealistic.

 Because this idea is so profoundly stupid and because so few people actually want this, I am pretty confident that city council will dedicate time to this and very likely will approve it. This council that wants to ban fire-pits that are utilized by tens of thousands, this council that wants to ban pesticides used by hundreds of thousands will scramble to approve the right for people to raise chickens within the city because a couple dozen people may want to do so.

 While the usual fruitcakes like to trot out how “cosmopolitan” such initiatives will make us, they seem to neglect all those other great cities that allow such things. Mogadishu Somalia does not restrict henhouses. San Salvadore, Lima, and Shanghai do not restrict such things. Yes, emulating the undeveloped world makes us “cosmopolitan”.

 Well, should I be one of the unfortunate souls who has an urban chicken farmer next door, you can rest assured that I will be opening my very own weasel farm in my yard. I will make sure these are free-range weasels who will roam somewhat unrestricted. Hey, it’s only the humane way right? Should these weasels inadvertently cross the fence and harvest the odd chicken, I am sure my neighboring organic kook will understand that it is simply nature.

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Running Scared.

 Ahh I have been due for a good laugh. Today while on the road I was listening to Charles Adler on the radio (national show). National Post journalist Kevin Libin was being interviewed and the subject was Libin’s trip to Alberta where he investigated and then wrote about the stunning growth of the Wildrose Alliance Party in Alberta. His article is here. The article was great and the interview was better. Libin sees the growing discontent with Stelmach in Alberta.

 What got my funny bone going however was the next guest on the show. Adler had leadership candidate Danielle Smith on the show and announced that leadership candidate Mark Dyrholm will be a guest on his show next week.

 One of the first callers was Mark Norris. You see Norris is a failed leadership candidate for Ed’s job. Mark left government as a sore loser and is now pouting on the sidelines. It is clear that Norris still has aspirations though and hopes to replace Stelmach in the future. The fear was clear as day in Mark’s voice as he attacked and spouted the usual diatribes of “redneck” and such and really made a pathetic defence of the Stelmach regime.

 We doubtless will be seeing more of this in the months and years to come. The self-entitled Alberta PCs are finding themselves losing funding and members on every front as their inept governance works towards ending their nearly 40 year dynasty in Alberta. These folks are in panic and it is showing.

 If the defense of the PCs made by Norris is the best they can do, the Wildrose Alliance may very well be in majority government in a few years.

 http://www.am770chqr.com/Station/AudioVault.aspx

 Again Norris, thanks for the chuckle.

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As much as they can get away with.

 Well, this is what an ingrained sense of entitlement gets us. Calgary’s city council is expensing every little thing that they may get away with. These Aldermen make almost $100,000 per year yet they still feel compelled to try to stick as many expenses as possible on the backs of the taxpayers no matter how petty. Keep in mind that these Aldermen are already provided with $145,385 annually to cover travel, business expenses and assistants.

 Here are some of the petty expenses and the sad excuses the aldermen made for them.

Ald. Andre Chabot expensed $79 for a golf lesson. He said:

“It’s not something I expect to do on a regular basis, but I’m not a golfer, right? When I do get a chance to go out and golf with folks, I don’t want to look too foolish”

 Trust me Chabot, you are looking extremely foolish. Who in their right mind would consider golf lessons to be legitimate expenses to ding taxpayers with?

$4,014 was billed to the taxpayers by aldermen for drycleaning. Excuses below:

Alderman Gord Lowe who billed $655 for drycleaning: “In my perspective, it’s allowed because we do have a public appearance, a public presence, and we have to maintain it.”

 Sorry Lowe, laundry is an expense that everybody has public presence or not.

 Alderman Ric McIver who billed $450 for drycleaning: “In a city of a million people, I’m not sure people want their representatives looking shabby

 Oh BS Ric. In a 7-11 of perhaps a 12 people they do not want their representatives looking shabby, thus they assure that their employees wash their clothing. I really expected better from you.

 Downtown Calgary has thousands and thousands of employees who are expected to be well dressed for their jobs and that requires drycleaning at times. The employees pay that expense themselves and understood that when taking on the employment.

 Extreme leftist Alderman Brian Pincott jumps into the mix of course. He got more creative in his personal expensing to the taxpayers than the others. Pincott expensed $87 to get a passport for example.

 Pincott sniveled: “I have, on a point of principle, not travelled to the United States and I never before had a passport in my life. If it weren’t for this job, I would never travel to the United States.”

 Kiss my ass Pincott. I don’t care about your weird socialist points of principle. People pay for their own damned passports. It does speak volumes about your ideology however in that you hold the American people in such contempt yet have never even been there. That is right up with religious leaders condemning movies that they have not watched.

Pincott spent $76.19 on One Yellow Rabbit’s High Performance Rodeo, a popular local theatre production. I am afraid that I don’t even have any sad excuse to quote out of Pincott on this one. Pincott feels that the taxpayer should pay to keep him entertained. Repugnant.

Pincott is not alone however. Linda-Fox-Mellway expensed $347.62 so her kids could go see Metallica. Fox-Mellway did repay that one. She claims that it was a mistaken credit card. I claim that she likely simply had it disallowed. It really is not that difficult to tell one credit card from another. Fox-Mellway also expensed $207 to have a shirt alteration done. She has since vowed to pay that back. Funny how their tune changes when they are caught.

 Joe Ceci expensed $156.03 to go to Theater Calgary which he paid back after his fingers were spotted in the taxpayer cookie-jar.

