There is no excuse for not voting.

 Within days of the federal writ being dropped, I observed people making their lame excuses as to why they will not take part in the election. The only honest answer is when somebody says they don’t care. Aside from that, those who keep spitting out their excuses as to why they wont vote must know that they are turning their backs on a very important responsibility thus they scramble to try and justify their sloth.

 We see some journalists and pundits talking about how systemic changes or different advertising initiatives may bring out more voters. That is all simply a load of crap. The bottom line is that an increasing amount of Canadians are simply too lazy and apathetic to make that twenty-minute effort once every couple to few years.

 Lets look at some of the common whining excuses:

None of the candidates/parties fully represent my views.

 Well suck it up princess. Unless you yourself are running or leading a party (there is nothing to stop you from doing just that by the way), you will never have a candidate/party represent 100% of your views.

 Whether you take that supreme effort to vote or not, one of those candidates will end up in the position of representing you anyhow. What a voter has to do is examine all of the candidates and choose which one most  represents their views and cast a vote towards them. This of course will take at least a few minutes of time and a little mental effort thus many use lame excuses to avoid such responsibility and forgo the right to vote.

 Of course in seeking (not really) information on the candidates, we get on to another common and sad excuse:

I don’t know enough about the candidates/party to make a decision. I have heard nothing from them.

 To put it bluntly, the above excuse is simply bullshit. During the entire campaign every form of media whether radio, newspapers, TV or internet has been barraged with coverage of the parties and candidates.

 Teams of volunteers and candidates spent a month knocking on doors and dropping flyers. I hear some people claiming that they never receive any information to their homes. While I guess it is possible for there to be some strange Bermuda triangle zones in parts of the city where campaign literature disappears and doorknockers magically shy away, just about every household in Canada gets at least a few flyers during the campaign. FSM knows my household hardly passes a day during a campaign without something in the mailbox about the election.

 I have heard some whine about the lack of candidates at their doors as well. In a federal election, each candidate has over 100,000 constituents. Rest assured that in any serious campaign, the candidates will knock on as many doors in person as possible. It has been proven countless times that the most effective method of campaigning is to have the candidate meet as many constituents as possible in person. It is physically impossible for any federal candidate to hit every door in a riding in one campaign however. If your household is missed, if you take a few minutes to call the headquarters of virtually any candidate, they will arrange to get the candidate to your door if possible. Truly undecided voters are difficult to identify and no decent campaign will ignore one that contacts them.

 The internet has given us a great resource in elections. Even the most low-budget of fringe candidates can set up (and they do) a campaign website offering info on where they stand, contact information etc. If you are reading this, I can safely assume that you have access to the internet and some degree of literacy. In a couple minutes on google, you can find out who is running in your riding and what they are proposing in general.

 Even without internet, it is rather easy to get information. Every party has a headquarters and a phone line. They will gladly direct you to contact information for their candidates if you simply contact them.

 The information on all the parties/candidates is abundant and easy to acquire. For one to claim that they did not have enough information is simply a BS excuse and does not hold water. The real reason is simple laziness.

 Another of my shallow favorites is:

They are all the same.

 Again dear reader I must call bullshit. Using the means of gathering the information on the candidates I proposed above, anybody will find out within minutes that the candidates are all indeed very different and go to great pains to point out how and why they differ from each other.

 Do you honestly think that an NDP member will vote the same way on bills in Parliament as a CPC member? Do you think a Liberal party member will raise the same issues as a Bloc member? The parties/candidates are different and their behavior in office shows that rather clearly.

 To say they are all the same is just a simplistic and lazy excuse not to trouble yourself to choose among them.

 The above excuse invariably leads to the next one if the whining non-voter is questioned:

They are all crooks and in it for themselves.

 To be a politician is on of the most unstable and thankless career choices that anybody could imagine making.

 Remember, in every riding there are at least four candidates running. That means at least three will have nothing in personal gain to show for their efforts after the campaign. The reality is that most of the candidates are running for idealistic reasons and are not expecting personal gain. Hardly a selfish endeavor.

