First conservative unity, next conservative policy.

This weekend, I hope and expect that the majority of conservative minded people in Alberta will find themselves united under one banner.

One thing that has fallen by the wayside in these singular times of unity battles has been any real specific policy directions. This had to happen as we really need to unite under general principles of conservatism such as small government and low taxes. If we get ourselves mired into specific policy items we could reignite internal divisions at a time when we really can’t afford to. Conservatives can unite under general principles, but we can nitpick ourselves to death over the individual policies.

Assuming that the forces of unity are successful this weekend, we will then enter a formal leadership race (it has already been clearly informally running for some time now).

There is no better time to hammer out policy specifics and commitments than during a leadership race and we dearly need to start spelling out what the plan is.

Yes, the vast majority of Albertans think that the NDP is harming our province. We do not have a specific plan laid out for how we will mitigate the damage caused by the NDP once we finally toss them to the electoral curb however.

Most candidates and supporters agree that the NDP carbon tax has to go. Notley has proven that legislative flagellation through tax hikes will never buy us that mythical “social license” required to get our products out of the province. The impact of the carbon tax on our environment is negligible at best and the impact on the economy is terrible.

In cutting taxes though, how do we balance the budget?

There is no getting around it. We need to cut spending and we need to cut it deeply. The longer the NDP is in power, the more painful the recovery will be but we simply can’t avoid it. Alberta spends $2,700 more annually per-capita than our neighbors in BC. We have plenty of room to cut.

One of the most effective ways that the left has undercut those calling for spending cuts so far has been for them simply to ask “where will you cut?”.  That is a perfectly valid question and it absolutely has to be answered.

Health care and education make up the vast majority of our spending. No matter how people feel that these areas are sacred, we simply must reduce how much we spend in those areas. We can’t afford a hospital on every street corner or a nurse’s visit to every household. While it will never feel like we spend enough in these core services, we have very real limits on what we can afford. We need to examine these areas and cut spending to a reasonable level.

Just proposing such cuts will take political courage. Following through on these cuts will take leadership and strength.

Klein was at his most popular while he cut Alberta’s spending by 20% across the board. Despite the howls of the unions and the left still harping about it today, it really wasn’t that bad when the cuts were happening. There clearly was a great deal of bloat within the civil service and we were all better for the trimming of it. “Infrastructure deficit” is a bullshit term that some use to try and knock the austerity of those times. Again it is trash and most Albertans see through it. There will never be enough schools, interchanges, fire stations etc. We can always use more. Tax dollars are finite though and we have to draw a line somewhere. Klein’s support began dropping significantly as soon as he began falling into the tired old PC pattern of spending our way out of problems. Albertans appreciate fiscal restraint when it is presented with good leadership.

Image ht to Roy Doonanco

Brian Jean has chosen to avoid taking any strong stance on cuts and is pursuing the mushy middle. This is not my idea of strong leadership but I guess it is a strategy. I can’t help but remember Jean’s abysmal debate performance where he almost mindlessly answered every question by stating that he wont raise taxes. He literally sounded like some sort of broken record. I remember all too clearly sitting in a room full of volunteers on one of the campaigns. We had put up a projector screen and bought some beer and pizza to give our volunteers a night off. We hoped that they would be invigorated in watching the debates. We found ourselves dejected. That was the night that I truly began to realize that we were not going to win that election. Notley showed energy and vision, Prentice showed classic arrogance and Jean was inanimate. We are paying so dearly for the lack of principled leadership in that debate today.

Maybe Jean will show some more strength after the unity vote is finished with. Perhaps other candidates will spur some vigor out of him. Maybe Jean’s strategy of avoiding strong stands will actually pay off and he will win the leadership. I personally don’t think so.

Assuming a successful unity vote, the leadership race will very likely be determining who our next premier will be.

It will take vision, leadership and a true plan with policy specifics in order to win that leadership.

I do look forward to seeing who emerges from the pack with the above qualities as the race unfolds. We need some real policy discussion and we need it soon.

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I’m stupid!

OK, I know that my stupidity is not exactly a revelation to some. All the same, I thought I would be able to figure out something so simple as what a political cash for access scheme looks like.

Just to recap, an event was scheduled where for the low fee of $5,000 or so, a person could join Mayor Naheed Nenshi along with 20 other well heeled donors for an intimate luncheon where they could get some one on one time for the Mayor. If you don’t want to or don’t have the means to spend a few thousand dollars to speak to the Mayor, you may wait for hours on end in hopes of addressing a city council meeting and pray that the Mayor doesn’t ignore your statement while he tweets instead of listening.

Nenshi boldly shouted that anybody who considered such an arrangement as being a cash for access scheme was stupid.

