Reality calling.

I don’t quite celebrate the erosion over even outright loss of naive ideals that comes about through life experience. We need those starry goals and ideals when young in order to keep ourselves optimistic and pursuing outcomes even if they may be impossible in reality. Growing past the unreasonable ideals is a part of growing up as well and it is an important one. We do see people who never managed to outgrow their ideals on occasion. They usually are sporting thin, greying braids and a buckskin jacket with a tie-dye shirt underneath. The rest of the folks of that idealistic generation learned through life experiences that one has to compromise to “the man” to a degree and pursue the less savory but very important things in life such as a career and independently sustainable lifestyle.

Some years ago I listened to a radio documentary on CBC where some former residents of a 70s commune outside of Edmonton related their stories of their time pursuing the ideal hippy lifestyle. None sounded regretful and most looked back at it as a growing experience for themselves. They all were utterly confident in the futility of the socialist communal lifestyle as well. Nothing drives those lessons home better than trying to live the idealistic dream. As with countless other communes in the 60s/70s this one fell apart within a couple years. Tensions grew quickly as it was soon discovered that a small portion of the folks were doing the majority of the work while a larger portion sat around smoking weed. The free-love concept was wonderful until somebody actually saw somebody of romantic interest literally enjoying the sexual embrace of another in front of them. Resentment grew, people came and went and the whole thing faded away. The reality is that human nature does not allow for any true communal living no matter how pretty the ideal sounds.

The only communes that are or have had much success and staying power have had a unifying factor keeping in the people together and motivated. That is most often religion as with Israeli kibbutzs or even Hutterite colonies. A vague notion of inequity and socialism has never been enough of a unifying power to keep other communes together.

A generation later and we see the same sort of doe-eyed pursuit of impossible ideals in our “occupy” movement. The ideas of consensus and the talking points are the same. Unfortunately for them, there has been utterly no unifying factor in this disparate gathering of the discontented. There is anti-capitalist mutterings, vague general inequity ramblings, statements about homelessness the environment, currency systems, electoral systems and on and on and on and on. There is no war such as Vietnam to pull these guys together nor any common religious link. There are no social inequities such as there were for black people in the USA in the 60s and there is no dictatorship as the folks in Arab Spring dealt with.

Due to this lack of a cohesive cause and lack of any real identifiable general hardship in Canada, the “occupy” movement simply has not taken off in Calgary. Very few Calgarians are supportive of the campers in Olympic Plaza and outright opposition is growing to the squatting as we see estimates of the damages to the park rise and we hear of more legitimate events and groups being compromised due to the squatters in the park.

What this has left is pretty much a small group of the hardcore of their movement. These are likely the folks we will see still sporting braids in a couple decades as they simply will never let their ideals go no matter how inane or impossible they may be.

What has been interesting to see though is that some of them are learning some lessons. These are hard lessons but they are important ones. In the larger (and arguably much more legitimate) protest in New York, the ideals abounded to begin with. The poor souls displaced by capitalism could find sanctuary in a nice big communal campground near Wall Street where volunteer chefs could feed them organic free range beans and lentils or whatever. Unfortunately, before long it was determined that many who were eating the food were not underprivileged. Many mouths were simply those of freeloaders. The Chefs of Occupy Wall Street have now begun to refuse to cook for the freeloaders. The ideals are waning.

On a local level we can see that these lessons are happening to a degree with our Calgarian Occupy crowd. I thank Lonnie Taylor for tweeting some of the resolutions from yesterday’s occupy Calgary meeting. I honestly would like to attend one of these things but am caught working in Eastern Pennsylvania for a few more days. Should we be unfortunate enough to still have people squatting in our park when I get back, I will be sure to pop by for a visit.