 Many of the winning candidates are often professionals who made pretty good cash when in the private sector. While MPs get pretty good compensation, many lawyers, doctors and business people actually take a pay cut upon being elected.

 If all those people running for office are simply in it for themselves, they certainly are taking a painful path to personal gain.

Below is another common excuse:

My vote makes no difference/doesn’t count.

 Hmmm how will I respond to that one? You guessed it! Bullshit!

 I wonder how many people in Edmonton thought that Rahim Jaffer was a sure thing and did not bother to vote for him? There were countless other races that were determined by a handful of votes as there are in every election. Even in  a jurisdiction as huge as the United States, we saw in 2000 how a tiny number of voters actually determined the presidency.

 Lets say however you feel more closely aligned with one of the alternative/fringe candidates. Surely voting for one of them is a waste of time as they will never win right? Wrong!

 The old cliche out there with elections is that the only poll that counts is on election day. While tired, that cliche is very very true. There is no better cross country poll for measuring the views of the electorate and you can rest assured that the results for every riding will be dissected and studied in the next few years as future candidates prepare to challenge the incumbents. Had Jaffer seen the rising trend of NDP in his riding, perhaps he would still have a job today.

 To win a riding a candidate has to follow as well as lead. This means measuring what the voters want and to provide that for them. If an incumbent sees the vote creeping up for the Green party in their riding for example, they will likely adopt a more environmentally friendly stance in the house in hopes of undercutting that rise in their riding. The NDP member who won in Edmonton will likely swing more right than other NDP members as she knows that if a Libertarian candidate takes even 1000 votes from her she may very well lose her seat next time.

 There is some truth to the fact that our elected representatives often ignore us between elections. Those MPs do pay very close attention at election time however and it is foolhardy to waste that window of opportunity by not taking part. There is no better time to get their attention.

 I don’t care for the new system where tax dollars are dedicated to parties based on votes. Whether I like that or not, the system is there and it does add a great deal of incentive for people to select non-mainstream candidates at times. The Green Party never came close to winning a riding in the last election. They did however get thousands upon thousands of votes which will translate into annual funding for their party. Money is essential in politics and any party trying to build up needs a regular flow of it. No Green Party supporter can truly say they wasted their vote on that party as they have contributed not only a vote of support, but a portion of funding so that the party can retain a voice and prepare for the next election.

 There is no such thing as a wasted vote.

I couldn’t find out how/where to vote.

 As with the other excuses, this one is simply more bullshit.

 Every election Elections Canada makes it easier and easier to vote. Advertisements are running on all forms of media, the internet provides all the information required and of course there are toll free numbers that will direct you to your voting station and the requirements for voting.

 I work in the oilfield and am rarely in my riding on voting day. Despite that I don’t miss the vote as they make it incredibly easy for me to walk in and vote by special ballot.

 Voting is a twenty minute task and there is no excuse aside from laziness in not doing it.

 

 The bottom line is that people simply want to dodge any form of personal responsibility (a disturbing trend in many areas). True democracy is the epitome of personal responsibility whether we want to deny that or not. Our system is not perfect, but the bottom line is that the electorate chooses who runs it. If a person refuses to take part in that, the system surely will not represent them.

 It seems that the chronic whiners who refuse to vote are often the same ones who whine about those who assume office. Complainers are rarely doers and it shows in voting patterns.

 We are lucky to live in a democracy and to have control over our government should we choose to exercise it. Anybody can run for office, form a party or simply vote to take part in the system. We can freely join parties and vote on policy or nominees. We can be vocal whether on the streets, internet or in the press with our views.

 Due to our having it so good, many have unfortunately slipped into lazy apathy and take our great right of voting for granted.

 It is an embarrassment and people should be ashamed of not voting rather than belching out shallow excuses as to why they wont.