Well, I remain a fool because no matter how many ways I try to view this whole scandal I can only see a cash for access scheme.

Due to so many people in Calgary being so damned stupid in Nenshi’s eyes, the event was cancelled.

Nenshi essentially stated that Calgarians are too stupid to understand what the fundraiser was about so it was best to cancel it rather than let these dim misconceptions go on.

Apparently if you are a preferred architecture firm in Calgary, it is not stupid to arrange for and pay into these cash for access ripoffs however.

Kasian Architecture was long been doing Naheed Nenshi some rather questionable favors. Even back in 2011 Kasian caused a mini scandal when it was found that they were providing Nenshi with free flights across the country. Nice benefits if you can get them I guess.

The price of some airfare was well worth it for Kasian it appears. Their firm coincidentally happened to win Calgary Mayor’s Urban Design award in 2013. Perhaps giving the Mayor free trips doesn’t guarantee such awards but it apparently certainly doesn’t hurt.

Senior Kasian Architecture executive, Bill Chomik coincidentally landed positions such as being a director on the Calgary Economic Development board and chair of the  Calgary Development Appeal board with the Mayor’s encouragement. What a great selling point for an architecture firm. Having a voice on boards that impact city grants and development appeals must look very good when seeking to partner with developers for contracts.

Kasian Architecture sure has good luck in securing those lucrative city contracts too.

Calgary Economic Development (who was on their board again?) was responsible for the Calgary tax funded film studio. Through what was surely another big coincidence, Kasian Architecture was named the prime consultant on the project. 

The city of Calgary committed $25,000,000 to build the National Music Center. By what was surely a huge coincidence, Chomik and Kasian Architecture got the contract. 

With Kasian being so dedicated to funding the Mayor and doing so well with city contracts, I would say something stinks. But then again, perhaps I am just stupid.

Why, Daorcey Le Bray (Nenshi’s communications man) reiterated just this morning on a forum that the only problem was the wording on the invitation. 

It would seem to me that charging $5,000 for personal access to the Mayor is exactly what pay to play is but how could a fool like myself question the brilliance of the communications gurus in the Mayor’s office?

I look forward to seeing how Nenshi and his gang model the invitations for the next fundraiser where they can charge $5,000 per person for personal time with the Mayor yet not have it actually be a pay to play event. Yes, indeed. I am too dim to see how that can be phrased but surely Nenshi and company will manage the task.

 

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These rallies and protests are not helping!!

Seriously guys. If the right wing wants to play the game of protests and rallies as the left used to, we have to get damned better at it and damned fast.

To start with, organizers have to take control of these rallies or they will lose their message every time.

I don’t care if its unfair that you get labelled due to a fringe that shows up at these things and sidetracks the event. Fair or not, the message is lost and the right end up looking like a bunch of assholes to the general electorate again.

As I type this, pictures are surfacing of signs that stupid assholes are waving at an anti-carbon tax rally.

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What does the carbon tax have to do with gay activists? How about that sign though? What a beautiful shot. The leader of the Wildrose Party is framed within a picture of an anti-gay sign and it looks as if he endorses this and that it is the theme of the protest.

Just the perfect framing and timing along with the fact that the sign is pointing the other way makes me suspect that this is purposeful sabotage. So what though! Its your rally!

In cases like this, organizers should be getting speakers to denounce those signs and ask that people stop sidetracking the rally right there and then. It really will take action that proactive to stamp this shit out.

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Carbon tax = sodomy????

Again, the fact that these assholes are hiding in the back makes me think it is a setup. Why would anybody try to tie sodomy to a fucking tax???

Again, it doesn’t matter. Speakers and organizers should be immediately telling these people to take their signs elsewhere because they will be wearing the message otherwise.

At an anti-carbon tax rally in Red Deer, some dolts figured it would be a fine time to wave their confederate flag.

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Why? Why the hell bring out an utterly non-related and controversial symbol to a rally about a local tax?

I am not going down the rabbit hole of free expression and such. I feel these people have every right to wave and display whatever the hell they like.

These rallies however need to distance these idiots as much as possible and make no damned bones about it.

Whether fair or not, organizers and participants are all getting pulled into the anti-gay and even American civil war debate for attending a tax protest.

The protest is worthless if all that gets covered are the idiots.

Rallies and protests have value. We have some serious issues that need exposure and change.

Unless we can do these things while remaining on message though, we are only making things worse.

Get it together! We cant afford another term of Notley and if we keep letting ourselves get labelled as anti-gay racists, she may just do it again.

 

Government managed economic diversification? Been there, done that.

