There is no religion of peace.

Like hippies before them, hipsters tend to flock to what they may perceive as being a peaceful religion. They want to embrace some sort of man on the moon theory to live by and guide themselves with but if they are seeking a truly non-violent religion they will be forever out of luck.

The West has been treated to some horrific images of the violence being perpetrated by Buddhists in Myanmar as Muslims are being assaulted and driven from the country. Hundreds of thousands of Muslim refugees are now packed into Bangladesh where there are scant resources to care for them.

This is just an example of contemporary Buddhist violence. It only takes a moment of research to find that violence inspired by Buddhism has been happening for centuries.

What about Hinduism though? They have inspired yoga and meditation! They embrace peace on all levels!

Sorry to add to the disillusionment kiddies, but finding examples of Hindu based violence is even easier than finding it among Buddhists. 

Every major religion has and does spawn violent acts among its followers.

Of course defenders of the various religions love to spout out: “but those people were not ‘true’ followers” etc.

Bah. That’s just bullshit. How can there be a true or non true follower of what is essentially a set of fairy tales anyway? The behavior of the adherents has been through the arbitrary sanctions of their religious leadership for millennia and little has changed whether by a Pope, an Imam a head monk or whatever.

Sects and branches constantly evolve from all religions and almost inevitably devolve into a period of violence and intolerance when given enough time.

Islam is dominating religious based violence these days (they have done so for centuries), but they are far from alone,

One could come up with a whole new set of anecdotal fairy tales to follow. That is far from unprecedented. That is actually how each and every religion has come into being. Scientology is a great example of a new religion. Scientology has of course fallen into violent acts in the name of their faith too. The true mark of a religion. They have made it!

Folks can follow celebrity inspired baloney religions that break from established faiths as well. Kabbalah is a prime example of this. If that movement takes off and gains enough followers, rest assured that some folks will feel that violence will be required in order to maintain and propagate their faith. This evolution of religion is inevitable.

Religion is tribalism at its ugliest form. The instinct to spread the faith with religions is inherent among adherents and it is only a matter of time before fundamentalist followers feel that violence is justified in the name of their chosen faith.

It is a true sign of religious insecurity when followers feel that they need to take the role of enforcement of the faith from the figurative hands of their chosen deity and violently do it themselves. No matter how many religious texts call for leaving judgement to their version of a supreme being, adherents will feel that they have to take judgement into their own hands.

I know, I know. Those who are violent are in the minority. Those who are violent don’t represent the faith. Yes. I keep hearing that mantra over and over and over again. That is the problem. I keep hearing this yet no religion has managed to purge these violent minorities. The common denominators are religion and violence and that rule appears to be inviolate given enough followers and time.

Seeking and promoting peace and non-violence is a great thing to do. I hope that humanity evolves into a better and more tolerant world.

The first step in finding world peace however will be in the shedding of religion not in embracing it.

There are no exceptions. There is no religion of peace. Quit seeking that non-existent faith and you will truly be finally walking on the real road to peace.

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When will we see the “Deborah Drever” rule in the legislature?

Are they done yet?

Has the legislature kicked enough dirt over the political grave of Derek Fildebrandt over some unseemly but not illegal actions?

People overwhelmingly felt that it was inappropriate for Fildebrandt to rent his government subsidized apartment on AirBnB when he was not occupying it. That is fair enough. The hysteric response since though has been one of the most overblown scandals we have seen in years.

Yes, Derek build himself a reputation as a fiscal watchdog and was relentless in his pursuit of politicians that abused the public purse. This indeed made things look much worse when it appeared that Derek was trying to make a few more bucks on top of his already generous salary and legislative allowance. I understand the anger and calling him out on it. It does have to be kept in mind though that while this was a case of poor optics, no rules were broken and his actions didn’t actually cost the taxpayers a dime.

Coupled with some minuscule expense oversights which other MLAs were guilty of as well (still admittedly doesn’t make it right) and a leadership race full of contenders who didn’t want to be seen with even a whiff of potential scandal we saw a perfect storm of condemnation for Fildebrandt over a scandal that is tiny by political standards.