 I see people and some journalists whining saying that the electorate needs to be better inspired. Inspired? By who? Why? Why is it the responsibility of others for you to be inspired? Inspire yourself you lazy electorate and take part in the system. The means are there, you simply have to make use of them. Again so many people dodge any form of personal responsibility. Our system is referred to as a participatory democracy. Uhh, that means you are expected to participate rather than whining that you need to be inspired and have your hand held all the way to the polling station.

 There is the saying “In a democracy, the electorate gets the government that they deserve.” This is true.

 When half of the country is too lazy to spend the few minutes that it takes to vote however, I often get the government that those lazy assholes deserve.

 That sort of grates on me.

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This is Canada’s culture?

Well it looks like Prime Minister Harper has raised the ire of Canada’s “art” community by announcing a modest cut in their funding. The yowling and howling from the other parties is unsurprising.

Justin Trudeau roared in with this statement: “This is yet another example that the fact that Mr. Harper simply does not understand Canadians and does not trust Canadians in the choices they make.”

Uhh Justin, by letting more art stand on it’s own rather than being subsidized, Canadians actually have more choice. Consumers of art would determine what is worthy and what is not. It really is not that confusing. It is the “arts” crowd that does not trust the judgement of Canadians and insists on having tax dollars fund their work rather than letting Canadians judge the merit of it.

Jack Layton crowed: “We say the arts are at the core of the economy!!”

 Really Jack? Arts must rival oil exports, auto exports, wheat and such eh? Why, I can hardly go a day without reading about the frothing international demand of Canadian art. If indeed the arts were the core of our economy, why the hell are all these artists always looking for handouts then?

There are many great Canadian artists from writers to painters. There always will be great Canadian artists with or without taxpayer funding.

The artists who are most annoyed with cuts to arts funding are the ones that produce shit that they damn well know would never sell on the open market.

Oooops. Did I say shit? It is rare that I use expletives in my postings, but in this case it is a good segue into highlighting some of Canada’s great subsidized “art” works.

A few years back, a tax funded art gallery in Ottawa hosted a five week exhibition of; Scatalogue: 30 years of crap in contemporary art.

This was no misnomer. The display was truly focused on poop and included such profound displays as soiled underwear and shrink wrapped turds.

Good heavens!!??? How many priceless works have I flushed down the toilet without even considering the potential artistic value in it?

I have been creating and sadly wasting what could have been yet another integral part of Canada’s cultural fabric (according to Justin Trudeau) and I never even knew it.

 There is already a well established online gallery where fecal artists may display their works and critique each other’s creations. It is called ratemypoo.com (not for the weak of stomach). Scatophiles and connoisseurs of crap may view dung to their heart’s delight with nary a dollar of my money spent.

 Going down the list we come to the Canadian icon that was hosted by our tax-funded national gallery in Ottawa; The Meat Dress.


Renowned artist Jana Sterbak conceived of this brilliant concept.

Recipe for wasting Canadian tax dollars:

Ingredients:

50 pounds of flank steaks,  salt,  mannequin, tax funded art gallery.

 Salt meat and allow to air dry. Hang from mannequin and display in federal gallery for months while periodically replacing meat due to decomposition. Soak taxpayers heavily and justify it with pithy justifications such as: “It emphasizes the contrast between vanity and bodily decay.”

 How deep!!! This little number was displayed for months at our expense and has even ranking being listed at Snopes(a site dedicated to urban legends).  The reason this mess of meat was worthy of Snopes is that most people could not believe that somebody could be so profoundly stupid as to pay for such a thing.

 An irony in this is that the “arts” community is usually front and center in howling about how we must feed the underprivileged. I am sure that a few of the hungry would have appreciated a few hundred pounds of steaks but alas, it is much more important to contribute it to the building of that fabric of Canadian culture.

 Of course, not all of our contributers to Canadian culture need to be Canadian. How can we forget Israel Moras AKA the Mexican Masturbator?

