Oh I know you wouldn’t know it with the way the Mayor and most of city council are acting. They continue to spend like drunken sailors and just rammed a 7.5% tax increase through on citizens a few months ago. Apparently they think that some magical money fairy is going to appear and save the city from the economic devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic and that collapse of the Alberta energy sector.
The “Green Line” is an ambitious pie-in-the-sky transit project which came into being back in the days when Calgary’s downtown was still nearly full of active businesses and city hall was still spoiled with an excess of riches due to taxing the hell out of oil company head offices. It would build a new train line from the deep reaches of North Calgary and Southeast Calgary to bring commuters in and out of downtown.
The project has been a gong show since day one. Projections and numbers bounce all over the map as plans are constantly revised. The city blew the planned budget for the line right out of the water years ago. In response to that embarrassment, they simply drastically cut the size of the proposal to a fraction of what it had been and then pretended that they had stayed within budget.
The Green Line was supposed to cost $4.5 billion for 46 kilometres of line but it was suddenly cut to a 20 kilometre route with a $4.6 billion dollar price tag.
Aside from the clearly inept planning and budgeting for this line, one has to look at the need.
Calgary’s downtown was already sitting at a 30 percent commercial vacancy rate due to the energy slump and massive tax rates from the city. With oil at record lows along with fallout from the pandemic lockdown, that vacancy will likely swell into the range of 50 percent.
Why the hell should the city spend nearly $5 billion dollars to provide increased transit service to a dead downtown????
The whole world is moving into a period of austerity due to pandemic reactions. Governments on all levels need to curb spending and prioritize where they will spend their scarce tax dollars. Spending billions on a train line to nowhere is about as dumb as it gets. Unfortunately, many on Calgary’s city council see the Green Line as a personal vanity project and don’t want to let it go no matter how unviable it clearly is.
They would rather bankrupt the next generation than curb a project that they wanted to be able to brag to their grandchildren about.
Right now the city is looking at a $250 million budget shortfall. $89 million of that is coming from city transit because they are running well below capacity. Why the hell should we be looking at spending billions to increase that capacity? I know it will be going up post pandemic but clearly the city doesn’t need to be expanding it at this time.
There are many areas where the city needs trimming from the Mayor’s twin pension plans to the giant corporate welfare slush fund that they are sitting upon. All of these areas need spending cuts and possible eliminations.
A giant white elephant in the room though is the Green Line.
The city of Calgary will barely be able to maintain police and fire services while keeping our roads operational. It is nothing less than foolhardy to carry on with such a giant and unnecessary project as the Green Line at this time.
Unfortunately, Calgary’s city council is dominated by fools at this time.
Bureaucrats are constantly creating solutions looking for problems and this is one of the most disgusting ones I have ever seen.
Elderly folks are scared and lonely enough as it is during this pandemic. It is unimaginably heartless to steal this pleasure which was the high point for many of them through the week.
Senior civil servants and bureaucrats are often the same kids who used to be hall monitors at school. They puff up with the slightest amount of authority and get off on pushing it upon people at every possible opportunity.
The pandemic is not out of control but the assholes in power sure are.
The fools responsible for this cruel requirement should be fired and banned from any and all positions of authority for life. It is a repugnant and pointless exercise of power for utterly no good reason.
This will only get worse as these pointy headed fools get even more heady with their perceived power over the actions and happiness of fellow citizens.
With so many ridiculous regulations in panicked response to the coronavirus it is tough to find the dumbest but the provincial ban on singing has to be one of the dumbest.
Its bad enough that we remain in an economy crushing lockdown despite government modelling having proven to be utter bunk which overstated the risks of the pandemic, the pointy headed bureaucrats seem bound and determined to churn out ridiculous and pedantic regulations designed to suck any possible fun out of life.
Can we get policy based on real risk for a change?
How about this:
Government bureaucrats should not be able to ban any activity unless they can clearly show real world examples on how that activity actually spread transmission of the virus. Is that really too much to ask>
Have we ever heard of virus transmissions due to people singing together? Is it really happening? Is it really a risk?