There is no doubt that Fildebrandt should have known better. There is no doubt that he should pay some form of price for his errors. When though will the price be enough (if ever)?

Fildebrandt is now sitting as an independent member and is essentially in political purgatory for an indefinite time. Quite a price for relatively small transgressions.

A committee today formally made a rule against MLAs renting out their apartments. OK easy enough. Do they need to still try to keep the hysterics running?

After making this rather simple rule, they couldn’t resist firing more shots at the already punished and apologetic MLA. Greg Clark of the Alberta Party said: “I guess this may go down in history as the Fildebrandt rule”.

This was Greg Clark’s way of trying to ensure that the political sentence against Fildebrandt is for life. Let’s enshrine it in a rule.

If that is OK, then I contend that we create a “Deborah Drever rule” and the term will be applied every time a member of the legislature tosses out an anti-gay slur.

Drever made her bed when she used an anti-gay slur against Prentice and McIver years ago.

This is fair isn’t it? I mean, yes Drever is young and impetuous (as is Fildebrandt), yes Drever apologized (as did Fildebrandt) and yes Drever was sentenced to sit as an independent MLA for a period of time (as with Fildebrandt).

Is this enough political sentencing for Drever though? Maybe we need to coin a term so that her name is associated with homophobia for the rest of her career. That seems to be acceptable for minor fiscal transgressions so I don’t see why it is overboard for such displays of anti-gay bigotry.

OK, getting back to reality. No, I don’t think Drever should be labelled for life over an error in judgement. Nor should Fildebrandt.

I am looking forward to the end of Derek’s penance as an independent MLA and his resuming his role as a tenacious and effective fiscal critic in the legislature. Fildebrandt is one of the sharpest and most energetic members in the entire legislature. He was an effective crusader for taxpayers before his time in office and was once he got in. It was Derek’s aggressive and effective fiscal critique of leftist officials that built the loathing that so many on the left display towards him.

With the tempering of time and experience, Derek Fildebrandt may turn out to be one of the most effective legislators of our time. It has to be remembered, he is only 31 years old. Think of how he could be with another decade of experience.

The left will never lay off Fildebrandt but the right needs to embrace his return. We don’t get assets in politics like him often and it would be a terrible waste to see his career ended over relatively minor mistakes.

I contend that there will be no MLA who keeps a more squeaky clean personal fiscal record of their actions than Derek Fildebrandt now. He has learned a lesson in the most harsh of ways.

The left wants Derek gone forever from politics. That is quite telling.

The right has to make sure that this doesn’t happen. I hope and look forward to seeing Derek Fildebrandt sitting as an effective and principled UCP MLA again in the future.

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On Nenshi, public art and bullshit.

Public art in Calgary is back in the news again. This is not surprising as the public arts program in Calgary is nothing less than an embarrassing and expensive catastrophe. Countless pieces of grossly overpriced and ugly “art” are commissioned from artists all over the world (rarely local) and placed in locations where few people can see and admire them (if indeed there is anything to be admired).

Every year we see an explosion as one wretched piece of expensive public art hits the news and every year Nenshi pays lip service to reforming the system while not actually doing anything about it.

It is time that more than words are applied to this terrible program. With the tens of millions spent, Calgary could indeed be on its way to being an arts center worthy of visiting to see the displays. Instead the arts are generally an embarrassment.

Nenshi has moved on into blatant bullshit territory in his defense of the latest art scandal in Calgary. At first Nenshi called critics of the piece a lynch mob. Nenshi then spoke of how they consulted natives and implied that this was native inspired art. Today Nenshi is claiming that the piece has utterly nothing to do with natives. Nenshi is tying himself into knots as he trips over bullshit of his own fabrication as he tries to do everything possible to maintain Calgary’s public arts program without changing it.

Shane Keating and Sean Chu have put forward a motion to suspend funding on arts until a proper system can be built.  The Mayor has signed on to this motion as well but it will take follow through in order to make change. 

The Mayor used the word “tweak” when speaking of changing the policy. It needs a hell of a lot more than that.