 This Mexican received Canadian funding to wheel a cart full of test tubes filled with his own ejaculate around my home town of Banff. I tried to find an image to go with this one but my efforts were not only futile, but stomach wrenching. I strongly suggest that you never type “mexican masturbator” into a google image search! (unless you are in to that sort of thing)

Another non-Canadian but recipient of Canadian arts funding is legendary porn actress Nina Hartley. While googling Hartley does produce images more appealing to my eye, I found few that were appropriate for posting here given her career history.

 Bubbles Galore received $55,000 of our tax dollars for it’s production from the Canada council. This porn (and it most definitely is a porn) was considered “art” as it portrayed lesbians. Straight porn is degrading to women of course and must be stamped out.

 Look at the recognition that Canada has gained from this great tax investment however. Bubbles Galore won the best film award at the International Festival of Trash Cinema! A big white tear of pride is running down my leg in knowing that part of my income went to the funding of this Canadian masterpiece.

 How about our recent tossing of $9,000 to a proud lesbian single mother who feels that displaying of a breast milk bar is of artistic merit? Yes the entitled “lactation station” will provide samples of real breast milk for visitors.

 “Artist” Jess Dobkin states the milk will be provided from six different women. For health and safety reasons the milk will be pasteurized.

Well I guess if it is pasteurized……..  Bleah. Nope can’t get around it this is pretty gross.

I can see some tourist draw from this though. There is a subculture of fetishists who are into infantilism and want to revert to their babyhood. These fellas have a tough time finding genuine wet-nurses for grown men and doubtless jumped at the chance to get on this wagon.

Of course, are these the kind of tourists that we want?

infantilism

 I guess when these fellows are finished feeding, they will go on to view our “Scatalogue” display.

 There are many other examples out there but this posting is getting rather long. I will finish with displaying one of Canada’s most famous wastes of money. American “artist” Barnett Newman sold Canada his painting “Voice of Fire” (pictured below) for $1.8 million dollars.

voice

 Is that not an incredible piece? Imagine how many sleepless nights the artist endured in conceiving this one? “Should I do the red on the outside or the inside? Narrow stripes or broad ones?”

 The arts community often likes to pooh pooh critics by implying that the public at large is simply too obtuse to see the profound inference of the production. Uhhh, how much can really be read into a couple of stripes? I must be incredibly dense.

 Come on!! I have seen children’s finger paintings with more artistic merit than that piece of trash.

 I will give Newman credit as a businessman and a con-artist. He did manage to find somebody stupid enough to pay almost $2 million for a couple stripes. Unfortunately his mark was the Canadian taxpayer.

 The above examples are inevitably the outcome when money is blindly thrown at art. Contrary to what leftists think, tax-dollars are a finite resource and we really have better things to spend them on.

 Art will endure with or without tax-funding. Most of the greatest works in history had no government funding and likely most of our future best works will have been created without it.

 To reduce funding for the arts is not censorship by the way despite the yelping of some. These “artists” are more than welcome to produce all the tasteless crap they like. Nobody is stopping them. How much money does one need in order to shrink-wrap a turd anyway?

 If indeed this reduction impacts Canadian culture, what will the impact be? Will we lose our recognition of celebrating feces, public breast milk samplings and masturbation?

 You know what, I am willing to take that chance.

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Let’s make justice an issue.

In federal and provincial elections, we hear ad-nauseum about the basic core social program issues such as healthcare, education, childcare etc. While those issues are of importance, somehow the critical issue of justice reform in Canada always falls far down the list of electoral priorities.

 In our current federal election, we seem to be hearing more about real or perceived gaffes on the part of parties and candidates than we are hearing about any issues. I don’t care if a cartoon puffin pooped on Dion. I don’t care if Layton apparently smoked a joint once. I do however care about Canada’s failing “justice” system and I am hearing next to nothing from all of the parties on this issue.

 In Calgary we are hearing about our lapse system from local journalists and our clearly frustrated Chief of police due to our streets having turned into a war-zone in the last few months with increasing shootings caused by chronically released gang members. Due to the election results in Alberta being a foregone conclusion, “local” issues such as Calgary crime are not making the political radar with federal parties. Every major city is facing the same problems with scum on their streets yet our politicians are still stuck on motherhood and apple pie issues such as maternity benefits or ill-conceived environmental policies.