I am not talking about concerts or large religious gatherings.
The Alberta government ban on singing applies to groups of less than 15 people who are still staying 2 meters apart. That means a husband and wife who sing together in their own yard are technically breaking the law.
Too absurd to be true?
Read it yourself.
It will not make it any easier to get the public to comply with reasonable regulations if the government keeps creating ridiculous regulations.
Every day it becomes more and more evident that while the pandemic is indeed dire, the state reactions to it have been grossly overblown.
Banning singing among small groups of friends is a rather start demonstration of how absurd government can be and how eager they are to overreach in order to control our every action.
Ever since Sweden announced in mid-March that they would be breaking ranks from their European counterparts and would not impose draconian social-distancing regulations upon their populace, doomsayers have been shrilly predicting Sweden’s demise.
“How dare those fair haired Ikea hucksters try something different!”
“Surely they will die by the hundreds of thousands and infect their neighbors while they are at it!”
“Sweden’s medical system shall surely be overwhelmed within weeks!!!”
Much to what appears to be the disappointment of the pandemic-panic crowd, none of the dire projections about Sweden came to pass.
Its not like they did utterly nothing in Sweden. Large gatherings were stopped and people voluntarily stayed home when they could. Schools and most importantly, businesses stayed open.
Emergency hospitals were created in Sweden and preparations were made. Those hospitals were never used and are now being closed. People are already getting on with their lives in Sweden.
“Expert” pandemic modelling has proven to be utter bunk around the world and it has grossly overstated the risk and impact of COVID-19 around the world.
In my area, “experts” predicted thousands of hospitalizations and hundreds of ICU patients as a best case scenario by the end of April. The worst case scenarios called for hospitals to be overwhelmed with thousands of ICU cases and tens of thousands of deaths. Right now we have about 19 people in ICU and just over a hundred in hospital. Let’s face it, the projections were crap.
Defenders of quarantining the the healthy with draconian lockdowns doggedly chirp “The low numbers mean that the lockdown is working!”
They seem to forget that the dire numbers projected were taking into account the lockdown.
What these panic-porn aficionados hate the most though is those damn dirty Swedes!
Why? Because Sweden puts lie to their whole narrative that the lockdown is the only thing between us and mass deaths and mayhem due to the pandemic.
Sure we can play with data and point to how Norway has less deaths per million than Sweden. We can also point to Denmark which has far more deaths per million than Sweden despite Denmark locking down.
The bottom line is that Sweden lands pretty much in the middle of the world pack when it comes to pandemic deaths. Not the best nation but not the worst by a long shot.
If the hysterical projections from a month ago were to be believed, Sweden should far and away be the most infected nation on the planet.
Why do the apocalyptic panic mongers not want to examine Sweden and learn? Why would they still try to demonize the nation and pick holes in their success? Sadly and disturbingly, many people would actually see the virus cause mass devastation around the world than simply accept that their panic was unfounded and their reaction overblown.
There are still a lot of factors with this virus that the world is learning. One trend which is stark is that it tends to hit strongest in communities with high population density and immigrant populations. For both cultural and fiscal reasons, new immigrants often tend to pack themselves tightly into living quarters as they get settled into a new nation. They can’t be blamed. It only makes sense.
Here in Alberta, the vast majority of our virus deaths have come in care centers. What few people like to point out is that the bulk of the staff in those centers are new Canadians.
Meat packing plants have seen outbreaks here now too. It appears that it may not be the plants themselves which are the cause as it is the factor that most plant employees are new Canadians.
I understand the reticence on some to point this out as they fear a backlash against immigrants. I fear that as well. Immigrants are always historically the targets of hostility when nations come under pressures. We don’t need people turning unfairly on our new Canadians and they sure don’t deserve that.
We can’t simply overlook that factor when looking at where and how we control this virus. We need testing, targeting and quarantining of the sick and the high risk. That means taking an unvarnished look at where the risks are highest and where outbreaks are most likely to be happening.
