Let’s have a peek at those treaties.

Few things make it more clear that the usual union backed “occupy” layabouts have jumped on to the “Idle No More” native protests than hearing the vague and disparate grievances and demands being made. Problems whether real or imagined are being highlighted while no solutions are being proposed. Entitled and unrealistic demands for meetings with the Prime Minister are tossed out while uncoordinated efforts are being made to hinder vehicular traffic.

Like “occupy”, this movement is fast proving to be pointless and self-serving. The best martyr the cause can find is Chief Theresa Spence who has a rather questionable history of band management and is on a “hunger strike” which includes eating soup and other unspecified “medicines” while she refused to meet with the Minister of Indian affairs and is raising money for through her boyfriend’s account!

Really, how costly would a real hunger strike be? One would think she would be saving money.

Now a vapid call we often hear from supporters of this messed up movement is that: “We must abide by treaties!”, or “treaty rights are being violated!”

I contend that those making the aforementioned statements likely have never actually read Canadian treaties or at least really do not know what they are asking for.

The image at the beginning of this post displays all the Canadian regions under numbered treaties.

Canada’s treaties are very accessible and are actually some pretty straightforward documents. I will link to them all below and invite anybody to read them. They are all pretty similar in the obligations from both government and the natives who signed them.

Treaties 1 & 2

Those treaties demand that schools be built on reserves and that $15 per family of 5 or the equivalent in items such as twine and blankets be provided. Even with inflation taken into account, this has been provided way above and beyond treaty obligations.

Treaty 3

Treaty three provides $5 annually per head on the reserve and has some provisions for oxen. The evolution of the treaties is evident.

Treaty 4

Treaty 5

Treaty 6

Treaty 7

Treaty 8

Treaty 8 has a much improved breakdown of compensation obligations as compared to earlier ones.

Treaty 9

Treaty 10

Treaty 11

Other non-numbered treaties can be found here. They are much the same in obligations and spirit.

Noteworthy among the treaties is that they all provided clauses for possible expropriation of lands for future development if need be and extinguishment of future claims. That means that if anybody is breaking treaty obligations it is many native bands who are fighting ongoing land claims!

Here is a typical clause verbatim from Treaty 7:

“And Her Majesty the Queen hereby agrees with her said Indians, that they shall have right to pursue their vocations of hunting throughout the Tract surrendered as heretofore described, subject to such regulations as may, from time  to time, be made by the Government of the country, acting under the authority of Her Majesty and saving and excepting such Tracts as may be required or taken up from time to time for settlement, mining, trading or other purposes by Her Government of Canada; or by any of Her Majesty’s subjects duly authorized therefor by the said Government.”

Basically the above treaty clause means that government bills such as C-45 are perfectly valid as agreed to by treaty.

Do we really want to go literal with these treaties? Do we want government to simply build the odd school, provide blankets and whetstones and expropriate at will due to clauses in the treaties?

Our entire reserve system is irreparably broken and it is an abhorrent system of racial apartheid being supported by the naive and the self-serving within the indian industry. We need some serious changes and some serious discussions if we ever want to see an end to these corrupted enclaves of misery that we keep people on. The Indian Act itself is vile and should be destroyed as a document. Race based policy is only adding further damage to what older race based policies created.

Discuss the items in the above paragraph if you really want to address some issues with natives in Canada. The second you start yelping about treaty rights being violated, I have to assume that you either do not know what you are talking about or you are purposely being deceptive. Either way, that discussion will not lead to any meaningful progress on what is a complicated and terrible issue in Canada.

Treaties and government adherence to them is not the problem in Canada.



Merry Christmas!

I have never made a secret of my agnostic leanings. Due to a grog induced notion, I even have a tattoo of the Flying Spaghetti Monster who’s holy visage is pictured above.

Despite my misgivings with organized religion, I am not so insecure in myself that I have to lash out and demand that all mention and observances of other faiths be hidden from my view. I can’t and won’t be offended when somebody gives me greetings in good spirit reflecting Hanukkah, Christmas, Ramadan or Arbor Day for that matter. I enjoy well wishes from people no matter what the basis of their comment.

It all seems so simple yet so many people have difficulty with an open observance and celebration of a holiday with religious underpinnings. Every year there is some fool out there who get’s their panties into a knot over an open display of Christmas in Canada.

The myopic imbecile for 2012 is Ashu Solo who is pictured below.

Upon discovering that the city of Saskatoon was displaying the term “Merry Christmas” on their buses, Solo sent an enraged letter to city administration demanding that the greeting be removed or a complaint would be filed with the Human Rights Commission (yup, yet another wasted venture into Canada’s foolish system of Human Rights Commissions).

