Rejuvenated Alberta Party already dead in the water.

The first strategically questionable move made by the Redford era management who have taken over the Alberta Party was to push out the personable leader Greg Clark and to trigger a sudden leadership race. The next move was the choice to refuse to run a candidate in the Calgary Lougheed by-election.

The flaccid rationale for forcing a leadership race was that they needed it to create buzz and sell memberships. Isn’t that exactly what running a candidate in a high profile by-election would do too? The reality is that those who took over simply want Clark out. While leadership races do indeed create buzz and sell memberships, they are terribly expensive for the party to run and party donations dry up for months while leadership candidates tap traditional party donors for their own campaigns. Somebody like Stephen Carter already knows this of course.

By-elections tend to be good for the party. Running a campaign means regular media opportunities and ongoing activity while galvanizing volunteers and members as they participate on the ground. Profile is raised and memberships are sold as people knock on doors throughout the community. Valuable campaign experience for party members is gained in these events. Even without a win there is a clear net-benefit for a party in running in by-elections.

In an absurd release, the Alberta Party has said that they will not run in the Calgary Lougheed by-election because it is “a foregone conclusion”. 

With the logic demonstrated in this choice to deny voters a chance to vote for them in Calgary Lougheed, it only stands to reason that the Alberta Party will only run a candidate in Calgary Elbow in the general election. The party has difficulty passing the 5% support range in pretty much every other constituency in Alberta.

It is somewhat ironic that while the Alberta Party has been pushing the theme of being “A party for everyone” when that everyone apparently does not include the electors in Calgary Lougheed.

In what universe does a party only run candidates when they know they will have 100% chance of winning? The only parties that could possibly take such a bizarre stance are those that already enjoy some pretty broad popular support throughout the province. The Alberta Party certainly doesn’t enjoy that status at this time (nor will they as long as they are too callow to contest elections).

For political wonks like myself, it will be interesting to watch the strange actions of this party that is now built on a mound of sour grapes. The whole raison d’être of a political party is to run candidates in an election. I guess until the Alberta Party finds it in itself to do so, it will simply be a social club where they will reminisce about the good old days under the Redford Regime before she fell in disgrace.

So far no leadership candidates have burst on to the scene vying for the leadership of the Alberta Party. Not too shocking I guess when they so openly display electoral impotence right out of the gate.  I expect that Team Redford already has somebody they intend to anoint in the role that they forced Greg Clark to vacate last week. One has to wonder if the race will have more than one candidate running.

While the party constantly demands to be taken seriously, they seem to go out of their way to ensure that people can’t take it seriously. Greg Clark just said last weekend that he anticipates the Alberta Party will win the 2019 general election. Rather bold statement to make when they are too weak to even run a single candidate in a by-election.

It is sort of sad to watch. While never managing to set the electoral world on fire, the Alberta Party held a somewhat unique niche in our provincial list of parties. Now they seem to be determined to become little more than a footnote.

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The Alberta Party coup.

If you really believe the spin that Greg Clark willingly stepped aside from the leadership of the Alberta Party in order to help create buzz for the party, I have a bridge to sell you.

Let’s look at the facts in the matter.

With the polarization of provincial politics in Alberta, the Alberta Party may very well have found their opportunity to cut a niche for themselves on the provincial scene. Despite years of hard work, they have languished in the realm of 5% support and have never been able to quite catch the eye of Albertans. With the NDP using all of the fiscal acumen of Venezuela and with the UCP jumping head first into a social issue quagmire in Bill 24, the timing is perfect for the Alberta Party to jump into the scene and round up the people who find themselves frustrated with both the NDP and UCP. In light of this Clark decides now is a good time to resign and leave the Alberta Party leaderless for months? Bullshit.

The Alberta Party is scheduled to hold its annual general meeting in Red Deer on November 18. In something of an irony, the theme of the AGM is “A party for all of us”. I am saying this is ironic because the AGM has apparently sold out and will not accept any new attendees. Word is that the number is 396 and that was after expanding their venue once. With people paying $99 each and with such demand, it is very well possible though admittedly challenging to seek a larger venue even if a deposit is lost. If the true goal is grassroots democracy even a gymnasium will do. While VP policy of the Wildrose Party I organized an AGM at the Bearspaw Community center. It was a nightmare but with a lot of volunteer help we pulled it off. Somehow though, it is impossible to hold an AGM for the Alberta Party with more than a few hundred people.

This AGM will be important as a very important change is being proposed to the constitution of the party. 

