They really have nothing better to do.

Today, two more court challenges against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion were tossed out of court. One from the Squamish First Nation and one from the city of Vancouver. 

It is becoming increasingly clear that the law is fully on the side of Kinder Morgan in their efforts to expand the capacity of a pipeline that has operated safely for over 50 years. Horgan and other environmental ideologues will continue to waste the court’s time and the taxpayer’s money on more court challenges but they will eventually all be tossed out. They know this of course but their hope is that in delaying this legal project long enough that investors will flee. They may be right and Canada will lose untold other billions as we become an international investment pariah of a nation who allows themselves to be led by the nose by environmental extremists.

Assuming that Notley and Trudeau manage through promises and tax dollar backing to convince Kinder Morgan to continue with the project by the deadline next week and assuming the court cases get settled to the point where we can finally break ground on construction there still remains one huge problem, the protesters.

There is a subculture of career protesters in North America who wander aimlessly from cause to cause. It morphs identities. One year it is “occupy”, then “idle no more”, then “black lives matter” and lately they are self-styled “water protectors”. Its all the same group. Some of the faces come and go but at its core it is always the same group of people. Transients with little sense of purpose who have found a social group that accepts their pointless lifestyle as they pick a site to squat upon and protest against whatever their perceived cause of the day is.

There is no reasoning with these people because they are beyond reason. They latch on with causes but usually don’t even really understand what the cause is or what the outcome of their protest may be. Their demands are mixed, addled and often outright bizarre. They don’t want actual resolution to any cause. They just want to gather and feel a sense of purpose. Unfortunately their pursuit of this feeling of purpose is hindering some very important infrastructure projects.

I spent a fair amount of time around the squatters taking part in “Occupy” Calgary a few years ago. Below is a video with some dialog of an exchange that I recorded from what was very much a typical “occupier” and it demonstrates just how rational these people are.

How do you reason with people like this? How do you negotiate?

You don’t!

Lets not beat around the bush. If the Trans Mountain pipeline is ever going to be built, these protesters are going to have to be removed and with force.

Sadly, years of cowardly appeasement from governments at various levels has emboldened these people to the point where they have utterly no fear of legal authority. I honestly will never understand why governments fear this tiny subculture of bums so much but they will only enforce the law with them when utterly forced to do so if at all.

They laugh while literally giving the finger to cops who have been essentially neutered by politicians.

They giggle and take selfies in front of police lines comfortable in the knowledge that the police are about as empowered as a typical mall security guard despite flagrant lawbreaking happening all around them.

Again, why shouldn’t they?

In Burnaby the bums have been erecting buildings on the pipeline right of way and along the roadway leading to the Kinder Morgan terminal with utter impunity.

When I worked as a surveyor in the oilfield, I could not leave so much as an equipment trailer parked on a pipeline right of way. It is a safety hazard and I would have found myself fined and removed from the site if I refused to comply.

If you are a protester however, apparently you can build a “watch house” on the right of way with impunity. If an accident does happen, we can rest assured that these assholes will sue Kinder Morgan.

Ugly structures are being erected while junk and literal shit piles up in what once was a nice neighborhood. Local residents are petitioning to have this squatter encampment removed but their request to have the laws enforced have been ignored.

If I build so much as a large garden shed on my own property without a permit I can face fines. If I am a transient protester however, it appears that I can turn any residential neighborhood into my own little private garbage dump of a hobo camp.

This is all before the construction of the pipeline has even begun. Can you imagine how bad it will get once the equipment gets moving?

It is not just fiscal or legal security that Kinder Morgan needs. They need to know that they will be able to build their legal pipeline under the protection of the law of the land.

The government needs to clean out these squatters now as they will only multiply and entrench themselves further. It is a national embarrassment that Trudeau has let things go this far. He has plenty of tools to exert pressure upon municipalities and provinces to encourage them to enforce the law. He needs the will and the balls to do so however.

If for no other reason, these protesters need to be removed and charged for the protection of the environment itself.

Few things demonstrate the hypocrisy of these bums better than seeing the mess they leave behind after one of their squatting efforts. No person who truly cares about the earth would leave such a mess. As I said though, these people don’t really have a cause.

The above pictures are of what protesters left behind while protesting Kinder Morgan doing preliminary drilling a few years ago.