Meanwhile, we can start getting rolling in opening up our economy. As long as those damn dirty Swedes don’t suddenly start dying like flies (they won’t), we can rest easy as we work to bring our world back to some sense of normalcy.
We shouldn’t be trying to tear down Sweden. We should be thanking them and emulating them. They took a chance and ignored the “experts” and it paid off.
Michael Moore’s documentary, “Planet of the Humans” has turned the modern environmental movement on it’s head. In exposing and eviscerating the folly of the “alternative” energy movement, the piece is surely causing some sleepless nights for many who had been making a comfortable living in the heavily subsidized and utterly unsustainable world of large-scale solar, wind and biomass energy generation.
Written and narrated by Jeff Gibbs, “Planet of the Humans” doesn’t actually expose anything new about the renewable energy world. Conservative sources have been pointing out the inherent flaws in attempts to convert the world to solar and wind energy sources for decades. What makes this film explosive is that is was produced and written by a couple of the most unapologetic left wingers on the planet. The “green” left has been caught flat footed as a pair of their staunchest allies has completely torn their agenda to force “renewable” energy sources upon the world to the ground..
Make no mistake. Moore and Gibbs have hardly had some epiphany and conversion to capitalism. If anything it is their loathing of capitalism which drew them to create “Planet of the Humans” as the profiteering happening through “renewable” energy schemes was simply too galling for them to watch any longer.
Gibbs makes it clear in his piece that he still sees humanity as a scourge upon the planet and how our unbridled population growth will surely destroy it. It is a pretty defeatist and negative conclusion at the end of the film.
Using apocalyptic predictions based on human population growth in order to promote socialism is far from new. Paul Ehrlich had a bestseller on his hands in 1968 when he wrote “The Population Bomb”. It projected societal collapse by the 1980s due to population growth and his work was constantly cited in order to justify expanding state control.
While the world population did indeed continue to grow, human ingenuity kept the world from crashing into a dystopian nightmare as Ehrlich predicted. Improved agricultural practices along with integrated world trade has actually led to a great reduction in world poverty despite population growth.
Still there can be no doubt that humanity is growing at an unsustainable rate. At some point our population will surpass our ability to feed it and things will be catastrophic indeed. With the world economic collapse due to pandemic measures, this crisis may very well be on our hands right away.
I share the concerns of Moore, Gibbs and Ehrlich with world population. I diverge from them greatly when it comes to what to do about it however. They want to see an increase in socialism in order to somehow battle this issue. They feel if we can drag the rich down into some kind of egalitarian society, we can reduce the burden on the planet.
The problem with their approach is that it is only the affluent who can afford to keep their population down.
Have a look at the world fertility rates below. The pattern is rather stark.
The more poor a nation is, the higher the fertility rate. In some African nations they are as high as seven births per woman while in affluent developed nations the rate is well under two per woman.
Wealthy, developed nations are actually in a negative population growth pattern while the poorest of the nations are seeing explosive population growth.
There are a number of factors contributing to this. One of the major ones is that people in developing nations need large families simply in order to survive. They need a large working household in order to maintain their meager living. They don’t have the luxury of pension plans and senior care centers like we do. They need a large and growing brood of kids to keep the family going and to care for them in later years.
Education and ready access to birth control are big factors as well but again, those are considered luxuries in the developing world while we take them for granted.
To reduce the rate of world population growth we need to raise the wealth of the poor rather than reduce the wealth of the affluent.
Energy is a key component in making a nation wealthy. Energy costs impact every aspect of living as they impact the production, transport and distribution of all consumer goods. Affordable energy is essential in modern communication networks and in the creation of safe, healthy households.
The most cost-effective means of energy has been and remains fossil fuels. That point was driven deeply home by Moore’s film. Coal, oil and natural gas are still the main energy sources on earth and are likely to remain so for some time. Instead of fighting the development of these resources, we need to be expanding their scope while striving to be more efficient in the consumption and production of them.
The developing world doesn’t need windmills and solar panels. They need dependable and affordable energy sources. Oil, gas and coal provide that.
