Consumer choice wins in the end.

It has hardly been a secret in the last few years that the anti-“sprawl” zealots have held a disproportionate degree of sway over Calgary’s city council and planners. Despite the vast majority of the city not being within the barista/hipster city center crowd, city decisions have acted as if most of our populace wanted to live in some sort of expensive, dense Manhattan style of city.

I am not exaggerating when I describe the anti-“sprawl” crowd as zealots either. If you are on twitter, only a short observation of the Calgary bike cult or the armchair city planners on #yycccc will quickly drive home that there is a collection of people who are outright fervent beyond reason when it comes to the idea that our city is growing outward and that people are daring to drive cars. This would be simply laughable if city hall treated these folks as the fringe element that they are but in light of the ridiculous decisions and plans from city hall it is clear that this minority tail is heavily wagging the majority dog here.

The reality is that 97% of Calgary’s growth has been in non-core areas.  People do not want to live in a dense, bike laden hipster’s paradise and they are moving in droves to the suburbs. Despite the infrastructure challenges of a fast growing city, our city council has been focused on idiotic navel-gazing about how to find millions to decorate a new LRT line with art projects and building ugly pedestrian bridges.

One of the great (and sadly plentiful) bizarre plans that our city planners have vomited out has been to remove a lane on Macleod Trail to make room for bike lanes!

This folks is how simply stupid it is getting. Even if that idiotic plan does not actually get implemented, how much did we spend to have these fools design it? They have actually targeted one of the most congested roads in the entire city and are proposing to make it smaller! Do you really think there is a traffic backup of bikes just waiting to use new lanes? Do you really think that people will give up their cars in the tens of thousands to ride bikes to work in January if we simply choke off enough major arteries in our city? Our fanatics in city planning seem to think so.

The hiring of the controversial and extreme city planner Rollin Stanley reflects the mindset of city hall right now.  Ignoring how clearly city residents are voting with their feet and wallets in moving to the suburbs, the city has sought out and found a planner who wants to somehow force upward growth in Calgary. This is a man who actually celebrates parking problems and does not hide his disdain for strip-malls (that service the majority of the city population).

Despite City Hall and it’s hired zealots trying to force-feed us into some utopian urban density, they are failing (though expensively). Citizens are moving from the core in droves and now in a brilliant move, Imperial Oil has decided to relocate their headquarters to the suburbs.

The game is vicious in downtown Calgary as corporate headhunters snipe talented employees from each other. It is critical for every energy company to gain the best people that they can from geologists to production accountants and Imperial has just played a master stroke.

City hall and their density obsessed planners have always worked under the assumption of “if you build it they will come”. These planners have assumed that if they simply force the issue though congestion and zoning that citizens would comply and resign themselves to living in an urban environment. People have put lie to that with their home purchases and now corporate Calgary is following the people.

Every other energy company in Calgary should worry about any of their employees who live in South Calgary right now. Downtown workers have endured years of wasted time due to the purposeful choking of traffic into and out of downtown Calgary by our deluded city managers and planners. Downtown workers have spent countless millions in parking fees and fuel to get downtown. Now with Imperial Oil able to offer employees in the South an extra ten hours a week of their lives along with the parking and fuel savings, they will be very well placed to snipe and retain some prime people.

I have seen some caught up in the density cult already chirping about putting punitive taxes and such on Southern heathens who may dare to live and work within the suburbs. This again demonstrates their total disconnect with the simple and invariable concept of supply and demand.

Okotoks crowed for years about their growth cap as a community outside of Calgary. Reality and consumer demand caught up and Okotoks has rescinded what was an unviable and idealistic policy.  Now should our city be foolish enough (and I fear it may be) to continue to harangue suburban dwellers, all we will see is movement to satellite cities such as Okotoks, Strathmore, Cochrane etc. as corporate offices move to city fringes to follow the people. Sorry kids but in such a circumstance there will not be enough coffee shop facilities and bike rent stations to keep the “vibrant” urban core that some desire. You need real players and real money for that and our city is driving them out.

I feel that the idiot who proposed closing a lane on Macleod Trail for bikes should be fired for complete incompetence and disconnect with reality. On the other hand though, I almost hope that our city council is indeed stupid enough to rip up all six lanes of Macleod with this purpose in mind. That perhaps will finally be the final straw which will encourage voters to get off their butts and vote out the extremists we have on council such as Druh Farrell, Brian Pincott and Gian-Carlo Carra.

I am not sure what else it would take.

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Well it’s not like there’s a guide for running the party….. Oh wait a minute… it appears there is one.

The behaviour of the current administration of the Wildrose Party is getting to the point of offensively absurd. They seem almost obsessed with stretching or outright breaking the rules of the party constitution whenever possible until they are called on it. The Wildrose Party constitution is right there on the party website for all to see and read so I can only assume that these contraventions of the document have been purposeful.

Since last spring’s election the party’s Executive Committee (they are directly responsible for such things), has appeared to have twisted and squirmed in every possible way to avoid facing and dealing with a large general gathering of the party’s membership.

