Wildrose Party AGM 2013 Constitutional proposals part 2

Having recently ranted about the Wildrose Party constitutional proposals that I do not like in a recent posting, it is important that I speak to the proposals that I do support.

Party constitutional issues can be about as dry as it gets but they are terribly important and can indeed make or break a party. A party is governed by it’s constitution and that is a reflection of how that party would govern if in power. For example, if a party has a top-down, centralized constitution, it stands to reason that the party will be quite dictatorial if it should gain power. A party’s constitution indicates as much about where a party stands as it’s policies do. Few people spend much time looking at party constitutions though and that is how some unprincipled folks can manage to slip some things by the membership constitutionally at times that perhaps don’t belong there.

The Wildrose Party has a pretty good constitution overall though hardly perfect of course. There is still always room for changes and as the party grows, evolves and learns lessons the need comes to change some things within the constitution. There are many housekeeping sort of items in the list of proposals that I am somewhat ambivalent about so won’t write further on them. There are some proposals that are quite good though and I do hope that they pass at this year’s AGM in Red Deer.

ConstitutionAGM2013

RESOLUTION 3

The Executive Committee moves that Article 7.3, 7.14, and 7.20 be deleted and replaced as follows:

7.3 Subject to this article, the officers shall be elected by ballot at the Annual General Meeting of the Party for a two year term. Their term of office shall commence at the close of the Annual General Meeting at which they were elected and shall conclude at the close of the Annual General Meeting where their successors are elected.

7.3.1 The President, the Vice-President-Fundraising, the Secretary, and one Provincial Director from each of the five (5) regional zones, shall be elected in odd numbered years.

7.3.2 The Vice-President-Membership, the Vice-President-Policy, the Vice- President-Communications, the Treasurer and one Provincial Director from each regional zone, shall be elected in even numbered years.

7.3.3 Provincial Directors shall be elected by members in good standing of the Party from the regional zone in which the Director resides.

7.3.4 The Executive Committee may, with the approval of two-thirds of its members present and voting, appoint members to fill the term of office of any vacancy on the Executive Committee between Annual General Meetings, provided that the person is a member in good standing and, in the case of a vacancy in a Provincial Directors position, that the person appointed shall reside in the regional zone that has the vacancy. Nominees for vacant Provincial Director positions shall be sought from the regional zone that has the vacancy.

7.14 No officer shall serve more than six (6) consecutive years in any combination of executive committee positions.

7.3.99 This clause is a transitional clause and it shall be treated as spent after the conclusion of the 2014 Annual General Meeting, and need not appear in a subsequent consolidation of the Constitution prepared after that Annual General Meeting.
For further clarity, at the 2013 Annual General Meeting:
7.3.99.1 The President, the Vice-President-Fundraising, the Secretary, and the top vote getting Provincial Director from each of the five (5) regional zones shall be elected to serve until the end of the 2015 Annual General Meeting.
7.3.99.2 The Vice-President-Membership, the Vice-President-Policy, the Vice- President-Communications, the Treasurer and remaining Provincial Director from each regional zone (if any) shall be elected to serve until the end of the 2014 Annual General Meeting.

In short, what is being proposed is to have members of the party’s Executive Committee elected to two year terms with staggered elections so that half of the EC gets elected every year.

This proposal is excellent and overdue. To begin with, when somebody is elected to a role on the Executive Committee it can take a few months simply to get used to the role and get to know the people they will be dealing with. By the time the new EC member feels comfortable, another AGM is looming and they must dedicate time to standing for re-election or reconsidering their continued participation in the role. The Executive Committee is very important and those roles are worth two year terms to those who take them on.

Another issue this change could help resolve is having bulk turnovers on the Executive Committee. While people will come and go, with annual elections for the roles the turnovers can be and have been rather large at these times. With half of the EC facing election every year, the membership still has a chance every year to change the makeup of the EC if they choose to do so. We always will have half of the EC sitting with at least one year’s experience which will reduce the stress and challenges of a large turnover.

Lets get this proposal to pass this year.