Solo is a known and notable idiot in Saskatoon who is chronically aggrieved. Every city has at least one (often a few) fool like him and they typically dismiss them. What was interesting though is that city administration sent a memo suggesting pulling the greetings upon Solo’s complaint. It was only upon exposure on radio host John Gormley’s show that the city of Saskatoon administration suddenly backtracked and dropped the matter upon their local council that kept the greeting on the buses.

The issue here is twofold. There are nuts like Solo who can and should be ignored and dismissed, and there are cowardly hypersensitive bureaucrats who duck and run in light of anything that could conceivably offend somebody rather that use simple common sense. It is Canada’s gormless bureaucrats who are far more disturbing and troublesome than fools like Solo.

Some make the case that if one religion’s greeting is displayed, then all religion’s greetings must be displayed. I call bullshit! Not every religion is equal in representation and not all of them need to be recognized in their observances equally by local administrations. It would be idiotic to demand that government in Iran should openly celebrate Hanukkah or that the city of Islamabad should hang Christmas lights in December. Those places will openly display whatever the majority of the people want.

To have an administration celebrate an observance that is in the majority is not an offense to the minority. I do not feel that my Pastafarianism is threatened by Christmas trees nor do I feel that the City of Calgary needs to hang lasagna noodles in City Hall for my benefit.

Christmas is a tradition and a person need not be (and many are not) Christians in order to celebrate it and enjoy it. It is by far the biggest Holiday in all of North America and that will not be changing any time soon. Those who really can’t handle that really should do some self-examination as the problem is not with Christianity, it is with themselves.

It is rarely people who practice minority religions who have a problem with Christmas anyway. Traditionally it is homegrown whitebread atheists who selectively attack the faiths of others due to some notion that it will lead to some form of world equity. It used to be yuppies and now hipsters have assumed the role. I am sure some other group of clowns will assume the mantle of indignant atheists for the next generation.

In closing, Merry Christmas and lighten up. It is an awesome holiday to brighten a long Canadian winter.

Putting money where Derrick’s mouth is.

Below is a cross-post from Joey Oberhoffner’s blog. While being a stubborn PC, he is a fine man despite it. 😉

Joey has arranged a fun little fundraiser between partisans for a good cause. Jane and I are pledging $2 per wing on Derrick as he represents the Wildrose Party.

Can we Wildrosers get a decisive win on the charitable wing/taco fundraising front?

The rest of the details are below from Joey.


Put Your Money Where My Mouth Is

Politics is ugly. It’s ugly, and it’s nasty, and it’s dirty.But it can also be a noble and uplifting pursuit, when the right people are involved.

With the Christmas season upon us, I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out how to put the weight of our weekly pan-partisan Politweet events in Calgary behind something uplifting in time for the holidays. We certainly have a great time and learn a lot by putting away our swords and commiserating as real PEOPLE instead of as faceless partisan avatars retweeting our respective caucus communications trolls… but how do we do something that makes a real difference for someone who needs a hand up?

So here’s what we’re going to do…

My friend Shane over at Calgary Rants has been working this December to help raise funds and donations of items for the great charity Inn From The Cold. During the course of this process, he has also received a commitment from an anonymous benefactor that all donations will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $5,000. This would make a HUGE difference to the people who need to services that Inn From The Cold offers, especially at this time of year. And we’re going to help.

At the Blind Monk (918, 12th Avenue SW) on Wednesday night, Kent Hehr is hosting his regular Pints and Politics night. And at 8:00 pm, taking advantage of the fact that at least 60 politicos, if not more, will be in attendance, we are going to have ourselves a chow-a-thon. Partisans and politically involved folks from all over the province can pledge their support to any one of our designated eaters – some will be downing chicken wings, while some – myself included – will be taking advantage of “South of the Border Wednesdays” at the Monk, and will be crushing tacos instead. In the end, though, it makes no difference: While we’re competing for bragging rights for our respective parties, the important thing is that every wing or taco that gets eaten will be raising money – through your pledges – for Inn From The Cold.

We’re going to try and get at least one “designated eater” to represent each provincial party, if you define your support as a partisan enterprise. Pledges can be made in the comments section of this post, on Twitter using the hashtag “#ablegcares“, or in person at the Monk. Each eater will collect the pledges they earn, and pass them on to Shane to be matched by the anonymous donor.

Thus far, we have the following confirmed eaters – always room for more! Just email me at joey (at) dulcetmelodies (dot) ca to be added to this list! (Eaters will be picking up their own tab, unless someone volunteers to do it for them):

  • Derrick Jacobson (@AlbertaAltruist) – Representing the Wildrose Party. Will be eating wings.
  • Joey Oberhoffner (@oberhoffner) – Representing the Progressive Conservative Party. Tacos.
  • Vincent St Pierre (@vsp) – Representing the Alberta Liberals. Tacos.