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As Alberta’s economy continues to swirl down the fiscal toilet bowl, the increasingly ideologically driven Notley NDP is still insisting on proven socialism inspired failures. Notley’s insane insistence on trying to rip up PPA contracts is building an investment chill that even Naheed Nenshi is calling out.

A government study on the economic impact of the carbon tax was so damning, Notley’s administration refused to release it. Notley wont even share or acknowledge the outcomes of her own studies funded by the taxpayer.

The last faint hope that the Notley regime has in mitigating widespread economic damage from the carbon tax is that through massive corporate welfare programs they will be able to force economic diversification upon Alberta.

THE PROBLEM WITH THIS STRATEGY IS THAT IT HAS ALREADY BEEN TRIED AND IT FAILED TERRIBLY! 

getty lougheed

While self styled “progressives” in the Progressive Conservative Party like to wistfully look back on the glory days of old, they conveniently overlook the fact that Don Getty and Peter Lougheed led fiscally liberal governments that created the massive deficits and debt that forced us all into austerity in the 1990s under Ralph Klein. Much of that debt was due to the foolish pursuit of government guided economic diversity.

Billions of dollars were lost as loan guarantees and outright grants were given to dozens of failed ventures. When one considers how small Alberta’s population was at the time and what a dollar was worth, these were some very significant blows to the taxpayer.

In the usual progressive fashion, the progressives borrowed money to cover the losses and let the next generation take care of the bill in the 1990s.

Sound familiar?

Notley apparently is no student of recent history as she is bound and determined to repeat it.

A great piece on past diversification efforts was recently done by the UofC School of Public Policy with Ted Morton and Merideth MacDonald. It is well worth a read in its entirety. 

I will summarize below some of the brutal investments that the progressives of the time made in the name of economic diversity.

I have to start with MagCan as I passed by the site of that crumbling plant yesterday and had to get a picture taken with it where I could show my thoughts on that waste of dollars that has polluted the landscape for over 20 years.

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1988 Magnesium Company of Canada (MagCan) Loss covered by taxpayers: $164 million

1984 Swan Hills Waste Treatment Plant Loss covered by taxpayers: $440 million

1989 NovaTel Loss covered by taxpayers: $544 million to $614 million (they screwed it so badly that the auditor general couldnt even figure out the total loss)

1987 Millar Western Pulp Loss covered by taxpayers: $272 million

1986 Gainers Loss covered by taxpayers: $209 million

1982 Ridley Grain Ltd. Loss covered by taxpayers: $161 million (though still considered an outstanding loan)

1991 Al-Pac Loss covered by taxpayers: $155 million

1977 Chembiomed Loss covered by taxpayers: $44 million

1981 Canadian Commercial Bank Loss covered by taxpayers: $56 million

1973 Northern Lite Canola Loss covered by taxpayers: $50 million

1983 General Systems Research Loss covered by taxpayers: $30 million

Ironically it was during the period of cuts and austerity led by Ralph Klein when Alberta moved closer to a diversified economy. Innovative ventures started and blossomed under a regime that was welcoming to business and investment. The lack of government interference in the market and lack of tax hikes attracted record numbers of new head offices to Alberta while existing businesses expanded and broadened their scope of products and services.

ralph

It has been proven that economic diversification through government trying to pick winners and losers in business is an utter failure.

It has also been proven that if left alone, business will expand and diversify all on it’s own.

Unfortunately this stark historical lesson is lost on Notley and those who call themselves the “progressive” element in the PC Party of Alberta.

We will cut back and our economy will rebound once we get Notley as far from the reins of power as possible. That will take the kind of partisan unity that Jason Kenney is offering though and that means that the “progressive” folks in the PC party cant be allowed to try and turn the clock back to the Getty days of fiscal liberalism.

Notley will do massive damage to us in the next few years with her attempts to make the first working socialist model. We simply cant take the chance that she may get 8 years to pursue this mad experiment.

Below is a list of smaller but still not insignificant government backed ventures that lost in that period for honorable mention.

Alberta Pacific Terminals $10 million

Alberta Terminals: $2.6million

Alberta White Wood Industries and Meunier Forest Products: $2.3 million

Alert Disaster Control: $2.6 million

Canadian Professional Munitions: $803,000

Carbovan: $5.9 million

Climate Master: $5 million

Dial Guard: $600,000

Emery Apparel Canada: $2 million

Fletchers Fine Foods: $13.9 million

General Composites Canada: $3.5 million

Myrias Research Corp: $9 million

Nanton Spring Water: $2.8 million

Norstar Recreation Products: $1 million

Northern Steel: $11 million

Peace River Fertilizer: approx $6 million

Ski Free Marine: $2.8 million

Teknica Resource Development: $1.9 million

Tomotechnology: approx: $1 million

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I finally joined the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta

Progressive_Conservative_Association_of_Alberta_Logo

Yes, for the first time in my life I have purchased a membership with the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta. While this is hardly earthshaking news to the world, it is indeed a big deal to me. I have been a member of one political party or another since getting my first membership with the Reform Party in 1991 and I never take my membership in a party lightly.