RESOLUTION 10

resolution10

The only thing that should limit the term of a Party Leader should be the collective will of the membership whether that be after one year or after twenty. The Wildrose Party Constitution provides the means for a leadership review to be held every year should the members through the Executive Committee choose to do so. There is no need to have a hard term limit sitting like this.

There is some ambiguity in the phrasing of this term limit too. When did the clock start ticking? The day that the Leader got elected to the membership? The day the Leader got elected to the Legislature? The day the Leader became Premier? Rest assured the political opponents of the Wildrose will try to make fodder of this sort of thing if and when they can.

Let’s simply leave this to the members of the party to decide. If somebody wants to take out the clause for leadership reviews, then we can get up in arms.

RESOLUTION 18

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This one I am a little torn on. The cutoff being 14 days is too short if only for logistical reasons. We learned this in the last leadership as candidates literally dumped thousands of new memberships on the office at the very tail end of the race. Those memberships all had to be verified and processed along with having ballots sent out to them in time so that members could vote and send their ballots back before deadline. It was a monsterous task that took a great deal of party resources and many headaches (but it was pulled off admirably in the end).

In lengthening the term personally I would like to split the difference and perhaps go to 28 or even 21 days before the race. Leadership races are excellent exercises that promote team building, the party in general and of course provide a huge influx of new members. The last couple months of the race are critical as people really begin to take notice of the race and decide to participate through membership. To cut that off too early would greatly reduce the momentum and benefit of a strongly contested race.

If the number can be amended downward I could support this extension. I don’t think it can at the AGM though so would say right now that this proposal should be perhaps voted down this time but we should ensure that a more reasonable cutoff is proposed next time. With any luck we should not be in a leadership race sort of situation for at least a few years yet.

RESOLUTION 21

resolution21

This resolution I strongly support. To be blunt, this clause in the constitution as it stands has been a pain in the ass for every Provincial VP policy (including myself) since the foundation of the party. While the principle of this clause is well-meaning in the purest if grassroots sense, it simply is not feasible within a party with any more than a few dozen members in it.

While we want to maintain member initiated policy, we have to have reasonable limits and vetting of the proposals. When I was VP policy the party only had a few thousand members and I still ended up with nearly 700 proposals sent to me one year (though to be fair, about 300 of those came from about four people). I can’t imagine what comes in now that the membership numbers in the tens of thousands.

If a member is dedicated to getting a reasonable policy proposal or two to the AGM the means will still be very realistically within their reach if this resolution passes. Policy deliberation should be a more critical part of Constituency Association activity anyway and it is not hard at all to get involved with that. Anybody who has been to a CA AGM knows that there is hardly a 100 hands raised when the role of CA VP policy needs to be filled and they are often happy to have as much participation as possible. Hell, if your local CA is not working this clause does not preclude a member from presenting their proposal to other CAs.

This clause will help encourage CA activity and will provide one level of vetting to avoid the sometimes unreasonable number or policy proposals or sometimes just unreasonable proposals in themselves while retaining grassroots principles. We should let this proposal pass.

There are many other proposals within the document of varying merit. I do hope that members reject the proposals from my prior blog posting and embrace the ones in here (I never pretended to be unbiased here ūüėČ ). I will be lobbying for such.

It will be a long and at times dull day as constitutional proposals are considered by the membership. In my last two blog postings though, I think I have nailed the big ones that we should be watching (and staying awake) for.

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Wildrose AGM 2013. Constitution time.

It is undeniable that the Wildrose Party has made terrific strides in the last 8 years or so within Alberta. Our provincial government has been held to account more effectively than we have seen in decades as Alberta finally has a strong opposition party in the legislature.

As the Wildrose Party continues to grow we will of course have some growing pains and internal battles to hash out.

There is an element within the Wildrose Party that sees the grassroots membership and basis of the party as a necessary evil at best. Year after year we have to fight off attempts to centralize the management of the party among a small and unaccountable group while sidelining means of member control and party accountability. The Executive Committee is the branch of the party that is to be controlled by nobody else but the membership at large and this distinction and role is critical to the entire basis and purpose of the party. This power within the Executive Committee has constantly annoyed the weasel faction within the party thus constant efforts have been made to reduce the role and strength of the Executive Committee every year.