Step by painful step we have had to pull information and action from the party’s Executive Committee from staying within the legally defined perameters of meeting here, to finding out the  where and when of the AGM here, to exposure of a gross breach of the party constitution here (which was grudgingly rectified after public embarrassment).

Despite all of the above actions being exposed, it seems that the party still can’t resist the compulsion to ignore the party constitution. We are now seeing this in the party’s reluctance to follow the rather clearly laid out guidelines of notice to members for meetings and executive elections in the constitution.

The constitution can be found in full here.

The Wildrose Party Constitution is not a document full of suggestions that can be cherry-picked from at will. The constitution is a critical document that ensures that the party remains uncorrupted and exists solely for the benefit of the membership and Albertans. The document lays out the rules for virtually every party action and operation and there is a reason for every one of those rules within the constitution.

Even if one feels that some elements of the constitution are wrong, it does not matter. The party is obligated to operate and comply fully with the constitution as it is. Only through a general meeting of the membership can we change the constitution and thanks to the bungling of the current party administration on AGM time-lines we can’t change anything in the constitution or party policies at this year’s AGM.

Despite simple guidelines and time cutoffs, it appears that the Party has been lapse in sending proper and full notice to the membership on some elements of the AGM. I will quote the portion that the party appears to have difficulty with below.

 

6.8
At least sixty (60) days written notice of the holding of any General Meeting shall be sent to all members of the Party who have been members in good standing of the Party for at least fourteen (14) days before the date of such notice. Notice may be given by post or it may consist of transmitting the information of such notice by using appropriate telephonic and or electronic mail to the member’s appropriate information of record and simultaneously posting the information on the Party’s website.
7.2
Not less than ninety (90) days prior to any Annual General Meeting of the Party, the Executive Committee shall create the Nominating Committee, consisting of three (3) members. It shall be the duty of this committee to nominate candidates for the officer positions to be filled at the Annual General Meeting. Candidates for officer positions and all officers must be members in good standing of the Party. The Nominating Committee shall report to the Executive Committee prior to the notice of the Annual General Meeting being sent to all members, and such report shall be included in the notice of the Annual General Meeting. Nominations may also be made by any member up to sixty-five (65) days prior to the date of the Annual General Meeting, and such nominations shall also be included in the notice of the Annual General Meeting.

Now yes it may appear that I am being anal here but these rules of notice are important.

While the constitution does say that telephonic and electronic notice can be given, not every member has email and the demon-dial that I got about the AGM (past the 60 day cutoff) certainly did not read off the report of the nominating committee or list all of the names running for positions.

A large element of our party consists of senior citizens and many simply have not embraced email and the internet. As of right now, none of those members have any way to see who is running for what positions for the Executive Committee. This gives quite an edge to incumbent members of the EC who already have some profile within the party.

From what we have heard, no letter has been sent by the party yet. I certainly have not seen one in my mailbox. It could indeed be the case that the letter was sent on Monday morning within the guidelines and nobody has seen it yet but we have seen no evidence that this is the case yet.

Why does the current administration struggle so much when it comes to obligated communications with the members? Do they understand just who the hell they are supposed to serve?

If the party can put a letter into my mailbox begging for donations every month, why the hell can’t they get a simple notice and report to members within constitutional deadlines?

Few things better demonstrate the efforts to keep the members in the dark about who is running for executive positions than the meeting agenda on the party website. Only 30 minutes have been set aside for speeches from 43 candidates for the executive.

Taking into consideration the time to walk to the podium and back I figure we may be able to hear 30 seconds from every candidate running for executive positions. They will hardly have time to say more than their name, place of birth and place of residence. Is that enough to determine who to vote for?

I know that speeches from 43 people can get tedious and I certainly don’t propose that we give them all ten minutes each. At this AGM though we really only have two mandatory matters of business that have to be addressed and that is the presentation of the party financials and the election of the executive committee. One would think that in light of that something more than 30 minutes of the weekend could be dedicated to the election.

Campaigning prior to the AGM will be critical for all of the candidates but they will never be able to reach all attendees. Many people only attend the one day and they make their decisions based on the speeches of the candidates.

Every week we see more and more indication that the current party administration is either incompetent or is willfully trying to keep member participation to a minimum within the party. Neither of those circumstances are acceptable and I strongly suggest that we clean house and elect an active and principled Executive Committee this November who respects the party constitution and the membership.

To candidates running for executive positions, I suggest that you get on the party’s case to extend the time dedicated to executive elections at this year’s AGM. They have made it clear that they only act in a reactionary manner and only when under great pressure.

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What part of broke do they not understand?

It is happening all around the world including Canada, the only difference is in degree. Governments on all levels are spending more than they are bringing in and the inevitable financial collapses are beginning to occur.

Cowardly politicians and shallow electorates have repeatedly brought in policies and programs that are totally unsustainable and have done so through debt. Nowhere is this more acute right now than in Europe where they have reduced retirement ages, shortened work weeks and grossly increased social entitlements such as pensions and welfare to the point of complete fiscal unsustainability.