Now apparently a fellow named “Paul” has taken it upon himself to enforce security around the encampment. An unfortunate reality is that when one shuns conventional forms of security such as our city police, we will either have anarchy grow or people will take things into their own hands. When people take things into their own hands they often are not as fair, controlled, predictable or restrained as proper law enforcement officers despite the often collective loathing of occupiers of “The man’s” police force. Many people drawn to these encampments have some serious issues and a degree of control is simply needed. There was a bizarre incident with the occupy camp in Toronto for example where a fellow was sneaking into tents in order to sniff women’s feet.

Now apparently the occupiers have resolved to no longer provide tents and food to those who have not been a part of the movement. How membership in this movement is to be determined may be dicey. I thought that the movement was directly tied into the occupation in itself so wouldn’t simply being present mean one is part of the “movement”. Does one have to tweet about their involvement to be included? Is there a formal means of membership?

Look I understand why the occupiers are having to make these tough decisions. Some have tried to cloak this movement into being a thing about homelessness. Many felt that if misunderstood homeless people were simply invited into their commune and shown love that these people will act in control and will happily participate with the occupation. Reality is unfortunately dealing a hard slap in the face to naive idealism here.

Yes, homelessness is a problem in Calgary. There are homeless people in every city in the planet. We have had homeless people since the first human fabricated a shelter and we will have homeless people until an asteroid or something ends life on earth. I am not dismissing homelessness by any means nor do I think for a second that we should stop efforts to reduce it. I am just saying that if we really want to deal with chronic homelessness we need to work within the bounds of reality.

The reality is that the majority of the homeless people encountered on the streets of Calgary are suffering either from addiction or mental health issues. These people have had an extremely rough time and are not able (or often even willing) to try and integrate with society in a settled home. These people can be volatile and even dangerous at times. A deeply addicted person will not hesitate to steal from or lie to other people if they think it may lead to their next fix.

Certainly some people simply have a bad chain of events or decisions and they find themselves homeless for a time. These people are the ones most likely to take advantage of the programs and housing we have available and these people are likely to climb out of their rut with some help. These people are not the chronically homeless and these are not the ones we see moving into the “occupy” camps.

I suspect that the occupiers are learning that the aforementioned people do not belong in a communal tent camp. Simply welcoming these people with open arms and good intent has and will backfire. Complex counselling and treatment by professionals is required for these people. We certainly can discuss whether society is providing enough of these services to these people. Personally I think it is a gross embarrassment that we have followed a foolish and idealistic trend of deinstitutionalization of people with mental impairment which has led to many unfortunate souls being either on the streets or in the correctional system. I am digressing however.

What I am getting at is the point that no matter how good the intentions may be, the occupy Calgary is doing absolutely nothing for the homeless.  The group is not raising awareness of the issue because the group is spreading dozens of messages in a shotgun approach to all that they see as the ills of our society. In light of the recent meeting resolutions thing many of the remaining “occupiers” are realizing this.

What the rest of the “occupiers” need to realize now is that their little campout is really doing utterly nothing for whatever cause they may be claiming to represent. Camping in a park is simply wasting time and pissing off your fellow man who is paying the bill.

Retain your ideals guys. Go out and fight the inequities. We have all sorts of groups whether charitable, government, religious or even political that work to ease all sorts of problems in our city and country.  All of these groups happily welcome contributions whether through volunteering or fiscally and all can claim at least some degree of measurable success.

Yes it is a lot of work to take part in these groups though. It can be tiring and thankless. It is not nearly as easy as squatting in a park for a campout.

Are the occupiers truly interested in making real changes or are they simply kids camping?

Personally I think the productive have already moved beyond this group. How many are really there now? 20? 30? It is time for the rest of them to move on to better things.

I do hope that the city gets around to enforcing our bylaws and kicking the occupiers from our park before they do more damage. I am happy to see these guys learning life lessons. I am tired of seeing this learning experience happening on the backs of the taxpayers as our park continues to get damaged and other citizens have their rights to use the park displaced.

Reality is often hard but is always much more productive than blind ideology.

As long as it takes!!

