It’s for the children!!!

Well, Redford has only been in power for a scant few months but it is very clear that she intends to continue and even increase the intrusive nature of our provincial government. Not satisfied with Stelmach’s intrusions on private business through minimum product pricing and strict regulation of sales, Redford went further through utilizing loopholes in our laws so that legal drivers may be punished for having a drink or two despite being well under the legal limit. That pesky legal process and defense thing was neatly sidestepped as Alison’s temperance bill was rammed through the legislature.

Next Allison began the process of increasing taxation on products that she considers to be sinful. It is of course for our own good. We cannot be trusted to make decisions for ourselves so Alison has kindly taken it upon herself to guide our actions and punish us should we stray from the moral course that she has determined for us.

Now Redford has moved into considering intrusive legislation telling us how we may behave around our children while on what we consider to be our own property. I say consider as we really don’t have legislated property rights and the Progressive Conservatives have never failed to take advantage of that Charter shortcoming. Mom Redford want’s to ban smoking in vehicles with children. Once that law is in place it only makes sense to ban smoking in households with children in them. Perhaps monitors will be placed in our homes or a special force will perform snap inspections upon us. As long as that rallying cry of it being for our own good and it being “for the children!!!” is used it is beyond question no?

Now it is indeed beyond question that smoking in enclosed spaces with kids can’t be good for them. The question though is how far should government go in directing our actions? How intrusive will government get? How many more decisions will be taken from parents as Redford determines that it may be bad for kids?

Second hand smoke is far from the leading cause of health issues for children. If government is really serious about coming into our households and raising our kids, they had better look at some of the real issues.

Overweight children leading sedentary lives have a great assortment of health challenges. Type II diabetes is getting diagnosed at earlier and earlier ages due to childhood obesity. Further issues of heart problems and injuries often come with very overweight kids.

Now having proven that obesity causes harm to children, Alison may feel fully justified in interfering with our lives and decisions for the sake of the children. Where shall she begin? The Progressive Conservatives love finding new ways to tax people and business. A “fat tax” has been proposed many times before by nanny statists. I am sure Redford would love to tax us all for daring to eat what she considers to be unhealthy foods.

Perhaps a minimum age can be applied for fast food establishments. Maybe we can ban pizza delivery from households with children in them. Perhaps Alison’s personal cigarette inspection force can check refrigerators while they storm our houses in case we have fattening food hidden within them. We can fine people who dare keep a wayward chocolate bar or can of ravioli instead of broccoli and carrots.

Of course, healthy eating is only half of the equation. Kids need excersise as well. Now here we hit a conundrum. You see, play and sports are leading causes of injury among kids. Redford can’t simply allow kids to run amok skinning knees and breaking bones. While helmet wearing is enforced, bikes still cause thousands of injuries to children every year. Bike riding must simply be banned until adulthood when Nenshi can take over and force these healthy new adults to bike to work in winter in his new green utopia.

Baseball, football, hockey, skiing, horseback riding, tennis, track and field, basketball, soccer, ringette, lacrosse, roller blading, tobogganing, tag, duck duck duck goose and countless other childhood activities cause inevitable injury. These activities must be halted.

Nerf balls will be issued to all households as the sole sporting good.

 

Physical education in schools will consist of closely monitored yoga. Schools will provide great opportunity for further monitoring of children though lunchbag inspections and weight monitoring. Alison’s recent purchase of the Alberta Teachers union will greatly facilitate these changes.

 

Household accidents are a leading cause of childhood death/injuries. Houses with children will need to be inspected to ensure all electrical outlets are blocked. All cars will be equipped with backup alarms and cameras (at owner expense of course). Dangerous cleaning items can’t simply be regulated, they must be banned!! People can clean with water and sand. We can’t risk bleach! Remember, it’s for the children!!!

Safety tips will be mandated and worn on shirts by parents (at owner expense of course).  Those darned kids won’t be running with scissors again any time soon if Mom Redford has her way!

 

Why stop at childhood though? Injuries among adults are costing health dollars too. Mandated padded safety suits shall be worn at all times!

 

While all of the above sounds unrealistic, it is a reflection of the trend that the Redford government is following. Personal rights are being violated in the name of the patronizing attitude of government regulating our behavior “for our own good”. These trends do not stop nor do they become more rational as time passes. Regulations continue to grow (as well as punishments) as nanny statists find more and more ways to try and control all of our actions. Anybody who has worked on an oil project where the safety guys have run amok can understand this. The controllers can cripple all activity with no regard for outcomes.

I am not saying that it is good to smoke around kids nor is it good to let them lay around eating cheeseburgers until they bloat. What I am saying though is that it is not the governments job to determine these things for us nor is it government’s role to regulate and guide of our personal choices through means of punishment and force. It is clear that Redford does not trust us to make our own choices in life and she is more than willing to take on the role of nanny for us all.

If we allow the simplistic justification of child protection with every new intrusion in our lives and choices by government, then all of the above examples I set are not beyond reality whatsoever. Government control is an incremental thing and the frog in water analogy works very well when it comes to the controlling actions of nanny statists.

Alberta has long been a province known for compassionate individualism and laissez faire practices. We have allowed government to erode those principles and Redford is proving herself to be the greatest threat to our personal freedoms of them all.

Soon (we don’t know for sure when due to Redford lying about electoral reform) we will have a provincial election. This will be an important one as if we give Redford a strong mandate we will be assuring ourselves of rampant and intrusive government growth for at least four years. We need to work hard to ensure she does not get that chance.

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King of popularity! Just ask him.

It is nice when Nenshi loses that thin veneer of humility and exposes himself for the arrogant man that he is. He views himself as the most popular politician in all of Canada and openly says so. He basically called anybody who would run against him fools as he is just so darned popular that it would be futile.

 The video with Rick Bell and Joan Crockatt covers it all quite well here. 