The productive have been taxed out of the nations and investment is avoiding the EU like the plague.

One by one we are watching these nations collapse as they pass reasonable debt thresholds.

The economic collapse of these nations is not all that shocking. Right or left, the concept is very simple and immutable: IF YOU SPEND MORE THAN YOU TAKE IN EVENTUALLY YOU WILL GO TOTALLY BROKE!

Despite what should be a stark and self-evident reality, entitlement has blinded the citizens of these countries. As the inevitable austerity budgets come down, union-led riots erupt as people flood into the streets to demand funds that simply no longer exist. We saw this last winter in Greece and now are seeing it in Spain as pictured below.

Hipsters Gone Wild! Spain edition!

 

 

People can scream, shout, riot, assault police, attack businesses and throw whatever tantrums they like, it will not change the hard reality that the cupboard is bare.

Do these rioters think that their government is hiding a big pile of resources from them? Do they think their local legislative building has a mountain of gold hidden within it? Whatever their delusion may be, rioting is futile and they would be better served seeking employment and pinching their pennies.

As I said earlier though, we are only better in degree. Our governments at the federal, provincial and municipal levels are all spending more than they are taking in and it has to end. Will we let it end in bankruptcy like our European neighbors or will we begin to cut spending responsibly now while it can still be on our terms? I fear the answer for that.

We need to cut spending people. This is not a matter of opinion, it is simple reality. Otherwise we will inevitably end up in Europe’s shoes. It will be even worse for us pride wise as we have no excuse in not seeing this coming.

 

 

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Is it really that hard to simply follow the party constitution?

Apparently for the powers that be within the Wildrose Party administration the constitution provides only loose guidelines rather than hard time-lines as I had thought it had.

As with most things lately, it appears that the Wildrose Party will only release the critical information that they are constitutionally obliged to release with constant pressure and they will do so kicking and screaming.

Jane covers it here:

AM I EXPECTING TOO MUCH? 

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Portrait of a left-wing mind.

Hat tip to John Westerberg for sending me this gem. The mindset of your average dipper makes sense in light of this pic.

Aside from a short picture post, have added a few more updates to the list of Wildrose Party Executive Committee nomination candidates for the 2012y Annual General Meeting in Edmonton. Will keep filling out that list as updates and bios come in.

 

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OMG! OMG! Oh Noooes!! Danielle Smith is going to sell our water!!

One of the laziest yet most common fearmongering tactics that come from the shallow-left is to raise the boogyman of the USA coming up to take Canada’s water somehow.

In finding nothing else to really be critical about with Danielle Smith’s trip to the USA, union activist blogger David Climenhaga decided to clip out a part of Smith’s release where she dared utter the word “water”. Climenhaga then had to add emphasis and speak of how it makes his blood run cold as quoted below.

David Climenhaga:

This led Ms. Smith, whom the party news release was also careful to note leads Alberta’s “government in waiting,” to enthuse: “This is an important opportunity to represent Alberta and discuss three major areas of bilateral interaction: energy, agriculture and water. These issues are critical for Alberta’s future and are an important part in building relationships with our American friends.” (Emphasis added.)

I don’t know about you, but it makes my blood run cold when I hear a committed market fundamentalist like Ms. Smith musing about the need to chat about water with our American cousins.

To put it simply, what a load of crap. There is nothing to fear nor not even a hint of something to make one’s “blood run cold”.

To begin with, water is already a commodity. Companies pay to bottle it and sell it to us whether pure or mixed with food and chemical products. Water is purchased to use in irrigation by farms and it is purchased to use in energy extraction. Laundromats purchase water and cities sell me metered water to water my lawn. The best means we have in responsible utilization of our water is in fact to treat it as a commodity. I didn’t buy low flow toilets because I like the weak sound of the flush, I did it to save myself money. As long as treated and transported water are commodities, the end user will be motivated to limit the use of that water to their needs. I am saying this now before the Council of Canadian Kooks start barking about it being evil to sell water. It is a non-issue. We already do so and we always will.

There is an awesome little writing tool we all have heard of called “W5”. Whether in an essay or even writing a community flier, as long as you cover the “who”, “what”, “where”, “when” and “why” of something, you pretty much have it covered.

There is something that the w5 rule does not cover though and through utilizing it’s omission the lazy-left fearmongers about a looming crisis with bulk sales of our precious fresh water to the United States that will leave no water here for us. The word that the left refuses to address is:

HOW?

 Back in 2008 I wrote about this on another forum so rather than rewrite I may as well just paste it here verbatim. As I say in the beginning of the piece, this non-issue keeps coming up over and over again and Climenhaga has demonstrated that. There is no need to change the response.

What I wrote in Project Alberta in April 2008:

I get so tired of this issue coming up year after year whether through groups like the Council of Canadians or lately the Polaris Institute with their report here:  http://www.polarisinstitute.org/files/t … ada’s%20ta.pdf

It was refreshing to hear Rob Breakenridge on QR77 take the author of the Polaris report to task and expose him rather well on the bunk that he is pushing. Tony Clarke with the Polaris Institute was constantly stuttering and dodging as Breckenridge challenged him with the most effective tactic available in the countering of anti-trade, leftist, fearmongering; he used facts.