While many keep dismissing Wildrose members as being nothing more than disenchanted former PC members, I was never a member of that party until this morning. I viewed the PC party that had held power in Alberta since the year of my birth as being an entrenched group dedicated to cronyism and maintaining power by any and all means possible. While there were some shining individuals within and actions taken by the party over the years, my general assessment of the party was rarely proven wrong.

 Due to being the most likely route to government benches, the Progressive Conservative Party attracted unprincipled opportunists in droves. Why battle to win a seat under your own left-wing principles when you can simply swallow your principles, talk the talk and win a seat with the PC Party?

 Sandra Jansen is a prime and recent example of this sort of thing. While Jansen’s personal views align her more with the NDP than the PC Party, she knew upon entering politics that she would never (or so it would appear at that time) win a seat under the NDP banner. Jansen played the part of a PC supporter and got a seat due to her prior media profile and the efforts of party volunteers. Jansen even tabled and promoted the odious anti-gay Bill 10 under orders from Jim Prentice. While such a bill was in total contradiction to Jansen’s principles, she viewed her political career as being more important than the gay rights she purports now to support. This is exactly the callow and weak willed crap from opportunists that has soured me and many like me from the PC party for decades.  

jansen

Another recent example of Progressive Conservative style opportunism was of course Danielle Smith and her band of fools trying to take a shortcut to government benches after being sold a bill of goods by Prentice. Prentice was of the old stock PC mindset where support is best bought rather than earned at the constituency level. Smith had discovered that trying to manage a grassroots party is thankless, exhausting and simply damn tough. Under her poor management, the party was ripping itself up with internal turmoil despite doing well in the polls. Smith did what so many PC MLAs did before her and took what she thought was an easy route to a cabinet seat. As we all know, Smith’s self serving idiocy only led her and her followers into a well earned political oblivion.  

smith

There is an upside to the treacherous union of Danielle Smith and Jim Prentice that repelled the Alberta electorate so much that they accidentally lashed out by electing the NDP. The actions of Smith and Prentice stripped the PC party down to a shell of it’s former self. Most of the opportunists have fled as they saw little personal benefit in taking part in an indebted, disgraced and moribund party (aside from opportunists like Jansen who managed to keep her seat). Those remaining in the party are idealists whether right of center or left. These are people who know that there is a lot of tough and thankless slogging ahead of them yet they are going ahead anyway. These are the kind of people who build movements of principle.  

It is not only the sloughing off of the political parasites by the Progressive Conservative Party that has drawn me to it of course. I, like most people to the right of Che Guevara am very concerned about the catastrophe that we have in government right now. I am resigned to the fact that the Notley NDP will remain in power for a few more years and will continue to reap havoc on the Alberta economy in that time. I am terrified at the concept that somehow through constant right of center battles, that Notley will manage to gain a second term and put Alberta’s industries deeply into the economic graveyard for generations.  

I suspect that Notley will continue to crater in the polls as Albertans en-masse realize (as with every other NDP province) that having socialists in power is intolerable and will cost the grandchildren of our children as they try to dig themselves out of the massive debt built by a province that hamstrung it’s own industries. I think that even if there were four parties on the right that Notley would be wiped out by a coalition of these parties as she struggles to maintain double digit support.

Despite what I think, I DO NOT WANT TO LEAVE THINGS TO CHANCE! 

The only thing that may indeed give Notley’s ghastly administration another term will be constant splintering on the right leading to more mistrust and rejection by the electorate. Mass, dejected apathy on the part of the electorate on election day could put Notley in yet again.  

Jason Kenney has provided a plan. It is a tough plan with many possible pitfalls and variables, but it is a plan that could work. I am ready to work as hard as I can to help bring that plan into fruition.

KenneyJason_CPC

I am a socially liberal libertarian sort. Why can I get behind somebody as socially conservative as Jason Kenney? I can for a couple reasons.  

While Jason Kenney is personally and unapologetically socially conservative, he is not proposing implementing any socially conservative policies and I see no reason why he would. Do you really think he would try to make gay marriage illegal again? Do you really think he could overstep provincial jurisdiction and wade into the abortion debate again? I sincerely don’t see it. One fellow I see as a political mentor is Paul Hinman. Paul is personally socially conservative but he is also deeply dedicated to individual rights. It is in that balance that libertarians and social conservatives can work together.  