 

Bell’s column expands on those fine Nenshi quotes too. 

Nenshi’s self-love explains why he goes off the handle so quickly in the face of any criticism. He really does think he is above all question. Many people had to meet Nenshi before to feel that deep aura of arrogance radiating from him. Now Nenshi is reaching out and ensuring that everybody gets to see and enjoy that arrogant and pompous man who is our mayor. Keep up the good work Nenshi. You are laying the groundwork for your replacement.

You may have to make that jump to the federal Liberals sooner than anticipated.

 

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An effective demonstration. No tents, no lawbreaking and no poop required.

Well, this morning I got up bright and early to make the long drive back to Calgary from the  Fort McMurray area for my Christmas break. A few weeks of raping dear Mother Earth can be nothing short of exhausting I tell you. I could almost hear her cries for mercy as we tracked the bitumen migrations of a steam injection project.

Being so fresh from working in a safe and environmentally responsible working environment, I am a little more sensitive to the hyperbole and outright BS that the anti-productive anti-prosperity crowd yelps out in their opposition to the ethical and clean example of profoundly successful capitalism in what we call the oilsands. I have written about the fabrications of that set before. The anti-oilsands gang rarely bothers to stay within reality as real science simply is not on their side.

 With facts working against them, the anti-industry zealots opposing the oilsands have been working on a campaign of coaxing gullible but large companies to practice greenwashing by speaking out against Alberta products. Bed Bath and Beyond fell for it and took a public relations sting. Next up has been Chiquita with their shallow and ill-conceived claim to be avoiding Alberta products.

 The backlash against Chiquita’s hypocritical greenwashing was fast, strong and effective as Chiquita has been exposed to be a much nastier world corporate citizen than any Alberta oilsands company has ever even come close to being. Chiquita has a long and shameful history of participating in corrupt regimes through the purposeful funding of terrorist groups along with a host of other practices from environmental devastation to union busting.

 While driving I heard on the radio that a group of concerned Albertans would be holding a demonstration outside of a Safeway in Edmonton around noon. That timed out perfectly with my drive so of course I had to pop by. Here is what I found:

 

 Well prepared demonstrators had stationed themselves outside of a Safeway store. They had dressed as can be seen in the picture in some Southern style wear in order to be eye catching and to make an impression. No shouting, hassling of clientele or illegal acts were required to gain the attention of shoppers. People were not hindered and a simple brochure was being handed out to those interested.

 Pictured on the one side of the lit is a banana with blood spots for eyes creating a frowning face. It is a great and simple way to point out that Chiquita’s product can indeed be labelled as “blood bananas”.

 On the other side of the piece was a short letter addressed to Safeway headquarters explaining how Chiquita had declared war on the very Alberta families that Safeway relies upon for it’s livelihood. Some basic background was given and it was asked that Safeway join us in standing up for Alberta’s ethical oil.

 The piece is addressed and leaves room for individuals to sign it and send it to the Safeway headquarters should they like.

 Clearly there had been a good press release as press from pretty much every major media outlet was in attendance.

 

 The fellow depicted above was haranguing the demonstrator trying to imply that some sort of conspiracy of oil funding was behind this or something. He failed as the demonstrator stayed on message and no such conspiracy existed. The media was addressed throughout with a concise and consistent message.

 This was a perfectly executed public demonstration complementing the online campaign standing up to the detractors of Alberta’s economic engine. It was reasoned, it had a good straightforward message and a goal. It was memorable yet did not rely on crazy, annoying or illegal stunts in order to make it be so.

 In other words, it was a demonstration modelled by rational working people as opposed to the anarchistic union backed rabble that we usually see ripping up our public spaces.

 The only people who were somewhat put out by this demonstration were the clearly stressed managers from within the store. The came out briefly as pictured below. They had no comment and went back inside to doubtless report to their superiors. And so the message of the demonstration climbs to those who need it. I feel for those managers but that is how it goes when one carrys a controversial product.

 

 Chiquita has already been backtracking and are realizing that they have stepped into a public relations nightmare. The demonstration was well targeted in that I am sure that Safeway does not want this sort of attention. The grocery market is very competitive. I am pretty sure that Safeway execs are at the least sending a letter or two to Chiquita demanding that they cut it the hell out if they want to keep doing business.

 This also sends a message to other large companies that jumping on the anti-Alberta greenwashing bandwagon may not be all that worth it. Not only is Alberta among one of the world’s top suppliers of clean, ethical energy; we are also a large and growing consumer market. One does not need to have a marketing degree to realize that pissing off large and growing consumer markets is something of a stupid business decision.

 We recently saw countless directionless layabouts polluting public spaces around the country while causing consternation and cost to taxpayers for almost two months. Those protests never even identified an issue much left worked towards resolving one.

 More recently now we have seen a small but determined group identify an issue and work effectively towards making a large multi-national company re-examine their shallow stance on Alberta. Great work. More can be found here, and here. Demonstrations can be effective and they can be so without all the mess that some insist on creating.

 The screaming anarchistic left could learn a few lessons here. Of course they would have to stop their entitled yelping long enough for the message to get in.

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Redford is continuing with the PC prohibitionist mandate.

One constant since the begining of the bumbling Stelmach administration has been a steady attack on liquor consumption from the provincial government. Almost anually the Progressive Conservatives would announce a new policy or tax modelled to socially engineer Albertans to reduce their enjoyment of a drink now and then. Perhaps it was an effort to distance themselves from the prior Klein administration that was led by a man known to imbibe now and then. The bottom line though is that it is an intrusive form of governance that does not fit with the Albertan laissez faire approach to most things.

One of the first things Stelmach did was mandate a pile of ridiculous regulations on business establishments forcing them to adopt minimum drink prices and even determined the volume of liquor a person was allowed to purchase in a bar at certain hours. The Progressive Conservatives had taken to micromanaging private business going as far as telling them what they must charge and how much of their product they are allowed to sell at a time. Mao would have been proud.