The bunch of pics above are from the Burnaby Mountain protest along with some “occupy” sites.

Rather consistent pattern.

Who can forget the million dollar cleanup of the mess left behind by the pigs protesting the Dakota Access pipeline? They even abandoned a number of dogs there.

Rapes, assaults and drug use are rampant in these camps as well. Calgary’s small “occupy” camp had not one but two different pedophiles amidst them who were charged during their stint in a downtown Calgary park.

As the title of this posting states, these people really have nothing better to do. The bums in the encampments are enabled by a variety of American activist groups along with individual hippies who won’t put their own necks on the line but will happily fund things so that others will. It is the free tents and food that draws these bums to these encampments. These are not friends of the earth. They are a tiny dispossessed minority who are being used by larger activist interests for their ideological ends. We need to remove these protesters for their sake and our own.

The hippies and hipsters from the city love coming out to these demonstrations. They love putting some token natives in the front of the line and they love letting somebody else take the brunt of the cost when the arrests actually begin.

Yes there have been some arrests and charges but in looking at the mess at the Burnaby terminal it is clear that we need more arrests and more serious charges. Rest assured the hipster crowd will vanish from the support ranks fast enough when their own criminal record free histories are are on the line.

First and foremost though the squatters need to be moved and the encampments totally removed. They won’t leave any other way as they indeed have nothing better to do.

 

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Punishment through process. Eddie Maurice trial delayed for a fifth time.

This is getting beyond ridiculous.

The Maurice family has had their life put on hold for months ever since Eddie was criminally charged for defending his home and baby from intruders on a dark winter night last February.

Five times now Eddie Maurice has appeared in court to seek a trial date in order to clear himself and five times the case has been delayed because the RCMP and prosecution can’t get their collective shit together and present the evidence they apparently collected.

The stress is becoming more evident in the faces of the young couple with every appearance. They simply want to get on with their lives but can’t even begin to move on with it because the justice system won’t give them their day in court.

Last Friday in court, it was heard that it may take 8 to 12 months before the ballistic reports are ready!!!

 

In light of that, the case was put off until June 22.

Why bother? What the hell will the point be in coming to court yet again if it is clear that the damned evidence won’t be ready anyway?

In the video below, Eddie’s lawyer explains in detail where things are standing right now.

The point may indeed be to wear the Maurice family down. It is exhausting and expensive to keep appearing in court over and over and over again while making utterly no progress towards resolution. I suspect that more than a few folks in the system are watching and hoping that Eddie Maurice is going to tire out and wear down to the point where he will take a plea bargain. They are hoping that the family supporters who have been gathering outside of the courthouse at every hearing so far will lose interest and stop coming. They are hoping that that donors who have been helping fund Eddie’s defense will stop donating.

Well that isn’t going to happen!

It was injustice enough that Eddie Maurice was even charged for defending his home from the scumbag repeat offenders who entered his property. It is sickening to watch the system now being used to essentially punish and torture the family as this debacle drags on.

We will keep coming out. We will keep donating to the cause and we will not give up until Eddie Maurice is acquitted and he can get back to life with his family.

The next court hearing is in Okotoks on June 22 at around 9am.

Donations to help ease the legal fees can be made at Fundrayzer here. 

If you have time, donations can be made to a trust account at any TD bank branch at this account number: 8079-6142303 This saves on the fees that online fundraising sites have.

Email transfers can be sent here: helpeddiemaurice@gmail.com

An online petition demanding that Eddie be acquitted can be signed here. 

We need to ensure that this issue stays alive and that it gets resolved not only for the sake of the Maurice family, but for the sake of us all who are enduring this ongoing rural crime epidemic.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Rally 4 Resources. A true grassroots movement.

I rarely cross post other people’s writings. My insecure vanity doesn’t let me share my space and limited readership with others often. 😉

The group “Rally 4 Resources” has really impressed me of late. They are a small group of people with limited resources but with their dedication they have been managing to make a good splash in support of resource development when we really need it.

They are organizing counter rallies at energy related events and they have been working to document and expose what the anti-energy movement is really all about.

