Its my party & I’ll cry if I want to!

m-crying

As Jason Kenney’s leadership continues to steam along and win majorities in delegate selection meetings, the entitled old guard of the party are becoming increasingly upset.

When I saw this posting from a longtime Progressive Conservative Party member on Facebook, I really had to read it twice to ensure I was getting it right.

The depth petulant elitism in this posting was astounding. In one short Facebook ramble, this person managed to demonstrate exactly why the partisan foundation of the conservative movement in Alberta needs to be revisited and fixed.

member

I will break it down.

It’s been really bothering me that every single Albertan thinks they get to have a say in this race.

Wow. Just wow. The PC Party led Alberta for 44 years and they aspire to do so again. You are damned right every Albertan wants to have a say in this race. It really says something when we see folks being bothered by the idea that Albertans at large are interested in the management of their province.

Firstly, the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta at this level, the constituency association level, the membership level, is in fact a private party.

Um, yes it is a private party. Hate to break it to you but it is a private party that is open for all Albertans to participate in. Time to drop a little entitlement and get over that.

Each and every one of us that belongs to that private entity has purchased a membership and tries to support that association in someway either by funding, sitting on a board or volunteering.

Glad you understand that. What you don’t seem to get is that anybody may buy a membership and become just as much a member as you are and will all the same rights and privileges. Open processes are disturbing indeed.

Here are the requirements for membership. Its not a terribly exclusive club though some members such as the one who I am quoting seem to think that it is.

Membership in PC Alberta is open to residents of Alberta of at least 14 years of age. Members between the ages of 14 to 26 are also eligible to become a Progressive Conservative Youth of Alberta (PCYA) member. Upon reaching their 26th birthday, they will become regular members of PC Alberta.

Along with $10, that’s it that’s all. Yes, all Albertans may speak in this race and thousands are choosing to.

The vapid “private club” analogy falls apart on many levels but the main part is that there are essentially no barriers to membership.

Which, is I would not of allowed Jason Kenney to run it all.

Well, we can be all glad that your undemocratic view didn’t win the day.

I know it pains you to think that leadership candidates should simply be banned rather than take the chances that the unwashed members at large may select one that you don’t approve of. Too fucking bad already. Spend less time whining and more time campaigning for another candidate. Your DSM vote is worth just as much as any other member (though that clearly disturbs you).

The PCAA voted overwhelmingly to rebuild last May.

Sometimes an engine needs to be torn down before you can rebuild it. The members are getting a choice on how to deal with the means in this leadership race. Again, that pesky democratic thing.

it is my clear opinion that he should form his own party and ask people to join him there.

Glad you agree with Kenney’s plan here. Jason has to win the PC leadership first however and he is well on his way.

This is then what many of us refer to as a hostile take over.

Glad to see a vacuous posting finish with a vacuous sentence.

It is not a hostile takeover when the membership is open to all and the members get to choose. It is something of a dictatorship when members are not allowed to select leaders in such a process.

In a rather disjointed way, this entitled PC member demonstrated exactly the kind of elitist rot that has dominate the PC Party for years. Horrified at the prospect of losing in a democratic process, this person lashed out and declared the PC Party to be some sort of little personal social club in which new members and ideas must be kept at bay.

Arrogant elitism is being rejected around the world. Unwashed voters are kicking out the entitled whether in Brexit, the US election or in Alberta’s last provincial election (unfortunately our cure was as bad as our disease).

Maybe it’s time for some who want to form a little closed club to wander away and do so. They have every right to do such a thing.

I look forward to seeing this elite club present its vision to the general electorate to see how well it is accepted.

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Let’s try to play nice folks.

Over the years I have taken on many thankless and stressful tasks due to my political inclinations. I served multiple terms on the Wildrose provincial executive, often as VP policy. I volunteered on and managed long shot campaigns. I ran as cannon fodder for the Wildrose party against David Swann in Mountainview in 2012.

No political role I ever took on was more miserable, stressful and thankless than being on the committee to manage a party leadership race.

reddeer

Leadership races are among the roughest and most personal of contests in all of politics. It is an internal family battle that has potential to completely revitalize a party or to cause near permanent rifts and damage. Some of the dirtiest tricks are often used and I suspect that it is because parties are often not inclined to go public with warnings or disciplinary actions taken against candidates and teams for fear of causing damage to the institution as a whole.

In the Wildrose leadership race that led to Danielle Smith’s election as party leader, the complaints of party bias and complaints between campaign teams began even before the race was officially called. My phone virtually never stopped ringing with one team or another bitching about some petty offence (perceived or real) committed by the other side throughout the entire, interminable race.