This brought about an end to drink specials and the time honored tradition of happy hour.

The next thing Stelmach did was the usual shallow tactic in trying to prohibit something; he announced a massive tax increase on liquor.

In Ed’s usual bumbling manner though, he totally failed in reading public opinion in Alberta. In the typical PC flip/flop he recinded the tax increases shortly after bringing them in due to a public backlash as people tired of his anti-booze crusade interfering in their good times. I remember well talking to a tired store owner trying to keep up with his pricing as the government tried to figure out what to tell private business what to charge customers. Along with the prohibitionism, Redford has mastered the PC flip/flop as well in her broken promises to set fixed election dates and to hold a judicial inquiry into our healthcare system but I digress.

As we all know, Stelmach’s inept management of the province led to his resignation last January. The election of Alison Redford led some people to hope for some change but it is becoming rather clear that we still have the same old free spending, nanny state that we had before. The only thing that has changed is the face at the front with perhaps a little more leftward spin. The social conservatism is still obviously alive and well.

Despite clear evidence that people with only .05-.079% blood alcohol are not causing any undue or extra accidents on Alberta roads, the Redford government still insisted on ramrodding Bill 26 through the legislature and onto Albertans. Using what essentially can be called a legal loophole, the provincial government has found a way to punish people heavily for a non-crime while leaving them with none of the process of defense that criminal law provides. It is almost reminicent of the Human Rights Commissions.

Why would the Progressive Conservatives go so far out of their way to antagonize Alberta businesses and citizens with a law that serves no visible purpose? Clearly we are no safer due to Bill 26. What we will see however is a reduction of drinking even one or two wines with meals as many people will fear the new punishments brought about by government against responsible drinkers. Others who do enjoy a drink with their meal will often simply stay home which of course will come at great cost to our restaurant industry. The goal of the government is simply to attack drinking whether it is done responsibly or not. This people is simply prohibition by stealth and harrassment.

Redford now wants to continue where Stelmach failed and is planning to bring in heavy taxes on liquor again. Not sure if we are at the point of flip or flop. What we do have is blatant social engineering however. Government plans to punish you further through taxation for daring to decide to enjoy a drink.

In Redford’s own words the other day on how her government will make choices on your behalf and will manage your life and decisions:

“Albertans are really sensible. They want to be healthy, they want to be safe and they want government to take some leadership and say: ‘You know what, we’re going to make some choices and these choices are going to be conducive to building a safer and a healthier community where we’re able to make sure we have good programs in place and everyone in society can thrive.’”

I have to call bullshit Alison. If you really thought Albertans were responsible, then you would not be trying to micromanage our personal decisions would you? We don’t need you to make choices on our behalf!

While dedicated, the ladies of the temperance movements soon discovered that lips that didn’t touch liquor were exceedingly unlikely to touch theirs.

I would have thought that people such as Alison Redford would have gained a great appreciation of the concept of beer goggles in her post-secondary educational years. I guess it just led to further bitterness.

It is ironic that Redford is considered a crusader for liberals when her government is clearly so dedicated to socially conservative efforts in social engineering.

Leave us our booze at least Alison so that we may drink away the pains of your inept government as you tax, borrow and spend away the inheritances of our grandchildren.

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No need, no demand, expensive, wasteful… No not our “Peace” bridge. I am talking bike sharing.

Have we seen people pining away for lack of a bike in the city? Is Calgary suffering economic pain as we can’t draw labor as skilled professionals are demanding a bike sharing program? Is it impossible for people to navigate the city without a borrowed/rented bike? Have we seen citizens loudly demanding that Calgary adopt a bike sharing program?

The answer to all of the above questions is a simple and resounding NO! Despite that some fool has managed to waste $24,000 tax dollars for a report on bike sharing that is so biased in origin that it is worthy only of the trash heap. Was it really that hard to find out that we don’t need this program?

 

Generating these foolish reports is great work if you can get it. A bike sharing company was paid $255 per page to essentially compile an advertisement for their services. One would think the idiotic bureaucrat that commissioned this report would at least have tried to find one degree of separation between the company making the report and the company potentially providing the service.

For those not familiar with it, bike sharing is an idealistic notion that has been tried around the world with almost universal failure at great cost to whoever funds it whether non-profit groups or local governments. The idea is that people may quickly and inexpensively rent bikes from stations placed around the city, ride to their destination and then drop the bike off at another station assuming that one is near their destination. I guess the notion is that it would reduce on automotive and public transit use.

As I had said, this has failed all around the world and for a myriad of reasons. Theft and vandalism destroyed the vast majority of past bike sharing programs. I get a kick out of the handful of supporters on this one making excuses. Montreal is losing a fortune on this wasteful concept. They have tried advertising to offset the costs (supporters point to that as a means to make it sustainable). Supporters are also blaming the advertising saying that it causes the vandalism. I guess bored anti-capitalists target bike ads or something. Either way, that excuse holds no water. Most of the prior and failed programs died due to theft and vandalism and many of them did not have advertising.

 

Many of the self-styled social engineers who promote pap such as bike sharing love to point out how great cities such as Paris are. Well the picture above is of vandalised bikes in Paris’s failed sharing program. They put out 15,000 bikes and half of them were stolen. Many of the rest were destroyed.

Some say the solution to the theft/vandalism problem is to charge more and to have an onerous registration system for users. This does indeed expose how supporters of socialized bike use have utterly no concept of supply and demand. If you demand a person register before use, pass a credit test and spend a pile of money; chances are they simply are not going to use the service.