Well we are certainly seeing discussion heating up on the collection of kids squatting in Calgary’s Olympic Plaza. The Muslim Heritage Festival had to share their space with a bunch squatters and got to enjoy a lower turnout (probably due to squatters in area) and a distracted event as a result. Other events are coming where groups have booked and paid for Olympic Plaza and those events are now at risk of cancellation due to these squatters. An estimated $40,000 in damage to the park from ground damage to washroom vandalism to damaged paint has occurred due to the squatters and that number can only be expected to grow.

There are only two ways the squatting in our taxfunded park is going to come to an end. One way is if the city stops politely asking the squatters to leave and actually enforces city bylaws on them as they do for the rest of us. The other way will be for Canada as a whole to accept and cave to the demands of these 20 some hipsters and radically change our entire national system. The squatters have already demonstrated that they are more than willing to camp indefinitely in our park and live on the goodwill of the productive. The squatters have repeatedly said that they will stay as long as it takes until their demands are met.

Lets look at the demands that we must meet.
Demand 1:

“We want a Canada that is not looking down the barrel of the same economic rifle that has already fired on the United States. Where the fiat currency with which we currently operate — a currency with a value based solely upon government regulation and law — and the fractional reserve banking system through which it operates, where the required reserves are defined as “nil” by the Bank of Canada Act section 457 (4), are brought to an end.”

Wow. These kids won’t leave our park until we completely change the entire system of Canada’s currency back to the gold standard or something. Yeah, that should happen right away.

Demand 2.

“We want an Alberta that grows its wheat, raises its cattle, cuts its timber and pumps its oil in a manner that is sustainable and to the benefit of the land and to every person, not to the benefit of corporations abroad.”

Hmm pretty broad. Do they mean we should end all exports or all foreign investment in Canada? Both perhaps? OK yeah, that will happen right way there kids.

Demand 3.

“We want a Canada where the debt per-capita does not double in the next decade”

Hmm. I guess we will need to legislate against personal borrowing somehow. This one could be tough but hey, we can get right on that.

Demand 4:

“We want a Canada where every single person is given the democratic representation they deserve, not representation based on mob rule of the majority”

Hmm, a magical system that does not rely on counting individual votes or something. Will the 20 kids determine which representation is deserving? How far will the electorate bend in ending this terrible democratic ruling by uhhh yes the majority.

Demand 5:

“We want a healthcare system based on healing, not on the perpetuation of illness for the sake capital gain.”

Hmm, now we are getting into a conspiracy realm where these folks believe that people are purposely being kept ill for capital gain. Uhhhh OK kids. We will talk to the Illuminati and the Freemasons and see if they can relax that control on people’s health.

Demand #6:

“We want a Canada Where our system of exchange no longer embodies
the logic of a cancer cell.”

Hmm, not sure where to go with this one. Maybe if we ask nicely we can convince cancer cells to change their logic. I see that happening sooner than changing our system of exchange.

Demand #7:

“We want a media that delivers information honestly, no longer filtering it through the lens of corporate or political agendas.”

Hmm. Media conspiracies. OK so we will nationalize all media. That should happen right away. Pravda was such a great paper of the past.

Ok above is just a few of some of the gems these guys are demanding. If you want to go to the source head here. I strongly suspect that it will all make a great deal more sense with the massive consumption of some sort of mind-altering drug however because it sure as hell makes little sense sober. There are all sorts of other broad demands such as ending “systemic inequity” though none can point to direct examples. Some have said they want the oilsands totally shut down while others are on about pipelines. The list of demands appears to be as infinite as the schedule of these squatters.

I guess another thing that can happen is that we let these kids and pretty much anybody with a chip on their shoulder camp in our public spaces any time they want in perpetuity.

This is getting totally unreasonable people. The demands being made are totally in outer space and the damage being caused by the squatters is increasing. Whatever point these guys may have had to be made has been made. We need to move these squatters out of our park.

In the posting on this blog prior to this one there is contact information for making bylaw complaints and for contacting individual aldermen. Call 311 and let the city know that this foolishness has gone on long enough.