There is a proposal to empower the provincial board with a 75% majority of attendees in a meeting to unilaterally force a leadership vote. This is a huge amount of power to bestow on a provincial board where they could bypass caucus and the membership at large in order to toss out a leader. Why the sudden need to bring about this change?

Another interesting part with this AGM is that half of the provincial board positions are up for election. These are 12 spots and there are 35 people vying for them.

With this sudden need to change the constitution coupled with this unprecedented surge of members who registered for an AGM, it simply reeks of an organized takeover.

Less than a year ago, the Alberta Party had less than 400 members in total according to their financials. Now they have more than 400 who want to pay $99 and go to Red Deer to attend an AGM? Astounding indeed.

The tiny membership base made the Alberta Party ripe for a takeover. While it still is no small task to gather a few hundred dedicated folks, it certainly is doable. Hell, Jason Kenney can pull that many to a simple town hall meeting. With the combined effort of politically homeless Redford era PCs working under a PAC such as Alberta Together, such a coup isn’t all that tough to pull off.

The influx of new and experienced faces must have looked great to the original Alberta Party organizers initially. Alas, the Alberta Party has always been the party of nice guys and they really weren’t prepared to handle the way the old PC organizers do things. They don’t pull punches and they don’t play nice. It wasn’t long before the party was dominated.

While bright and personable, Greg Clark was spinning his wheels provincially. The Mr. Rogers approach while appreciated, tends to leave one sitting on the sidelines as pressing issues come and go. The Redford refugees could not abide by that approach any longer. One of the most immediately evident signs of the new blood has been in the attitude of party communications as can be seen below.

While I am not all opposed to rough play in political communications, it sure is a change in tone from the party.

As a side note, I am not sure if the Alberta Party really wants to get into labeling other parties based on the actions of lone candidates. We would be forced to keep bringing up how the Alberta Party had not one but two different fellows who were charged as pedophiles run for them. One of them even ran in their last leadership race. They were Troy Millington and Terry Lo . 

Despite his best efforts, Greg Clark simply did not fit the mold for what the old Redford gang wanted to see. Clark is a nice guy, but he is no fool. Clark resigned rather than being forced out when he could see the writing on the wall. Being nice, he took one for the team and continues to do so.

Anybody in politics knows that when you want to release something bad, you do it on a Friday afternoon in hopes that it gets forgotten and lost from the news cycle over the weekend. If it is something really bad, you do it on the Friday before a long weekend. You can rest assured, if Clark was pumped and happy about his resignation and looked at it as a great rejuvenating move for his party he would not have meekly put it out there on a Facebook post on the Friday afternoon before Remembrance Day.

Clearly the new team taking the reins of the Alberta Party has a person or two in mind for the coming leadership. We likely will see hints at the AGM next week if not open campaigning already. The proposed campaign period is not terribly long by leadership standards. If they really wanted to build the party through a leadership race, they would have a long campaign period where they would solicit a large number of candidates. This is rushed as they don’t want to actually compete something.

Its too bad that the AGM is so full to the rafters. I would have been happy to spend the fee just to attend and watch the fireworks from the floor.

A sad end for a party that tried to do things the nice way.

 

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The new face of the Redford Progressives

Did you really think that the old operators who ran the Redford Progressive Conservative Party into the ground were going to sit on their hands forever? Of course not.

The likes of Thomas Lukaszuk won’t be forever satisfied just beaking from the political sidelines as he has been doing for the last couple years.

Stephen Carter has been homeless as a partisan operator since Sandra Jansen decided that a leadership run for the PCs was simply too tough to manage and subsequently fled to the NDP to finish out her final term in politics. You know he has been chomping on the bit for a new party project.

To their credit, Troy Wason and Katherine O’neill waited until the end of the last PC leadership race before heading for the political hinterland.

The old Redford guard naturally found themselves drawn to the only partisan bridge that they hadn’t burned yet with the Alberta Party. They needed a new home and with its mushy mix of self proclaimed “centrist” principles, the party was ready to be molded into whatever a person in control wanted to make it into.

It really wasn’t hard to dominate the Alberta Party. Despite their having a seat and having made a relatively decent splash for their size, their membership was tiny along with their management team. If the financials are to be believed, the Alberta Party had less than 400 members at the end of 2016. Perhaps more if some had purchased multi-year memberships in prior years but there really was not much of a base. The strength of the party executive is always a reflection of the member base.

A handful of determined, experienced operatives suddenly entered the Alberta Party scene and they brought all of the principles that they used to practice within the Redford Regime with them. The small, well meaning and idealistic group who ran the Alberta Party never had a chance.