Lets face it people. Responsible people with good credit and spare money will buy their own bikes or choose whatever other form of transportation that they please. They will not want to go through an annoying process to sit on a bike of questionable cleanliness and shape in order to pedal to a station that may not be convenient to them. Those who somehow can’t afford their own bikes or transit however are also those prone to stealing and destroying property. May not be a nice fact of life but that is how it goes.

Montreal has Canada’s largest bike share program through Bixi. That whole mess has become such a disaster that the city of Montreal lent $108,000,000 to the failing company in order to bail it out. Yes people, over one hundred million tax dollars have been invested in that loser so that they may hope to make money in other parts of the world as they are losing millions locally. This folks is utter insanity.

 I will save you all from spending $24,000 like the city of Calgary did and provide a link right here that will demonstrate the viability of bike sharing.

Dozens of failed bike sharing programs can be found in minutes. Those still operating are costing their local taxpayers a fortune (an ongoing failure). The wikipedia article on bike sharing gives a pretty good history on the concept and while a positive spin is attempted, it is undercut through the listing of failed programs worldwide.

Now should Calgary follow the report recommendations, taxpayers will spend an estimated $2.5 million to put 400 bikes on the road. City programs are consistently  over budget so it is likely closer to three million tax dollars. Bear in mind folks, this is simply start-up costs. Ongoing expenses will mount annually. The optimistic estimated operating cost of this system will be over $1.1 million per year on top of the millions spent in setup.

 Calgary taxpayers are expected to spend millions so that a couple hundred people can ride bikes for perhaps 7 operational months per year!

While this all sounds so stupid that people would think there is no way that our city council would allow this program to go through, we do have to keep in mind how stupid our city council has traditionally acted with our tax dollars. I am happy to see that Nenshi, Chabot and even Comrade Pincott do not think this idea will float. Despite this, we must be vigilant. City hall has had a knack of letting such projects slip through the cracks and then blaming the approval on inside civil servants rather than taking responsibility. They must be watched at all times and have no doubt there are at least a few who think this bike boondoggle would make a perfect legacy project for themselves.

Taxes rise every year while Calgary city council acts as if it is impossible to cut spending. How much spending per year is there on stupid reports such as this one anyway?

Keep an eye on this one people. The supporters of this bike sharing waste will not give up easily and any effort to move forward with this idiocy must be nipped in the bud.

 

 

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The squatting in Olympic Plaza has finally ended. Nothing was accomplished.

 With nearly two months of illegal squatting in a downtown Calgary park, the “occupy” Calgary squatters have finally packed up and gone home. No message was ever defined much less conveyed to the public at large. The only accomplishments really have been to have Calgary more clearly define the strength of bylaws should the city choose to enforce them.

 Some squatter supporters have been trying to save face and claiming that the activity spurred discussion. Really? Discussion of what? There was never a solid issue and there has never been real discussion. There have been strange demands made by crazy squatters and vague statements. Nothing specific was ever addressed through this exercise and there certainly was nothing that was settled. Serious discussions of issues existed before the squatting and will continue after the squatting. The squatting never aided in any discussion aside from wondering whether there is a Charter right to squat in city parks at expense to taxpayers (it was clearly determined that no such right exists).

Now I put this out to the squatters who now find themselves with even less to do; do you really want to accomplish anything? Do you want to take a path that really does spur discussion and impact decision making? Are there issues that you really want to see seriously discussed by the public and decision makers?

If the answers to any of the above are yes, then please read on while I explain how people can influence discussion and opinion in electoral politics. It allows me to do one of my favorite activities in that I will be tooting my own horn in providing real examples on how small but determined groups can influence politics on every level.

When I was in my 20s, I found myself frustrated with politics in Alberta. Our Prime Minister of the time (Jean Chretien) had won a strong majority in an electoral campaign that blatantly demonized my province and in which he never once even so much as set foot in Alberta. Chretien openly made statements about how he did not like dealing with Westerners and I felt that attitude had been embraced as Ontario and Quebec had given the Liberals of that time a strong mandate. I looked to the existing political vehicles and did not see any party that I felt was standing up for Western Canadian interests in a strong enough manner. Since no such party existed, I formed my own.

The Alberta Independence Party was a soft nationalist party that existed for less than a year overall. We never even managed to get officially registered as a party and we fell in apart for a number of reasons (not the least of which was my inexperience in leading a party). Despite such a short existence, in it’s time the AIP brought about both national and local discussion regarding Alberta’s role within confederation. Heated debates were had in the House of Commons as multiple MPs and Senator elects attended our founding convention. Suddenly Western alienation was a worthwhile discussion in Ottawa.

Provincially, an election was called within weeks of our founding convention as a party. Despite our lack of registration as a party and only a few more than a dozen declared candidates, the throne speech that was held just before the dissolution of the legislature took multiple shots at our small party and set the tone for the beginning of the election. Candidates across the province were questioned on their stances vs federal incursions on provincial jurisdiction. National and provincial news pundits wrote countless pieces on Western alienation, the causes of it and potential solutions for it and alienation was a top coffee shop discussion around the province.

Despite this attention to the issue, as I said the party did not last long after the provincial election. We had made a mark though and had definitively had an impact on discussion and decision making.

My main point here is that in the partisan world, measurable accomplishments can be attained even without being in an electable position.

Now again to the squatters, one thing you do have is a common social group even if your specific goals are tough to define. You can turn something productive from this last couple months through keeping your group and moving into the realm of electoral politics if you choose to. All of the information required for founding a political party can be found at the Elections Alberta website.  I have always found Elections Alberta to be excellent and very helpful in guiding one through the process.

There are some attitudes and ideas that will need to be shed by you if you are going to go this route however. I will list them below.

Public Opinion Matters!

Had the occupy squatter movement gained even a measurable 15% of strong support within the city of Calgary I assure you guys that your encampment would still actually exist as our elected city officials would not dare alienate a group like that. 15% is well within electoral spoiler numbers and no politician wants to go out of their way to cause a bloc of people like that to take their support elsewhere.