The object here, folks, is to RAISE MONEY THROUGH PLEDGES for Inn From The Cold. While we’ll appreciate any cheerleading you can do in person or via Twitter, as well, we’re only actually doing any good if you can pledge. Retweet the HECK out of this post, even if you normally disagree with 99% of what I post. There’s already a commitment from Jane and Cory Morgan of $2 per wing eaten by Derrick. Surely, my PC friends can do better than that? We’re not going to let the far right walk away with this thing, are we? 😉

And not to talk too much trash, here, but I’m going to win this thing. It’s going to be April 23rd all over again. Don’t believe the polls – I was BORN for this kind of a contest. So if you’re looking at making a huge difference in the lives of some of Calgary’s less fortunate this Christmas, pledge at least $2 per taco on Joey Oberhoffner’s plate. I won’t let you down. 😉

Come on, #ableg. Let’s show everyone that when the rubber hits the road, we can do more than TALK about how to make things better. Put your money where our mouths are.



Government debt is nothing like a personal mortgage!

As the inept and increasingly corrupt Redford government marches Alberta back into debt, apologists are trying to say that government debt it a good thing and is like a mortgage. That statement is utter hogwash and it is tiring.

To begin with a mortgage is taken out by individuals (or families), to purchase what will likely be an appreciating asset. Equity (most likely) will build in the purchase that can be used to borrow against in the future in possible hard times or the home may simply be sold outright later. Barring either of the above, the home and it’s value will eventually be handed down to heirs.

Government capital projects while providing value are not typically transferable and only lead to future maintenance costs as opposed to appreciating in future value. Can we use a hospital as collateral in a future loan? Can we sell an overpass if we need extra cash? Increasing long-term value makes incurring debt for a home purchase a good idea. That growing value simply does not exist in government capital projects.

A mortgage is usually a once in a lifetime debt. People may move from home to home while building equity and transferring the mortgage but a person will generally only have one mortgage at any one time and the goal will be to pay it off. When government begins borrowing in good times as Redford plans to do now, it is akin to taking out a new mortgage every year. No appreciating asset is being purchased and debt simply keeps growing and growing. There is no equity offsetting the loan.

While a personal mortgage will eventually end, capital expenditures never will. There will always be more roads needed and hospitals demanded. Will future generations not need such expenditures too? They will have to pay for that infrastructure while paying debt off along with interest. Is this principled or fair?

We hear the dwindling Progressive Conservative supporters trying to paint things as if it is some sort of zero-sum game with idiotic questions such as: “Don’t you want schools, hospitals and roads?”. Of course we do and we will still have all of those damned things without borrowing to get them.

People keep speaking of an infrastructure deficit. By who’s measure is there a deficit? Is there ever enough hospitals? Will roads ever be wide enough? Will kids have enough schools close to home? Will there be enough libraries? The demand for spending is truly infinite. The capacity to spend is finite though and we have to draw a line somewhere.

If we need to borrow while the government is receiving record revenues as it is now, it is clear that there is no way that this administration will stop borrowing down the road no matter what energy prices do. We will borrow and borrow and borrow until an inevitable fiscal collapse that our children and grandchildren will have to endure.

All around the developed world we are seeing governments collapsing under their own debt. Most of Europe is in fiscal shambles and the USA is soon to either hit the wall or have some terribly heavy austerity measures come into place as their government debt overwhelms them. Why on earth do we want to continue to keep digging ourselves into that unsustainable hole when such clear examples of the futility of that path are in front of us?

We are lucky in Alberta to have the means for some of the best infrastructure and development in the entire world. For us to threaten this with such a gross addiction to spending and lazy government is almost obscene.

The excuses and rationalizations will be coming hard and heavy as the 2013 budget looms and Redford presents Albertans with a massive budgetary deficit. To be sure, the mortgage comparison with government borrowing is simply bunk. Be sure to remind Redford’s small social media army of that as they ramp up their unprincipled rhetoric in the next few months.

Socialized medicine is rationed medicine.

With health care consistently polling as the top concern for Canadians it is sad yet unsurprising that so many people see queue jumping by people with connections as being one of the prime problems of the system. In Alberta we are currently holding a nice sidetrack of an inquiry into queue jumping that appears to be heading nowhere. Meanwhile all the real problems with our unsustainable health care system are being overlooked.

People appear to be more concerned that perhaps some professional hockey players managed to get a flu-shot ahead of them in line than they are with the fact that our waiting times for care are simply unreasonable.

Set your sense of envy aside and realize that queue jumping would be a non-issue if our wait times for care were reasonable in the first place!

Wait times for emergency and general primary care in Canada are among the longest in the developed world.