Its election season folks. There is no better time to pressure candidates to do the right thing. We know Nenshi wont change anything, but with the right set of councilors the system can be changed despite the Mayor’s objections.

Ask your candidates where they stand on Calgary’s public arts policy and vote appropriately.

Otherwise, we will see these annual, expensive embarrassments continue.

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UCP can’t tell others to get their fiscal house in order until they clean up their own.

You see those people pictured above?

They are NDP.

They are socialists. They have no concept of nor interest in balancing budgets. I expect little of them fiscally and they never fail to meet my expectations.

You see those people pictured above?

They are the Wildrose Party caucus (now UCP).

They are supposed to be conservatives. They are supposed to balance budgets. They are supposed to be efficient managers and capable stewards of the tax dollars entrusted to them by Albertans. I expect a great deal from these people. They have failed to meet my expectations.

UCP Caucus facing deficit.

Even with a newly merged conservative entity, we can’t assume that we will be able to displace the Notley Regime in the next general election.

I can almost guarantee you that we will not beat the NDP in an election if we can’t even keep a simple damned office budget balanced. How the hell are we supposed to tell people to tighten their belts when we make cuts when we wont tighten our own? How can we ask them to trust us when we wont lead by example?

Get your shit together guys.

We cant afford another term of the NDP.

Ranting further below.

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The Springbank Dam obsession.

I use the term “obsession” when speaking of the proposed Springbank dam flood mitigation project because the support for this proposal by the left is borderline obsessive and is contrary to all common sense.

The Springbank dam proposal is inferior to the McLean Creek proposal by every measure yet Nenshi and the NDP are contorting themselves desperately in favor of this terrible plan.

I am listing the problems below and will finish with why I think the left has such obsessive support for this plan.

Protection:

While the Springbank dam project may mitigate flooding in Calgary, it completely neglects Bragg Creek, Redwood Meadows and the Tsuu T’ina reserve. All of those communities were devastated in the 2013 floods as homes and businesses were utterly destroyed.

The McLean Creek flood mitigation route would protect both Calgary and all of these homes. Why would we neglect these vulnerable communities like this in favor of Springbank?

Environmental footprint:

The McLean Creek option takes up a much smaller space than the proposed Springbank dam project.

When it comes to measuring land disrupted, the comparison between the two proposals is stark.

Disruption of people and infrastructure:

The Mclean Creek option is on public land with no residences. The Springbank dam option is all on private land. This is a key distinction in understanding the left-wing’s fervent, ideologial pursuit of the Sprinbank dam.

The Springbank dam would destroy Kamp Kiwanis which hosts 11,000 underprivileged children per year on their site. A camp that has existed for over 60 years.

The Springbank dam would impact eight major natural gas pipelines. These pipelines will have to be re-routed at a huge cost to taxpayers along with the new environmental impacts as new routes are cut.

The Springbank dam would impact 22 residences some of which are historical ranches that have operated for well over a century.

Naheed Neshi in being one of the obsessive supporters tried to spread bullshit in claiming that no homes were in the Springbank dam area. He was called on his BS quickly.

Nenshi doesn’t like facts getting in the way of His ideology.

Cost to taxpayers:

The Springbank dam project was initially projected to cost $200 million dollars. The government has just released a report where the projected cost has now exploded to $432 million dollars. The McLean creek option remains $26 million cheaper than the Springbank dam.

When we consider how fiscally inept the Notley government is, we can be confident that the Springbank dam costs will continue to skyrocket. The lawsuits from private landowners alone will cost a fortune.

By all measures, the Springbank dam option is inferior to the McLean Creek option.

Area MLA Cam Westhead with the NDP will be of no help for his constituents. As a resident of Bragg Creek, Westhead knew that campaigning in support of the Springbank dam would be political suicide. Westhead campaigned in opposition to the Springbank dam and quickly flip-flopped as soon as he got his precious seat in the legislature.

What’s a little bullshit if it gets you a seat eh Cam?