 It is refreshing to hear Calgary police Chief saying it like it is though it is sad that he has been pushed to such a point of frustration as he is. Chief Rick Hanson has the unenviable job of trying to keep Calgarians (and his officers) safe in a growing city while our justice system works it’s hardest to release violent criminals back into our midst. How must it feel for a police officer to risk his/her life in apprehending a criminal only to see that criminal released often within months? How must it have felt to see the blinded, innocent, 24 year old victim; Jose Ribeiro Neto taken to hospital after having been shot in the face by a man who had attempted to kill two police officers not long ago?

 Hanson was blunt about some of the idiotic “solutions” that our “justice” system has come up with for violent crime. The waste of resources in the gun registry clearly grates on him despite how many pointy headed criminologists claim that police forces love it. Below are some quotes from Chief Hanson.

Chief Rick Hanson:

I can tell you he’s got one of those feared prohibitions from possessing firearms.

There’s a little bit of sarcasm there.

Personally, I’m tired when politicians trot out the same tried and tired old solutions. We’re going to ban certain types of weapons or make it more restrictive. They’re not getting it. They’re not getting it. These are criminals, these are criminals who use illegal means to perpetrate illegal activities.

Get off the backs of the duck hunters. It’s about criminals who are bringing guns into the country illegally. These are unregistered and any of these weak-kneed solutions that speak to tired old suggestions for problems that aren’t our problems today, there’s no sense even talking about them. We need substantive solutions.

What quality of policing, what type of policing, do the citizens want in Calgary? For too long now every time something happens people say: ‘What are the police doing? How does that happen?’ Guess what? This isn’t Kansas any more, Toto. This city grew. 

  And changes to the justice system aren’t going to happen overnight. It’s taken us years to get to a point where the system is comfortable with taking a person who is in court charged with shooting somebody and releasing him into the community hours later.

  Our politicians rarely listen to folks such as Chief Hanson who has worked directly with criminals for a lifetime. Instead, our justice system continues to take the recommendations of ivory tower academics and folks from the John Howard society who rarely leave their gated communities and who’s hearts bleed them anaemic.

 Sadly those hearts never seem to bleed for the victims of crime who suffer when violent animals are released into our society.

 I was directed to a treasure trove of documentation of “Canadian Justice” at the site Justice Canada Monitor.

 The work at that site is excellent and they have documented some of the (and there are plenty) more heinous examples of Canada’s lapse sentencing and repeat offenders.

 I strongly suggest that people spend some time on that site looking at some of these issues in detail. I will highlight some of the headlines that they carry below.

Peter Whitmore – Released long-time child molester abducts and sexually assaults two Saskatchewan boys

Jurgen Sheitz – No jail time for molesting 10-year-old girl

Teen commits armed robbery while out on bail for the same crime

Michael Jeffery Plante – Man who crashes stolen pickup, critically injures victims and leaves scene of accident will serve less than two years

Meir Mariani and Lee Cochrane victim Matti Baranovski – Youths serve eight months and one year for savage beating death

Steven Taylor – Gruesome sexual sadist and murderer granted parole, police association outraged

Fred Sheppard – Man who beat wife to death paroled four years into sentence

Serena Davenport – No jail time for intent to distribute over 15,000 images of child sex abuse

William Herbert Maurice Harlos – Eight months for massive stash of child porn, including a baby being abused

Dean Zimmerman – Paroled sexual offender ties woman up, sexually assaults her for nine hours

Sadly the list goes on and on and on.

Another excellent thing pointed out on the site is how Canada’s statistics have been manipulated to seem as if the reformation of criminals has been successful in Canada.