Another factor is that Jason Kenney will have to run in two leadership campaigns. If the first campaign is successful, Kenney will have to run again to lead the new party vehicle. If one doesn’t like Kenney, they can and should support another leader in the next race.

I see Kenney’s current campaign as being focussed on right of center unity. It is not a campaign to make Kenney Alberta’s Premier (this time anyway). This is a campaign that is using the leadership process as a means of referendum for right of center people to vote on a unified party. 

People are already trying to distract the campaign by miring it down with questions on policy specifics. I spent three terms on the executive of the Wildrose Party as Vice President of Policy. I understand the importance of policy as well as anybody. I also understand how easily and quickly it can become a divisive minefield.

Kenney’s current run so far has not delved into specific policies nor should it. Right now we need to focus on broad principles. There will be time to battle on policies at AGMs and during nominations for years to come. We cant let ourselves get dragged into that during a leadership run based on unity.  

While always being a supporter of one member one vote systems, I see some great advantages in this race being delegate based. This race will not be won by somebody who has sold their political soul to unions as Redford did (and Jansen would love to). This race will be won by the person who can manage to win broad support constituency by constituency across the entire province. It will take ground level organization and engagement. A person with deep federal connections and the endorsement of the former Prime Minister certainly has an edge in that regard.  

A great side effect of this kind of race is that it forces the organization of the constituency associations. I suspect that many if not most of the PC CAs are essentially in total hibernation. Instead of simply selling memberships in any location, candidates now need to court support in every constituency and ensure that those constituencies are well enough organized to send a full slate of delegates to the leadership convention.  

Assuming Kenney wins the leadership (I know that is still a big assumption), he will essentially have the framework for a new party already built for him. Constituency associations will be rejuvenated and active across the entire province as the race has motivated candidates to build them and activate them. That of course is also the organizational machinery which will obliterate the NDP in a general election.  

After a Kenney win and the formation of a new party, the remaining rump will fade away. Joe Clark and other federal PC holdouts never took part in the federal merger and it didn’t matter. They and their former party simply died of atrophy. Jansen and gang will do the same with the remnants of the PC organization too.  

After a Kenney win, the pressure on Jean will be tremendous. Jean has clearly already seen some caucus division and general party unrest. It will be tough to keep members whether on the ground or in caucus from getting in with the new party if Jean remains intransigent on the issue.

If Kenney somehow loses the race, I assume that somebody like Sandra Jansen has managed to pull off a win somehow. That will unify the right as well as people flock to the one remaining right of center party in the province.

I still think highly of the Wildrose Party. I was a founding member and put in countless hours and resources over the years in hopes of bringing that party into government. There are some fantastic people in the party on all levels from simple members up to MLAs. Jean is a good and dedicated person as well. The bottom line though is that the Wildrose Party is spinning it’s wheels. While general support numbers are good and fundraising is strong, the growth is mostly flat lined. The party is remaining strong only because Notley is terrible rather than people being engaged and excited with the Wildrose. As many have said before, people want something to vote for rather than against. The Wildrose just cant seem to bring itself into that generally inspiring position.  

Kenney’s move is a gamble. Many things may happen that will derail the effort. Still, Kenney is offering the best long term plan that I have seen yet and I will do what I can to aid in it’s success. Notley is dependent on the right remaining in shambles and we just cant afford to keep letting her win this way.  

I need to get a Progressive Conservative t-shirt now.

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Danielle Smith still trying to rewrite history with bullshit.

smith

The picture above was taken at the moment when Danielle Smith soundly lost the PC nomination for Highwood as the PC membership indicated their revulsion with Smith’s treachery at their local ballot box. The surprise in Smith’s expression is striking. Pretty much every political watcher in the province could see that Smith was going to lose the nomination except apparently Smith herself. That is because Danielle prefers to cloak herself in delusion and bullshit rather than face reality.

Last year, Danielle Smith began claiming that the reason she tried to destroy her former party was that she saw the election of the NDP looming and that she was heroically trying to save Albertans from it.

Brock Harrison was one of Danielle Smith’s senior staffers at that time. He masterfully called Danielle on her revisionist bullshit in this National Post piece. It is well worth reading and truly demonstrates Smith’s purposeful disconnect from reality.

I guess Danielle Smith thought that enough time had passed since she got caught spreading bullshit and she decided to start spewing again.

Few have been more eager to watch the Wildrose Party fail than Danielle Smith has. Smith is a disgraced politician who repulsed the nation with a treacherous floor-crossing that so damaged conservatives in Alberta that we elected an NDP majority for lack of more acceptable options. Smith despises seeing Brian Jean succeeding where she failed so dismally.