Clarke began by asserting the constant myth about how Canada would be compelled to sell it’s water in bulk due to conditions in NAFTA. Unlike many who Clarke has spewed at, Breakenridge had done his homework and actually read the agreement. NAFTA expressly states that water (aside from bottled and tanked water) is not to be considered a trade-good under the agreement. If anything, NAFTA actually protects us from the mythical draining of the nation by the United States. Clark stuttered, had no case to make and eventually mumbled about having to agree to disagree on the interpretation. (it is difficult to have many interpretations of such a clear statement)

Next Clarke rambled about how the USA could just ignore agreements anyway and force trade as they have done many times before.    Breakenridge challenged him to name one single such case. Clarke sidetracked and kept rambling but Breakenridge continued to push. Clarke finally had to shamefully admit there was no such case.

This Tony Clarke is a classic example of those who continue to push this myth about the threat to Canada’s fresh water supplies. These people have an agenda of anti-American and anti-trade goals and they will not hesitate to fabricate issues in order to make their case. This “ends justifies the means” ideal is rather prevalent on the left particularly in trade and environmental issues where actual facts would undercut their entire case. Sadly, these people are not exposed to the light of reality as Breakenridge did so masterfully often enough.

Getting back to the Polaris Institute report, the document begins with a map of Canada with a depiction of a tap on it draining our water into the USA. Very cute depiction and gives a nice visual. Going farther down in the document, we see a nice picture of some dry cracked dirt. You know, the kind of thing that we see in our back yard if we forget to water during a dry couple weeks in August.  Through pictures we can now already see the terrifying prospect of the desertification of Canada through the mass draining of our fresh water into the United States. A terrifying thought indeed.

To begin with, they begin to lay out how this threat has existed for decades and trot out the tired old “Grand Canal” concept of the 60s. They forget to mention that the reason this Grand Canal has never even had ground broken on it is that it is and always has been an unviable pie-in-the-sky project that never could realistically come into being. What bringing this up does illustrate though is that the anti-trade folks can’t find any better examples of bulk threats to Canada’s water (perhaps because there are none).

Next they move on to pointing out some stats and facts about how many American cities and regions are facing shortages of fresh water supplies. This is true and urban populations throughout the world are facing this as their population grows. Rather than dedicate time to the issue of more responsible water management in urban settings though, these people have preferred to use this issue to imply that their is a growing threat to Canada’s water due to this.

Next, they move on to Canada’s water supplies and call us “the Great Green Sponge of the North”. Now they play some interesting stat games here in which they try to understate just how much water we have. In their rather creative accounting they determine that the United States actually has more renewable water resources than Canada. While their goal here was to portray Canada as being short on fresh water, does this not beg the question “In this case, is Canada’s demand not a threat to American supplies?”. Apparently the USA has more but I guess they are coming after ours due to simple greed.

Next, we have a picture of a reservoir next to a desert. Kinda cute, but it really means nothing. Water retention in arid regions has been done since prior to Roman times.

The report now moves on to one of their weakest points. The logistics of how this water will be transported.  This I have to post verbatim as it is simply too loony to be believed.

Western Corridor: Originally, the North American Water and Power Alliance [NAWAPA] was designed to bring bulk water from Alaska and northern British Columbia for delivery to 35 U.S. States. By building a series of large dams, the northward flow of the Yukon, Peace, Liard and a host of other rivers would be reversed to move southward and pumped into the Rocky Mountain Trench where the water would be trapped in a giant reservoir and then pumped through a canal transporting the water southward into Washington state and 34 other states.

Good heavens! A trench 1000s of kilometers long is going to be created and will drain the Great White North!!!!
Now lets get a little perspective here. One of the largest water diversion projects undertaken by man was the Panama Canal. This project took decades and the participation of multiple nations. 27,500 workers died in the construction.

What is the length of the Panama Canal? A total of 77km. The canal itself moves about as much water as the Bow river in Calgary (a tiny river in the scheme of things).

Now in light of that, try to picture what exactly it would take to move mass quanties of water more than 3000 km from the North to the USA. This means crossing numerous mountain ranges in the Rockies and somehow crossing all those pesky (and giant) river valleys along the way that would try to drain all that water back into the Pacific. This concept would take 1000s of times the resources of the Panama Canal if indeed it is even humanly possible.

We will have colonized Venus before such a project comes about. Despite this, kooky groups like this have no qualms about spreading such scenarios in hopes of spreading fears of the big bad USA. Even more sad is watching our mainstream media treat these guys like they have even a shred of credibility.

So, the crazy canal idea is out, what else have they got?

