Somebody is going to get killed soon

At 1 AM last Monday a gang of thieves broke into my pub.

They were there for seven minutes. Got away with perhaps $1,600 worth of cash and liquor but did around $4,000 in damage. The morons stole Redbull and Sourpuss while leaving the scotches behind. We are not talking about polished criminals here.

They smashed out all of my cameras and stole every bit of electronics that could be found within the place including the box which held the video data (we of course have cloud storage now).

They tied a tow rope around my ATM and tried to yank it out of the place with a truck. They failed. They then fled when the floodlights came on. Video from my neighbor’s camera caught them leaving in their truck. It was three men and a woman.

Undeterred by their experience at my pub, these losers then traveled to Bragg Creek where they attempted to break in to the Powderhorn Saloon. They failed to get in but damaged the back door and camera of course as can be seen below.

After the Powderhorn attempt, the thieves went to Rockies Tavern and Grill in the same mall. They did manage to gain entry and as with my pub, they did massive damage along with stealing a small amount of cash and liquor.

As if all of these bold efforts were not enough, these thieves returned two nights later and did it again!

They attempted to gain entry into the Powderhorn Saloon through the front window this time. They smashed glass but didn’t get in.

They then went to Rockies Tavern and Grill again and managed to steal a few more things along with doing more damage.

Having destroyed the security systems the night prior, they knew they would not be noticed.

They skipped my pub on the second round. Likely due to their initial close call.

In rural Alberta for households and businesses this kind of story is getting all too common. Criminals emboldened by a weak justice system and an overloaded police system are increasingly robbing citizens blind and people are getting more than a little fed up.

The gang who hit the pubs last week were typical. They are desperate (likely addicts), stupid and dangerous in their stupidity and desperation. If and when a business owner or homeowner confronts these guys, it is going to be an ugly scene for somebody.

To their credit, the local RCMP are taking this very seriously and they are working hard to catch this bunch. They know how dangerous this is becoming. They have a lot of square miles to cover however and limited resources. Meanwhile a home is broken into almost daily in the MD of Foothills. Thieves are hitting rural properties day and night out here.

There is only so much we can do. We have security systems but with an average police response time of 40 minutes, they are of limited value.

We secure our items. We put up bars and gates. When thieves use winches on stolen trucks to tear things down though, these deterrents become useless.

I have listened to urban folks at times saying “Its just stuff. Let it go!”.

Its not just “stuff”. These are items that we worked and paid for. These are the tools of our trades. These are items with sentimental value. We can’t and won’t just “let it go”.

Insurance companies are beginning to refuse coverage to some rural residents because they have been hit too many times by thieves. As a business owner, I have to either pay a fortune in premiums or carry a very large deductible in order to remain in business while being insured.

We can’t just let our property continue to be stolen.

The state can’t protect us and our items and we are going to protect ourselves no matter how many times we are told not to so lets start modelling policy to reflect that reality.

Rural crime is a complex and growing issue. Contributing factors include the addiction epidemic, aboriginal issues, modern means of fencing stolen goods and the removal of the ability for citizens to defend themselves and their property.

All of those issues need to be addressed if we want to see a reduction in rural crime.

The Kenney government is taking rural crime seriously. I was impressed when I went to see Miranda Rosin and Doug Schweitzer speak in our area. Schweitzer understands that as an urban dweller that he needs to learn what we are dealing with and he is making the effort. The questionnaire given to us hits the right buttons as well where there is room for improvement.

All of the above measures will help. It will take time before these kind of measures make an impact on the crime rates.

The addition of thousands of new addiction treatment beds was welcome as well.

Castle laws would help. Whether they exist formally you can rest assured that such laws exist in our minds and moral codes out here so we may as well enshrine them.

Crime is an issue everywhere but in rural areas the risk is more acute.

We feel vulnerable and victimized. We are running out of options. We would rather not confront criminals but we know that unless we do so, the criminals will have our way with us.

My pub is only one minute from my home. If the alarm goes off again you can bet that I will respond in person. I am not a trained law enforcement type so my measure of force may not be well judged. I will put the safety of my person and protection of my property ahead of the safety of criminals and it may end very poorly for somebody.

Rest assured that rural residents and business owners are thinking the same way.

We need to act on this rural crime issue and we need to do so fast.

Tensions are high out here and unless some changes happen soon, we are going to see tragedy occur. It is not a matter of if somebody gets killed. It will be a matter of when.

Time to kill the health care sacred cow.

The support for the Canadian health care system is almost cult like.

I grew up being taught that Canada has the best health care system on the planet. This mantra was repeated by teachers, politicians, union heads and news organizations.

Canada’s State Broadcaster even named Tommy Douglas as our greatest Canadian in 2004 after a short game show style reality series.

The problem is that its all bullshit.

When it comes to health outcomes Canada is not at the top. When it comes to value for health care dollars, Canada is not at the top. If we are not at or even near the top by those two measures, we have no damn place claiming that we are at the top.

By the way, I don’t give a shit about the American system. I won’t play into that hysteric narrative which limits discussion on health care to two systems.

There are dozens of systems out there with universal coverage for citizens and many of them spend less than we do while seeing better outcomes than we do. To be frank, we are being idiots for refusing to look to other systems to see how we can improve ours.

People are literally dying on waiting lists while we run record deficits at all levels of government. Something has to change.

So what is keeping us from pursuing health care reform? Why is ideology more important than outcomes when it comes to health care in Canada?

Our leadership needs to find the courage and will to address the biggest elephant in the room when it comes to health care reform. That elephant is unions.

Unions don’t give a rats ass about patients, taxpayers or health outcomes despite what they may claim. Unions exist for the benefit of their membership and the growth of the union. Nothing more.