Recently, Rally 4 Resources went to visit “Camp Cloud”. This is an encampment of protest squatters which is very reminiscent of the baseless “occupy” movement of the past. It is ramshackle, disorganized and over run with substance abuse. Despite that, they present themselves as a rational movement when they are anything but.

Enough out of me. I will let Rally 4 resources take it from here. Their pictures and video tell the tale better than I.

Their facebook page is here.   Their website is here.


Our visit to Camp Cloud on May 2nd was a complete eye-opener.

We had expectations from media reports of a large protest community. The media had been talking about thousands on Burnaby Mountain protesting Trans Mountain expansion and that idea was driving the national news narrative that BCers were against the project.

Reality was so far from that. We found 8 sketchy people in various stages of intoxication at 5 pm on a Wednesday afternoon. I gave them pet names like Punchy, Slurry, Ranty, Angry, Phony, Sell-out, Teen Rebellion and Rage Machine. But watching the video later we recognize some of these people from previous thug incidents in Northern BC. These aren’t protesters, they are known agitators like Matt Danes. Funny how the same people are never busy and are flown around to be involved in every issue in every city. Most of the tents and shacks were empty, just sitting there to be props in this piece of protest theatre, derelict vehicles, gas cans and propane tanks littered their camp and the irony was lost on no one in our small group of four.

We drove through it first to see if we were safe to approach our actual destination, the Kinder Morgan Burnaby Terminal security gate. We were kind of amazed looking at the garbage and not finding any people. We found one person on our first pass, he was using an electric saw to cut lumber for their newest feature, a carver’s cabin. Yes, an electric saw used to build a cabin on the shoulder of a highway in an anti-pipeline camp set up to protest oil and gas. So the reports of the camp using gas powered generators were confirmed right off the hop.

We carried on up the road to a park to check out the site of their Camp Cloud fb star filming herself kicking a RCMP officer while he made an arrest. There was indeed protesters’ motorhomes parked on the soccer field away from the protest camp like the video had shown. The man there was hostile so we went back down the road to the gate.

Along the way we stopped to talk to the locals walking and biking about their feelings on the camp. People were scared to be on camera, fearing retribution, and spoke of anger directed at the Burnaby Mayor and Premier Horgan, both were called some nasty names, complaints about the noise, traffic concerns, feeling under seige, and fearful of even walking their dogs alone. This is a beautiful residential neighbourhood surrounded by the green bush and park like space of the Kinder Morgan property. Some residents were concerned as their jobs were tied to the Vancouver ports and they openly wondered what the protesters would go after next.

We asked permission to be at the terminal gate and security obliged us to speak to workers as they left the facility and to present a banner “Pipelines to Tidewater” signed by pro-resource Canadians from across the country. The workers were hurting from the announcement the delays caused by the dithering and uncertainty necessitated 18 layoffs on site. They were very welcoming and appreciative to finally have a public show of support from the majority of Canadians on their site. Unfurling the banner stirred up Camp Cloud though.

They crossed the highway and demanded we leave in not so polite terms. They claim we were “trespassing on Salish unceded territory” despite the court order barring them from trespassing on Kinder Morgan property. Two men were instantly flexing and raging while a older man lectured us on how the world doesn’t have a demand for oil (false) and how oil gave all his dogs cancer(false and crazy). I giggled at the ridiculousness of his drunken claims but the laughing stopped fast as his camp mates circled around to flank us. Being circled and yelled at was definately overkill for just taking pics at the gate and ignoring them totally. This did not stop until I started filming with my cellphone. Once I was filming they retreated for a minute to get a phone to take our pictures and call in support from the city. We were soon accused of being from The Rebel (we’re not) and then accused of being paid professionals (we’re not).

So once again the whole crew crosses the street to bring their elder Rose Desjarlais to berate us. Their crew are extra cranky because we arrived during happy hour. She yells and tells us we cannot speak, we have no right to be there, and we don’t have the same right to protest as they do. She rambles on a story about how oil poisoned Alberta and her late mother, but fact is she lived to a grand old age of 96. She then says her family made good money working in oil and gas. Then switches back to saying she doesn’t care who loses their jobs. She did confirm her relationship to Chief Allen Adam, he’s her cousin. Her son is with her too. We perk up, a lot. Chief Adam is pro-oil. He’s so pro-oil he’s trying to build his own pipeline. Why is his family trying to shut down Kinder Morgan expansion and representing themselves as 1st Nations water protectors if he is trying to build pipe too? Oh because this is business. They are trying to shut down the competition of their family’s proposed pipeline. Suddenly it dawns on me this place has nothing to do with their cries of “leave it in the ground” or “water protectors”. They use propane, gas, drive F350s with Alberta plates and their cousins own projects that are Kinder Morgans’s competitors. What fools we were to think this was about the environment. It’s about money and power.