 Along with a degree of support, the direction and momentum of the support is important. The Alberta Independence Party at it’s very best was probably only appealing to perhaps 15% in some selected constituencies. That number grew fast however and had potential to get larger. Any MLA who had won their seat with any less than a 20% lead had to at the very least pay attention to us. The best way to undercut us was to embrace at least some of our sentiment. Again, goals were being accomplished. They wanted to ensure that our numbers stopped growing.

 The “occupy” Calgary group clearly saw public support eroding pretty much essentially since it’s inception. Incident after episode caused people almost daily to turn against the movement even had they been sympathetic before. Instead of being concerned with this drop in public support, what we saw mostly from the group was an attitude of “FU, we don’t care what you think.”. Well you should have cared guys. As it became clear that the support trend was going downward, city officials felt more emboldened in taking action to end your demonstration.

 As I demonstrated, you can come from a small minority position in general support yet still have an impact on policies, discussion and decision makers. You will not be able to do so though until you realize and accept that a degree of dedicated public support is essential to your cause.

Find, define and promote a message!

The shotgun approach to issues was a great part of the occupy undoing. Constantly people pointed out that when one asks 10 “occupiers” what the issue is they get 11 answers. That is laughed off and it is often pointed out in an almost arrogant manner that this consensus model is what it is all about and only fools should be asking for or expecting specifics.

 Well kids, you need to get over that concept. Months have been wasted and still nobody knows what you even stood for. You can’t claim that discussion was inspired when you can’t even define the issue.

 Part of why myself and others have been able to so consistently beat the hell out of you guys in discussion is that you have allowed us to frame the entire debate. When you refuse to define yourselves, rest assured somebody will do it on your behalf and as you know, folks like me were not kind in making our definitions.

 Think of it this way kids. You had been squatting for a couple weeks and nobody could figure out what point you were trying to make. I parked my truck there in counterprotest, made the point that a double standard existed in law enforcement and set the entire discussion of the whole thing for the rest of the movement on being about the “right” to squat in a park illegally. One man did that in one afternoon with a plan and a solid message.

 The Alberta Independence Party had what I still think to be a very good and comprehensive policy book. Despite that, the reality was that at best we were only considered an authority on issues of provincial alienation. We accepted and worked with that. Nobody came to us to hear what we thought of healthcare provision, but we found our way into the discussion when we pointed out the federal shortcomings in funding transfers to healthcare (particularly when compared with federal funding for Quebec). We were single issue in many ways but we found ways to apply our views and make ourselves a group worthy of consideration on more diverse views.

 While literally hundreds of issues exist, voters realistically are only closely watching perhaps a half-dozen issues and they base their electoral decisions on those views. Fight it out guys and find your common ground. Identify five solid issues and stake your ground on them. Become experts on those issues and make yourselves the authority on them. Learn to apply those five issues to broader issues as I did with provincial alienation. Then people will come to you and if you do it right, they will stay with you.

You need the media!

Yes the media is often biased. The media can be fickle and they can be nasty. You don’t need to even like the media but you had better damn well learn that they are essential to you if you want to influence public opinion and decision making whether in electoral politics or in any other form of activism. The majority of people on all ends of the political spectrum get their information from the “corporate media” and they base their views on that information. To shun this is nothing shy of idiocy.

 I saw and documented many forms of idiocy from the “occupy” Calgary crowd. One that definitely made the top 5 though was yesterday’s stupid press conference stunt. To get media together for an event and then walk away refusing to comment was petty, pointless and to be blunt just bloody stupid. You don’t have to pursue the media or kiss their butts, but to go out of your way to piss them off is just dumb. Believe it or not, those reporters do have better things to do. What few may have been even a tiny bit sympathetic to you disappeared yesterday morning after that stunt. When you already know that they can be biased, why purposely turn that bias against yourself?

 I led a soft-nationalist party. I was attacked and abused from editorialists from across the country. I was mocked by some and outright attacked by others. The CBC was particularly skilled in their patronizing and belittling coverage of us. I did not let this stop me from doing interviews. I certainly did not lash back. It was pointless.

 As I said, the CBC was terribly rough on me.  I recall doing a Newsworld interview where the host just pummelled me for the entire thing. I felt out right lashed and exhausted after that loaded interview. After the interview, our phone rang off the hook and memberships poured in. Don’t underestimate the public’s ability of seeing through the bias. The interview got our message out to a whole new group of people and we gained support despite the bias.

I remember one Globe and Mail piece that began with “Cory the Kid and his pipsqueak party held a convention in Red Deer last weekend.” After that opening sentence, the editorial began to get rough and patronizing with me. After our founding convention the Globe dedicated three days of editorials explaining to Canada why our party didn’t matter. We never could have bought such advertising. While rarely was there ever a favorable article about us, the support through contributions, volunteers and memberships continued to grow as people got familiar with us.

 I am not of the view of any press being good press. If they are reporting on something idiotic that has been done by you, then you simply will look more the idiot for the coverage. Bias however is not always all that harmful even if it irritates. As long as you are somewhat solid in your message, you can and will withstand the slant.

 Don’t forget, the media needs you too. Put yourself in the shoes of a reporter. You have a deadline and you need something interesting to write about. You need quotes and interviews to make your piece stand out and be unique in presenting information to people. Rest assured, reporters don’t get far by figuratively beating the piss out of everybody they interview. They will not get further quotes and information from people for long with that approach. Set aside the paranoia and address them guys. You need each other.

Get a leader!

Every movement/party needs a leader/spokesperson. I know the “occupy” thing was supposed to be leaderless. Well it showed. Along with a consistent message, you need a consistent voice/face presenting it or it will be forgotten and lost.

