The Alberta Party still needs to find itself.

hipster

By-elections are a tough thing to deal with in partisan politics.  They are fickle and politically dangerous. Parties are heavily motivated to win political points with a by-election win and often dedicate massive amounts of fiscal and human resources to these snapshot elections. The campaigning essentially turns to white noise as electors are barraged with door knockers, flyers and phone calls from all parties while every street corner becomes covered with a vomit of colorful election signs that few take direct notice of. In the end, a candidate is chosen by what is usually an utterly dismal turnout of the electorate which may or may not represent the political trends of the province or even the city that the constituency is in.

All that being said, it remains crucial that political parties put their best foot forward in these by-elections. A win or even close second can be framed after the by-election as a trend and a party that loses big can and will have their noses rubbed in the loss for months or years to come whether it’s fair or not. While a by-election win does not ensure that the winning party will form the next government, it certainly does look good. A win indicates that voters are willing to accept that party in the right circumstances. A win also demonstrates that the party remains viable and well organized between general elections. These impressions are very important.

Despite the clear importance of making a mark in by-elections, the Alberta Party has chosen not to run a candidate in the upcoming Calgary Greenway by-election.

There are some bright folks within the Alberta Party. The only reason that the Alberta Party is sitting out the by-election is that they are utterly incapable of running in it. They didn’t have a candidate in Greenway in the last general election and they likely have utterly no organization on the ground in that constituency. The party bank account is likely pretty dry as well. Greenway is a suburban constituency as well. The number of hipsters in that part of Calgary is terribly low though it is well served by transit.

Alberta Party leader, Greg Clark is a genuine, smart and likeable fellow. Despite having but one seat in the legislature, Clark has managed to gain a respectable degree of press in that role (I assure you that the Wildrose was not treated so favorably when Paul Hinman was our lone MLA). Clark puts out pragmatic statements and releases on issues and he is generally respected by all who know him.

The problem is, Greg Clark is not just the leader of the Alberta Party. Greg Clark IS the Alberta Party.

In a set of by-elections in late 2014, the Alberta Party focused all of their resources on Greg Clark during the campaign. While this led to Clark to grabbing a respectable second place, Alberta Party candidates running in other constituencies came in with dismal single digit electoral showings. They simply had no volunteers or funds as it all drifted into Clark’s campaign in Elbow.

Less than a year later the Alberta Party used the exact same strategy in the general election. With the solid support base built in the previous by-election and a smartly run campaign, Clark took Calgary Elbow in an upset and became the lone MLA for Calgary Elbow. The Alberta Party has always been heavily populated by hipsters as well. Calgary Elbow contains the bulk of Calgary’s hipster demographic making it an ideal spot to focus their efforts on.

The strategy of putting all of the party eggs into one electoral basket while great for Clark, led to the Alberta Party polling a flaccid 2.28% support across the province. This has to be pretty demoralizing for the candidates and volunteers who did what they could in all of the other constituencies around the province. With 86 constituencies having been left out to dry by the party like that, it is pretty obvious why broad ground level organization has not happened throughout the province. Why work your butt off when the party will only focus on one constituency and one candidate?

The Alberta Party has long tried to be everything to everybody and this sunshine and lollypop strategy is starting to fail. The interminable “big listen” held by the party never really led to coherent policies and while the leadership put out pragmatic statements, the supporters often vocally took stances that were more along the NDP lines. The Alberta Party kept trying to call themselves centrists while their supporters kept pushing to the left. Notley’s win and Clark’s pragmatism has led to many supporters giving up the façade of centrism and simply jumping in with the NDP. Now the party is adrift to the point where they cant even battle a single by-election in their own city.

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In a bizarre demonstration of how the Alberta Party really doesn’t stand for much in a solid sort of way, Greg Clark joined with Green Party leader Janice Keeping in endorsing Laurie Blakeman as an unofficial candidate for all three parties in the 2015 election. This weird strategy backfired terribly as Blakeman soundly lost the seat that she had held for nearly 18 years.

The Alberta Party needs to define itself as being something more than simply saying “centrist” over and over again while being totally focused on one person in one constituency. If the Alberta Party can’t manage to do this within the next couple years, they very well may end up simply being a footnote in Alberta electoral history.

If and when the party determines clearly who they are and what they stand for, they will then need to reach beyond their power center in Calgary Elbow. They will need to identify voters in every constituency in Alberta (or at least a hell of a lot more of them) who share this new vision. Once identified, these people need to be organized and trained to maintain constituency associations or at least build a strong if informal social organization that can be turned into a fundraising/campaign team when election time comes.

That is a lot of work to pull off in a relatively short period of time but it must be done.