A Volkswagen pulls up quick and two young Starbucks looking hipster chicks hop out and start fixing their hair without putting down their mason jar drinks. Oh look, it’s the RCMP assaulting, previously arrested, facebook live attention seeking, Greenpeace Idol wannabee phony alias Uni Urchin. She sees the phone recording and fluffs her hair before giving us a valley girl line ” I hope, you like, you know, have water to drink…with your kids” followed by “Thanks but no thanks” and a smirk. So at this moment one of the hotheads is darting between vehicles on the highway. An older red compact car honks at him. He kicks the moving car and screams “F*ck you bitch”. He crosses back to us. Again the glowering teenager wrongly accuses us of being paid professionals before Uni herds her tipsy charges back across the road.

We look at each other very bemused since they came to the gate to harrass us. That’s all they’ve got, Chief Adam’s cousin, some muscle and the Greenpeace Idol valley girls that drove out to get on film. The two hotheads are still yelling, the girls get back in the Volkswagen and we thanked Rose for sharing her stories. We start the walk back to our car, a local stopped in his vehicle at the corner stop sign yells at the camp inhabitants to “get the f*ck out”. We are all a little relieved filming caused a signifigant change in their attitude and tactics towards us. We are all also stunned such a rag tag posse could be used by media to create the narrative Camp Cloud is a water protectors’ protest community impeding the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline. We assume it must grow on weekends when the paid US organizers email their databases to get the Hastings social justice scene and Green politicians out to attend media events. It’s a nightmare for the usually peaceful suburban neighbourhood. It’s best called a grievance industry hobo circus taking US dollars to organize and some pretty bold home grown nepotism to shut down this Canadian resource project. Nothing more.

Respect the Burnaby residents who want the almost empty shanty town and garbage removed.

Respect the rule of law, get out of the way and let these hard working BC engineers, contractors and labourers earn a living. #buildKM

Respect the principle of our cooperative polite Canadian federation and let the west work and provide for their famillies, communities and transfer dependant have not provinces. #buildKM

Camp Cloud was a joke. End it before you have all of Vancouver’s street scene squatting there permanently.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The silent majority in support of energy is finally speaking up.

For decades we have let the anti-progress, eco-extremists set the dialogue and the agenda on proposed energy projects. We were too busy working. We aren’t the type to spill into the streets. Their protests aren’t going anywhere right?

Well we were wrong.

The extremists are winning and all of Canada is paying the price as we lose billions in energy revenue and untold billions in general investment as we are seen as a nation that is a slave to minority protesters.

Finally people are getting up and not letting the extremists control the messaging.

Last month thousands of ordinary Calgarians came out on a cool day to show their support for the Trans Mountain pipeline.
The demonstration was productive and peaceful. Great speeches were given by activists and politicians and many in Canada took notice as they finally saw people taking interest and getting out to show their concern with the state of our energy industry.

This is quite a contrast from the increasingly violent and extreme anti-energy protests that we are seeing.

Polls are indicating that Canadian support for the Trans Mountain pipeline is actually increasing in light of the ongoing protests against it.

Normal Canadians are tiring of the extremists and nutcases dominating discussion on important energy infrastructure projects.

That said, politicians still live in abject terror of the tiny minority of crazed protesters who set up grimy camps and illegally chain themselves to equipment. The influence of these extremists is disturbing to say the least.

We need to beat them at their own game and we are beginning to do so.

Today a protest was being planned by the usual suspects where they intended to make a racket outside of the downtown Calgary Marriot in hopes of disrupting an Enbridge shareholders meeting in the hotel.

The group Rally 4 Resources organized a counter demonstration with just two days notice and the result was excellent.

 

 

Well over 200 concerned citizens came out on a rainy Wednesday afternoon to support the Line 3 expansion.