We need to equally enforce our bylaws for all.


Time to take back Olympic Plaza!

This embarrassing and expensive scene has gone on long enough. A small collection of squatters has been camped in our taxfunded park illegally for weeks now and the damages and costs are beginning to mount up. These kids have done an estimated $40,000 in damage alone to our park and the costs will only rise.

The Muslim Heritage day event which was booked and paid for in good faith will now have to hold their event in a dirty park (cant maintain and clean properly with squatters camping) and they will have less space than anticipated due to these tenters. Another group that had booked the plaza for Monday is now seeking a new location as will another group that is booked for Wednesday if we do not kick these kids out of our park.

Olympic Plaza was never designed for camping and due to that the damages are mounting up fast. Costs for extra policing and additional maintenance are building up. How many thousands of dollars will have to be refunded to the legitimate groups that have booked and paid for the plaza that will have to relocated due to the city allowing illegal squatting in our park?

This is a sad and expensive joke and is an embarrassment to our city. There is NO reason that we can’t evict these squatters from our park. There is a hollow and weak case being made that these squatters are protected by the Canadian Charter in this. That again is simply a load of BS. Speech is protected as is expression. Both speech and expression are possible without illegally camping in a downtown park. No rights are being repressed through evicting these kids.

If indeed that cowardly excuse of possible charter issues is valid, then I suggest that none of us in the entire city of Calgary need abide by bylaws ever again. The “occupy” group has never really explained exactly what they are protesting. I guess those of us who ignore other bylaws will not need a real reason for our protest either. If I refuse to licence my dog, I have a charter defense in it. I need only say “I don’t like social inequity and I am not licencing in protest”. By city council logic I am covered by the charter. Can I use this defense if I don’t pay parking tickets? Can I occupy a free seat on the C-Train in protest and make a charter challenge if I get a ticket?

Storage is expensive. I suggest that people should park their RVs and fifth-wheels in Calgary parks. Heck you can even camp there when you please. Dig a firepit for yourself. Vandalize the local bathrooms and displace other people using the park. It is OK. Just claim some vapid complaint about the way the world is and claim your action is your means of expression.

Is it becoming clear yet why making an exception in our bylaws for this gang of camping kids is a big deal? To most people it is something of a no-brainer.

Our city council is hiding in collective fear of the potentially poor optics that may happen if we actually enforce the law and kick these kids from the park. We need to take away their excuses. The fear of a charter challenge is utter BS as demonstrated above. I don’t think we really need to sweat a bunch of ragtag hipsters organizing and taking the city to court on a charter challenge anyway. That is simply way too much work for them. There is no charter right for squatting.

Another common dodge used by city councilors is claiming that there have been few complaints. From what I heard from the person on the other end of a 311 call, there have been many complaints already. Still, we need to ramp up the complaints.

Don’t let our city officials hide on this issue and lets not let these squatters cost the taxpayers any more than they already have!!

We must register our complaints and it must spread. Below are the means to contact city hall and your councilors. Use them and spread the word to neighbors and coworkers who are tired of this. Clearly city hall won’t move without some heavy prodding on this issue.

To begin with, simply call 311. There is an option for bylaw complaints. While on a coffee break give the number a dial and make a formal complaint of people camping after-hours in Olympic Plaza.

Calling is most effective but online complaints can be filed here if that is preferred.

Contacting the aldermen themselves is effective as well. They do try to hide direct contact information when possible. The beginnings of contact information for aldermen can be found here and here though.

On twitter many of our aldermen follow the #yyccc hashtag. Tweet them directly if you are on and demand that our park be cleaned up. Some but not all of our city council is on twitter. Their twitter handles are below.

@nenshi @yycgael @councilorkeats @pootmans @aldjonmar @bpincott @bigredyyc @peterdemong @druhfarrell

This issue will not go away until we as citizens make it go away. We can’t let city hall bury their heads on this while countless thousands of dollars are wasted, our park gets further damaged and innocent groups get displaced from events booked and paid for in good faith. Email tweet and call whoever you can on this folks. It has to come to an end and soon.