One of the reasons that the Alberta Independence Party took off for the period that it did was because they had a dashing and well spoken young man who people could comfortably approach and get statements from. It was tougher to stereotype us as old white Christian men as people often did with Reform when the leader was a twenty-something, outspoken social liberal and agnostic who was of mixed ancestry. No leaderless group can dodge such pidgeonholing without having a leader to counter it.

 People and press need a consistent face representing the movement as much as they need a consistent message. The leader need not be a dynamo or saint. The leader simply needs to be consistent, know the issues and be at least a bit sane (may be tough for the last part).

 Is the goal change? Do you really want to see serious discussion? Do you want to impact decision making? Again I strongly suggest that you take the tips above to heart. A small group can have a large impact if things are done right.

 Even if your goals are simple selfish bragging rights. Lets look at a comparisons of outcomes.

One day I will be able to tell my grandkids that I formed and led a political party that caused national discussion of Alberta’s role within confederation and set the tone for an entire provincial election.

One day our “occupy” Calgary squatters will be able to tell their grandkids that they alienated the entire city of Calgary and will be forever be remembered for pooping in a park.

 Which outcome do you prefer?

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Get used to seeing it.

This happens every few years. A native reserve hit’s bottom due to a myriad of reasons and a news story comes out showing people living in deplorable conditions. The flavor this year is the Attawapiskat. A while back it was Kashechewan with their water troubles. Even earlier than that was the mess in Davis Inlet. We have seen other random images of reserves all over Canada in between and the pictures are almost uniformly ugly.

Fingers are being pointed in all directions. Government is pointing out how 10s of millions of dollars had been directed at the reserve from the government. The Chief is pointing wildly in every direction while trying very hard to avoid any form of audit or outside management. Advocacy groups are worked into a lather and blaming everybody they can see for the problems.

People are calling for more money to be spent. Some are calling for more or less self-government on reserves. Some are even calling for UN intervention.

What we are not hearing enough is people calling for an end to the entire reserve system!

Lets face it people. This entire concept of separating groups of people from society based on their race is utterly wrong and has been a colossal failure. By every measure reserve life falls short of off-reserve standards of living. With a few notable exceptions, pretty much every native reserve in Canada is a socio-economic mess rife with crime, poverty, domestic abuse, substance abuse and simply general misery (particularly on the more isolated reserves).

What did anybody really expect? Imagine anybody being born and raised on one of our isolated reserves and try to imagine how this hypothetical person would not be dysfunctional. Being born into a modern reserve now is to be immediately brought into a mess of dependency with a hybrid clashing of cultures. You are exposed to modern comforts and through television and the internet you can see what the world has to offer. You are raised with a sense of entitlement as you are told that anything and everything that ever goes wrong in your life is somebody else’s fault. Even should you have ambitions for more, there is little work to be found aside from working for the band itself. If you are not in the Chief’s inner circle of friends and family, you will likely not find band employment. You are in a massive cycle of utter dependency with no sense of purpose and no sign of a light at the end of the tunnel. Is it all that surprising that suicide and substance abuse run rampant?

People keep pointing to injustices of the past as if that somehow justifies our contemporary injustices. I will say it outright, yes the residential school policy and the attempted assimilation of natives was a horrific chapter in Canadian history. Those policies are directly responsible in many ways for the social dysfunction in native communities as entire generations lost touch with how to cope individually and as families. The damage is now being passed on to future generations despite the policy ending decades ago.

Stand back a bit and look at this folks. Try to set aside what you would like to see and see what simply is. Can you honestly look at an isolated native reserve and see a good future for people there? What do you envision in a generation from now? Two generations? Most of these reserves do not have the local resources to sustain their populations no matter how some may try to develop them. Do you think it is right that we keep a growing population in a location where complete dependency  on government is assured? Is that really a decent goal?

I have worked most of my life in the oilfield and have spent time on reserves throughout Canada’s North and West. Every year I see conditions becoming worse despite new programs and new spending constantly being applied. People may think that some form of cultural preservation is happening from this. What has formed is a unique but awful hybrid culture of people who no longer find themselves fitting in anywhere. Past cultural practices are being lost and a potato chip and television culture is replacing it. Is that a noble goal?

People do not need to live in their original nation in order to retain elements of their culture. Check out a Chinatown in any major city. Look to any Indian or even Eastern European communities and see how they still retain and celebrate their cultures despite being a  half a planet away from their places of origin. Sure these people have embraced and taken on aspects of Western culture. That is natural and it is a good thing.

Cultural evolution is not assimilation! No culture now is as it was 100 years ago and 100 years from now no culture will look quite like it does today. Cultures are not static things. They change and evolve with changing times and circumstances. Despite this, some feel that reserves will keep some sort of retroactive enclaves of noble indians who will resist change and stay as they were centuries ago.

Leave culture alone. Trying to artificially retain a culture is as abhorrent and wrong as it was trying to eliminate them.

The entire native issue has always frustrated me to no end as I work and see the misery first-hand every year and I see it getting worse. I am long on pointing out problems and unfortunately short on solutions with this one. Take a drive some time East or West and have a close look at our neighboring reservations. Look at the abandoned houses or even worse the occupied ones. Look at the wild dog populations and look at the garbage. Most importantly, look at how the people carry themselves. That is the most disturbing aspect of them all.

Race based policy is always wrong. It is race based policy that created the aboriginal mess that we have today and further race based policy is not going to fix it.

There are many ideas out there on how to reach an end to the reserve system. The most promising involve property rights. I understand that we can’t simply end the system and toss a dysfunctional population into mainstream society. We need to start looking to an end to this however.

We can talk about all sorts of spot fixes. Until one concludes that the reserve system must end however, they will not be looking at a sustainable long-term solution to anything. It is a sick system of racial segregation and everybody is losing native and non-native alike.

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They will not go willingly.