Wait times for specialized treatment are terrible in Canada too.


People are suffering and dying on waiting lists in Canada as our system fails us despite massive increases in expenditures over decades. The fact that some people managed to jump line now and then is only a symptom of the much larger problem. If you want to get angry, get outraged that the poor child above could have avoided paralyzation had he not been caught in our inflexible system.

People are jumping the line for health care every day in Canada. The majority of these people are leaving the country to do it. These are not rich people, these are desperate people. People are borrowing from friends and family and people are mortgaging their homes to leave Canada for timely medical treatment. If you were told that you needed treatment within months but could not get in for years, what would you do?

Doctors leave Canada to chase those dollars as well. In a gross irony, many people leave Canada and pay for treatment that happens to be carried out by a Canadian trained doctor as our brain drain continues. Among the systemic reforms that we need, cost effective retention of health professionals is a huge one.

We need systemic change in Canada. One commonality in all of the countries that have universal coverage (yes I repeat they still have universal coverage) yet blow us away in medical wait times is that those countries have mixed private/public health systems. Yes, in those countries some people pay cash for faster treatment than others at times. If this leads to shorter times for everybody though, why the hell not? Suck back the envy and enjoy the shortened wait time that the queue jumper just subsidized out of pocket for you.

Getting the best health possible means we have to look at the best systems and emulate them. Currently only Korea and Cuba share Canada’s system of banning private involvement to this degree. Let’s look to the top and see how we can get there. Before we can do so though, we have to accept that our system itself is failing. We also have to get over our envy and use common sense.

I expect the usual commenters beaking about the American system so let me get this out of the way now: I could not care less about the American system. There are hundreds of other systems in the world and dozens and dozens of them have better outcomes for dollars spent than Canada does. Don’t waste the text trying to polarize an issue that has many facets with the shallow black and white Canada/USA system comparisons.

If we want to see an end to these unreasonable waiting times for health care, we need to admit that we need to change our entire system. Every province in Canada has been constantly increasing spending on health care and wait times are increasing despite that.

Queue jumping is not our problem. A broken system sustained by sentiment and stubborn envy is our problem. I hope we realize this and fix things before we see a true health system failure.

License to lie.

While I am not terribly surprised that Speaker Zwozdesky gave up all pretense of impartiality when he ruled that Premier Alison Redford was not lying despite it being completely clear cut that she did, I still am aghast and disappointed with his behaviour today.

The abuse of the legislature by Zwozdesky was compounded by his holding on to his loathsome conclusion until after question period and then using that as an excuse to quell all opposition questioning on what is a current and pressing issue of importance to Albertans. According to standing order 13(2) Zwozdesky was obligated to at the least explain himself but he has tossed the rules into the dustbin as he clearly acts only to do the bidding of the Premier. The legislature has truly become a lawless place as far as the governing party is concerned.

I know that bias shown by a speaker is hardly unique here. It is rare when the facade of impartiality is stripped to bare as has been done now by Zwozdesky. We saw hints of this as he constantly chided opposition members while turning a blind eye on government members being abusive of the rules of order in the legislature. That is typical unfortunately but is still tolerable. Now though Zwozdesky has demonstrated himself as being nothing more than a tool for Premier Redford to use to bypass democratic checks and balances and to hide the gross corruption of her administration.

The role of speaker in a legislature is steeped in tradition and honor. The symbolic act of the Speaker being dragged to the chair by the party leaders reflects on how it is indeed a tough and thankless task for any speaker who means to be true to the posting. A principled speaker will make democratic order within the legislature a paramount priority to themselves even if that comes in conflict with their own party. Zwozdesky has proven himself to be utterly unprincipled and he should be ashamed of himself.

The government is now scrambling with their Pet Speaker and using closure to ram their flawed bills through so that they may be closed early. Public scrutiny has exposed the government as being corrupt so the government is now using their corruption of principles to hide from public scrutiny. It is truly revolting to watch.

The precedent set here is even more disconcerting. Redford’s denial of her lie was akin to her attesting that up is indeed down while having the speaker rule that she is correct and that nobody may question her on that assertion. Redford is now free to continue to fabricate whatever she likes with utter impunity given to her by Eunuch Zwozdesky. An already dishonest and corrupt government now can’t even be effectively questioned.

Lying as Redford did is called being in contempt of parliament and it is a huge offense just as perjury is in a courtroom and for the same reason. People speaking in legislatures need some degree of control to ensure honesty in their statements to the house. With Speaker Zwozdesky allowing blatant lying on the part of the Premier we no longer will have any assurances that Redford or any member of her government are being honest when they speak to citizens through the legislature. I fear for how the next three years will be with Redford totally out of control.

It truly has been a sad day for democracy in Alberta.