To show how it can be done, one needs only to point to a local Alberta lunatic named George Clark (no relation).

George Clark’s message is simple even if it is utterly impossible and not terribly rational. It appeals to a segment of Albertans and George Clark has capitalized on that. Clark has identified and targeted folks who believe his strategy of bullshit. Clark has then organized these people into petitioners around the province who will be bringing in petitions signed in person by upwards of 100,000 people. George Clark has also raised $27,000 and counting from gullible supporters.

Not bad considering that George Clark’s twitter account is a social media laughing stock with only a couple hundred followers. This leads to my next point for the Alberta Party:

GET OFF SOCIAL MEDIA AND GET ON THE GROUND!

A madman with proposals that have been laughed out of every rational political discussion has managed to galvanized and gather thousands of supporters in just a few months. Clark did this by travelling around the province and building ground organizations. He has not bothered with the slacktivism of twitter political engagement. If elections could be won with social media presence alone, Greg Clark would already be Alberta’s Premier.

I am not for a second suggesting that the Alberta Party needs to adopt a platform of bullshit and sell a fairy tale around the province as George Clark did. I am pointing out that the Alberta Party needs to look at the example of George Clark to see what the power of simple messaging and true ground work is.

It really was quite surprising to see that the Alberta Party is so up against the rocks that they cant run a candidate in the Calgary Greenway by-election. They really had done quite well with quite few resources. It is becoming abundantly clear though that they need to really examine themselves and come up with some new messaging and vision if they want to go beyond being a one seat wonder.

Until people really know what the Alberta Party stands for and until they see the party visible in their own neighborhoods, the Alberta Party will continue to languish in the sub-5% popular support numbers.

That is sad as they had potential

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Are the Trudeau Liberals preparing to try and regulate internet content?

Hedy Fry has long been known as one of the nuttier members of the federal Liberal caucus.

It isn’t surprising to hear her asking for something as stupid or as dangerous as getting government directly involved in monitoring the accuracy of things posted on the internet. Accuracy can be a subjective thing at times and yes, some stuff is outright inaccurate by any measure. It isn’t the damned government’s role to dip into this and potentially cause havoc with the fantastic, open information exchange that we enjoy today on the internet even if at times some inaccurate things make their way out there.

It is sort of ironic that Hedy Fry is proposing this when one consider that she is the nut who won national notoriety when she falsely accused the citizens of Prince George of hosting cross burnings. Accuracy has never been Hedy’s personal priority.

Don’t just take my word for it though. Listen to Hedy the Clown speaking to a committee below.

Loss of freedom is usually an incremental thing. While I make light of things, this shouldn’t be taken lightly and should be watched closely.

Well, I will post these images below and see if the Liberal accuracy police come after me down the road.

wiper oil coolant

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If it saves just one life…. Bah.. Kiss my ass.

crying

There are many stupid arguments made about all sorts of things in the world. Without doubt though, there are few cases to be made that are more bloody damned stupid as the old “if we could save just one life….”..

This idiotic tripe gets trotted out in damned near every political debate known to man whether it is in when trying to justify bombing another nation (yeah think about that), or gun control or health care spending. Well folks, it doesn’t matter how bloody well meaning your pet cause may be because saving one life alone likely wont be a realistic baseline in funding or supporting it.

I may as well begin with one reality that so many assholes in this world don’t want to face (including me).

WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE!

Your Nana and Papa are going to die. Your Mom and Dad are going to die. Your kids are going to die. Your pet gerbil is going to die and of course no matter what you may think, eventually you are going to die.

We cant avoid death. I think that this is pretty well established though we don’t like thinking or talking about it.

We cant prevent death but we can and do want to defer it as long as possible.

The next ugliness that comes up when drifting down this cheery train of thought though is the fact that life comes at a price.

YES! SOMETIMES IT IS TOO FUCKING EXPENSIVE TO TRY AND SAVE EVERY DAMNED LIFE OUT THERE!

Really, it gets agonizing when some idiot says that money is no object when it comes to saving a life. Of course it bloody well is!

Think of this, if we spent the money to put a trained MD on a street corner in every city we would certainly defer the deaths of all sorts of people. Car accidents, heart attacks, draino drinkers and who knows what else would be able to grab some precious few extra years thanks to the fact that they had a trained medical professional within reach for every incident. So why aren’t we doing this? If it saves one life…. Oh yeah, it is too fucking expensive. So about that not being able to put a price on a life thing…

We cant medicate to save everybody. We cant put a sign up to prevent every possible accidental death. We cant label everything quite enough. We cant afford every experimental treatment and we simply cant hold everybody’s hand.