Due to party meddling and a large number of Executive Committee resignations within the party, the Wildrose Party found itself last year after the election with a do-nothing party executive that could barely bring itself to meet more than once over the phone every couple of months.

This ineffective Executive Committee so impressed some of the powers that be within the party that they even tried to defer the party’s annual general meeting for two years so that they need not risk getting an active Executive Committee chosen by the membership. This effort was exposed though and due to this being in complete contravention of the Alberta Societies Act, an AGM was suddenly and grudgingly slapped together to at the least meet legal requirements within Alberta.

With a meeting scheduled no other information was put out to the membership at large on details for things such as Executive Committee elections. It became incumbent upon party members such as myself to blog the information that the party refused to promote and to give a platform to aspiring candidates for Executive Committee positions. Party members Rob Woronuk and others worked to hold open candidate debates so that members could get to know the candidates as again, the party refused to offer such aids to the internal democratic process for some reason.

It took a great deal of effort to pull the party kicking and screaming into adherence with it’s own constitution in leading up to the AGM.

Thanks to the efforts of many dedicated and stubborn party activists, a good AGM was held where an active and effective Executive Committee was elected in the fall of 2012 (much to the chagrin of the weasel faction).

Now with the election and retention of an effective EC within the Wildrose Party, the weasel faction has turned to¬†a new means to try and take control from the membership within the party. At this year’s Annual General Meeting in Red Deer, the membership will be discussing changes to the constitution and policies of the party.

A few of the proposed constitutional changes coming forth this fall are nothing less than outrageous and they are clearly modeled with the intent of neutering the Executive Committee and Constituency Presidents (thus by extension the membership) in the management of the operations of the party.  The members must understand what these proposals are and vote them down en masse at the 2013 AGM to send a message to the weasel faction that we are getting really tired of this.

The full list of proposed constitutional changes can be found in the link below.

ConstitutionAGM2013

It should be noted that almost all of the offensive propositions are coming from the Cardston-Taber-Warner constituency for some reason.

RESOLUTION 16

OK the first and likely worst proposed change to the party constitution would take the power of selecting an Executive Director for the party from the Executive Committee and put it solely into the hands of the Party Leader. I will use screen snaps for this as the layout from the file makes it easier to see in an image.

resolution16I like how the statement says it: “clarifies process for selecting Executive Director”. Uh no. This resolution does far more than clarify the selection process, this resolution essentially would not only give the Leader of the party sole-authority in not only the selection of an Executive Director but it would give the Leader sole-authority in setting the terms of reference and power of the Executive Director.

Resolution 16 is ridiculous and outright dangerous if approved. There are some very good reasons why the Leader’s office is a separate division from the management of operations within the party. The role of the Leader encompasses many things but the operation of the party is actually not one of them. There is no rational reason to put the party Leader directly in control of the party operations and in having such powers over the Executive Director the Leader’s control of operations would be full and unchecked.

The Leader, Party President and Executive Director are essentially the top three folks within the party structure. If any one of the three has unchecked control on the selection of the people for either of other two roles, we will have created essentially a dictator with no reasonable check against their actions.

While we need the Executive Director to work in a productive and hopefully cooperative manner with the Leader of the Party, we simply can’t put the entire power of selection of this powerful role into the hands of the Party Leader. The membership must strike this down soundly this fall.

RESOLUTION 28

resolution28This resolution from Cardston-Taber-Warner made me scratch my head and say “wow” at such a blatant move to try and undercut grassroots organization within the party.

If one wants to start a dictatorship, one of the first things that must be done is to isolate communications and organizing capability among the masses and that is exactly what this proposal is trying to do.

I understand that some people do not want their personal information floating around out there. Having one’s name on a list as a CA President is hardly an offense to privacy and the person chooses to be in that role in the first place. We are not talking about home addresses and phone numbers here.

I expect this will be soundly rejected at the AGM but should this resolution pass I will state this here and now:

I will track down the names and email addresses of all 87 Constituency Association¬† Presidents within the Wildrose Party and will list them on this site along with regular updates. I have the connections, the will and the means to do this so why don’t you weasels just drop this odious suggestion now?