Time to move these “occupiers” on.

I was going to begin by saying something like “alright, these guys have made their point and now it is time to move on.”. I then realized that the “occupy” Edmonton and Calgary squatters haven’t even figured out what their point is much less made one. The bottom line is that they are a bunch of bored, spoiled malcontents trying to seek a sense of purpose through complaining rather than working whether in an employed sense or in the political/activist sense that our great free nation provides. Taxpayers are paying and people who have legitimately booked parks for functions are at risk of being displaced by these squatters. Park maintenance is falling behind and we may see delays in the outdoor skating rink that we pay for as taxpayers.

Appeasement with this small group of squatting complainers is a waste of time. The city graciously set aside and allowed free camping at St. Patrick’s Island for this. The motley group of the entitled turned up their noses at this and began to squat in our Olympic Plaza  instead. Now should people want to spend an afternoon with their kids on the grass in our downtown park, they will have to weave between tents and protest signs. The “occupiers” have demanded condoms by the way so I would suggest not getting too close to those tents.

I find it outright offensive when I see these directionless layabouts comparing themselves to to the revolutionaries participating in the recent “Arab Spring”, Martin Luther King and even Gandhi. These guys live in one of the most prosperous cities in the most prosperous province in one of the most prosperous countries on earth. Canada is not perfect but we have some of the most open and democratic rights as individuals on the planet in living here. For these “occupiers” to liken themselves to those living in third world dictatorships where civil rights are simply a dream is insulting to say the least. I even saw one person vacuously  claiming that medieval peasants have better standards of living than Canadians do.

On twitter and facebook I have seen people try to claim that if we evict these squatters from our parks that we will violate their charter rights. Sorry folks but that is complete, total, unadulterated bullshit. These guys have full free speech. They have been exercising it on the latest apps as they tweet about their trials and tribulations with their Iphones. We have free expression. The protest and march was allowed and demonstrations will continue to be allowed. That covers free assembly too. In most of the other countries in the world this group would have been locked up in the planning stages of their protest and definitely assaulted when the march began. We rightly have and protect all of those rights to assemble and speak here in Canada.

The self-styled occupying stooges however feel that they have a charter right to camp in a city park. Sorry guys, simple by-law enforcement is not a violation of your rights. I used the analogy before in that if I kicked out people squatting in my backyard I have not violated their rights to assembly, speech or expression. They have all of those rights. They just can’t camp in my yard. It is not that complicated.

It is clear that this handful of people truly do have nothing better to do. To appease and wait them out will be to allow them to turn our beautiful city park into a shantytown that city citizens and visitors will avoid. These guys are playing the game that kids would do where they put their finger as close to your nose as possible and repeatedly chant “Im not touching you” until the victim of the annoyance finally slaps the hand away. The child then will claim they have been wronged of course. It is time to give these kiddies a lesson in life and kick them out of our park. They can go to a campground, back to their mom’s basement or even get a job and a home. Playtime in the taxpayers park is over.

This cause and this group has become an outright laughingstock and even folks on the left are distancing themselves from the remnants squatting in parks. Corbella at the Herald went and visited the park and interviewed the squatters in person. They indeed proved themselves to be as vapid and directionless as they appeared on the outside. In a followup Corbella found that they are not learning anything as time passes.

City bylaws exist for a reason. I don’t agree with all of them and I often feel that we have too many of them. That being said, when you are going to have over a million people living in an area, a degree of regulation is required. I can’t  simply ignore parking rules if I feel the federal government did something I disagreed with and my free assembly rights will not be violated if my vehicle gets towed away. I can’t dispose of motor oil in my garbage and I cant open a commercial production facility in a residential area. I can’t camp in city parks as well.

As I said in the beginning, it is time to kick these kiddies out of our park. If we want to simplify it lets just say it is a matter of bylaw enforcement.