The Statistics

Many repeat offender statistics in Canada are deceptively low. One of the reasons for this is that Corrections Canada excludes provincial statistics from their rates (federal and provincial correctional departments do not currently share information with one another). An offender serving time in a federal jail who had previously served time in a provincial jail would not be labeled a repeat offender. Out of 310,000 convictions in 2002-03 only 4281 offenders were sentenced to a federal prison. In addition, Correctional Services statistics do not take into account conditional sentences or other non-prison sentences, which have grown in popularity. Finally, Correctional Services rates do not include offenders that have been free for more than three years. In light of these factors, it is easy to see just how misleading these statistics can become.

The few studies that do attempt to track prior convictions across jurisdictions peg recidivism at alarmingly high rates. Six out of every ten convicted offenders aged 18 to 25 in 1999/2000 had at least one previous conviction, according to a new pilot study of court-based recidivism in seven provinces and two territories. Among these repeat offenders, 72% had multiple prior convictions. Nine out of ten offenders sentenced to a federal corrections facility (meaning at least a two year sentence) had at least one prior conviction either in adult or youth court. (Source: Statistics Canada)

 

 Those are the real numbers people. 9 out of 10 federal convicts had a prior offense!!!

 We have warning indicators with these violent offenders. One of which is a long string of convictions. It does not take a string of degrees to realize that we must incarcerate these scum for longer periods. Reform efforts for violent and sexual offenders are an utter failure. The recidivism rates are unacceptable and the protection of society must come first. Instead the only heated justice debate I remember hearing recently is whether or not convicts should have the right to vote.

 Voters must speak up and politicians must begin to listen.

 I unfortunately do not hold much optimism as fewer and fewer people even bother to vote much less pay attention to the issues.  All the same, we can’t give up on this. Public safety is far too important.

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Circling the drain.

UPDATE: On my digression regarding the murderous scumbag Roland Warawa. Warawa shot a jewelry store owner in the neck in a robbery attempt in 1997, Warawa fired upon two police officers at the time as well. He was of course released after a pathetic and lenient sentence. In 2006 Warawa was convicted on drug charges. He got three months for that (two months with Canada’s shameful 2/3 mandatory release policy) and was banned from possessing firearms until 2014 (that worked well).

 Since all of those arrests, Warawa has shot two more people. Does it take a psychological genius to realize that this maniac should never have been released? Apparently so.

 Warawa is only 30 right now. You can rest assured that unless we change our system this piece of human trash will be free and trying to kill people well before he is 40.

 What does it take in this nation to get a real prison sentence??????

 

 

 According to the Red Star, Stephane Dion is now claiming that the “Green Shift” is not a major campaign plank.

 Not since Kim Campbell have we seen such an inept federal campaign. The Liberals have desperately been trying to put Ignatieff and Bob Rae in the spotlight as voters have been visibly recoiling from Dion’s incomprehensible campaigning. Now the Liberals are backing away from main basis of their own campaign.

 A Harper majority is still far from a sure thing. Many of those who are fleeing the Liberal Party are landing in support of the NDP and Greens. This likely will cause the CPC to swing even a little more to the left in hopes of harvesting enough disenchanted Liberal voters in order to get that elusive minority.

 I can understand that strategy, but still am worried about how far left the commitments will go.

 I dearly hope to see a CPC majority. That is the last hope that the old Harper will re-appear and begin to pursue the Libertarian/Conservative values that he used to promote. If Harper ends up being another Mulroney and remains bound to the wishes of Quebec and Toronto I guess we in the West will have to introvert and push our provincial leaders into a more regionally defensive sort of role. Time will tell.

 In the last few months, Calgary has been something of a shooting gallery. Gang murders have been hitting record levels and recently an innocent man was caught in the crossfire and shot in the face. An arrest has been made in that recent shooting today.

Roland Ashley Warawa, 30, of Calgary, has been charged with two counts of attempted murder, pointing a firearm, possession of a weapon dangerous to the public peace, unauthorized possession, discharging a firearm with intent to wound, and criminal negligence causing bodily harm. Warawa has also been charged in connection with a Sept. 4 shooting that left a man with a stomach wounds.