Why on earth would we want to stifle communications between our constituencies?

RESOLUTION 11

resolution11One would think that after having nearly gone in contravention of the Alberta Societies Act with the attempted deferral of the 2012 Wildrose Party AGM that the weasel faction would have been supportive of correcting the constitution to reflect legal requirements so such errors would not happen again. While two resolutions help clarify the obligation and needs, Cardston-Taber-Warner wants reference to and obligation of AGM timing totally removed from the constitution. I wonder which of the three resolutions will be discussed.

Those who despise member driven parties like the Wildrose Party also despise AGMs of course as this is when the collected membership can exercise their rightful control upon the direction, management and policies of the party. Of course the weasel faction wants to get constitutional obligations for AGMs removed. I expect the membership to overwhelmingly toss this one in the trashbin where it belongs.

RESOLUTION 13

 resolution13In keeping with what became a pattern, Cardston-Taber-Warner wants terribly for some reason to deeply enshrine some pretty strong unilateral appointment powers for the Leader into the party constitution.

It is critical that the Leader takes a strong guiding role in the appointment of these positions but I do not see why this has to be mandated in the constitution to be at the sole discretion of the Leader.

A good leader will be able to work cooperatively with the caucus, Executive Committee and Executive Director in filling these roles without having sole authority to do it all directly. If the Leader can’t do their job under those constraints of cooperation and compromise, then perhaps that person is not the appropriate one to be the Leader of the party.

RESOLUTION 22A

resolution22aVetting and preparing policy for presentation to the membership at an AGM is an exhausting, thankless task. I know this well as I served two terms as VP Membership with the Wildrose Party and that was while the party was considerably smaller than now.

A policy committee is a great way to get more done and to bring minds together on what is a tough and messy process. Many policies come in that are unreasonable, poorly phrased or at times outright incomprehensible. Despite this reality, the committee simply can’t be empowered to revise or comment on a proposed policy without the consent of the person or people who submitted the initial proposal.

Without this check in place in the constitution, the policy committee could theoretically change every policy submitted to them unilaterally with no consultation with the people who submitted the policy in the first place.

The policy formulation process will always be tough, time consuming and messy. There are improvements to be made.

Deleting this critical check on the power of the Policy Committee as proposed by Cardston-Taber-Warner would not be an improvement by any means.

There are some other questionable and debatable suggestions in the proposals and I expect more vigorous examination and discussion of these issues in the next few months. Policy will take me many long-winded postings but these constitutional proposals must be nipped in the bud and addressed right now.

Who are the people with Cardston-Taber-Warner who put these together? I certainly would love to see some attempted rationale for this clear effort to centralize the management of this grassroots party that we all worked so had to build.

Grassroots organization is messy and tough but it can work and it is worth it. We have to remain vigilant and keep knocking down the weasels who think that by setting aside our principles that we can get where we need to be. If we wanted to be in a party like that, we would be with the Redford Progressive Conservatives.

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Ezra Levant demonstrates the depth of environmental demonstrators.

Yes, Ezra can be pretty bombastic and likes to work things up. In his going to these protests and covering just what those people are about though he is providing a good service to us all.

The usual coverage we see from media attending protests will be short interviews with the paid protest leaders who will fire out some short, canned statements as they have been trained. A person really needs to get on the ground with the fools who fill the ranks at these protests to see just how vapid and empty these protests really are.

I certainly learned first hand how pointless the entire “occupy” movement was in my regular visits on their illegal squatting encampment in a Calgary city park. The sights, sounds and yes indeed even smells of these protests really to have to be personally experienced to be fully appreciated.

Most people have no interest in going to check on these ragtag collections of union-organized, professional malcontents and I really don’t blame them. The next best thing a person can do though is look at interviews and coverage such as what Ezra has provided in his work yesterday. It really is worth a watch.

The truth is stranger than fiction with these people.

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Calgary tax dollars at work.