I wonder if Westhead can even show his face in places such as the Powderhorn Saloon (devastated in the floods) in his home town these days. I don’t suspect that Bragg Creek residents are thrilled that he threw their community under the bus.

I contend that the whole matter comes down to ideology. Dedicated leftists such as Nenshi and the NDP traditionally despise private property rights. They are gleeful at the prospect of setting a precedent through the expropriation (government theft) of thousands of acres of private property.

Icing on the cake for these ideologues is that many of these landowners are somewhat wealthy. How dare they prosper in Alberta on land that has been in their families for generations!!

I went for a drive through the area and did a short video rant on it last night.

Landowners oppose the Springbank dam. First Nations oppose the Springbank dam. Bragg Creek opposes the Springbank dam.

All that opposition means nothing when it gives the left a chance to poke a finger in the eye of the productive however.

Let’s hope things haven’t become irreversible by the time we finally kick the Notley Regime to the electoral curb.

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Pride has given in to extreme elements and has lost its way.

I attended my first Pride Parade back in the late 1990s. My girlfriend at the time worked with a man who was singing in a choir during the event so we went to watch him. It was a great time and a fun experience. The whole day was jovial and people from the LGBTQ community and folks not from that community alike had a great time. While I haven’t attended every year since then, I have attended many times since. Unfortunately the theme and tone of Pride events has changed so much that I can no longer bring myself to attend.

I understand that I am straight, am not a key organizer or sponsor. I know that my attending or not attending certainly will not make or break their events. I suspect though that I represent a growing group of people who have tired out with the increasing politicization of the event and this is sad.

Pride. The word in itself says and means so much. The gay community for so long had to work and fight in order to be able to live their lives openly and without shame. Acceptance of the gay community has been a slow process but it has made fantastic inroads in the last 40 years or so. In looking at some of the comments on my last blog posting, it still has a way to go.

While laws against homosexuality were rightly repealed over 40 years ago, it still took a generation for real acceptance to become common place. Gay bars still were hidden with back alley entrances. Gay bashing still happened and authorities often did not investigate or prosecute those assaults with the vigor that they merited. I grew up in a time where I could be sent to the principle’s office in school if I called another student an asshole but likely would get little more than a finger wagged at me if I called them a “fag”. That pejorative was in common use back then and I can’t pretend that I didn’t use it back then.

While I certainly was never involved in gay bashing and always felt that gay people deserved equal rights, I held some sad views in my younger years that had to be shed. I was still uncomfortable around openly gay people and tended to avoid them. I had to grow up. I had to meet and get to know people from the LGBTQ community in order to learn that they simply were people like anybody else. That happened in my early 20s and I am still growing to this day.

An element that helped me and countless other straight people who needed to learn these lessons was Pride events. What better place to simply get together, enjoy time outside and celebrate the open display of a love and acceptance of different sexual orientations in an open environment?

A community of people who were shunned for holding hands or kissing in public could at least for a day fully express and enjoy themselves without judgement from those around them. Yes, it would be (and hopefully will be) great if that judgement never existed outside of Pride events but we still have a way to go. Pride parades and celebrations do awesome work to end that stigma.

In being critical of the foolish decision by Calgary Pride to demand that the Calgary Police Service not wear their uniforms in the parade, I have been criticized and essentially told to shut up as I am not part of the LGBTQ community. Indeed, I do recognize that this is their event and they have every right to run the event as they please. I still retain the right to be critical of their choices however.

While Pride events are run by and made for people in the LGBTQ community, they are critically important to people outside of that community too. As Pride keeps venturing into controversial issues outside of the core meaning of the event, people like me will stop attending and the great bonding of communities that used to happen will begin to erode. The event used to be focused on inclusiveness and now is drifting deeply into exclusivity.

All over North America Pride events are bowing to extreme movements. BLM managed to bully Toronto Pride into removing its visible police presence. Other Pride parades are battling as anti-Israel groups are demonstrating in them.

Politicians are invited but are bound by long lists of demands in order to participate. If a politician cant attend for whatever reason, they are often demonized.