As soon as Jean saw some hiccups in grassroots support (constant in any party), Smith pounced and tried to widen the cracks. A blog posting from a supposed party insider (wife of a failed nomination candidate, hardly an entrenched insider) was promoted by Smith. This posting tried anecdotally to create the impression that there was a giant social conservative/libertarian split in the party that eventually drove Smith out. While libertarians and social conservatives have often clashed within the party, it is simply bullshit that this is what caused Smith to cross the floor. Danielle has decided to rewrite her own narrative from last fall though to try and claim that this is indeed why she left.

On twitter some who really were within the party called Smith out on her bullshit.

There was a terrible policy proposal that hit the floor at the 2014 AGM. It was soundly rejected by social conservatives and libertarians alike. At least Smith managed to unite the two factions that time.

That policy was slipped in with little fanfare and no promotion. Many often were critical of Smith since then in pointing out that if that damned fluffy policy was so important, why the hell didn’t Danielle Smith try to be a leader for a change and promote it?

Well, Danielle took this opportunity to create more bullshit and claim that she promoted this policy clearly in her Friday night speech as can be seen in the image below.

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Well, I guess Danielle Smith forgot one of the cardinal rules of the internets. They are forever.

The entire transcript of Danielle Smith’s Friday night speech can be found here.

In reading the speech that while Smith is rambling about “fun police” and even gives a direct plug to my blog (thanks Danielle), she never once mentions policies or even alludes to them.

Perhaps Danielle should read this speech herself so that she doesn’t get caught in the bullshit of her own making yet again.

I really would love to hear a candid accounting from Danielle Smith of what really went down in those last 4 months of 2014. I am sure that there is much that has never been revealed.

In light of Danielle Smith having been caught fabricating the facts about that period not once, but twice now, I hold out little faith in hearing anything come from her on that event that we can believe.

It really is too bad as there are probably some great lessons to be learned from that mess.

 

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Conservatives don’t need a merger, they just need good leadership.

brian

If there is one thing that conservatives in Alberta have been lacking in the last 10 years it is good leadership. From bungling Stelmach, to corrupted Redford to the unholy alliance of Prentice/Smith that managed to put Notley on the Premier’s chair, conservatives have languished under a chain of piss poor partisan leaders.

With the events seen in the last week, it looks pretty clear that conservative Albertans are going to have to wait longer to see a good leader come out of the woodwork.

The “right” in Alberta is not so much split as it is floundering in trying to find a stable banner to gather underneath. If one of the right of center parties could manage to get an inspiring leader, merger dreams would end and the majority of right of center Albertans would migrate to that party. One would think that under the gross mismanagement of Notley that a strong opposition party would manage to get it together. Alas, so far there has been no luck.

Yes, Brian Jean stepped up to the plate and took the reigns of the Wildrose Party while it was still reeling under the effects of Danielle Smith’s self serving treachery. Yes, Brian has been stellar in handling the disastrous fire in Fort McMurray. Aside from that though, Jean really hasn’t gotten far in turning the Wildrose Party into a government in waiting.

As I ranted last week, the choice to insult a visiting Premier in the legislature was a terrible one that repelled many Albertans in its lack of tact and class. Those were the actions of a party that wants to oppose rather than build and that falls squarely on the leader’s lap. It should be noted that Brian Jean was one of the MLAs who petulantly refused to stand to respectfully greet the visiting Premier. He cant blame the fallout from those tasteless actions on rogue MLAs. They were acting under his leadership and direction.

Jean’s next foolish and reactive move was his bizarre late night suspension of Derek Fildebrandt over a social media faux-pas.

Derek Fildebrandt is no homophobe and anybody knowing him will say that confidently. Even the most left wing of opponents acknowledge that while Derek made a careless error in judgement, they know damn well that he would never support anti-gay views or rhetoric. Despite that fact and despite Derek’s near immediate apology for the mistake, Jean recklessly suspended Derek from caucus.

Brian Jean is still doggedly claiming that it was the social media error that was the cause of the suspension. That is clearly utter bullshit and Jean’s refusal to explain the real rational behind the suspension is yet another example of poor leadership.

Perhaps there is a good set of reasons for the suspension of Fildebrandt from caucus. Jean would be well placed to release and explain them then because right now his actions look petty and have infuriated the grassroots of the Wildrose Party. In light of the employment outcomes for all of the floor crossers from the Wildrose Party the other year, I think it goes without saying that antagonizing the grassroots of a conservative party is never a wise course of action.