The Redford refugees faced one obstacle however. The one shining point of strength within the Alberta Party was its congenial and bright leader, Greg Clark. While Clark made great inroads in his own constituency, he simply couldn’t break out from his niche and the Alberta Party remained in its moribund state of low poll numbers, funds and membership levels.

According to Don Braid with the Calgary Herald, Alberta Party executive meetings were held where the discussion point was on how to change the rules in order to force a leadership race. As pressure mounted, Greg Clark resigned as leader rather than finding himself forced out of his role.

Nice guys do finish last.

Ever the team player, Greg Clark refuses to lob bombs back at the party though he surely must be feeling pretty used. Clark even kindly did his resignation on a Friday afternoon in hopes of keeping it out of the larger news cycle. While Clark and others are trying to claim he is doing this to create buzz for the party, the timing puts lie to this. It would have been a Monday morning release in that case and would be much more than a quick resignation.

Surely Team Redford has a candidate or two in mind to lead the new incarnation of their old PC  party. These kind of backroom operatives won’t open a party void without a plan to fill it. It will be interesting to see who pops out of the woodwork in the pending Alberta Party AGM. It will be even more interesting to see who is backing the aspiring leaders.

Its ironic that Kenney is so often accused of wanting to turn the provincial clock back when we see such an organized movement trying to bring about the return of the disgraced Redford Regime.

A sad end for a party and its leader that tried so hard to do politics the nice way.

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Let this one go.

I get it. I know. Bill 24 is a crass action on the part of the Notley government to create a wedge issue and to distract from her horrific fiscal management in Alberta. I understand that Notley is using children as a tool to try and preserve her inept government’s power in Alberta. Bill 24 is a solution looking for a problem.   GSAs have been here for years now and there has been no crisis of children being “outed” by schools. Bill 24 is modeled to label even people who have rational concerns about the wording has being terrible bigots even when its terribly unfair.

I get it!

All the above being said, we have to let this one go. Bill 24 was created for purely political purposes for the advantage of the NDP party and its working like a charm!

Alberta’s unemployment rate remains mired in the shitter. Our deficits and growing debt are nothing less than appalling. We have become a pariah as far as international investment is concerned as we watch an increasing number of multinational companies divest themselves from this socialist run government that tried and failed to tax us into getting outward bound pipelines. It will take generations to fix the damned mess the NDP are creating.

Are we hearing anything about the above issues right now though?

No!

The news is dominated by what is really actually a minor social issue and policy. The legislature sits precious few days as it is and the debate is all focused on Bill 24 while so many other issues are withering away on the wayside and out of the public eye. This just isn’t worth it.

Tension is growing within the United Conservative Party caucus over this too. We are a newly created party and need to form solid bonds within the leadership, membership and caucus. This is pretty damned tough to do when the legislative session is immersed in this hornet’s nest of a bill.

I used the picture of Notley laughing because that is exactly what she is doing today. The NDP had been on the ropes for months. The reek of fear and desperation from them was palpable in every hysteric tweet and news release. The UCP was taking Alberta by storm and the future of the NDP looked pretty damned bleak. The only possible out for Notley was for the UCP to mire itself in a no-win social issue. Well, the UCP jumped right into that issue in the first week of the first session of the legislature that they came to as a new party and Notley is giggling herself to sleep over it.

We need to pick our battles and this hill simply isn’t worth dying on.

Attempted amendments came today and they were of course shot down. That effort showed at least a little cooperativeness and bending by the UCP. Better late than never.

We know that the NDP will not grant the UCP a victory so small as an amendment changing the placement of a comma within the legislation. Send out a few more good proposals and then let it go guys.

Vote for the damned bill and get on with important business.

I know that Notley will find some other social issue to dump in front of the legislature in the next session. This tactic won’t stop simply because the UCP capitulated on this one. That said, if Bill 24 is the toughest social legislation that Notley could find to toss in front of the nascent UCP, I don’t think we need to worry much. She will have to really stretch for the next one and the electorate will tire of her constant pulling of the social issue fire alarm.

The UCP needs to dominate the agenda in the next couple years and they will never be able to do so if they are constantly bogged down in these kinds of issues.

If (and this is a big if) Bill 24 somehow is found to cause damage in the next couple years, the UCP can address it when they have a majority government in a couple years. If they insist on jumping in neck deep every time Notley tosses a social issue at them though, we won’t see an end to the accidental Notley Regime and by the time the next general election rolls around the great grandchildren of our grandchildren will be in debt. Its just not worth it.

Let this one go.