Look folks, we should do all we can to preserve life and make as last as long as possible. Reason has to be applied however. We cant save em all and there is nothing wrong (in fact there is everything right) in trying to get the best bang for our buck here.

Why am I on this cranky ramble?

Well for one, I am naturally cranky. Its simply who I am.

My main point in writing this is so that I have is quick link to point the next dickhead to who tries to use the pathetic and oh so common “if it saves just one life..” case in a discussion.

It Is simply impossible to get that rant out in 140 characters.

Not every life is really as worthy of saving as the next one too but that is a discussion for another time.

Happy Monday by the way. 🙂

 

Latest on Crazy George Clark’s pending kudatah.

George Clark declared some time ago that he would unseat Rachel Notley from government on February 8, 2016.

That date has come and past but George has no end to his excuses. He has pushed back his planned “kudatah” until March 8 now. That has given George the opportunity to raise thousands of dollars from his desperate supporters who have believed Clark’s delusion that a government can be unseated by petition.

So far, the fruits of all those thousands in donations appear to be signs such as the one pictured below which have been popping up on rural roads in Alberta.

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Clearly a refined and expensive advertising machine is coming together under the brilliant guidance of George Clark.

Despite such clear evidence that the donations are being well spent, I suspect that George is starting to feel some pressure from his donors and supporters as the date of the government takeover keeps floating around and the advertising appears to be a little less polished than expected.

That pressure looks to be making the crazy leak out of George Clark even more.

George appears to have used those dollars to expand his air war in advertising through calling in to talk radio shows with some less than coherent outbursts as can be seen below. I guess he does need money to pay those cell bills while he remains on hold.

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The video shows Clark doing an utter flipflop on his own BS. Sorry George, you have made that claim many times. Cant back out now. The internets are forever.
 

Unfortunately, George Clark’s ad communications team neglected to mention to him that he was speaking to Roger Kingkade rather than Rob Breakenridge. George seems to have lost track of the time of day as well since his call to action simply led to the spamming of Danielle Smith with text messages from his supporters rather than Kingkade.

Having all that pressure of a future Kingship over Alberta appears to be unsettling poor George.

Next George dives down the rabbit hole of international socialist conspiracy theories and his rabid followers expand on it.

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clark18a

George Clark is not only going to save us all when he unseats Notley with his petitions this March, he is going to break us free from the shackles of an international socialist conspiracy while he is at it! What a guy!

Getting a little serious for a minute here though folks. Clark has a great many followers who really believe his pap and they are going to be extremely disappointed when it all falls apart on the steps of the legislature on March 8. I know that the vast majority of them will grumble and wander home harmlessly while thinking that they have been beaten by the Grand Conspiracy for now. Some however may not go so quietly. Many people have become quite emotional and really are getting pretty paranoid and worked up by George’s ongoing bullshit campaign. Lets hope these folks stay peaceful but prepare for the worst.

There is real work to be done in improving Alberta’s political landscape. George Clark’s loopy movement is distracting from and even harming serious efforts however. I do hope that the cold wash of reality that will hit him and his supporters on March 8 will get rid of them but I sadly doubt it.

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If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

gunn

It should have been a quiet week for Rachel Notley. We are still in the post holiday doldrums and the next legislative session is still weeks away as Notley keeps deferring it in hopes of building a functional caucus. The last session was an utter disaster and I can understand why Notley wants to hide from the next one even if I don’t agree with or respect the deferral.

A cuddly press conference was scheduled for today where the latest baby born of an MLA was to be showcased. People were expected to ooh and ahh and be distracted from Notley’s dismal and  plummeting support numbers.

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Instead of riding out a quiet week though, Notley chose to open up a media shitstorm upon herself. Over the last few weeks Notley’s government has been rather thuggishly kicking journalists from Ezra Levant’s Rebel Media out of government media events.

 

thug

Many media personalities don’t get along. They are heavily competitive and they have views that range on all sides of the ideological spectrum. It is tough to get a media consensus on pretty much any issue. One thing that will always get the media inflamed and cause them to circle the wagons though is when the heavy hand of government drops on one of their own. Media members and other pundits were mortified as an unapologetic Notley Comms person declared that Levant is not a journalist (nor apparently are any of the staff in his organization) and that they would no longer allow journalists from his outlet into their press functions.

While many in the media have little use for Levant and they have chafed under his constant attacks on what he calls “the media party”, they still recognize him even if grudgingly as a journalist. They saw his ouster as being a threat to journalistic freedom. The slippery slope was evident and the members of the “media party” rallied and decried Notley’s move.

