Lush Cosmetics wants to shut down Alberta’s energy industry, but they still want our money.

I have to admit, I had never heard of Lush cosmetics until recently. I don’t wear a lot of makeup. 

Lush has been making the news on social media lately as Albertans have noticed that they have been actively campaigning against Alberta’s energy industry for years while still maintaining a number of outlets throughout the province. They want us to spend our oil money on their cosmetics but they want to shut down the source of the money. 

This is typical of so many of the ideologically driven. Leading by example is not a consideration while virtue signalling through the attack of important industries becomes a marketing hook. I am sure that the Alberta bashing serves them well in their Oregon and California outlets. It is galling however to think that these jerks are selling their product in our province while using us as a marketing whipping boy in order to sell their makeup elsewhere. 

Hey, their company is free to take whatever political stance they like. They are also free to set up shop wherever they like. 

Consumers are free to spend their dollars wherever they like. I most strongly suggest as this Christmas season hits that people do not give Lush cosmetics a single nickel and to seek out comparable products from companies that do not practice such destructive and insulting hypocrisy. 

A Lush rep responded to an inquiry just the other day and rest assured, they have no interest in backing off in their anti-Alberta stance one bit. 

There are a number of good local alternatives. I will list a few below and I invite any readers to add further links to companies in the comments. 

Lets save Lush Cosmetics from our dirty oil money.

Vote for choice.

Industry associations can provide great services for businesses at times. They can do research, lobbying and marketing on a scale which would be difficult for individual business owners. They can provide networking opportunities between fellow business owners and offer supports for business owners. 

That said, sometimes industry associations do not provide enough value to their members. In that case, the association has to either endeavor to provide a better product to its membership or fall by the wayside. Businesses can vote with their wallets and it is effective. 

I own a pub and café. For my industry, there used to be an association called the Alberta Restaurant and Foodservices Association. 

I say “used to be” because members of the ARFA made a choice 11 years ago to dissolve the association and give any remaining assets to the Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association. 

Clearly the association did not provide enough value to its members. Not enough restaurants felt it was worthwhile in taking part in the association and they left. 

The Hotel and Lodging Association provides little to no value to me and they are cheerleading for initiatives by Nenshi & Notley on their front page. Why on earth would I want to dedicate my scant business dollars to an association that wants to use them to campaign for politicians that I am opposed to in principle? 

Thankfully I have a choice.

Cattle producers in Alberta may not have that kind of choice soon. 

Agriculture has some heavy market controls that we are slowly but surely shedding for the benefit of all. The Wheat Board monopoly was finally ended. Supply Management is finally making the news and support for ending it is growing. 

Mandatory contributions to industry associations are fading but the associations are fighting this hard. 

Cattle producers in Alberta take part in what is called a refundable checkoff. For every animal they take to market, they must pay $4.50 towards associations. There is no choice in this but at least for some years now, a portion of these checkoffs has been refundable which allows producers a degree of choice and control in what their associations may or may not be doing on their behalf. 

The Alberta Beef Producers want to remove the refundable option of the checkoff. They want it to be mandatory for every producer in Alberta to pay into their association whether they actually support the actions of that association or not. Performance of the association would no longer matter as they would essentially have a gun to the head of producers. Producers could speak up but could not vote with their wallets as other business people can. 

There is a plebiscite being held right now where producers can vote on whether or not to embrace mandatory association dues. At least producers are getting that choice. 

Like most business people, cattle producers are busy folks. They only have so much time to take to go out and vote. 

It needs to be stressed how important this is. 

Folks who want to reduce individual freedoms in favor of state control are well versed in the frog in water method. They erode our freedoms little by little while most don’t even realize that it is happening. 

Initiatives such as this to erode or eliminate producer choice are dangerous and trend setting. Statists become ever more emboldened with every victory and we can rest assured that they will not simply stop here if they manage to take away the choice of cattle producers in participating with associations. 

Free association includes the freedom to not associate should one choose not to. 

Cattle producers can vote at Agriculture Financial Services Corporation offices or by mail until the Nov. 27 deadline.

While I am not a cattle producer, I understand how these things effect us all in the long run and in the broader picture. I ask those who have not already voted to go and cast their vote against removing the refundable nature of their provincial portion of the checkoff. 

The association will still remain and hopefully will do good work. Nothing ensures good work more effectively than giving stakeholders a choice in funding them. Once the choice is gone, we all will lose. 

Hats off to Premier Notley

OK, I am far from a fan of Rachel Notley and the NDP but I do believe in credit where it is due. 

Rachel Notley has used common sense and potentially put the brakes on what could have been one of the worst backroom screwings of taxpayers in Alberta history when she put the condition of a plebiscite on provincial funding for the 2026 bid. 