Yes, the police in the past used to be one of the worst offenders with the LGBTQ community.They often overlooked gay bashing. They constantly busted gay nightclubs and bars for lewd behavior. Those days are long gone. Gay bashing is heavily prosecuted and gay clubs are simply bound by the same AGLC rules as any other bars.

I can understand an element of distrust of the police remaining among the older members of the gay community. All the same, what better way to remove that distrust than to have the police openly parading in full uniform and in support of Pride?

They hypocrisy of Pride organizers is galling. They say that they welcome the police participation as long as they don’t identify in uniform as being police officers.

This is much like employers who used to tell gay staff “I welcome gay employees but you have to keep your gayness to yourself.”

Hey, its your event people. Run it as you please. If Pride wants to keep drawing and educating the public as a whole however, they will have to get back to what the whole affair was all about. We want to support the LGBTQ community but don’t feel that we have to be drawn into a whole list of other left wing causes in doing so.

Until that happens, I no longer have time for Pride events and I suspect that a growing number of other people who don’t want to get mixed up in those things.

Pride did some great work and helped make great societal inroads. I hope that they can do so again one day.

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Its time that conservatives tackled the sexual orientation albatross.

If there has been one single issue that has managed to beat the hell out of conservatives for the last ten years it unquestionably has been that of sexual orientation (I wont list the alphabet of orientations for reasons I will explain later).

We organize, we gain steam, we gain momentum, we begin to gain public trust and then some sort of issue related to sexual orientation raises its head and conservatives manage to self-destruct.

These issues are not going away. There is a reason that the left won’t let go on these issues when dealing with conservatives. It is because IT WORKS! 

Beating conservatives over the head over and over again with the whole gay rights thing seems to be tiring and shallow but it works like a charm and we have to get out of this damned rut. The reason that smearing conservatives as being anti-gay is so effective is that the vast majority of the voting public have utterly no problem with gay people or their getting to enjoy every benefit and happiness in life. People are tired of the thankfully old fashioned intolerance that society held towards people of different sexual orientations and they will not vote for any party or movement that appears to be propagating that pathetic old intolerance. If conservatives want to win elections, they simply have to get these damned issues behind them.

What will it take though?

Those of us who have been running in conservative issues for years know that the intolerance held towards gays is held by a tiny but infuriatingly vocal minority. It seems that whenever we are doing well, some dumb asshole feels that they need to tell the world how they hate gays even if it has nothing to do with the discussion at hand.

Last weekend we saw history made as the Wildrose and Progressive Conservative Parties merged. As this great moment was progressing, a woman took her time to wait to speak at the open microphone. She managed to be the last speaker in the debate and in keeping with the usual homophobic types, just felt that she had to let the world know that she had issues with gay people despite this not being the issue at hand.

The press of course gleefully tweeted this incident to the world as can be seen below.

 

Left wing politicians took advantage of this within minutes to use the ramblings of this woman to try and smear the entire movement as being anti-gay (he did this because it works).

While this issue didn’t dominate the headlines post merger, it soiled it. A brand spanking new party has just emerged from the gates and this woman has managed to bring gay rights issues front and center before it on day one.

THIS SHIT HAS TO STOP!

To begin with, we need utter and total zero tolerance on anti-gay shit. I understand and respect free speech as much (possibly more) than the next person. People have the right to spew that intolerant crap to their little hearts desire. This does not mean that political parties are obligated to give a platform to these people for their views or keep those people within the party if they demonstrate such views. Parties are private entities and they can and should put some restrictions on membership.

If a person was at an open microphone or constantly on social media and they constantly railed about black people by calling them “niggers” or calling Asian people “chinks” and that person was found to be a member of a party, do you think folks would be upset if the person was kicked out of the party? Most people would totally understand and support a party disassociating itself with this kind of person. Well, the term “fag” and anti gay tirades are right up there with the racist crap these days and while some free speech purists may yelp about it, there simply is no room in any modern party for that shit anymore. It is unfortunate that there ever was.

There needs to be an unapologetic expunging of anti-gay people from conservative movents or they will continue to hijack the agenda whenever they can.