The other day, I ran across a picture on a Calgary discussion board that depicted the all too typical scene of a large number of city employees standing around while one or two fellows actually worked on the rather simple task at hand.

In this case the task was to paint a green square on the road on a bike track. The forum was at http://www.beyond.ca and the picture was posted by (and presumably taken by) a poster who goes by rage2.  

bike

The picture sort of says it all. We have had a Mayor and council constantly pleading poverty in Calgary while trying to justify a whopping 32% increase in property since Naheed Nenshi took the Mayor’s chair less than three years ago. Our Mayor and city council constantly pretend that it is utterly impossible for the City to streamline or even cut expenditures while scenes like that pictured above show that there is plenty of room to have the expenditure of our tax dollars done in a more effective manner. The excuses fly while countless dollars are wasted on foolish studies of whimsical plans and outright idiotic gameshow style “consultation” circuses that are ignored when the taxpayers wish something different than His Worship intended them to.

I tweeted the image and it took off as dozens of people retweeted this little piece of dark comedy.

This brought about the attention of Mayor Nenshi who to his credit is very responsive to social media. What Nenshi tweeted in justification of the depicted scene is below:

 

This whole scene was apparently a training session.

Umm….. OK… I guess I will just have to come right out and say it: HOW MUCH TRAINING DOES IT TAKE TO PAINT A GREEN DAMNED BOX ON A ROAD????

Seriously folks, we are in a city with over a million people that has thousands of civic employees and city contractors. None of them had been trained already in painting things on the road?

I wonder, is a special training course required to paint the image below:

leftturn

Does another differently trained crew need to come in and flip the stencil at other intersections or will they only need a different supervisor or two?

rightturn

Now we are going to get tricky. The painting job below requires two colors and possibly two stencils. How many workers were required? 20? 30? How many months was the training course?

handicapped

I have to admit, I could use a gig like training folks to paint boxes on roads. I had a great deal of informal training in my youth with more complicated design as pictured below:

chalk

I can provide my own training manual so that there shall be no confusion for trainees should they find themselves in a circumstance where they may need to paint something with less than 6 supervisors present.

paintbynumber

As a surveyor I am familiar with complex tools such as graph paper and measuring tape so will be able to “confirm final design” on painted boxes with possibly as few as two assistants. I have ArcGIS and could confirm such things alone from the comfort of an office in about 30 seconds but I do understand that our city has a limited amount of resources and needs to be led in baby steps here.

Is it really surprising that Calgary City council managed to blow the West LRT budget literally by 100% in light of how complex painting a simple box on a road appears to be?

In light of all this, I wonder what portion of our city budget is dedicated to road painting alone in Calgary. We have a great deal of pavement out there.

I really have not seen such a scandalous waste of tax dollars on paint since Mulroney purchased the masterpiece below for $1.8 million Canadian tax bucks.

voice

Calgary really needs to flush out City Council this fall in favor of some candidates with at least a little grounding in fiscal reality.

I am making light of this, but the issue of out of control spending by municipal governments is deadly serious. As Detroit how they are loving that great art collection these days.

 

Response-to-City-Budget

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Anti-vaccination nuts picking up where the religious ones left off.

whoop

With most conspiracy driven crackpots I generally roll my eyes and let them go on with their imagined world ills. Reasoning with the conspiracy-inclined is an exercise in futility and only invites a barrage of links to youtube videos and blogs that are poorly sourced and created by other conspiracy types as they feed from each other’s paranoia and delusions.

With folks who feel that aliens are among us I can laugh or even those offensive ones who claim 911 was an inside job can be ignored. When the conspiracy kooks get into the realm of healthcare however they can become terribly dangerous to people at large as they try and occasionally succeed in spreading their misinformation.

One dangerous conspiracy theory is the one claiming that a cure for cancer is being suppressed by evil big pharmaceutical companies which is always rationalized by the profoundly simplistic, standalone statement of: “They make more money treating cancer than they would¬†curing it.” Yes folks, tens of thousands of researchers, company presidents and doctors are all in on this and none leak while their friends, family and even they themselves die of cancer. Just take a short trip into the world of capitalism and project what really would happen if a pharmaceutical company came out with a cure for cancer. I assure you that every senior person in that company and investor would become quite rich as shares explode and the company moves to the top of the very competitive pharmaceutical ladder.