Now and then I see the odd person commenting or tweeting saying that if we simply ignore the “occupy” Calgary squatters that they would go away. Alas were it only that simple.

For one thing, that would set a terrible precedent. A group of people have purposely broken our laws, damaged our public property, disturbed neighbors and displaced other users from what is supposed to be a public space. Are we to allow this every time that a small collection of people wants to hold a public tantrum without a cause? Rest assured they will.

Nenshi and some others were hoping that cold weather would do the job that City officials lack the courage to do. Sadly, despite temperatures plunging a few weeks ago the squatters still remain. Two were injured when a tent caught fire due to a person trying to warm himself with a candle though. We may see a lawsuit out of that yet as the squatters feel that taxpayers are responsible for that fire. Cold weather will not dislodge the squatters.

Not only are the squatters not leaving, they are actually growing in numbers as squatters that were evicted from other cities are actually converging on Calgary. Yes, being the last major city in Canada (almost in all of North America) lacking the balls to evict their illegal squatters has actually led to our becoming a destination. Layabouts and whining entitled bums are coming to Calgary to suckle on the tax-funded teat that Nenshi has so generously provided.

Rather than kick out our squatters like other wise cities have, Calgary has opted to beg and grovel with ongoing negotiations and offers to the squatters hoping that they give Olympic Plaza back to taxpayers. My better half covered that on her fine blog along with many other nuggets of discussion from the squatters.

Considering that the city’s attorney had her ass handed to her in court by a crazy old man and a volunteer fired and hired again non-lawyer, I guess I can see some of the cities fears here. One of the discussions by the squatters that Jane posted on her blog showed the squatters actually confused and wondering what the bar association was. Despite demonstrating utterly no legal knowledge, this group of clowns managed to own the City of Calgary retained lawyer in last Friday’s hearing as the city vainly (so far) sought an injunction to remove the illegal squatters.

I swear City Hall found Lionel Hutz’s sister. I hope that they are not paying much for this “service” at least though that is a faint hope.

The biggest error being made by people who think that the squatters may simply leave on their own is that people are assuming that these squatters are rational in any way. I guess folks can’t be blamed. Many people have better things to do than go down to meet the squatters in person to realize just how disconnected from reality these guys are.

That is part of why I take and post videos of these nuts. People can see just how crazy our squatters are without subjecting themselves to the verbal abuse (and nasty aromas) that I did.

Below is a video of “occupy” Calgary spokesperson Aaron Doncaster as he tries to tell a passerby that the city was criminally responsible for the tent fire that burned two people. If Doncaster’s loony ramblings don’t manage to convince you of his lunacy, check out the skirt he is wearing. Nobody in their right mind would try to wear that skirt with those boots. They clash and it is a crime against fashion at the very least.

Next up is “occupy” Calgary martyr and hero; Sarah Scout. Scout’s infantile behavior is typical of her as I have had the displeasure of encountering her at the squatter camp on a number of occasions. Her disconnect with reality and gross sense of entitlement and victimhood are nothing less than profound.

Police approached Sarah who became immediately belligerent forcing them to arrest her for criminal obstruction. Apparently she had a past warrant as well.

Watch that video. Note the incredibly terrible acting as Sarah tries to force some sort of incident where she could claim police brutality. Only her awful rendition of the national anthem eclipses those rotten acting skills that convinced only her delusional comrades that she is some sort of victim.

The members of the Calgary Police Service deserve a commendation for their patience and gentle treatment of Scout as she resisted.

Now in watching these videos, do you really think that these are the sort of people who simply will go away if ignored? Any rational protestors left weeks ago. These squatters will not be going anywhere until we actually physically have them removed. To try and wait it out simply won’t work and it really is a cowardly approach in an ordered society.

If the videos are not enough, again I strongly recommend that you visit Jane’s blog to see more of what these people have to say in their own words.

You can’t reason with the irrational.

Lets take back our park!! I do hope that the courts rule soon and we get this long overdue action over with.

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SQUAT BE GONE!!

Have you found your park spaces suddenly overrun with squatters?


Can you no longer enjoy lunch in the park without being accosted by hippies, hipsters, bored suburban kids and communists?

Does your dog now hate trips to the park for fear of stepping in the feces left between the tents of un-housebroken squatters?

Are you tired of seeing your very flag disrespected along with public property through vandalism and defacement?

Does your mayor cower in abject terror at the prospect of taking a leadership role and enforcing common city laws?

Well folks, have no fear!!!

SQUAT BE GONE

 IS HERE!!

 

 Fear not weary taxpayer. Just call 1-800-END-POOP to speak with one of our representatives so that we may get to work on ending your infestation as quickly as possible. One of our teams can be at your location within hours and will immediately begin implementing our special patented squatter elimination process.

 We do like to be as humane as possible in our squatter control. We begin using methods of repellant in order to drive away some of the less entrenched squatters.

 Years of careful research have proven that the concept of work in itself can drive many a squatter into the fetal position in terror.

 Carrying signs and application forms, our trained professionals will circle the park repeatedly while trying to engage squatters in impromptu job interviews. This method has been proven to reduce squatters by as much as 25% as many retreat in terror back to their parent’s basements.

At the “occupy” Calgary site, even stubborn squatter James (I don’t work man!) Bullock (in video below) vanished after having been offered a job by Richard Evans as seen on CTV. Jobs horrify squatters every time.

As is evident in any squatter infestation, many squatters decline all forms of personal hygiene thus rendering themselves completely unemployable. This reduces their fear of  gainful employment and makes these ones more difficult to dislodge.

 Thankfully, soap is to squatters as sunlight to vampires. When our cleaning crews arrive, many more squatters will flee. The remainder will smell marginally better at least.

Those squatters who have endured the prior two repelling measures are clearly being driven by strong and misplaced idealism. Gilbert Gottfreid will be brought in to repeatedly recite John Galt’s radio speech from Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged in those soothing tones that only Gilbert can produce.