Derek Fildebrandt is one of the rougher MLAs. He plays hardball and he can be prone to theatrics. That is actually a good thing when one considers that Brian Jean can be about as animated as a turnip (as anybody who watched the last election debate can attest to). A balanced caucus has people of a few different characters.

Was the reason for the suspension pure insecurity on the part of Jean? Does he feel that his position as leader is threatened? I don’t think Jean’s leadership was threatened before last week but it sure as hell is now as the grassroots party members become annoyed.

Was the reason for the suspension because Jean felt embarrassed at a gathering of his federal compatriots while statements such as the one below were written in the Globe and Mail?

Has Mr. Jean become so accustomed to being led around by the nose by Mr. Fildebrandt that he allowed this sorry spectacle to unfold? Why doesn’t Mr. Jean simply step aside now and allow Mr. Fildebrandt to ascend to the position he so clearly lusts after?

Pretty harsh words from an editorialist and I don’t think they were based on fact. I can see how it grated on Jean though and I can see how an insecure leader would lash out to try and prove himself in light of such critique.

I don’t know the full story here I suspect but I know what I see and that is a demonstration of terrible leadership when we need it so dearly on the conservative end of the spectrum in Alberta.

I hope Jean either learns to get it together soon or steps aside because we really cant afford another term under Notley.

A good first step would be admitting error and bringing Derek Fildebrandt back into caucus.

Under good leadership, such suspensions shouldn’t be needed.

 

 

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Diplomacy counts.

I rarely use any form of tact, discretion or general diplomacy with political issues as many can attest. I speak my mind to the point of being outright offensive at times. That is due to the fact that I don’t really give a shit who I may or may not offend.

As can be seen below, I think that Katleen Wynne is a dead ringer for Orville Redenbacher and I think that pointing that out in pictures is damned hilarious.

orville

All that being said, I am not an elected official representing a constituency on any level of government. I am simply a blogger with strong opinions who speaks only for himself.

I have little need to be diplomatic in my words or actions. If for some bizarre reason I had Kathleen Wynne over for supper at my place one day though, I likely would not have the picture above put on display and would endeavor to forgo on expounding on my views about how she is a terrible politician who is indeed harming her province and setting a bad example across the nation. It is not that I selectively believe in these things, my views are pretty consistent. I understand however that there is a time and place to share them and even on a household level, a base degree of diplomacy can be called for.

Diplomacy is showing class and respect towards somebody when the situation calls for it even when that person and their actions are odious to you. Hell, it is easy to be diplomatic when it is towards a person you admire. That is why true diplomacy is an art that few can really master.

Diplomacy between governments and their representatives is essential whether on an international level or even down to meetings between municipalities. If you are acting as a host, you had better damn well act with class and respect. Your trade and negotiations in the future rely on it.

I am a strong supporter of the Wildrose Party. I do want to see the Wildrose form the next government of Alberta. One flaw with the party has been it’s rough edges at times which opponents point to in trying to demonstrate that the Wildrose is not the government in waiting.

That flaw was demonstrated in spades yesterday as Wynne was subjected to abuse as a guest of the legislature. Wynne was not just a guest of Notley. Wynne was a guest of the whole damn legislature and that means even opposition members are expected to provide a degree of respect. There were 364 other days when the Wildrose could have attacked Wynne’s policies.

In order to become the party that Albertan’s want to select as their next government, the Wildrose Party will have to mature into that role.

The Wildrose has been a very effective opposition. Unless the party wants to remain in opposition in perpetuity though, they had better start showing a little more decorum as they work to develop into a party that can govern.

This week’s antics have set the Wildrose back in the eyes of Albertans and it will take time and a demonstration of class going forward in order to recover from that.

Worst of all, the actions of the Wildrose party gave that loudmouth asshole Nenshi a new platform to try and bark from as he campaigns for higher office and tries to distract from the legal bill he dumped on Calgarians due to his big damned mouth. That is nearly unforgivable.

Naheed Nenshi and peacock

Act as a government in waiting guys and leave the uncouth partisan attacks to bloggers like me. We will all be better for it in the long run.

 

 

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Rachel Notley and her band of extremists go full LEAP Manifesto with Bill 20

notler

 

When the federal NDP (directly tied to the Notley NDP) embraced the extreme and insane “Leap Manifesto”, Notley tried desperately and doggedly to distance herself from the plan. Notley’s excuses rang flat at the time when one considers that provincial NDP parties are constitutionally bound to be subservient to the federal entity.

In releasing Bill 20 Notley has proven that she clearly embraces the environmental extremism of the LEAP Manifesto and is prepared to stomp on the individual rights of Albertans in order to pursue the insane goals of the document.