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It’s OK to be white. Brilliant trolling by 4chan exposes just how insane identity politics have become.

4chan is a large and well established message board on the net. It has been around since 2003 and is something of a free speech, wild west online. It has spawned countless memes ranging from light chuckles to the most tasteless of images. It can be a place for simplistic juvenile chatter or deeper political debate and everything in between. It has a large following and their actions can and have had impact outside of the realm of internet antics.

Identity politics and political correctness have gone beyond absurd in the developed world. People lost in the social justice warrior culture either have found an orientation, lifestyle choice (including religions) or ethnicity that they will fully identify by and will of course then play the victim of big bad society at every possible opportunity. Those who can’t find a niche in order to play the victim game get even more repugnant as they become self-loathing of their own race and apologize for being white along with demanding that others do so too. They are locked into and immersed within a sick world where they feel that a debt is owed to society by all who have been considered to have been born with their perception of racial privilege.

While this sounds exaggerated to people who live within the real world, this malady of thought is epidemic on university campuses and a 4chan stunt exposed this in all its repulsive glory.

Plans were made on the forums to encourage students in universities to go out on Halloween in costume (to avoid the inevitable efforts to prosecute) and to paste flyers and stickers throughout the campuses that held the simple statement: “It’s OK to be white.”.

4chan never made a secret that this was to be a mass trolling. In their own discussions it was said “The next morning, the media goes completely berserk” and “Credibility of far-left campuses and media gets nuked”. You would think that such open and blatant trolling plans would inoculate media and campuses to this but it clearly didn’t.

The 4chan stunt was a spectacular success as hysteria erupted in spots all over North America as idiotic snowflakes exploded upon seeing these ghastly signs greeting them on November 1. Can you just imagine the horror? Akin to openly organizing the KKK at the least!

Police were actually called in Boston and other locations. Is is actually fucking illegal just to say it’s OK to be white?

We are not talking about saying being white is superior to any race. Nobody is saying any race is inferior. Hell, the word pride isn’t even involved. All that is being said is that it’s OK and some crazy social justice warriors truly believe that in saying that, a person should be criminally charged.

Alberta is not immune and was not left out. These stickers popped up at the University of Alberta and the authorities there went predictably haywire. In their statement they said: “We are working with University of Alberta Protective Services to find the parties responsible.”

Then what assholes? Will you try to have these people charged? Will you have them expelled?

This is our tax dollars at work folks. Our institutions of higher learning.

Bed wetting pussies who go fetal in fear and rage at the simple concept that it may be OK to be white.

Thank you 4chan for helping to expose just how bad things are getting in the bizarro world of social justice.

Clutching pearls and whining about harmless statements is one thing, calling for criminal sanction and expulsion from universities is another. These idiot social justice warriors are getting out of control and are causing real damage. It is past time that folks started pushing back on these insane, identity politics before we become a society even more fragmented and hate filled than we already are.

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Are we in a confederation or not?

con·fed·er·a·tion:

noun
  1. an organization that consists of a number of parties or groups united in an alliance or league.

Canada is referred to as a confederation. As regions and provinces, we agreed to and came together under a common constitution under the understanding that membership in this confederation was to be of benefit to all of us as a whole.

One of the most important aspects of our confederation is the ability to move our people and goods unfettered from coast to coast. If we allow municipal or provincial jurisdictions to hinder the movement of goods and people, we will then become a loose collection of nation states. What benefit is there for a province to remain in confederation if inter-provincial barriers are as onerous or worse than international ones?

Our founding fathers knew this. That is why they entrenched the authority to govern interprovincial trade within our constitution. It is pretty straightforward and doesn’t take a constitutional lawyer to translate and interpret things.

Section 91 of the constitution lays out what lands under federal authority and part two of that section reads:

2.
The Regulation of Trade and Commerce

I quoted it to show just how clear this constitutional authority is. There is utterly no question that the regulation trade and commerce is under federal authority. No ambiguity.

Next is section 121 of the constitution which is also very clear:

121. All Articles of the Growth, Produce, or Manufacture of any one of the Provinces shall, from and after the Union, be admitted free into each of the other Provinces

The constitution makes it clear that the federal government has both the authority and the obligation to ensure the free trade and movement of goods between the provinces.

In looking at recent and current issues with inter-provincial pipeline projects, it is clear that perhaps Trudeau understands that he has the authority to ensure the free trade of goods but he apparently doesn’t understand the obligation to enforce that authority when required.