 Some squatters will run screaming from the common sense being recited. A few others may find enlightenment and suddenly seek a productive life. Rand is good that way.

 While the above measures are effective in reducing squatter populations, like crab-lice “occupy” squatters tend to cling and make themselves difficult to remove.

 The remaining squatters will be trapped in as humane a manner as possible with targetted trap sites.

 The hipster trap has proven very effective for the suburban kid crowd and the crazy conspiracy spouting college professor crowd. Trap baits can be changed to suit needs with pot, patchouli and granola until all remaining squatters have been live-trapped.

 With another wash and a spay or a neuter our problem squatters are now readly to be loaded on to our first class transport to ship them to their new home.

 Yes, your squatters will be released to roam free in their natural habitat within North Korea!!

 Kim Jong-il will be more than happy to add all these fine healthy suburban kids to his happy family in the worker’s paradise of North Korea.

 The squatters will finally get to experience that wonderful equitable society that they purport to support and you will regain use of your public space.

WIN! WIN!

Be sure to call soon!

 Our 10th lucky caller gets a free park disinfecting!!

You could die of old age waiting for city action or a court ruling so act now!

No actual squatters were harmed in the making of this blog post. (except maybe some feelings)

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Partisan! Not a dirty word.

We often see people spitting out the word “partisan” as a pejorative. Some feel that political parties in and of themselves are what is wrong with policy making today. There may be a glimmer of truth to that but lets face it, political parties and partisan politics are simply never going away and it is not necessarily a bad thing.

With floor crossings, whipped votes and hyperpartisan exchanges between supporters whether in legislatures or on twitter it is not hard to see how some people can become sour and cynical on the entire system. Still, that does not justify turning one’s back on the entire process or trying to tear it down.

Let’s look into a simplistic dream world where we imagine that political parties have been banned and only independents represent people in legislatures and chambers throughout the country. Many people have called for such things but then many people still think Elvis is alive too. Our provincial legislature would be populated with 83 independent members who have managed to win votes in their local constituencies and I imagine a premier was elected through some weeks of battle in the legislature seeking some form of consensus. In other words, we would have absolute chaos.

Getting to that selection of a premier, just how messy do you think that would get? We can’t have a leaderless legislature. This dream chamber would be dysfunctional enough as it is. Being without a formal leader and representative would only make things worse.

Now with a legislature populated by 83 ambitious souls, I think we can safely say that at least a dozen of them would like to wear the crown and would be madly lobbying and working to gain support from other MLAs. As consensus is found to be nearly impossible to attain, groups of MLAs being to form alliances and choose common candidates to support. Jockeying and positioning continues as deals are cut for cabinet and weaker candidates for Premier fall by the wayside. We get down to four or five groups who bond and begin to sit together in the legislature. Eventually, one group manages to pull of a majority and their person is selected as Premier. Meanwhile, three other collections of MLAs have gathered themselves to act in opposition to the dominant political alliance.

We have just observed the evolution of political parties and how quickly it would happen were we to try and get away from them. Even if the Premier was chosen directly through a vote of the electorate (republican system), the evolution described above would still happen as a gridlocked legislature battles to try and produce passable policies.

What would be worse in this imaginary post-partisan world would be that these parties would be informal and uncontrolled. Without the controls and scrutiny that our current system provides, these informal parties would be wide open to corrupted lobbying and fundraising. The goals of these groups would be hidden as there would be no member based system to keep the representatives transparent and policy directions would vary widely. Voter confusion would be rampant as it is discovered that the general outlooks of MLAs are difficult to determine at election time and apathy would grow as members turn out to be pursuing different goals than anticipated.

Committees would be completely haywire and policy development would be in shambles. Political parties bring developed policy to the game before they are even elected. A gang of independents even when their informal alliances are formed will not have a visible or comprehensive policy direction or set. Studies will not have been properly performed and policies would never have been exposed to the general scrutiny of a membership as they are in a partisan system.

The electorate needs to see a goal and a clear direction in their representatives and parties provide that. The Alberta Party tried to play the oxymoron of being some kind of “post-partisan party” and they generated a policy model based on a consensus model much like that done at the “occupy” squatter camps. This idealistic approach led to a pile of directionless motherhood policies and other policies that were simply too broad and odd to be embraced by the public at large.

The Alberta Party has been in it’s current form for a couple years now and their revolutionary post-partisan concept has been roundly rejected by the voting public as the party can barely break 2% in the polls. While perhaps well meaning, this group of idealists has pretty much wasted their time. Voters need and want parties.

Political parties provide a degree of order in our messy but democratic system. People who want to see more productive politics in Canada should be embracing partisan politics more strongly rather than rejecting it. Quit whining about the parties and work to change them. Join one or even form one. It will have far more impact than simply complaining. Party involvement allows you to participate in policy formulation and the selection of representatives. Rest assured if you refuse to participate, others will continue to form policy on your behalf and they will be much more effective in pursuing their goals.

An organized group working together such as a political party will essentially blow all independents out of the water on every front. Parties can effectively fundraise and campaign. Parties can share collective experience and wisdom. Parties can bring forth targeted policy concepts and market them to large numbers of voters. Parties can also provide a social aspect and participation in them can actually be fun at times too.

Our system is far from perfect. Things have evolved to where they are over the decades for very good reasons.

People have two choices in our system. You can reject party politics and be left behind or you can get involved and have a real voice. Small or large, parties are much more effective in pursuing change than individuals will ever be.

A person does not need to stick doggedly to one party for life nor do they need to follow a party line at all times. When push comes to shove at election time though, a person needs to make a partisan choice (as I said, that can be done between elections too).

I am partisan. I am proud of that as it indicates that I am engaged and that I am trying to do my part for positive change.

Partisan is not a dirty word, apathy is.

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