Ahh, I see they mention how a series of supertankers may drain water and take it south.   Just how many millions of supertankers would we have to line up at the mouth of the Fraser River just to capture and take what naturally comes out of there and flows into the Pacific Ocean? How many billions of tankers to cover all of the Canadian outlets to the Oceans? Why… this project could very well employ the entire planet by having them work on supertankers alone.

Next they touch briefly on pipelines. I suspect that they remain brief as even these folks realize that any massive pipeline constructed that would move a significant amount of water is really rather unviable. The Alliance Pipeline that transfers gas from NE BC costed billions and took years to build. Even if the trillion or so it would take to add the compression and pumping capability to that pipe in order to get it to move water that huge distance were invested, the pipeline would only move about the same volume of water as a small creek. It would take thousands of such pipes hundreds of years to drain even one of our smaller northern lakes dry and we would long have run out of the energy sources we would need in order to pump that water before we ran out of water.

The kooky ideas go on and on from multiple groups claiming everything from towing portions of the polar ice-cap south to large undersea bladders.

There is a very good reason that none of these projects have come about or are even in the works; water is tough to move in bulk. Water does not compress like gas. Water is heavy. While water is indeed a precious commodity, it still is not worth nearly enough per-gallon to try and move on the scales proposed.

The basis of the entire water fearmongering case is this; American cities are low on water (and some agricultural land), thus the Americans will force us to give them ours. The first part is fact, the second part is sheer baloney.

Desalination is an expensive process that makes for rather gross drinking water. That being said, desalinization is growing in leaps and bounds as the cost of the process is dropping and strides are being made in viable short-transfer of water processed this way. New plants are being built and water shortages down south are being addressed through it.

North America is indeed bounded by oceans on all sides. While desalinization remains expensive, it still costs a fraction of a fraction of the amount that would be required in order to come up with any of the loony water extraction schemes taking water from Canada and moving it to the USA. A person really has to ask themselves: “Why would the Americans spend 1000s of times the amount, plus pay Canada (or steal it ) in order to do what they can for far less on any of their coastlines?” The answer simply is that they will not.

Where is the demand for this water? Why do we not see companies lining up for the chance to extract and sell this precious part of life?
I do not want to see water export bans. We may indeed get fortunate enough to find some client crazy enough to purchase water from one of our river outlets to the ocean (unlikely as it is). It would be a great form of revenue for the nation all the same. I suspect though that these potential client-countries would probably just retain their own water before it hits their own coastline.

While this is a non-issue as I said, I still felt compelled to post this rather long rant addressing it. Sadly while being a non-issue, this issue does indeed gain some traction with many people who like to get scared by the headlines without looking more deeply into the story. This issue is being used to foster anti-Americanism by the leftist groups that thrive on that and people’s fears from this may impact trade-agreements on real commodities.

The fear of the loss of Canada’s fresh water can cost us all in itself and this myth needs to be countered vigorously whenever it pops up. Facts turn this issue into the non-starter that it is, but these facts need to be brought up and discussed often.

Real water issues such as pollution and urban over consumption need to be addressed. These can often end up sidelined as people jump on the fearful hysteria bandwagon being created by the anti-trade groups. This should not happen.

This report from the Polaris Institute was issued in collaboration with: The Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives, the Sierra Club and the Canadian Labor Congress.

I think the list of supporters kind of says it all.

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Say it like it is.

In almost every type of addiction therapy whether 12 step based or not, the first thing that a recovering addict must do is admit and accept that they have a problem. Addiction and recovery have been issues for centuries and there is a good reason that treatment has evolved to begin with the simple principle of admitting a problem; nothing will ever get solved when you are mired in denial!

Human nature draws us to deny truths and things that we simply do not want to see or accept. We make excuses or look the other way when a loved one is doing something wrong. When pressed with financial challenges, we are prone to borrowing more money rather than cutting spending as needed (in both our homes and in government). We distract ourselves with television and internet games in our idle time rather than work on emotionally challenging things or thoughts. When W5 comes on TV with a sensitive expose, we change the channel to watch America’s Got Talent rather than watch something as challenging as a piece on child pornography rings and such.

Even people who try to be politically aware shy away from sensitive issues. It is much easier to discuss the merit/failure of a teacher’s stance on grading students with zeros (for zero work done) than it is to discuss the long-term sustainability of our socialized healthcare monopoly.  Better to fight over the need for bike-lanes in a city than have to dwell on the abject failure of the native reserve system. None of those issues that we put in second place will ever see improvement until we accept some reality in them.

Few issues will make a political sort who dodges uncomfortable issues testes migrate into their abdomens more quickly than any sort of discussion about radical Islam.

How many more murderous riots does the world need to see? How many undemocratic, theocratic countries practicing the most gross of human rights violations do we need as examples in the world? How long will we keep looking the other way when we see practices such as female genital mutilation, stoning for adultery, being gay or any other forms of apparent blasphemy practiced in so many countries?

There is a common thread in those savage nations and it is time more people said it; these nations are all predominantly Islamic!

Yeah yeah yeah, we can go on about the Christians in the Crusades. We can name a couple abortion clinic bombers. We can point out that Hitler wasn’t Islamic. So what? I am speaking of issues today and issues that are predominant.