 Golf tournaments are a large part of the expenses of council apparently. Stevenson, Jones, Joe Connelly, Chabot and McIver all hit the taxpayer to attend tournaments. These Aldermen are not attending these tournaments in order to promote the city, they are attending in order to promote themselves. One would expect that these guys would know the difference.

Joe Connelly’s statement on billing tournaments to taxpayers: “It’s an allowable expense and I don’t feel like I have to defend it”

 Ahh that brings back memories of  Dingwall saying he was entitled to his entitlements. Yes you do have to defend it you dolt!!! It is not your money to spend! Just because it is allowable does not mean that it is right.

Connelly spent $383.25 for tickets to see Jordan’s Queen Noor, who spoke in April 2008 about global issues and the conflicts between East and West. Well, yeah I can see how many issues from Jordan can be used to learn from and better our city.

 Finally my favorite Druh Farrell had to jump into the mix of course. One of her gems was  billing taxpayers $89.39 for five copies of “Fluoride Deception”, a conspiracy theory book that apparently is better when one gets multiple copies. Druh in her typical arrogance did not even try to defend her using taxpayer money to fund her reading budget.

 Alderman Ray Jones is in charge of determining what can be expensed and what can’t be. He would not specify, but he has declined many expenses. I can’t imagine how stupid these ones must have been.

 Yes, these are not huge dollar numbers. The principle is critical however. These people are tasked with managing a city of over a million people and billions of dollars. The regard that our aldermen show for our money is reflected in what they expense to us and sadly and predictably they hold us and our funds in low regard.

 These little expenses are only what we can see. Much spending is hidden and mired in the caverns of city hall. The need for a municipal auditor general is more acute than ever and I hope Stelmach gets around to doing that soon. A private members Bill went before our legislature last winter calling for such an auditor. The bill has now been referred to a standing committee.  

 Calgary desperately needs an independent audit before the next municipal election.

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Ed gets one right.

 Though I think it is more due to his having drained the provincial coffers dry with idiotic spending than any sort of visionary brilliance, Stelmach is right to pretty much drop the concept of the high-speed train between Calgary and Edmonton into the lap of the private sector.

 Let’s face it, a bullet-train between Edmonton and Calgary is simply an unviable pie-in-the-sky concept that is best left to people’s imagination. Rest assured, if there was really any need for such as project the private sector would already be racing to get a piece of this.

 Already too much money has been spent in studying the viability of this project. The studies continually find that a high-speed train would cost a fortune and the utilization would not justify the project. In one of the sudies conducted in 2004, it was found that only 3% of Albertans who travel highway 2 would consider parking their cars and taking a high-speed train. Those who take the bus or fly are at 35% and 46% in consideration. This will depend on ticket price of course which likely would be huge.

 So, the only way this train would happen would be with billions and billions of taxpayer’s dollars. In order to get people to ride, taxpayers would likely have to subsidize the tickets. Even with all of that, we would only see a 3% drop in traffic on highway 2 where the problem is. What we may see however is a strong blow to the successful bus and airlines who provide transportation between Edmonton and Calgary. Come to think of it, it is surprising that Stelmach would pass up such an opportunity to beat on successful private companies. He does seem to enjoy doing such.

 Part of the reason that Eddie would not like to initiate such a vanity project is the timeline. In Alberta we can’t even get a powerline approved accross the province. Can you imagine how long it would take to expropriate the land required for a bullet-train? How many impact studies? How many court challenges? Even if we began today, we would be lucky to see the train moving for decades. Eddie will want a more immediate legacy project.

 The drive between Edmonton and Calgary is only three hours. Depending on the vehicle, one can expect to spend about $50 in fuel going both ways. Taking a bullet-train would cost at least that much going one way. While the train trip would only take one hour, the rider will then have to either get a taxi, rent a car or take a bus to wherever they are going. Lets not forget that Calgary will doubtless gouge the riders for parking at the station. Is it really a wonder why so few people would actually use this train?

 It is past time to put this concept on the shelf forever. If some strange and wealth philanthropist wants to spend their dollars to build this thing then by all means. Alberta would be better served by expanding the capacity of highway 2. That is realistic in scope and that is where the need is.

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Alberta’s Liberal Panel.

 I guess we should be happy that Stelmach has realized that he is incapable of managing Alberta’s government and economy. Special Ed has taken it upon himself to appoint a panel to take over where he has failed. Unfortunately,  Stelmach has appointed people on the same caliber of foresight and intelligence as himself.

 To begin with Ed has chosen Anne McLellan. Remember her? The former LIBERAL deputy prime minister who was integral in implementing the $2 billion dollar gun registry. Yes, this is clearly a mind of fiscal wisdom. Anne was an integral part of Chretien’s regime.

 Next is David Dodge. Dodge was the LIBERAL appointed head of the Bank of Canada. He was an integral part of Chretien’s regime.

 Adding to the list is David Emerson. This is the LIBERAL MP opportunist who quit his own party in order to get into Harper’s cabinet. Emerson was too cowardly to face the electorate after his appointment and sniveled away in less than two years rather than face the electorate again after having crossed the floor.  

 By the way, Emerson is from Montreal, Dodge is from Toronto and Anne is from Nova Scotia. One would think that after putting tens of thousands out of work that Ed could find some local talent. Ed sure has tapped the bastion of federal Liberals anyway.

 Albertans think that they elected a conservative? Look where Special Ed will be getting his advice now;?

 Federal Liberals who could not make the grade are now Ed Stelmach’s braintrust.

Terrifying.

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