The National Energy Board is a federal creation. While we would not want to see constant federal intervention in NEB activities, the NEB gets its mandate from and ultimately answers to the feds. In caving to activists supported by provincial and municipal politicians, the NEB has essentially neutered itself as an authority on pipeline approvals. In tossing out an entire committee due to what really were some weak activist complaints and in entrenching the absurd requirement to take upstream & downstream emissions into account with pipeline approvals, the NEB killed the Energy East line through unreasonable regulation. This will have a chilling effect on future and current pipeline applications unless we see something drastically change. The Transmountain pipeline has been delayed yet again and it is looking very likely that it will be killed by the application process soon. This is where the federal government needs to take control and assert their authority.

The inaction from Ottawa on these pipelines is purely political. Trudeau is terrified of antagonizing Quebec politicians such as Denis Coderre and Philippe Couillard for fear of losing seats in la belle province. The same can be said in BC where the mayors of Burnaby, Vancouver and the Premier of the province are all lined up in opposition to the Transmountain expansion. None of these municipal or provincial politicians have any authority to hinder these projects but unless Trudeau begins to exercise his federal authority in these affairs, local opposition will continue to delay or halt these essential Canadian projects.

We can rest assured that provincial politicians in favor of pipelines will become more bold as frustration with Trudeau’s impotence on the issue grows. We can look forward to trade wars as Premiers use regulation to punish neighboring provinces for hindering development. While turning off the oil taps to Vancouver for a week could be effective in gaining support for infrastructure expansion, the support would be grudging and consumers as always would ultimately pay the price. Nobody would come out happy from such a trade war.

If provinces are forced to go toe to toe all the time on trade issues such as this, it is inevitable that people will start asking themselves what the point is in being within a confederation? As the price of consumer goods rise and unemployment skyrockets due to cancelled projects, those voices will gain strength.

Nostalgia and emotion will only carry a person so far if they can’t get food on the tables. People need to see a real, tangible benefit in being within confederation and the free trade of goods provides that. That benefit is quickly vanishing due callow inaction from our federal government and the long term costs to our entire nation could be exceedingly high.

As long as our constitution is not being enforced, we are only a confederation in name only. If inaction continues, perhaps real movements will begin move provinces out from even that nominal presence within confederation. Lets hope it doesn’t come to that.

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Notley NDP working to reduce housing options in Alberta.

I guess it shouldn’t be too surprising to see the NDP targeting landlords with their latest legislation. Landlords represent everything socialists despise. Landlords have worked hard, acquired property and are trying to become more prosperous through using the property that they own.

Property. Work. Profit. All evil in the eyes of the hard left accidental government of Alberta.

Like socialism itself, rent controls are a proven failure that leftists try over and over and over again with invariably negative outcomes. The only reason that the Notley NDP isn’t going down the rent control road right now is that there is a surplus of rental property available in our moribund economy and rents are dropping naturally. Since rent control isn’t on the table right now, the next best thing for socialists is regulation.

The Notley NDP plans to table legislation making it illegal for property owners to have adult only rental properties. Landlords will be forced to rent to families and you can rest assured that undesirable tenants will use the threat of age discrimination in order to force their way into rental properties that they normally would never have qualified for.

Who cares about property rights? How dare the owner of a property get to choose who may actually reside within that property? Those monsters!

Our legislation is already so tenant heavy in the allocation of rights that literal absurdities are happening.

In Cardston, a man is squatting in a shed rent free on a driveway of a home. It is his ex-girlfriend who had the lease and this bum hasn’t paid a dime. Despite this, the landlord can’t evict this parasite and has to go through a drawn out court action at great expense. It is outright insane and this sort of story is happening to varying degrees on rental properties throughout the province. 

These regulations will have the same inevitable effect that rent controls do. They will lead to a reduction in available rental properties as it becomes increasingly unviable to invest in these kinds of properties. As landlords flee the rental market and development of rental properties slump, a rental crunch ensues. Then renters find themselves more screwed than ever as rents skyrocket (that supply & demand concept that continues to elude the left).

The next response from leftist governments when private enterprise flees a market is predictable as well. The government will take on the role of providing housing.

Government housing around the world is invariably shitty. If you want bureaucratically run slums, this is the way to do it. Ghettos are created while the productive flee ever more deeply into the suburbs. Thankfully, our accidental government wont be in power long enough to get to that end but it will take some doing to undo this damage and this assault on property owners.

Plenty of landlords willingly rent to families. Some, however choose not do. They should be allowed to. It is their own damned property after all. Supply and demand will ensure that enough housing is available for all demographics in the long run if government will keep its meddling hands out of the market. Alas, that is contrary to the nature of the Notley NDP and the damage will be done.

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