I was selected to moderate all of the leadership debates in that race as one of the teams was convinced that the rest of the leadership committee was biased against their candidate. Ironically, that same team accused my wife and I of somehow rigging the race after they lost.

Speaking of Jane (my wife), she was the chair of the 2015 Wildrose Party leadership race that elected Brian Jean. Jane’s experience was similar to the joys endured in the 2009 race and she was again accused by some of rigging the race though nobody could ever explain exactly how she managed to do it.

No set of rules will be able to address every possible event in a race. During one of the leadership debates in Calgary, one of the teams put large campaign signs out on the roads approaching the hotel where the debate was being held. Another team set up a table selling memberships and handing out literature outside of the door to the convention room. Both teams came howling to me upon discovering the actions of the others and I was forced to tell both to fuck off, get over it and get ready for the debate (though I was a little more diplomatic about it. Not much, but a little). We didn’t have rules set up to govern placement of tables or signs outside of debates thus these terrible and egregious actions went unchecked.

That is the experience of one event on one night in a leadership race. Countless other infractions came and went throughout the course of the campaign.

Some campaigners view rules as something that have to be tested. They spend so damn much time pushing just to see how far those boundaries go and then howl when their hands inevitably get slapped. Usually the rules that were pushed have little to no impact on the outcome of the race and the time would have been immeasurably better spent on selling memberships and organizing GOTV efforts yet teams just seem obsessed at times in pursuing the most minor and petty of possible advantages.

Committees do not want to crack down on campaign teams. The accusations of bias come automatically and can turn into horror story if the committee eventually has to intervene on a campaign. In 2009 while both teams kept pushing the rules to the point where I wanted to have them all brought on a stage and spanked to keep them in order, one team in particular insisted on violating the rules despite multiple warnings. That team finally committed violations that probably should have landed them an outright disqualification but we settled for every possible sanction short of that in order to finish out the race. We had to look at the perceptions and disqualifying a candidate would simply have led to too much speculation of the race being unfair or fixed.

I have no role in the PC party in the current race but I suspect that their committee is trying to be fair and that they are enjoying the same pressures and stresses that I did in past races.

It is hardly a secret that I am supporting Jason Kenney in his bid to lead the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta. I want to see his team continue to clean up at those delegate selection meetings and I expect that they will if they keep themselves from being sidetracked by pushing the rules.

In the latest PC controversy, the Kenney team was brought to task for Kenney having been too close to a delegate selection meeting. Personally I think the punishment was too harsh for an infraction that likely didn’t impact the outcome of the meeting in any way but I also feel that the infraction was easily avoidable.

Yes, the word “near” in itself is ambiguous and yes the committee should have clarified exactly what that meant after having been asked to do so multiple times by the Kenney campaign. I suspect that the spirit of the rule essentially means being at least out of sight as members come in to vote in order to avoid any impression of voter intimidation by any candidates. There was little reason to put the exact distance to the test.

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Jason Kenney has been running a fantastic campaign so far. He has been organizing around the entire province continues to work like a man possessed to reach out to as many Albertans as possible to build support for his unity platform. He can and I expect will win the race overwhelmingly by staying on the simple strategy of working hard and staying on message. There is no sense getting mired in the small issues that can come up.

There is little doubt that the PC party executive is hostile to Kenney. Members of the committee likely are less than endeared with him either. Kenney has been leading the race despite the hindrances put into place by the party executive before it started. There is little reason to antagonize them further and potentially give them any excuses to handicap his campaign any further.

If and when Jason Kenney wins the leadership of the PC party, we can be sure that there will be plenty of sour grapes and tantrums as the old guard pouts off into the sunset. We can also rest assured that some will try to claim that the only reason Kenney won was due to infractions of the rules. There is little sense to add any credence to what will be petulant claims after the race.

We have a long few months remaining in this campaign. I look forward to watching Jason Kenney and his time winning each and every delegate selection meeting through hard work, good organization and inspiring the membership just as he has in the last few DSMs that have been held at the time of this writing.

Let’s not get distracted with the small stuff and testing the extent of the rules. It doesn’t need to be done and will only make the assumption of the leadership that much tougher when the time comes.

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Government managed economic diversification? Been there, done that.

nutley

As Alberta’s economy continues to swirl down the fiscal toilet bowl, the increasingly ideologically driven Notley NDP is still insisting on proven socialism inspired failures. Notley’s insane insistence on trying to rip up PPA contracts is building an investment chill that even Naheed Nenshi is calling out.