Transportation networks and vehicles provide labor and product mobility which brings sustainable economic growth to nations. Quit pissing around pretending that Teslas are going to help folks in Niger and lets help them build solid roads with asphalt (oil product) and get them affordable gas driven vehicles. Use clean burning coal and gas technology to increase their electrical generation abilities.
Help bring in sustainable farming practices with modern implements and fertilizers (again oil is required). This reduces the slash and burn farming practices which are deforesting the world in developing nations.
Home heating and cooking with everything from wood scraps to cattle dung can end with modern natural gas distribution networks. This would greatly reduce particulate emissions and frees up families to work on things more productive than seeking new fuels to burn in their homes day by day.
Modern communication networks can bring general education levels higher as remote learning can be spread throughout developing nations. This again though requires affordable energy and consumer goods which can only come from fossil fuels.
This will be the work of decades if not generations but if we truly want to bring the population of humans under control, we have to increase the wealth of people in the developed world to the point where they can afford that luxury of having a small family which we have. That will never happen if the key component of affordable energy is not taken into account.
Reduced population growth means reduced consumption in general which of course is better for the environment as a whole.
If we can take our eyes off the pie-in-the-sky projects such as solar panels in Botswana or windmills in Kenya and we stop trying to drag down wealthy nations rather than building up the poor nations, we may just be able to get our population growth under control one day. That will take a great change in thinking as we need to stop demonizing affordable energy generation means and start developing them to their full potential.
Oil has never been as affordable as it is right now. There will never be a better time to take advantage of that for the benefit of the developing world than right now. Lets get on it.
The irony and hypocrisy in this situation are simply too much to ignore.
Amanda Soper (alias Kanhus Manuel) is a notorious extremist with a number of criminal records who has been harassing citizens of Blue River British Columbia from her squatter encampment for years.
Apparently some local folks came out a couple days ago and vandalized some of the trash at Sopers encampment. I say “apparently” because Soper and her little gang are rather prone to being full of shit so their allegations need to be taken with a huge grain of salt.
With the ongoing campaign of criminal harassment of workers and locals by Soper and her associates against workers and citizens in the region, it is not beyond belief that citizens are beginning to push back against Soper’s illegal actions.
Soper and gang put out a ridiculous release on their facebook page beginning with the paragraph below:
“Indigenous land defenders have been subjected to a violent attack by local whites at their Tiny House Warriors village at Blue River, British Columbia and they are demanding police action against the attackers.”
Demanding police action? The RCMP have every right to tell Soper and her little group of squatters to piss off.
Here is a picture of Soper giving RCMP the finger. Soper constantly claims that RCMP don’t have authority in the imaginary little nation in which she resides.
You can’t have it both ways Amanda. The RCMP either have the authority to arrest and charge crooks like you or they don’t. If you are not actually a citizen within Canada as you claim, then the RCMP are under no obligation to protect you.
Here is a video of Soper and friends chasing RCMP officers away from their grungy encampment last year.
I doubt that the RCMP will be setting aside too much time in order to protect Soper and her trash pile of a squatter camp from vandals in the near future. They have better things to do and Soper has made it more than clear that she does not recognize Canadian law.
If Soper truly is concerned for her safety and that of the squatters in camp with her, perhaps she should clean up the camp and move back down to Chase BC where her family owns a gas station.
The hypocrisy from extreme environmental activists like Soper is unsurprising yet breathtaking.
Will be interesting to see how things develop around Blue River this year. People are sick and tired of Soper and don’t look like they are willing to put up with her crap for another year.
We are witnessing unprecedented explosion in bankruptcies and an economic collapse in the developed world due to pandemic lockdowns. People insistent that the economic damage is worth it in order to save a relatively small number (if indeed this saves them) of lives will pooh-pooh those greedy souls who dare to point out how the cure for COVID-19 may very well be worse than the disease understate the number of very real domestic deaths which will happen due to coming depression.
One thing we are hearing nearly nothing about is how this world pandemic lockdown is going to impact developing nations.
As can be seen in the chart above, we had been doing very well for over 30 years in reducing extreme poverty. Starvation as a cause of death has been dropping throughout the world as well as death due to poor water supplies and lack of medicine.