An orderly demonstration of support was held while the dozen or so extremists found themselves lost in the background pounding their drums in futility.

Had people not come out in support of our energy industry, the little handful of anti-progress demonstrators would have had full control of the messaging and headlines today. Instead they failed and were exposed as being the tiny minority that they are as they were dwarfed by the positive demonstration of energy supporters.

This is what we need to keep doing. I know that we have things that we would rather do. I know that we need to earn a living as opposed to taking grants from American interests as the anti-pipeline lobby does. Despite that, we need to keep coming out.

We need to blunt the disruptive tool of demonstrations that the anti-progress lobby uses. The best way to do that will be to keep coming out to show just how tiny their support levels really are despite all the noise they make.

I don’t know the folks at Rally 4 Resources personally but I do want to thank them for putting this together. They did a great job.

The only thing that was lacking was a large media presence.

The well funded anti-energy types are very skilled in media communications and they play it well. We need to work on that front as well in future gatherings. People need to hear from the majority for a change and that means working to get that message to the media.

I look forward to the next rally.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Rural crime needs legislative change, not more lip service.

The trend is evident on all levels of government. Politicians talk big but do little on the pressing issues of today. They make excuses and hide from any and every issue that may involve taking a solid stand on something or actually acting rather than speaking.

We see this with Trudeau’s cowardice on the Trans Mountain pipeline issue, we see this with Calgary city hall tossing the Olympic question back and forth like a hot potato and we see this provincially as citizens desperately seek action rather than more words on the rural crime epidemic which is gripping the Alberta.

Last night I attended a rural crime watch meeting for the MD of Foothills at the Okotoks Centennial Center. The room was packed and it was standing room only as hundreds upon hundreds of concerned citizens came out in hopes of seeing some solutions to the rural crime problem.

I have been a local crime watch member for years and have attended a number of meetings. I have never seen a turnout like this.

The best way to describe the mood in the room would be to say concerned and frustrated. People are not eager for blood. People do not want to take the law into their own hands. People are however feeling that the system is failing them while they live under siege from criminals.

There were a number of speakers from different levels of government (though no provincial or federal elected officials for the area were present).

There was a senior bureaucrat who came down from the Alberta Justice Minister’s office. He spoke at length of the new $10 million investment from the Alberta government to combat rural crime and how it would be applied in a number of ways from increasing the number of police and prosecutors to plans for local crime reduction strategies. It was appreciated and was informative but it does feel like a drop in the bucket. Having 39 new cops is great but when we are speaking of a region with well over 100 detachments, the impact will be limited. Again though, it was appreciated and it is understood that policing alone will not solve this crisis.

We had a number of RCMP officers from the detachments that cover our MD (Turner Valley, Okotoks and High River. They read out local crime stats and explained the large area that they were tasked to cover. They are doing what they can but again are limited by the resources that they have and the area that they have to patrol.

Before the local crime watch presidents came up to speak, a pause was taken to introduce Edouard Maurice and his wife Jessica Maurice to the room as they were sitting in the front row. There was no need to explain who the Maurice’s were or why they were there. The room exploded into a standing ovation and applause that lasted several minutes. If anybody was wondering for a second how local sentiment was regarding using firearms to defend one’s family and home was that doubt evaporated in that moment.

Eddie Maurice and family have been victimized twice. Once by the criminals who invaded their home and a second time by the Canadian justice system which has treated them as criminals for defending themselves. They never wanted to be in this situation and did not choose to become the symbol for local victims of rural crime but that is what they have become.

Rural crime has been a growing issue in Alberta for years but it is the tragic situation of the Maurice family that brought this issue to such a head.

The rural crime watch presidents then took the floor and spoke to the development and initiatives of their organizations. It was informative and many new members signed up. Crime watch organizations are great groups that help proactively prevent crime. Their expansion is one part of the many required to reduce rural crime levels.

Next up was the question and answer period. This was where the frustration was clear from both the audience and those trying to respond to the question. The theme was the same as I have seen at prior meetings. People ask what they can do in the event of a crime and the answer from the front is to tell people to call the police, cower, wait and pray that the criminals don’t mean any physical harm to the residents during the 40 minutes or so before an officer arrives at the scene. This just won’t cut it.