This isn’t as clear cut as it sounds of course (nothing ever is). Members have a right to question what their children may be taught in sex ed courses. These members may be uncomfortable with the way same sex issues are presented and in questioning these things it does not make them anti-gay (or at least certainly not to the point where they should be ejected for voicing concerns). It will take judgement and a strong disciplinary committee to address things case by case but it really wont be tough to eject the most egregious of offenders.

There are fringe right parties and movements out there for those who feel that gay rights should be fought. Those who want to go that route are more than welcome to go there. The voting public will dispose of the dozen or so candidates that they manage to field in a general election quickly enough.

Next: We need to reach out  to and bring in gay conservatives. 

Just because a person is gay, it doesn’t mean that they are socialists. There are countless gay professionals and business people who are just as tired of high taxes and bloated government. I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be to be strongly fiscally conservative but unable to pursue it politically because the conservative partisan vehicles retain such anti-gay attitudes among some of their membership.

I was naive on these issues when I really started getting involved with provincial organizing. When my wife Jane and I got involved with the Alberta Alliance (precursor of the Wildrose Party), it had perhaps 2000 members, a few thousand dollars in the bank and a lone MLA sitting in the legislature. We did strongly feel that the PC government was drifting too far left in high spending and entitlement and wanted to work to build an alternative to the PCs. The party retained some unfortunate hold over policies such as one against gay marriage at that time. It took quite a battle on Jane’s part but in the end with a strong majority the members Jane’s motion was supported and that odious policy was stricken from the books.

Being in such a nascent movement with such potential and seeing a move away from hard line social conservatism, I had what I thought to be a revelation. I wanted us to actively court gay people in the gay community. I saw an untapped resource of members/volunteers/donors and with our party being so small, such an influx would be a great resource in our growth.

During this period, Jane and I went for supper at the home of some party organizing types. I wanted to recruit them as we worked to build this little party. Over our meal we enjoyed political discussion on how the PC spending needed to be reined in and things such as direct democracy. My naivete was more than a little shattered however when I opened the subject on how I wanted to reach out to the gay community. The room went cold and things were immediately awkward. I swear I could have blown my nose into the mashed potatoes and still would not have caused such a pall in the room. I really didn’t realize just how deeply some (otherwise rational and friendly) people held their bizarre anti-gay feelings. Needless to say, we left not long afterwards and I honestly don’t think we have crossed paths with that couple again.

Now if just talking about reaching out to gay members got that kind of reaction in a room, how the hell must it feel to be a gay individual or couple in a room with those kind of people? Yes, people like that couple are a tiny minority in the party but it only takes a few of them to make some people feel really uncomfortable. How many sidelong glances do gay people need to endure at meetings? How many conversations go silent when they join the group?

We need to change our culture in order to make people of all sexual orientations feel genuinely welcome. I think we have made massive inroads since my ill fated supper some 12 years ago but we need to work hard to ensure that these awkward moments no longer happen.

I am not talking about gathering token gay people by the way. I am talking about seeking and bringing in conservatives and utilizing them as active members. Sure my goal is self serving in the sense of the party. I see assets as donors/volunteers that we are ignoring to our own detriment.

We have gay members already and I have known a number of gay staff members in the party over the years. How much crap have they had to force themselves to overlook in order to participate though? We saw a hint of it just a little while ago when a staffer announced he was going to represent the party in a pride parade. It was only a handful of people and a few may not even have actually been party members, but there was a vulgar and visceral reaction to his announcement. Some folks were pissed about the messages sent to the fellow but felt that he never should have spoken up. How much should he endure silently? How much should other gay people put up with? Speaking up is the best way to put this issues out.

Next: actions speak louder than words.

If the left doesn’t set a trap with gay rights issues for conservatives, we seem to be determined to seek them out and step in them ourselves.

In 2013 at a Wildrose AGM a policy motion was proposed that would entrench support for the rights of LGTBQ into policy. The motion never made it past the plenary stage as members discussed and felt is was too prescriptive and pointless as we already had a policy supporting rights for “all” which was considered sufficient.