There is still a long way to go but the world is in a best place as far as extreme poverty is concerned that we have seen in all of human history.
That is all about to change as pandemic shutdowns send a ripple effect through world trade chains which will decimate those fragile developing nations who were just starting to pull themselves out of extreme poverty.
The trend we are already seeing emerge among developed nations is a contraction in purchases in general and a stronger focus on domestic production and purchases. This makes sense from the perspective of putting local people back to work and we desperately need to do so. What will this do to the nations who used to supply us though?
Bangladesh is always right on the brink of starvation due to flooding and overpopulation. They have managed to become a major exporter of textiles however and that has allowed them to ease the poverty pain. When those exports collapse (and they will), what do you think will happen?
How about the favorite luxury good for hipsters, the avocado? Mexico, Peru and Indonesia are the world’s prime exporters of avocados. What will happen to their economies as 100 mile diets truly become the trend?
Rwanda is dependent on the export of rare metals. It doesn’t look like Niobium, Tantalum, Vanadium and Zirconium Ores are going to be high in demand for awhile.
Dozens and dozens of developing nations around the world had been climbing out of extreme poverty due to only a handful of select exports. It had been helping them but it had been dependent on wealthy European and North American markets in order to prosper.
The massive poverty caused by the world pandemic shutdown won’t simply kill people due to malnutrition and disease. The social disorder due to the poverty can and very well likely will cause millions more deaths as countries fall into mob rule and civil war. Particularly African nations. The only thing which has kept a lid on slaughters within some of those nations has been governments fearing world economic sanctions against them. If those dictators no longer have anything to lose, things are going to get ugly.
The consequences of the world shutdown due to pandemic fears are just beginning to be felt.
It is hard enough to look at the local economic devastation but it is horrific to think of the damage being wrought on developing nations. It will take a generation to bring those nations back to where they were but a year ago.
The world needs to do a very real cost/benefit analysis right now on the pandemic shutdowns and we shouldn’t forget to take the world’s truly most vulnerable into account when doing it.
So far the silence has been deafening on how the shutdown is impacting the developing world. Probably because most of us simply don’t want to think about it.
When ridiculous and idiotic proposals abound during this pandemic, it is tough to manage to stand out from the pack. The notion proposed by the United Food and Commercial Workers union has managed to be absurd enough to break away from the bunch.
The UFCW is calling for governments to institute a program which would track every single person in the country and limit shopping trips to one per family per week.
Where to begin with the utter stupidity of this idea?
Food hording is already a problem. What do they think will happen if and when only one person from a family of 10 is supposed to pick up enough food for them all in one weekly trip?
How will single parents deal with the proposed restriction which would make it illegal for them to bring kids shopping?
How huge would the required bureaucracy be in order to implement such a plan?
The union head vapidly said that existing rewards cards would do the trick.
Is he on crack?????
OK, not everybody takes part in these programs. There are multiple programs with multiple companies and they sure as hell wont be sharing their database with competitors. Even if you somehow came up with a single database and new cards, how do you determine just how many people are in one household and ensure that only one of them ever does the weekly shopping trip?
How about pointing out the problem they are trying to solve here anyway. Has food shopping led to massive infections and deaths? No? Then don’t be an idiot.
I don’t think much of unions and I don’t expect much out of people in general but the UFCW had really outdone itself in underwhelming me with their critical thought.
I hope and expect that government officials will promptly tell union officials to jam this utterly moronic notion deeply into their collective nether regions.
We need to be looking at ways to open up the economy again, not ways to lead to further food supply challenges.
Remember all the way back to March of 2020 when you couldn’t look at any form of media without seeing images of COVID-19 pandemic models which predicted doom and gloom for us all?
Notice that we don’t see these graphs going around anymore?
Where did they go? Why did it stop?
Well, it turns out that they were bullshit so yeah, people don’t really want to see more of them.
The damn virus refused to kill millions as projected and I swear some folks feel disappointed by that.