Perhaps (though I hold out limited hope), the eviction of these complainers may help inject a dose of reality into their worlds. We have a myriad of democratic and free means to pursue changes to our governance and system. People can form/join political parties and activist groups. Rallies can be held and marches can be organized. Letters can be written and doors can be knocked (all that work terrifies some though). Sitting around in a park complaining is not an effective (or legal) way to get anything done. Perhaps the bylaw boot to the collected bottoms of this bunch of squatters will encourage them to move on to something productive.

Our city council has been unsurprisingly reticent on this issue. With members such as Farrell and Pincott in there this sort of turning a blind eye to our laws is to be expected I guess. Some on council have some common sense though. I strongly encourage everybody to email members of city council and demand that they enforce our park bylaws as vigourously as they do with our parking bylaws.

If we are going to have regulation and laws, they must be evenly enforced.

Edit:: I want to add this fellow’s video. He hits the nail on the head quite well in describing a day in the life of an “occupier”

It is time for the Wildrose Alliance Party to come out and say it.

The pattern is tiringly consistent and has been going on for over a decade in Alberta now. Craig Chandler and his little band of followers will latch onto a campaign/party with one or more of their own as a candidate. The race will then quickly devolve into a circus as rules are stretched (if not outright broken). The campaign then becomes exceedingly negative and personal as individuals are besmirched and then the inevitable threats of lawsuits come from Chandler during the campaign (most strongly after the campaign when his team has lost). Chandler and his cronies then move on to another party/cause and repeat the pattern.

Somebody of political note told me a little over a year ago (paraphrasing) “When Craig Chandler becomes involved in a campaign, the campaign is no longer about who wins. It becomes a campaign about making somebody lose.” That statement pretty much hits it right on the head. Chandler campaigns never amount to anything good, but they certainly can do some damage.

What I am getting at is that the Wildrose (and probably other parties) should come right out and publically state that they do not want Craig Chandler as a member of their organization and Chandler’s involvement in campaigns within the organization should lead to the immediate disqualification of the candidate utililizing Chandler’s services. Yes, I am speaking of a total shunning of Craig Chandler and his associates within a party.

I think now is an ideal time to come out and say this. Chandler has very recently come out publically and called all involved with the Wildrose Party “Nazis” and has been quite busy working on a Facebook group with a handful of malcontents, sock-puppets and members who don’t even know they are members that simply appears to exist in complaining about the Wildrose Party.

What is to be lost in telling Craig not to let the door hit him in the ass on his way out? What is to be gained in allowing him to continue to meddle with party affairs?

The Wildrose Party is still in a critical stage in it’s growth in leading up to what will be a pivotal election for both the province and the party. While Chandler’s influence is limited in general, he causes a distraction and his presence alone takes away from the credibility of the entire party. Constituency associations are critical and fragile in nature. Even one individual on a CA board can cause a terrible mess if their interests are not those of the party or the constituents. Flushing Chandler’s bunch will go a long way to creating stability in constituencies. I understand that it is difficult with individuals, but perhaps once Chandler is fully and publically removed from the party his followers will go with him.

For those fortunate enough not to be too terribly familiar with Craig Chandler and his activities I will give a little background. To begin with, somebody built a site listing some of Chandler’s known associates and activities. The site is a bit out of date and shallow but does give some good info here.

Chandler’s first somewhat loud political splash was when he ran for the federal leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party in 2003. While providing for some comic relief, Chandler was generally an annoyance within the race. Chandler then dropped out at the last second so that it could not be officially documented that he actually had no support to speak of in the race. That tactic was attempted by the Chandler/Dyrholm campaign for the leadership of the Wildrose Alliance Party as well but failed when the voting results were released showing Dyrholm heavily trounced by Danielle Smith. Chandler has recently been claiming that the party rigged votes in that race by the way.