I remember it so clearly. Rob Anderson and a few folks were in the back of the room and they were totally aflutter. Apparently this motion didn’t come from the membership. This came from on high within the party. They had plans to trumpet it and celebrate it after the AGM but the members overwhelmingly shot it down (because it was misguided and to be frank, fucking stupid).

This happened rather quietly. Not many people pay attention to these kind of plenary meetings. Still, while gay rights were not really a pressing issue at this AGM, these senior thinkers within the party simply wouldn’t let it go. They rattled together a non-binding motion to the same effect and railroaded it through the convention the next day. It was rehearsed and rammed through fast. They stacked the pro microphone with a lineup while limiting debate. They sped through the motion and to be honest pissed off the gathered membership who felt pushed but went along for the ride.

This was not enough for our brilliant planners (keep in mind these are the great strategists who thought joining Prentice the next year would be a good idea). Yes, they felt emboldened after forcing through their motion so they rammed it into policy discussions again in 2014. Not a damn thing had changed and the membership had had enough. They wisely and yes yet again tossed this stupid policy into the trash.

The shit hit the fan of course. Reports were made that the Wildrose membership had rejected gay rights and the party was needlessly smeared as being anti-gay yet again.

Yes, those brilliant folks leading the party at that time decided that if the left was not going to beat us up on gay issues, we had to seek them out and create the issues.

No other major party lists every group that they respect the rights of. There is a reason for this. It is damned stupid and only sets things up for being bigoted by exclusion. I think it was LGQTQ at the time of our policy follies. Now folks need to add the number 2. Would we need to amend policy to include that number now? Would we be considered bigots until we did? What about those who now identify as “gender fluid” or “gender queer”? Why didn’t we cover them? Should we then make a policy for every race? What if we miss one? What about mixed races? What about religions? Are all of them large enough to list or will we need to parse them out?

Seriously, stick will supporting human rights for ALL and we will be just fine. No need to apologize.

Putting up fluff window dressing such as that crappy policy is akin to the racist who always has to reference a black friend. It is talk but not action and the constant contorting and pissing around with policy makes it look like we are indeed glossing over things.

Something else to remember: IT WILL NEVER BE ENOUGH!

Look, Brian Jean and Jason Kenney could spend two hours on a float in a pride parade while in full passionate coitus and the left would say that the party is full of bigots because they didn’t kiss convincingly enough.

Look at the left is attacking Interim Leader Cooper on next to no basis and is still demanding his resignation despite his having explained where he is at with things as per their demands. It doesn’t matter. They will call the party anti-gay and smear Cooper no matter what he does.

In that case, quit apologizing. Don’t walk into leftist traps and demands. We are confident that we are in a tolerant party and will be more so the longer we act like it.

A presence at pride events is a great idea as long as it is genuine. There are plenty within the party who will happily attend. It is not a cardinal sin not to attend as well. These pride events are increasingly being dominated by extreme political elements and to be honest, I think it is getting near time for public officials to begin refusing to attend until the gay community brings the events back into their original purpose (but I digress). Just don’t apologize. It implies that something was done wrong and as I said, it will never be enough.

The NDP and their supporters are trying to keep a strong appearance up but it is clear that the success of the unity movement has them terrified. The Notley Regime can’t point to their great governance and wise fiscal management in hopes of justifying their re-election. They can only point to the opposition and try to label them as intolerant in hopes of scaring the electorate away from them.

The howls of bigotry and intolerance are losing their impact as the left tosses them at people for everything from “man spreading” to cultural appropriation through yoga. All the same, people have little use for real intolerance and if conservatives display any of it the left will pounce with all they are worth. We have to stop giving them bullets.

It will take more than parade appearances, policy tweaks and constant apologies to blunt the accusations of homophobia directed towards conservatives. It will take a cultural change within the entire movement. I think we are well on the way there but we clearly still have a way to go.

If the clarion call of “intolerance” loses its power, Notley hasn’t a hope in hell against a united conservative party.

Its up to us.

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.