The contents of Bill 20 are outright terrifying as they subject us to warrantless searches even to the point of going into our computers as can be seen here:

52 In this Part, “property” includes computer hardware.

Authority to enter on land
53 For the purpose of carrying out duties under this Act and the regulations, the Minister or an officer may enter on any land, whether or not that land is enclosed.

General powers respecting inspections
54(1) For the purpose of carrying out duties under this Act and the regulations, the Minister or an officer may do all or any of the following: (a) subject to subsection (4), enter, without a warrant, at any reasonable time, the following premises for the purpose of conducting an inspection, audit or examination:

This bill is terrifying in it’s scope and arrogance. Officers are empowered to search anything and everything to the point of being able to hook up to the engine of your vehicles to test for emission issues (or whatever else they want to snoop around for).

The entire text of the bill can be found here.

The concept of such a massive carbon tax being imposed during a recession is bad enough. That Notley feels compelled to bundle all this warrantless search powers into the bill is frightening.

For those who tried to convince themselves that Notley wasn’t of the extreme end of the NDP I am afraid that this delusion has been shattered and the proof is in this bill.

Rachel Notley and her government are extreme ideologues who were accidentally elected as Albertans tried to escape a broken and corrupted PC government.

While the Notley Regime will clearly last only one term, it is clear that she will be able to do massive damage in that time period. It may take decades to recover.

 

 

 

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My name is Earl. A steer’s journey from field to plate.

When Earls restaurant chain announced that they were refusing to buy Alberta beef in favor of a Kansas supplier that has a dubious stamp of being “humane beef” from a Virginia outfit that apparently certifies for these sorts of things, I have to say I was rather stumped. Why would a restaurant chain purposely alienate the people who built them? They were started in Edmonton after all.

There is nothing that the Kansas supplier provides that Alberta does not as far as standards for humane beef go. Regulations prevent antibiotic laden meat from hitting the market and there are countless suppliers who provide non-hormone filled beef on request.

Earl’s made some weak claims that there is consumer demand for this. As a restaurant owner I have to call outright bullshit on that. In this past year, I have had all sorts of odd requests from customers but I have NEVER had a request for certified humane beef. While Earls may have a different clientele in some of their urban locations, I still find it exceedingly hard to believe that there is or ever was any significant demand for this kind of certification.

Even assuming this demand was there and growing, for Earls to claim that they couldn’t find Canadian suppliers who could produce that sort of beef is simply bullshit again. Alberta alone has thousands of producers and over 5 million cattle. With only marginal effort Earls could have brokered directly with some large local producers who would have been overjoyed to produce in whatever manner Earls likes (in fact most of them already do). I guess if they went local though, Earls would have lost the strength of their ill conceived publicity stunt.

As is my nature though, I am inclined to put things to the test.

I decided to purchase beef for my restaurant directly from a local supplier who would abide by my requests for a lack of anti-biotics in the meat, lack of growth hormones and a humane treatment throughout life up to and including processing time.

It took me about 5 minutes on google and couple phone inquiries before I found such a producer.

Meet Earl!

earl1

The young steer pictured above resides but 10 kilometers from my restaurant. I have purchased him and named him Earl in honor of some of Alberta’s less principled restaurant owners.

Earl will be local and grass fed. Earl’s natural growth will suffice thus he will not have any hormones applied. If Earl should grow sick, he will indeed receive treatment even if that means using antibiotics if need be. It would be sick and inhuman to refuse treatment like that even if some restaurants condone such heartless cruelty. If such should happen, Earl would have to wait a minimum of 90 days before heading to the processors all the same as is Alberta regulation. No medications make it to the plate here.

earl2

As can be seen above, I have direct access to check on Earl’s welfare at any time I please. Earl’s mom is a little on the grouchy side so I didn’t get much closer for the shot. She will be a good mom to protect him from coyotes and some of the other hazards Earl may face in grazing free range around here. They have a good relationship and am happy to have purchased a steer from such a solid family unit.

I will track and document Earl’s progress through life here until he hits the plates in my pub. We will observe holidays together and enjoy the great scenery and atmosphere just West of Calgary.

Earl and any other livestock I purchase for my restaurant will be certified humane through the “Cory Morgan certification program” which is no less credible than any organization out of Virginia.

This whole process was remarkably easy to do. I expect it would have been even easier if I needed millions of pounds of meat as producers would be clamoring to get a client who can purchase so much.

In closing, if you want good solid Alberta beef which is antibiotic free and humanely raised, just come on down to Water’s Edge Pub in Priddis (10 minutes from Calgary).

Earl needs to grow a fair bit before he is ready to grace the pub himself but we already stock beef just as humanely raised as he will be.

Now was that so hard?

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