Hasn’t it seemed odd that despite years being spent on the Olympic file and millions of dollars spent, that the bid seems as if it was cobbled together on short notice? That is because it was!

Nenshi and a small gang of the city’s elites have had the 2026 Olympics in their sights for years. What a grand party they planned to have. Dozens of six figure salary positions can be created for friends while cocktail parties are held, ribbons are cut and trips are expensed to the taxpayers all in the name of working on the Olympic games. 

That grand self-serving dream came to a sudden grinding halt when the Notley government announced that they wouldn’t give Nenshi a penny for the Olympics without seeing an affirmative vote in a plebiscite in Calgary. 

Nenshi’s tantrum when this came down is rumored to be legendary. Hours were spent in secret city hall meetings hidden from taxpayer scrutiny where he alternated between raving and browbeating in hopes of finding a way to bypass taxpayer approval on what would have been his grandest personal vanity project to date. 

It was all to no avail. The taxpayers were going to have their say and Nenshi couldn’t stop it. 

Nenshi and gang had suddenly gone from arrogant and confident on their project to arrogant and desperate (the arrogance never goes away). How on earth would they cobble a plausible bid together in short order when they had done little aside from popping champagne corks in the confidence that they had pulled their project off. It was now time to scramble. 

Bidco was slapped together as a private organization funded with public dollars in order to maintain the ideal of secrecy that Nenshi embraces. Mary Moran was pulled from her file with Calgary Economic Development (an ineffective and expensive arm of city hall) and given a nearly $300,000 salary along with bonuses for a successful bid (the bonuses were removed quickly as the scandal began to break). Millions taxpayer’s dollars were poured into Bidco with no control aside from a mandate to get the Olympic games at any cost. 

The comedy errors has continued for months as Bidco screwed up essentially every part of building a viable bid. What can you expect? These people were appointed as Olympic cheerleaders. They are Olympic salespeople. They clearly have utterly no real fiscal sense or organizational skill. 

At the last possible minute, the collection of clowns released a grotesque bid plan of sorts in a desperate effort to stave off a shutdown of the bid by city council. While the majority of council wanted to stop this train wreck from proceeding, Nenshi had managed to browbeat enough members into supporting the bid and breathing a little more life into this underfunded, poorly planned monster. 

Now the decision is exactly where Nenshi never wanted it to be. The choice is in the hands of Calgarian taxpayers who will be voting this Tuesday. 

It has been stomach turning watching all city resources being directed to selling this bid to taxpayers. We will never know exactly what Bidco spent on what as Nenshi and gang purposely made it into a secret organization. I do hope that there is some sort of public audit of this after all is said and done though as I expect there are still a number of scandals hiding in there. 

Will Calgarians see through this sales job? Will they reject being force fed on an Olympic bid with their own dollars? 

We will find out in a few days. 

One thing we can say with confidence though is that this bid would have been rammed down the throats of taxpayers with utterly no consultation if Notley had not forced the Olympic gang to go directly to the taxpayers on it. 

For that, if possibly nothing else I thank you Premier Notley. 

Now get out there and vote NO on Tuesday folks. 

Lies, damn lies & Bidco

Mary Moran

Calgary has been exploring an Olympic bid now for a number of years. Millions have been spent only to have nothing aside from a skeleton of a plan along with some hopes and dreams to show for it. 

As the bid deadline approached. the city of Calgary spawned Bidco out of desperation in hopes of ramming through a bid plan that taxpayers may possibly accept. We have to thank Rachel Notley for putting a plebiscite condition on provincial funding or we can be assured that Nenshi and the usual elites would simply have pushed the bid through with little to no real discussion among Calgarians, 

Bidco was a farce from day one. The organization was purposely formed as a private but tax funded entity. The only reason for this was to ensure that they never have to disclose how they are spending funds through freedom of information requests. According to Mary Moran (head of Bidco), upwards of $10-$12 million has been spent in pursuit of the games to date. She can’t even give us a number better than a ballpark. These fiscal skills are reflected in the bid cobbled together last week. We don’t know how those funds were spent or in who’s pockets they went.  

Mary Moran used to lead Calgary Economic Development which is essentially a city hall agency. In her years there she has spent millions only to lead Calgary’s once thriving downtown to a shameful 27% vacancy rate. Chasing Amazon with chalk drawings on sidewalks didn’t do the trick but it was a hallmark CED sort of initiative. 

While most people in the private sector would be fired for such a lacklustre performance on such an important and expensive file, Moran was instead given leave to head Bidco for a salary of nearly $300,000 per year. 

The first Bidco scandal erupted within days when it was revealed that Moran would be getting bonuses for a successful bid on top of her already generous salary. Bidco quickly backtracked and removed the bonus provisions (as far as we know, we cant FOIP them). The damage was done right from the start though. It was clear that Bidco was anything but an impartial organization with the interests of Calgarians in mind. This was an group that was tasked to win the games at all costs and it sure shows today. 