Is there any non-Islamic state that is at risk of coming under control of the types who bomb abortion clinics? Have there been any widespread riots in any non-Islamic states lately due to a perceived affront to their religious texts? Nigerians even murderously rioted when a beauty pageant host dared mention Mohammad.

Yes I do know that the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful and do not condone the sort of activities practiced in the nations that I highlighted. That does not change the outright fact that there is a direct link between violence and intolerance and Islamic nations. We are simply full of crap and in denial to say otherwise.

I am going to link to an extremely offensive and blasphemous image published a couple days ago by the parody site: The Onion.

This image contains gross nudity and is purposely offensive to nearly all religions! Do not click if these kinds of images truly offend you! The point will be made without you needing to see it.

Below the purposely offensive image is a line that says it all:

Though some members of the Jewish, Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist faiths were reportedly offended by the image, sources confirmed that upon seeing it, they simply shook their heads, rolled their eyes, and continued on with their day.

It is sad that it takes a comedic parody site to make the point to us all and we need to accept it. Despite there being many faiths in the world, only radical Islamic adherents so commonly go on murderous rampages at the slightest of provocation. We need to let ourselves point at the violent when they riot and kill rather than tie ourselves in knots trying to justify it.

I am not proposing any war on Islam, renewed Crusades or shunning of Muslim people. I do not know the solution to countries retaining stone-aged practices due to their interpretation of religious texts. I do know though, that we will never see a solution until we admit the source of the problem and start from there.

In a more sick twist of things, the world seems not to hesitate to condemn Israel for anything and everything they do. Israel is a tiny little island of democracy in an ocean of Islamic dictatorships and somehow instead of cultivating the freedoms in Israel so that they can spread and blossom in neighboring states, many in the world crap on Israel at every possible opportunity.

This is the sort of denial and cowardice that is harming us all. People recognize that the Middle-East is a mess but choose to blame the safest state that they can. One can spout whatever they like at Israel and need never fear Jews rampaging around the world burning embassies and KFCs. Israel is an easy target to blame without fear that they will slap back at you.

At the increasingly irrelevant United Nations, motions are passed condemning Israel constantly while idiotically giving Islamic theocrats a seat at the table in discussion of human rights in countries. The UN has truly become a sad joke.

So many howl indignantly when Israel ignores the garbage that comes from the UN. Those howlers usually are the same apologists who blame cartoonists for the stone-aged violence perpetuated by those offended by the cartoons.

Reality sucks, but it will only get better when we face it.

I will close this rant with a rant by Pat Condell who consistently can hit these issues right on the head.

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Put faith in the wisdom of the membership.

Well, it has been an interesting few weeks. There had been an effort on the part of an element of the Wildrose Party to bypass the party constitution and limit who may or may not run for positions on the provincial executive committee. With inquiries, investigation and finally exposure, this misguided procedure was rescinded and we again have a constitutionally sound process in place for members to pursue positions on the executive committee.

While nobody will directly admit to having drafted the initial offending application document, one justification often trotted out has been “We need to filter out people who may do damage to the party”. That is a good intent indeed but good intent still does not allow us to bypass our constitution.

It is worth discussion and examining though if we do need a layer of vetting candidates seeking spots on the executive committee. Should the process be changed at all though, the party constitution will have to be amended at another general meeting with appropriate notice having been given. It is tough to amend the constitution (and it should be). An amendment to the party constitution needs 75% support at a general meeting so the amendment had better be well drafted if it is going to be accepted by the membership.

Now where do we begin with setting bars for who may or may not run for an executive committee position in the party?

Some people quickly say that a criminal record should be enough to bar somebody from seeking a position on the provincial executive. OK, to begin with we will need a much longer application process in order for a newly empowered nominating committee to do a criminal background check on every potential nominee. Now when we are speaking of criminal records, is it really fair to decline somebody based on any conviction over every period of time? If a person was caught with 1/2 a joint in their pocket in 1983 should they be banned for life from running for positions in the party? A bar brawl in 1975? Attempted murder in 1999? I don’t think simply setting the bar at a person having had a criminal record will cut it.

If one is going to put weight on the type of record and the time since the conviction, we will need a document the size of an encyclopedia set in order to lay out the guidelines. If we ban all with any record though, does one honestly think that if we had a regional zone director who had been charged with possessing a joint in the 1980s would cause a scandal bringing the party into disrepute? It gets tough.

What about disallowing somebody for behavior unbecoming. That bar would open a huge can of worms as a committee, a potential nominee and their supporters try to fight that out. What could that behaviour be? What about my stunt in Olympic Plaza last year? Would my having done that preclude me from running for a position (don’t worry I am still not seeking one)? Would participation in other types of protests block applicants? Would having been critical of some elements or actions of the party be reason enough to bar a person from running? Setting such a subjective bar could really make for a mess.