Those folks who believe that the cure for cancer is being hidden tend of course to feel that conventional treatment for cancer is a sham. These folks then can be prone to telling vulnerable and frightened, newly diagnosed cancer patients to seek alternative treatments. This is where a huge line has been crossed by these assholes. Mexican clinics and countless other sham herbalists and “alternative” providers are more than happy to suck the money from a person with cancer while that person dies in need of real treatment. While conventional cancer treatment can be ugly and awful to endure, the cure rates are quite good with many cancers as compared to those God damned Mexican herbal clinics with a near 100% mortality rate.

Now on to the anti-vaccination nuts. Despite overwhelming evidence showing the benefits of vaccination, an enduring movement still exists that wants to take us back a couple centuries where the life expectancy was around 30 years or so. While science does not support this movement (or even simple common sense), celebrities often do and they are given a platform to spew their dangerous nonsense on vapid daytime shows such as Ophrah Winfrey which unfortunately lends an air of credibility to their crap. Playmate model Jenny McCarthy has championed anti-vaccination pap for years and now has a seat among the hens on The View where she doubtless will be spreading more of her garbage.

Diseases like measles, whooping cough and even tetanus are harming children in the developed world again when they had been nearly wiped out by vaccination due to fools listening to air-headed celebrities rather than their doctor.

The HPV vaccine has been found to be more important than ever in preventing a whole host of cancers in both men and women if it can be applied early enough. This vaccine was fought vigorously by hardcore socially conservative groups and fools who feel that this vaccine would somehow encourage promiscuity. This nonsense has been losing steam and HPV vaccinations have been becoming more widespread and among both genders. I wrote awhile ago on my cousin Shawn’s battle with a cancer caused by HPV. The shot years ago would have saved him much more agony than any misguided efforts to preserve his chastity could have. Shawn and his wife have been working tirelessly to get the HPV vaccine extended to boys in Alberta as it had been predominantly given to girls.

The anti-vaccination gang while stinging from being utterly and totally discredited in their “vaccinations cause autism” bullshit have now put HPV solidly in their sights so that they may fill the void of idiocy left as the social conservatives gave up their opposition to this important vaccine. Armed with more links to conspiracy sites, youtube videos and other unfounded bullshit sites the anti-vaccination crowd is working hard to ensure cancers caused by HPV continue to harm people in the next generation. New conspiracies are being created along with more fabricated risks from vaccination.

I am long winded enough and I think I have made my thoughts pretty clear on the anti-vaccination bunch. I will save you some google time and provide two links below that put lie to this latest wave of idiocy and battling against beneficial medicine.

http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2013/08/09/antivaccinationists-against-the-hpv-vaccine-round-5000/

http://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php/gardasil-researcher-against-vaccine-myth-debunked/

Don’t let the anti-vaccination conspiracy gang get a toehold on HPV vaccines. Let’s nip their misinformation in the bud and folks, get yourself and your kids vaccinated. You need only visit an old cemetery to see the young deaths that were so common prior to vaccination to see how it was. If you really want a dose of reality, ask some polio survivors what they think of people opposing the vaccines that would have saved them from childhood agony and a lifetime crippled.

vaccination

 

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The show must go on. We can’t stall pipelines forever.

Revenues have gone down, taxes have gone up and folks have lost jobs thanks to the trend of hysteric opposition to the safest form of oil/gas transport known to man: pipelines. Time and reality will win in the end and Canada will continue to increase exports of oil and gas products despite the irrational blanket opposition to all development coming from groups that purport to care about working class Canadians.

pipeline

TransCanada Corp announced that they are moving forward with their proposal to build infrastructure to bring crude oil to St. John New Brunswick that would transport over a million barrels per day.