A government study on the economic impact of the carbon tax was so damning, Notley’s administration refused to release it. Notley wont even share or acknowledge the outcomes of her own studies funded by the taxpayer.

The last faint hope that the Notley regime has in mitigating widespread economic damage from the carbon tax is that through massive corporate welfare programs they will be able to force economic diversification upon Alberta.

THE PROBLEM WITH THIS STRATEGY IS THAT IT HAS ALREADY BEEN TRIED AND IT FAILED TERRIBLY! 

getty lougheed

While self styled “progressives” in the Progressive Conservative Party like to wistfully look back on the glory days of old, they conveniently overlook the fact that Don Getty and Peter Lougheed led fiscally liberal governments that created the massive deficits and debt that forced us all into austerity in the 1990s under Ralph Klein. Much of that debt was due to the foolish pursuit of government guided economic diversity.

Billions of dollars were lost as loan guarantees and outright grants were given to dozens of failed ventures. When one considers how small Alberta’s population was at the time and what a dollar was worth, these were some very significant blows to the taxpayer.

In the usual progressive fashion, the progressives borrowed money to cover the losses and let the next generation take care of the bill in the 1990s.

Sound familiar?

Notley apparently is no student of recent history as she is bound and determined to repeat it.

A great piece on past diversification efforts was recently done by the UofC School of Public Policy with Ted Morton and Merideth MacDonald. It is well worth a read in its entirety. 

I will summarize below some of the brutal investments that the progressives of the time made in the name of economic diversity.

I have to start with MagCan as I passed by the site of that crumbling plant yesterday and had to get a picture taken with it where I could show my thoughts on that waste of dollars that has polluted the landscape for over 20 years.

corymag

1988 Magnesium Company of Canada (MagCan) Loss covered by taxpayers: $164 million

1984 Swan Hills Waste Treatment Plant Loss covered by taxpayers: $440 million

1989 NovaTel Loss covered by taxpayers: $544 million to $614 million (they screwed it so badly that the auditor general couldnt even figure out the total loss)

1987 Millar Western Pulp Loss covered by taxpayers: $272 million

1986 Gainers Loss covered by taxpayers: $209 million

1982 Ridley Grain Ltd. Loss covered by taxpayers: $161 million (though still considered an outstanding loan)

1991 Al-Pac Loss covered by taxpayers: $155 million

1977 Chembiomed Loss covered by taxpayers: $44 million

1981 Canadian Commercial Bank Loss covered by taxpayers: $56 million

1973 Northern Lite Canola Loss covered by taxpayers: $50 million

1983 General Systems Research Loss covered by taxpayers: $30 million

Ironically it was during the period of cuts and austerity led by Ralph Klein when Alberta moved closer to a diversified economy. Innovative ventures started and blossomed under a regime that was welcoming to business and investment. The lack of government interference in the market and lack of tax hikes attracted record numbers of new head offices to Alberta while existing businesses expanded and broadened their scope of products and services.

ralph

It has been proven that economic diversification through government trying to pick winners and losers in business is an utter failure.

It has also been proven that if left alone, business will expand and diversify all on it’s own.

Unfortunately this stark historical lesson is lost on Notley and those who call themselves the “progressive” element in the PC Party of Alberta.

We will cut back and our economy will rebound once we get Notley as far from the reins of power as possible. That will take the kind of partisan unity that Jason Kenney is offering though and that means that the “progressive” folks in the PC party cant be allowed to try and turn the clock back to the Getty days of fiscal liberalism.

Notley will do massive damage to us in the next few years with her attempts to make the first working socialist model. We simply cant take the chance that she may get 8 years to pursue this mad experiment.

Below is a list of smaller but still not insignificant government backed ventures that lost in that period for honorable mention.

Alberta Pacific Terminals $10 million

Alberta Terminals: $2.6million

Alberta White Wood Industries and Meunier Forest Products: $2.3 million

Alert Disaster Control: $2.6 million

Canadian Professional Munitions: $803,000

Carbovan: $5.9 million

Climate Master: $5 million

Dial Guard: $600,000

Emery Apparel Canada: $2 million

Fletchers Fine Foods: $13.9 million

General Composites Canada: $3.5 million

Myrias Research Corp: $9 million

Nanton Spring Water: $2.8 million

Norstar Recreation Products: $1 million

Northern Steel: $11 million

Peace River Fertilizer: approx $6 million

Ski Free Marine: $2.8 million

Teknica Resource Development: $1.9 million

Tomotechnology: approx: $1 million

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