Bidco lurched along from scandal, to bungle to leak for months. While millions were being spent, we seemed to be making utterly no progress towards a reasonable Olympic bid. With no deal struck while the plebiscite approached and with members of city council preparing to shut this disaster down, Bidco cobbled together a bid proposal literally on the 11th hour in order to drag this whole mess out. 

To call the proposed bid a train wreck would be generous. It was clearly hashed together with little thought or skill and the gaps and holes are numerous in the plan. 

Let’s be frank. The Calgary 2026 Olympic bid proposal is built on pure bullshit. Its hard to tell where to begin on this mess. 

Lets start with the expectation that an insurance company will provide them with $200 million in cost overrun coverage. This notion is utterly bizarre. The average games have a 156% cost overrun. Tokyo has managed to blow their games cost from a projected $7 billion to $25 billion and it is still growing. As Bidco has proven themselves incapable of organizing a ping pong match much less an Olympic games, they hardly instill confidence.

What company on earth would provide that coverage? Maybe with a $200 million dollar deductible. Unless an insurer can be shown to be providing this coverage, it has to be assumed that this $200 million portion of the current bid is simply bullshit. 

Lets have a look at venues. Canmore is proposed as the location for many of the Nordic events but it has not been secured. When asked of what will happen if Canmore falls through, Scott Hutcheson from Bidco simply said we will go somewhere else. That is fine and dandy but it will blow yet another hole in their shoestring budget. 

While Bidco is claiming that the ski jumping will be held in Whistler, it has been revealed that Bidco hasn’t even contacted the BC government on this, much less cut a deal. It will take tens of millions to build new jumps if a deal isn’t struck and when it is considered that Bidco is too inept to even contact potential hosts, I am not terribly confident that they will be able to secure an arrangement. 

Bidco has not secured a location for the curling events either. That means we can have no idea what the costs may be from renting, to building to renovating. It is a giant question mark and it again blows up their little budget. 

Speaking of the budget, part of the creative accounting used in order to make a minimal Olympic bid was to designate some $150 million that was already earmarked for development and improvement in Victoria Park as being Olympic funding. That helps make their numbers jive but doesn’t actually put a single dime into Olympic venues. This again leaves their budget in tatters. It was a band aid at best, outright book cooking at worst. 

The Olympic bid budget is acting under the assumption that the NHL would be participating in the games. With the addition of the NHL, ad revenues will grow dramatically along with higher demand for ticket sales. Unfortunately the NHL has not found it worth risking their players in the Olympics and they refused to participate in the last winter games. There is hardly any guarantee that they will participate in the 2026 games. To budget based on the participation of the NHL is utterly deceptive. 

Security is another distressingly laughable part of the Bidco “budget”. The initial proposal was already absurdly low at $610 million when it is considered that Vancouver spent nearly $1 billion on security years ago. With games presumably held at venues from Calgary to Canmore to Whistler it is impossible to believe that the security will cost less at all much less 40% so. 

But wait!!!

It gets better!! 

The luminaries at Bidco managed to shave well over $100 million in security costs from that initial $610 million estimate!

Either the games will be poorly secured or the budget will be blown. Likely both. 

In desperation Bidco has been coaxing former athletes among others to claim on social media that for every $1 spent by Calgary, Calgarians will be ten back in return! 

This 10x multiplier was immediately called out as the utter, fabricated bullshit that it is by economists and other learned folks but it still hasn’t stopped Bidco from trying to spread it. They are truly desperate. 

Would you believe somebody coming to your door selling investments on that basis? Bidco thinks you will. Strangely no other cities are rushing out to take advantage of this great deal. 

As of this writing, there are 11 days remaining before the plebiscite. While all recent polls show an utter lack of support among Calgarians for this broken bid, this can not be taken for granted. 

The appointed elite who stand to get great six figure jobs on the Olympic cocktail circuit are desperate and they are spending millions of tax dollars trying to sell their personal gravy train to Calgarians. Those in opposition to this fiasco don’t have such resources. 

The voting security is based on the honor system as apparently the City of Calgary is incapable of managing  a voter list (but they think they can manage the games). That means that people can vote multiple times and there is no way to track it. 

Many Olympic proponents have proven themselves willing to outright lie in order to get their games. I wouldn’t put voter fraud beyond many of them. 

That means that people have to make the time to get out and vote on this! Once by the way. I am reaching out to honest people. 

These games are a disaster in the making which will lead to generations in debt for what is in reality a two week party where half of the events are outside of city limits. 

Vote NO to 2026. Put this piece of trash in the dumpster where it belongs. 

Maybe things will be better for the 2030 bid. The city of Calgary and IOC both need heavy flushes before then. Until then though, this bizarre proposed bid packed with bullshit must be rejected.