 According to radio news, Warawa has a lengthy criminal past. This is no surprise in Canada’s system. The majority of arrests that have been made in the spate of shootings in Calgary have involved suspects with long violent histories. Innocent people are dying because of Canada’s pathetic, bleeding heart justice system that cares nothing for victims and releases the most dangerous of people among us after embarrassingly sad little sentences.

 Calgary’s Mayor Bronconier has been predictible in his calling for more provincial money for police officers. Ed Stelmach has been predictible in his refusal to increase that funding for our growing (and increasingly dangerous) city.

 Calgary needs more police officers, of that there is no doubt. Officers alone are not a solution however. We need to lock up our violent offenders and lock them up for life. How many more people have to die before our politicians clue into this concept? It is not that complicated. I understand that we will never totally eliminate violent crimes. It is inexcusable when we see crimes committed by people with such violent histories. These people should never have been released in the first place. Personally, I think those who sit on parole boards and release violent people among us should be forced to billet these violent animals in their own households. Perhaps then they will consider a little longer before releasing murderers.

 It will take effort on both the federal and provincial fronts in order to fix our failing justice system. Harper has been trying for some time to pass an improved crime bill and has been handcuffed by our leftist, criminal-coddling opposition. Should Harper get a majority, I hope and expect that one of his first orders of business will be to expedite his justice reforms in the house.

 Dion is giving out gifts in his terrible campaign. It is up to Harper to turn those political gifts into a majority.

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Fixed election dates.

 Fixed election dates are a simple and basic electoral reform that should have been instituted generations ago. When I speak to American friends about our system that allows Premiers and Prime Ministers to call elections whenever they please, the response from those I have spoken to is invariably astonishment.

 A lack of fixed election dates is an affront to basic democracy. Having the power to choose the date of an election gives a governing party an incredible advantage thus while many leaders pay lip service to the issue on the way up, the leaders quickly forget their commitments upon achieving power. Klein used to revel in his cute hints about making election calls and watching opposition parties scramble in efforts to prepare for an election that often never came. Stelmach is enjoying the same power as was demonstrated in the months of election speculation that began in Alberta last fall and continued until an election was finally called last spring.

 Alberta’s Chief Electoral Officer released 182 recommendations for Alberta’s electoral process yesterday. The scorn with which Stelmach rejected the concept of fixed election dates was insulting in his arrogance. In a petulant way, Stelmach gladly accepted handing off added responsibilities to the Chief Electoral officer. The prior appointments of returning officers by the governing party was a joke and even Stelmach could see that. Stelmach is happily accepting of increased advertising controls at election time as well. Stelmach is still bitter about those union commercials that were mean to him in the last election and in his usual anti-democratic ways is pursuing gag-law legislation.

 The increased responsibilities given to the Chief Electoral Officer are a good thing, but it will be difficult for him to act upon them without fixed election dates. I truly do not envy the task that Alberta’s elections staff have. Elections get called unexpectedly and elections Alberta has less than a month to arrange the hiring and management of enough people to conduct and election in 83 constituencies. This is a nearly impossible task considering Alberta’s labor shortage. It is little wonder that there was mass confusion at the polls in last spring’s election. It is not like a hiring and training program can be implemented when the election date is unknown.

 Fixed election dates would greatly improve the preparation for and management of elections. Special Ed clearly will not implent that simple and critical electoral reform. Stelmach has already demonstrated a trend of protecting his power jealously.

 When rejecting fixed election dates, Stelmach snapped that it would have no impact on voter turnout. Voter turnout alone is not the reason we need this reform. To put it simply, fixed election dates are needed for a proper democratic system. One thing that is leading to our dismal voter turnouts is increasing voter cynicism due to being lied to by their elected leaders. Stelmach barely got out of the gate as Premier before flip-flopping on the promise to reduce cabinet to 17 members. Special Ed quickly learned that the plum of cabinet appointments is his best method of caucus control. The more cabinet positions Stelmach has, the more incentive MLAs have to kiss the Premier’s ass.