Chandler got behind David Crutcher during the leadership race for the Alberta Alliance. The race as was typical went negative with Craig’s involvement as Chandler threatened to sue everybody from his former volunteers to the former leader of the party. When Chandler’s candidate finished a distant third to MLA Paul Hinman, Chandler stormed from the party calling it “Liberal Light” and was opposed to the party for some time to follow. The race was well documented here and Craig participated heavily in this forum during the race. The behaviour and attitude of Chandler is quite evident in these discussion threads.

There was a municipal election some years ago when some sort of bizzare incident happened involving Craig Chander and Dave Bronconnier’s mother with threatening phone calls. There was another bizzare episode where Sun columnist Paul Jackson got fired due to some messup with Chandler.

More recently Chandler backed a candidate for the provincial Liberal party. Despite the fact that Harvey was completely unsuited or inclined to be a candidate within that party, Chandler has been going on about voter irregularitys. Chandler’s candidate was not even a contender by a long shot but his presence did erode the credibility of a party already reeling.

The list just goes on and on and on. During the Wildrose Alliance leadership race I was on the committee overseeing the race. Without any doubt that was the most exhausting committee I have ever served upon as we had to repeatedly had to deal with complaints of the Chandler/Dyrholm team breaking the rules of the race. Towards the end of that race the tone became increasingly negative as Chandler complained of media bias and even attacked Danielle’s husband and the spouses of media members for their membership within the party (an abuse of membership lists).

Now the latest episode that has Chandler all up in arms involves the nomination disqualification of Dennis Young. To be honest, I don’t know why Young was rejected by the local CA nominating committee. I have no idea if the disqualification was fair or not. I am not on the inside any longer and purposely have distanced myself from nomination activities within the party over this last year. What is clearly not acceptable however is Chandler’s reaction to the disqualification of his preferred candidate and his insistence on attacking the entire party.

I have browsed the collection of complaints on Chandler’s facebook group and see that my name has surfaced a couple times so I feel I have to address this. Yes, I have a background that is considered controversial by many and yes I was accepted as a nomination candidated despite that. I guess I need to go into a little detail as to why I was accepted.

What Craig Chandler and his followers will never understand is the value of consistent and longtime committment to something. I have been involved with this party from back when it was the Alberta Alliance with only one seat in the legislature and a couple thousand in the bank. I have served on the provincial executive in multiple capacities for years. I have overseen the founding and maintanence of dozens of constituency associations throughout the party. I hosted the party headquarters in my own office for years until the party outgrew the space. I have donated thousands of dollars and countless hours to the party. I have openly and actively fought to keep people from bringing separatist policies into the party as I more than anybody can recognize the folly of that. I have set up and put away chairs for empty meetings around the province and I have flipped burgers for conventions.

There were indeed people who felt that I should not even have been allowed to be a nomination candidate for the party. It was difficult to stop that however in light of such a long, rational and dedicated history within the party. To compare the acceptance of myself as a nomination candidate to others who were invisible during all of those formative years and then suddenly bullied in with Team Chandler is folly to say the least. Hard work and time are what builds a foundation and credibility within a party (or pretty much anything) but it appears that Chandler will never understand that and will express shock when finding himself or one of his candidates rejected by yet another group they recently joined.

The media have long ago generally learned to ignore Chandler so his public outbursts are limited in scope. I used to feel that if we generally ignored Chandler he would simply fade away. That was clearly a mistaken feeling. While Chandler rarely wins campaigns, he often does damage to the parties or individuals around his campaigns. I have no idea why that small group of people follows Chandler but they are dedicated in a cult-like way to him and they do allow him to spread his damage to constituencies. Harold Camping with his Christian radio predicted the world would end again just today yet people still follow him so I guess I should not be too surprised at what followers will put up with.

The party is growing and evolving. Individual nuts will always be a reality to deal with and the choice to remove people from a party should never be taken lightly. It is time for the Wildrose Party to pull this bandaid off though and get rid of Chandler and his followers. There are many more important things that the party needs to deal with in the next few months leading to the election and we don’t need these malcontents trying to destabilize our constituency associations. Many of these races are going to be tight and that distraction could make all the difference.