Canada’s bloated and inefficient health system status quo benefits public service and health care unions greatly. When we have turned our system into a religion where the only actions a government is allowed to do is toss more money into it while refusing to pursue accountability, we have created a union paradise.

Health care spending has been exploding over the past few decades while waiting lists grow. This pattern is simply unsustainable.

We need challenge the Canada health act. We need to examine practices and seek efficiencies and we need to get the spending under control.

The unions will go haywire when we try any of those necessary measures. A parasite is never more tenacious than when it is being removed.

Jason Kenney is well aware of how tough this battle will be. That is why while he campaigned on fiscal austerity, he still committed to maintaining health spending. That won’t work for long. Health care is simply too big a spending item while our debt continues to grow.

We need to expose and pick at what the unions don’t like to talk about. Aside from the terrible inefficiency of the system, we are paying most of those within it too damn much.

While Alberta has languished in a prolonged recession with citizens taking pay cuts or being laid off, health care workers in Alberta remained the highest paid in the nation for the most part.

Franco Terrazzano with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation put out a report on Alberta health care salaries and benefits here. It is well worth the read.

The differential is striking. If we could just bring compensation for health care workers to the national average we could save hundreds of millions if not billions.

I am not talking about draconian wage cuts here. I am talking about simply bringing our workers in line with the rest of the country.

Doctors are no exception either. $900 million per year could be saved by bringing their compensation in line.

We can’t simply jump into the system with an axe and start cutting wages for nurses and doctors. There are contracts in play and we don’t want to be losing too many workers at once.

It is long past time that we recognized that we are paying too much for health care labor though and began talking about how to bring that in line. The conversation has to begin.

A good showdown with the labor unions will help us all in the long run. They are keeping us from innovating and they are simply costing us too much. We can’t let this organized labor tail keep wagging our health care dog any longer. It is simply too important.

We need to break the two myths which the unions are desperately trying to maintain. The myth that our health care system is perfect and the myth that our health care system is sacred. With those myths broken we will finally be able to seek out the health care changes and innovations which other nations enjoy.

End corporate welfare

There aren’t many issues which can unify left minded and right minded people but corporate welfare is one of them.

All three levels of government participate in corporate welfare and it is an economically destructive practice in all cases .

Businesses, particularly small ones in Alberta have been having a tough go of things for years now. Taxes and expenses rise while sales remain flaccid.

To add insult to injury for beleaguered small businesses, the governments who tax and regulate the crap out of them are taking their money and handing it out to other businesses.

We are literally bleeding our successful and hardworking entrepreneurs in order to give welfare to connected business people who apparently can’t manage to run a business without being subsidized. It is ridiculous and harms our whole business environment.

Governments get drawn into corporate welfare for a number of reasons. They toss money at unviable industries based on ideology at times, based on cronyism, in order to buy short term labor peace and in order to buy the electoral love of some regions. None of these reasons justify robbing the successful to pay off the undeserving.

We are entering a period of austerity. Government spending will be cut provincially soon. Federally and municipally the cuts are inevitable as overspending continues.

One of the easiest ways to cut government spending is to cut their corporate handouts but we will need to speak up and tell government to cut it out! If we remain silent, they will continue to rob us.

Ottawa pisses untold billions into Quebec companies such as Bombardier, Calgary taxes businesses right out of the city while handing $100 million to “Calgary Economic Development” so they may hand out grants to cronies and Alberta is continuing the welfare game with handouts such as the recent $10 million given to McRock Capital.

This has to stop!

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is sending an open letter to the Province of Alberta on behalf of businesses calling for an end to corporate welfare. We have thousands of businesses in Alberta working hard to pay taxes only to have those funds handed out to others. They need to speak up if they want to stop being milked like this.

Again though, unless we speak up the government simply won’t stop. Click on this link to sign the petition. Send the link to other business owners. Those dollars will do more for small businesses and Albertans at large when they are left in our own pockets.

We can’t afford to keep remaining silent on this.

Nine extremists emasculate entire Edmonton police force.

It really must be humiliating to be a law enforcement officer these days. You feel a calling, you take the training and then find yourself relegated to a role in life as a speeding ticket writer and traffic control officer for illegal protesters while innocent commuters lose hours of their lives due to traffic blockages.

This morning in Edmonton, nine or so extremists held hands across a major bridge in a protest and snarled commuters for hours.

It would have taken a few police officers a matter of minutes to move these idiots off the bridge and charge them. Instead, police acted like the personal security service for the protesters and protected them from infuriated, taxpaying commuters.

Click here to watch the video. It is pathetic as a clearly completely powerless police officer works to ensure that nobody interferes with the illegal protest. You can feel the rage building from the countless people locked in a standstill while a handful of losers holds them hostage.

These giggling assholes won today. They held up thousands of people for hours with impunity. Rest assured they will do it again.

What if an ambulance couldn’t get through? What if there was a medical emergency in the backed up traffic? How many people lost hours of work? Did any people potentially lose their jobs? Not every employer is sympathetic with excuses for being late.

These blockades are not a minor thing. They are illegal and we need to enforce the damned law.

Its not surprising to see these protests escalating as our cowardly authorities refuse to enforce the law.

Hell, even after putting first responders in danger in Vancouver as they dangled from a bridge and forced a high level rescue at costs of untold thousands of dollars, Greenpeace extremists never even got a slap on the wrist.

Seriously, what the hell is the point of the law and the point of the people tasked with enforcing it if they can’t even deal with a problem this cut and dry and simple?

Perhaps they should just stick to speeding tickets and doughnut eating and let the public clear the roadways themselves. It would be more effective.

I can’t wait to see the next blockage and rest assured it is coming soon.