The usual union backed suspects are already gnashing their teeth in opposition and rounding up bored hipsters and natives to try and stage protests against Canada’s latest effort to bring jobs and prosperity. The ink isn’t dry on the proposal and it does not need to be. Reality and facts are of no consequence as organized labor claims to care about the working man yet consistently opposes all efforts to create infrastructure to support an industry that employs hundreds of thousands of people. Screeching members of the loony-left automatically oppose all energy development while howling for more expenditure on a myriad of social programs. The folks truly have no concept of where the cash comes from for their beloved arts projects, welfare and even health care. They really believe Canada will be fine without the billions and billions of tax dollars brought in annually from the energy industry.

Now on to reality. The aforementioned chronic opponents of development can and will be dismissed as they are truly irrational and there is no reasoning with them.

Reality: THERE IS NO REASONABLE ALTERNATIVE TO CARBON BASED ENERGY YET!!!

We can make windmills, talk of tidal and geothermal and dream of solar energy. The reality is that none of those sources can generate power in nearly the volume required or at a cost that is at all reasonable at this time. What happened to the hydrogen fuel cell powered car anyway? How about the Volt? How is that biofuel black hole going? Governments can be pressured into investing into many pie-in-the-sky alternatives but fiscal reality inevitably returns to bite them (and the taxpayers in the arse).

Reality: CANADA’S PRODUCTS MUST GET TO MARKET!!!

Canada has some of the largest energy reserves on the entire planet. Our prosperity as an entire nation is not only dependent on our development of these carbon based products but on our selling of those products to consumers outside of Canada. Protectionism is always a shallow farce. We need trade and oil/gas are our strongest items for this. It is not reasonable to turn ourselves into a third world country in refusing to trade with our best asset.

While keeping our energy in could indeed lead to cheap domestic fuel prices, we would be broke otherwise. Venezuela is a wonderful example of foolish policies (socialism). While they have some of the cheapest domestic fuel prices of earth, damn near none of their citizens can afford cars. Not really a good trade.

Reality: THE USA DOES NOT NEED OUR OIL AND GAS

Peak oil has been a myth propagated to keep folks in fear for over 50 years. A few minutes on google can find countless predictions of the world running out of energy and they have all of course been wrong. There has always been somebody predicting the end of the world and to date none have been correct.

New fields are still being discovered and new extraction technology is always coming on-stream.

In the last five years I have spent more than half of my time working South of the border on American oil/gas exploration projects. While we piss and moan and delay domestic energy projects, a very mobile workforce has been taking it’s expertise (and tax dollars) out of the country. We are not going to sit and go broke and wait for common sense to ensue.

I have worked in oilfields in Pennsylvania that are literally well over 140 years old that are now getting new life thanks to fracturing and seismic technology. Texas and Oklahoma are booming as new wells are being drilled and product is flowing. North Dakota is discovering whole new and giant reserves.

I spent three years working in the Arctic on the ice North of Inuvik. I assure you there is at least a couple more generations of oil and gas sitting up there and not a drop has been taken out yet. We need to look ahead but we are a long way from running out of reserves yet.

The USA does not need our energy and pricing ourselves out of the market will not help. We need to get our product to the coastlines in an increasing amount if we want to retain our standard of living across the country.

Reality: OIL AND GAS ARE ALREADY GOING TO OUR COASTS AND IT HAS FOR DECADES!!

It is painful listening to the daft, shallow souls howling about tanker traffic suddenly coming to Canada’s West coast or pipelines spanning our Rocky Mountains when we consider that tankers have been going to the coast already for decades and we have been pipelining oil across the mountains for over sixty years already.

We have transported untold millions of barrels across the mountains and then the Pacific without major incident and our technology is only becoming safer.

Rail traffic in crude oil has quadrupled in just the last few years and it will continue to grow if we keep foolishly delaying pipelines. More bears will get splattered and a much higher risk of spills and derailment will continue if we keep forcing the use of rail despite a safe means of transport being in front of us.

Governments are sensitive to the environmental lobby but they are even more sensitive to revenue. These new pipelines will get approved and will be built no matter how hard the union funded opposition howls. What we have to ask ourselves is how much more time and resources we will waste before getting on with it. We can’t afford as a nation to keep pissing around with this and we will not no matter who heads the next federal government. Reality dictates this, lets accept it and work with it.

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