 Harper’s reversal on his commitment to fixed election dates did little to instill faith in the electorate. Harper’s shaky excuse of having a dysfunctional parliament hardly cuts it. Joe Clark proved what happens when a minority leader acts as if he has a majority. Harper could very well have simply governed as he pleased and called every vote a confidence vote. In that case, either his bills would be passed (parliament would have been functional), or the opposition would bring the government down and Harper would get the election that he desired without breaking the spirit of his own law. Using the aforementioned strategy would have taken the power from Harper’s hands to have an election when it best benefits his own party however thus he simply ignored his own commitments and dissolved parliament.

 As somebody who has ran in a few elections I have always had to deal with hearing people spout about how all politicians are the same and how all politicians are liars. I do not agree with that assessment, but our examples in our legislatures certainly do not make it easy to counter the assertions of the bitter. It is up to the electorate to vote out politicians when they lie to us. Rest assured if enough MLAs and MPs lose their jobs over the course of a couple elections, we will see a great change in attitude among those elected. Sadly, instead of taking an increased role in democracy as we need them to, many voters are simply sinking into a cynical funk and are not voting at all. It is a sad and dangerous trend for us all.

 While I generally loath Canada’s version of Pravda (the CBC), one gem the CBC does retain is Rex Murphy. Murphy stands up for free speech and does not hesitate to be critical of any party when it is warranted whether Liberal or Conservative. He sums up Harper’s flip-flop quite well.

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Canadians are stupid……

 At least we are according to leader of the Canadian Green Party, Elizabeth May.

 Last year on TVO’s the agenda with Steve Paikin, Elizabeth May stated that Canadians were stupid for not embracing the concept of a carbon tax that she supports.

 Blogger Steven Taylor put together a little YouTube video with audio directly taken from May’s rather insulting rant and posted it on his blog. You can hear the clip here. Despite the twisting and turning of some dogged Green Party supporters on this one, upon listening one can clearly hear Elizabeth May saying that she feels that Canadians are stupid for not supporting the idea of a carbon tax.

 May’s statement made some small ripples when it was first uttered but had pretty much ended up forgotten by most. Canadians have learned to disregard and forget the inane mutterings of Elizabeth May. I guess we are not all that stupid.

 What has brought May’s arrogant insult of Canadians at large into the spotlight again was not Steven Taylor’s posting of the clip on YouTube, it was John Bennett’s (communications director of the Green Party) reaction to a blogger who dared link to Taylor’s video.

 Bennett called the clip slander, threatened legal action and claimed that the clip was doctored. Bennett also claimed that TVO was threatening legal action.

 Well it would appear that Bennett is as inept as a communications director as a national party leader who calls the electorate at large stupid.

 To begin with, directly quoting somebody is hardly slandering them. Elizabeth May certainly did do some nasty damage to her image in stating her profoundly arrogant and insulting views on the intelligence of Canadians. May only defamed herself (and Canadians) however. Nobody else is under any kind of legal threat. In other words, John Bennett is full of crap with his threats.

 TVO has confirmed that the clip was not modified in any way. Elizabeth May really did say something that rude and stupid. In other words Bennet lied in a sad attempt to defend May’s words.

 TVO also has stated that they are not and have not been considering any kind of legal action. The legal action on the part of TVO was simply another blatant lie from John Bennett.

 Had this audio clip been ignored, it likely only would have been under discussion by a handful of bloggers and would have faded away. John Bennett’s brilliant work however has turned the clip viral. There has been 13,400 views of the clip as of this posting and it has been played on radio stations across the country.

 All that can be concluded is this; Elizabeth May holds Canadians in contempt and considers us stupid in her own words. May’s communication director holds free speech in contempt and assumes that the bloggosphere is stupid enough to cave under his hollow threats in hopes of stifling speech.

 It is ironic but not surprising that while May screeched that her expression and speech was infringed upon when she was not initially included in the election debates, May has appointed as head of her communications a man who uses lies and threats in hopes of stifling the speech of others.

 I suspect that after the federal debates many Green Party supporters will wish that their leader had never gained entrance. One can only imagine what May will say on the national stage. I look forward to it.

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