Let’s  get to everybody’s favorite example in this though. Most can agree that Alan Hunsperger and his infamous “Lake of Fire” blog posting seriously derailed our campaign last spring. What some people are forgetting though is that Hunsperger passed through a candidate selection process that went through a committee that was empowered to disallow his candidacy based on all of the above bars I spoke of. The reason Hunsperger slipped through the cracks is that like our current Party President, he was acclaimed in his position and never had to endure the scrutiny of the membership in a race for his position.

Had there been a contested race for the nomination in Hunsperger’s constituency, you can bet that a challenging candidate would have deeply researched his opponent and found things such as questionable blog postings. If the other candidate does not check that deeply, members deciding who to vote for in the nomination will still look into things. Most party members want to make an informed choice. There is no guarantee of course that a nomination would have exposed these things, but we know for sure that a strongly empowered nominating committee seemed to have missed them.

We may need to set some bars somewhere but it has to be understood that this is no easy task and can be terribly risky in making room for some less than democratic minded groups to mess with board elections.

One of the pivotal points in the Wildrose Party history was the merger of the Alberta Alliance Party and the Wildrose group to form the party that we have today. At the new organization’s first general meeting where a new provincial executive was to be elected, a group of questionable merit tried to get a slate elected to the executive committee. As can be seen in the outcome though, the gathered membership rejected every single person on that slate! The membership can be trusted to make wise decisions when given the opportunity.

What the Wildrose Party needs to do to ensure good people fill roles of authority within the party is to open up the process further as opposed to narrowing the scope of applicants. The more people we see contesting executive committee positions, the more likely that the membership will select good representatives. Unlike this year, we need to announce earlier when meetings are coming and seek out people to run for spots. We need campaigns where prospective board members have to convince party members of their merit and what they can bring to the management of the party.

While the provincial executive committee is very important and empowered within the party, it also has to be considered that it is not a terribly public role. Can you name 5 members of the PC party executive off hand? Can you name 5 Wildrose Party executive members? Aside from inside wonks, most people at large don’t pay close attention to people in these roles. It does not make headline news if one of a party’s executive members turns out to have a criminal record or has done something weird in their past. It is not like provincial election candidates with the public scrutiny and fallout if there are issues.

We must take care to get the best people we can managing our party. If given the chance, the collected membership will pick the best nearly every time. Let’s make sure the membership always retains that choice and be extremely careful should we chose to walk down the road in examining limitations to participation in any role in the party.

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Grassroots clowns.

 

 

In this last little while we have seen an excellent local example of the importance and power of social-media in politics.

I had found a large and critical breach of the Wildrose Party constitution in a nominee application form for people choosing to run for the Provincial Executive of the party. This document had been approved by the Provincial Executive and had been posted on the Wildrose Party website. We will never know how many potentially great candidates may have turned away upon seeing that dictatorial pap posted as an apparent application for a democratic nomination.

Not only was this application a serious breach of the party constitution, the terms had been directly approved by the Executive Committee (confirmed in meeting minutes). The optics of an Executive Committee putting barriers up against people who may run against them for board positions are rather terrible to say the least. This sort of thing makes past actions by the party look questionable too. Was it this this sort of thing that led to the unusual acclamation of Paul Collins as Party President at the last Annual General Meeting? Typically in a party that is making waves and skyrocketing in growth as the Wildrose Party was in June 2011, there will be many people vying for a position such as Party President. Oddly, Paul Collins was apparently the only member in good standing who applied for the position that year. Who knows, could have been just an odd anomaly in member choice that year and nobody else happened to want to run. Sadly when the integrity of the nomination process has been breached, these sorts of questions and theories begin to surface and have much more appearance of merit.

In addressing this offense against the constitution, membership and simply principled behavior, I was greeted with silence and stonewalling in my inquiries. Nobody would address the issue. Fingers pointed to the nomination committee but nobody could or would name the members of that committee. Emails were ignored and my phone remained silent.

With some excellent investigation and hard work, Jane Morgan (yes she is my wife), found out who was on the nomination committee and contacted them directly. It was found that while there were some excellent and respectable people on the committee, they had not even met as a committee yet and had no idea of the origin of the application form.

The clock was ticking. The deadline was approaching for applications for the executive committee and nobody with authority within the party would openly even address this breach, much less work to fix it. Jane then took it public and blogged her findings. If you have not read Jane’s posting yet, I strongly recommend that you do. Jane has excellently documented each step she took in her investigation and each conclusion and discovery that she found.

Jane’s article began to make rounds and finally we saw some movement. Jane made regular updates as now communications began to come in as a group of party officials having been found to have their pants around their ankles scrambled to fix the mess that they had created and now was blowing up in their faces.

An emergency meeting was called on Monday night and by Tuesday afternoon a new and constitutionally compliant application process was added to the Wildrose Party site.

Only ten years ago it would have been impossible to force such movement from a Party Executive Committee that has been losing sight of it’s mandate like this. Conventional media typically does not pay much attention to the internal machinations of political parties and trying to get members ignited through phone and mail while effective, simply takes too much time in circumstances like this. Between blogs and other forms of social media such as Twitter and Facebook, the grassroots members of the Wildrose Party stood up and put the Party Executive back in it’s place. Change was made and the process is now open, democratic and most importantly constitutionally sound.