Fear sells and it is well within the interest of media outlets to put out as many hysteric predictions as possible. A long dry article from an infectious disease specialist doesn’t draw many clicks but an article with a graph showing a giant spike in infections at the head of it along with dire predictions based on modelling done by statisticians will bring in the traffic in droves.
The cause célèbre of the early 2000s was Mad Cow disease (BSE). Models and projections were myriad yet again. “Experts” on the government and media dime predicted hundreds of thousands of human deaths.
The outlook was dire indeed.
Over the years while BSE did indeed have outbreaks in cattle herds throughout the world, human deaths from it were in the dozens at best rather than thousands.
The disease in cattle presents little significant risk to people but the headlines over the years sure as hell didn’t make it sound that way..
The fear of human deaths which was fed by hysteric and utterly flawed modeling led to massive and costly overreactions to BSE all over the world.
The cost alone to Canada was in the billions as our producers were shut in due to BSE outbreaks which led to the death of a grand total of 0 people.
BSE is still a troublesome and damaging disease which needs to be controlled and hopefully eliminated but it never warranted the crazed world reactions to it in 2001-2005.
The article below identifies pandemic modeling as being “voodoo science” and it was written 13 years ago!.
This guy’s prediction that pandemic predictions were bullshit was bang on.
Neither he nor I are hoping that your granny dies of COVID-19. Nobody within reason is saying that nothing should be done about the pandemic. It certainly isn’t harmless and we need to rationally battle this bug and get it under control.
It is well within reason to say that we have grossly overreacted to this pandemic though and the economic cost is looking more and more likely to be doing more damage than the disease could ever dream of doing.
Past models were crap. Current models are probably crap. We have to toss them in the trash where they belong and start making evidence based policy decisions rather than planning for a doomsday which is never coming.
If anything is going to go extinct from this pandemic, let’s hope that it is pandemic modeling. It has done the world a terrible disservice.
Unprincipled “green” types have all been gleefully dancing on the presumed grave of the Canadian conventional energy sector. Between the OPEC led price war and the pandemic, the energy sector is reeling. The anti-energy environmentalist set thinks this is a fantastic thing. In their delusional fervor, they think that in killing the Canadian conventional energy sector we will suddenly see a new generation of renewable energy sources filling the void. They couldn’t be more wrong.
We are about to enter one of the worst if not the worst world economic depression seen in a century. Business and personal bankruptcies are skyrocketing while it looks like double digit unemployment numbers are going to become the new normal for some time to come.
In light of this, do you think anybody is going to sink themselves further in debt by spending nearly six figures on a virtue signalling Tesla when they can fill up a regular vehicle with gas for $20?
Not a fucking chance.
We need to get real here. People are going to be as frugal as humanly possible and when oil and natural gas are as cheap as they are, that is what people will be buying.
Who is going to remortgage in order to cover their house in solar panels which will take decades to break even on with natural gas and the energy generated by it being so cheap?
Which company is going to invest in hundreds of windmills when governments can no longer afford to subsidize them and natural gas generates electricity at a fraction of the cost?
Let’s face it. We won’t be able to afford to go “green” for a decade at least. We will need to keep the lights on for as little as possible and that means using oil and gas.
Now, why develop our domestic oil and gas supplies when the Saudis can provide it so cheaply?
Well, it depends on how much you want to be dependent on the goodwill of the Saudis I guess.
We have seen rather starkly how quickly and effectively the Saudis can manipulate the world price of oil. We shouldn’t forget for a second that they can cut supply and send prices through the roof just as easily as they can flood the market with excess oil. I do not relish the thought of our economic well being residing in the hands of that ugly state.
The only way to protect ourselves from the price shocks of the OPEC cartel is to maintain and further develop our domestic supply. We are sitting on some of the most abundant oil and gas reserves on the planet and there are few things more idiotic that would could do than to shut down those resources. That is exactly what the “green” extremists are calling for though and they often have Trudeau’s ear.
We have to stand up and ensure that these ideologues don’t succeed in their plans to make us all dependent on OPEC. We can’t afford not to.