Notley’s communications department is hopelessly inept but even they realized that enraging the majority of the media is not a good idea. In a panic, they sought out an expert in the issue and dropped the matter onto her lap.  They had taken a small issue and made it big again.

Still ever stubborn and petty, the Notley government refused to let Rebel Media into their events until a review was conducted. In considering how long their royalty review took, that suspension of journalistic freedom could have been pretty long.

By today it looks like expert advice prevailed and Rebel Media is now allowed back into government pressers. I suspect that the advice given to Notley and Oates was along the lines of “Look you idiots, you are losing this dearly. Let them back in before it gets even worse!”

Now things are back to how they were and a review is pending. We have to now ask though, what is the problem? Why is there a review? Should there not be a problem to address before spending tax dollars to seek a solution?

The only problem that can be seen is that Levant’s Rebel Media was pissing off the government. They were not disruptive in conferences and we have seen no evidence that other web based media has been either.

The Legislature rotunda is not running out of room and pressers are not being overwhelmed with small market journalists. Again, what is the problem?

There has only been one problem and that has been the Notley government infringing on journalistic freedom. Notley created that problem and in backing off it is solved. There is nothing that needs fixing.

As funds get wasted on a review for a non-issue, I do hope that some messaging got through into the dense minds of the Notley administration. Leave the damned press alone!

Notley would be a fool to come up with some sort of strict regulatory press policy after having endured this public relations nightmare. Of course, she hasn’t proven terribly bright on these issues so far so little would surprise me.

The problem we have today is an inept government with a thin skin. They need to look within to solve that problem rather than try to stunt open coverage of their actions.

Sometimes things are best left alone. I wonder if and when the Notley government will begin to understand this simple lesson.

 

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Totally tone deaf!

prosp

They just don’t get it. They really haven’t a bloody clue. It almost seems like they are some sort of parody group or something.

What I am speaking of is the new Alberta PAC calling itself the “Alberta Prosperity Fund”.

This is a group that apparently is working on uniting Alberta’s right. They have some interesting names popping up in association with them but their website is brutally shallow in detail. What is the extended goal? Where are these funds coming from? Who exactly is running that show?

This group is already arrogantly making demands of the established parties as we head towards a by-election in Greenway. This group is holding meetings here and there where they speak in circles of a united right yet we don’t see any of the organized players at them.

I was nothing short of flabbergasted though when I saw that they had held a meeting in Cochrane recently where they had none other than disgraced former MLA Bruce McAllister on the panel.

Are you guys really that damned stupid??!!

Does that collection of conservative minds really have such a disconnect with the public sentiment and the views of Wildrose and PC members that they would so idiotically trot out a face as inflammatory as that of Bruce McAllister when claiming to want to unite these groups?

Here is refresher for those who may have forgotten.the events of a little over a year ago.

Bruce McAllister was one of the Wildrose MLAs who stabbed the entire Wildrose Party membership in the back when they crossed the floor following Danielle Smith in hopes of taking a shortcut to the government benches. If you want to piss of essentially every member of the Wildrose Party in short order, bring one of the disgraced floor crossers to speak to them.

Prentice and his vapid gang of floor crossers didn’t just piss the Wildrose Party membership off. The Progressive Conservative Party caucus and members were rightly furious with the crossing too. Promises of protected nominations and cabinet seats for the floor crossers evaporated. When the PC membership took out their ire by wiping out the floorcrossers one by one in nominations, Prentice panicked. Prentice then kicked every Progressive Conservative party member in Chestermere in the balls when he intervened and appointed Bruce McAllister as their candidate before the membership could fire his sorry ass as they did with Smith, Fox and others.

The final rejection of Bruce McAllister came from the voters themselves in the general election. They rightly tossed McAllister to the unemployment line where he deserved to be.

Now I ask, since Bruce McAllister is despised by the Wildrose members, loathed by the Progressive Conservative members and was soundly rejected by the electorate of Alberta, what asshole in their right mind would put this kind of person front and center when supposedly trying to unite all three of these groups?

This is not a unifying effort. People like McAllister are a red flag in front of a grassroots bull. McAllister represents everything that principled party members abhor. It is difficult to find a person worse to represent unity.

If this is any indication of the sort of political instinct and judgement coming from the brain trust of the Prosperity Fund, I say no thanks. They look like all the unemployed assholes who the voters just tossed out and are trying to find a new backdoor way to get to the government benches again .

I would rather take my chances with a divided right than put the weasels back in power.

If things are going to unite in any sort if way, it will come from the bottom up. It will be members initiatives from both parties and it will take time. It will never come from a group so bloody obtuse as to highlight a person like Bruce McAllister. Will they dig Rob Anderson from the bowels of the disgraced political world next?

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