Most people will have never heard about this whole fiasco, but it was a grassroots turning point. Future Party Executive Committees and possibly other other party executives will certainly think twice before trying to sneak around party constitutional protections.

Not everybody was too happy about this grassroots victory however. The Previously acclaimed (hopefully outgoing) Wildrose Party President, Paul Collins appears to have awakened from his slumber long enough to post an outright petulant little rant on Facebook and on Jane Morgan’s blog where he calls the grassroots members who stood up to him and his executive “clowns”. I will post the tantrum in full below.

Wildrose Party President Paul Collins September 11 2012:

 

I find it quite amusing that the social media today affords people to express views with partial truth and a ton of misinformation. What happened to the days when people ,who wanted to know the truth, would make a call to one who had an answer. I guess this practice of going to the source before going to the public would be too practical or ethical. What I have experienced on Facebook blogs in the last few days is the heights of immature behavior and I must remember to keep my sense of humor and smile at the clowns that spend their time producing such comedic content.

It is quite a sad irony that a Party President would post such a pouty reaction to a serious issue and then say that others are “immature”.

Comedic content? Partial truths? Misinformation? Please Paul, kindly cite those allegations. As can be seen on Jane Morgan’s blog, she cited and quoted all of her sources. If it was all a load of hooey, why did the party even change the form then?

What Paul Collins is angry about is that not only was he caught sleeping at the helm, but that those grassroots clowns in social media accomplished more in the development and defence of grassroots operations in a couple weeks than he has done in his entire presidency.

It must be kept in mind, Paul Collins is the Party President who could barely find it in himself to call a simple executive teleconference meeting even every two months in an election year. Clearly this man does not like the coasting in his flaccid presidency to be interrupted by eruptions and actions made by those darned uppity grassroots “clowns”.

Well suck it up princess. I do hope and look forward to those grassroots clowns voting Paul Collins out as Party President at this year’s AGM as it has been made clear that he has utterly no respect for the will of the membership or the constitution that protects those member rights.

Thanks to social media and the grassroots clowns within it, parties can no longer sneak things past the member’s radar. This is a great thing.

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It’s like pulling teeth.

In the last little while the Wildrose Party Executive Committee has reminded me of nothing less than the Stelmach PC party in their inept reactionary way of dealing with issues within the party. With multiple blog postings on this site, it has been exposed that the Executive Committee barely met five times in an election year, missed the window to hold an Annual General Meeting where policy and constitution could be revised by the membership and now are bungling the process of nominations for the Executive Committee to the point of violating our very party constitution.

Every time these issues are brought to light, the Executive Committee or others in positions of responsibility within the party have grumblingly and grudgingly addressed the problem. It is sad that it takes such pressure and scrutiny from social media and outside individuals to keep our current Executive Committee even marginally functional.

Now my far prettier and more sane half, Jane Morgan has gotten to work with her keyboard and phone to expose even more detail on the inept actions of the Wildrose Executive Committee under President Paul Collins and has excellently detailed her findings on her blog. While some slight effort was made by some to lay blame for the mess on the nominations committee, Jane exposed that the committee had not even met before and had no idea that the Wildrose Party had posted a constitutionally illegal application form for executive nomination forms on the party website. I of course invite you to click through above and read the details and updates from Jane yourself.

Again responsibility lies directly with the current executive committee. Did the whole committee approve of that document being drafted and put on the website? Who drafted it anyway? Did the VP communications approve that release? Did the President approve it?

Jane’s latest update has been that she is informed that a meeting will be held to discuss this issue and that she will be updated on it’s outcome soon.

I do hope that those at this apparent meeting realize that there is very little to discuss. The Wildrose Party Executive Committee either chooses to act within the Party constitution or it does not. There is no gray area here. You can’t act just a little outside of the rules you are bound by in this game.

With the waffling and the profound nature of this oversight (if indeed that is what this is), I strongly suggest that the membership of the Wildrose Party strongly consider voting to replace the entire current Executive Committee at this year’s Annual General Meeting in Edmonton. While I do know that many of the member’s of the Executive Committee are excellent individuals and while I know that a few have been privately communicating with myself and others to try and fix this mess, not a single one has been willing to break ranks openly and condemn this breach of the party constitution. Not a one will call out and demand that the party President publically fix this sooner rather than later as embarassment and even rumors of corruption spread.

The Executive Committee needs to be made up of a diverse group of committed individuals who will follow through with their assigned roles and who will speak up when things are wrong. Our currently Executive Committee is lacking on all of those fronts.

The party constitution is not a document full of suggestions for the Executive Committee to abide by. It is a document drafted by the members and controlled by the members for the protection of the rights of the members. Only through 2/3 of the collected members at a general meeting can that document be changed and this has not happened. The Executive Committee is bound by the party constitution no ifs ands or buts about it and they had better damn well realize that quick.

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