I know that no police officer or official can counsel a person to grab a firearm when their home has been intruded upon. I know damn well that no amount of threats or finger wagging at public meetings will prevent home owners from defending themselves and their families with whatever means are at their disposal when push comes to shove and that includes firearms.

We are at an impasse.

Crime is on the rise. Insurance companies are now starting to refuse coverage to many residents because they are getting robbed too much. Last night one of the officers said “stuff is just stuff”. Sorry officer but that is simplistic bullshit. That “stuff” which is being stolen over and over and over again is often made up of the tools of the trade for the homeowners. They need that “stuff” to make a living and we can’t expect people to let themselves go bankrupt as they remain chronic victims of thieves. They should have the right to defend their “stuff” and their person and they will no matter what you tell them.

I am no legal expert but I would say that it is pretty clear that a jury of Maurice’s peers will quickly acquit him. That was made clear as hundreds of his peers applauded him last night.

Despite the likely hood of an eventual acquittal, the Maurice family will still endure years of stress and expenses all for trying to defend their home.

Do we expect every family that defends themselves from criminals to endure this? Well, if we don’t change the system that is what will happen.

If folks keep getting acquitted by juries, then clearly the law is wrong. We need to change the laws and that is where we need those ever elusive people we call elected officials to get involved.

We need to address stiffer sentencing for repeat criminals. The police at last night’s meeting repeatedly pointed out that the majority of the crimes are being committed by a small minority of chronic criminals. If that is indeed the case, it is time that we stopped releasing that small minority. Catch and release doesn’t cut it.

Addiction is a big factor in driving many criminals. We need effective investment in addiction treatment and mental health. That will take some political will on the part of government.

We need to look at a Canadian version of legislatively entrenched Castle Doctrine which will protect people who defend their homes. This will take some discussion on things such as property rights and rights to self-defense which are some pretty complicated and touchy issues (again why elected officials hide from them). Well, tough issues or not they need to be addressed. That’s why we pay em the big bucks.

While there was no native factor involved with the Maurice case, it is simple fact that a huge amount of the spike in rural crime is in areas within 50 kilometers or so of native reserves. Native issues terrify politicians like no other but like it or not they are not going away. They are getting worse. We need to revise or scrap the entire Indian act and the failed reserve system before we see improvements on those socioeconomic catastrophes that we call reserves. A pretty tall damn order but it needs to be done and we have to start somewhere.

Crime watch meetings and local organization are great. That is about all we can do as citizens to change this crime epidemic however. The rest is in the hands of our elected officials and many of those officials appear bound and determined to sit on those hands.

Somebody is going to die soon. Whether it will be a homeowner or a home invader is really the only question. Warning us not to defend ourselves won’t work.

Perhaps our elected officials need to ask themselves “Will this be easier to deal with now or when we have a body cooling in a farmyard and another homeowner under arrest?”.

The issue isn’t going away and it isn’t getting any better for waiting. If the elected officials won’t act rather than just talk the citizens will be working hard to replace those officials and I look forward to helping them in that. Let’s hope our local politicians find their courage before it comes to that.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Enough is enough! Its time to put the Olympic question to the taxpayers.

The timing couldn’t be better for the announcement that the ski jumps at WinSport will be torn down.

I am not celebrating the end of those jumps. I grew up in Banff and was a ski jumper until well into my late teens. It is a fantastic sport and unfortunately while jumps were common in Canada in the past, they have simply faded away over time. Part of the reason is that the very finite dollars that are out there for winter sport infrastructure get pissed away on political vanity projects rather than on good facilities that will actually serve the needs of athletes.

Let’s face it, the Calgary ski jumps are shitty and dangerous and they have been since day one. I am speaking from direct experience here. The area is heavily prone to crosswinds which swirl through the bowl making it terribly dangerous to use the bigger hills. The exposed site in low elevation mean that snow conditions were usually awful with icy and dangerous landings on artificial snow.

Due to the dangerous nature of these jumps, the 90 meter jump was only used for two years after the Olympics. For the last 28 years or so, the jump has served as a popular spot for small wedding receptions and has been one of the most expensive zip-line launches in the world. It has not been used for ski jumping.

Why was that jump built there then? Weren’t there experts who could have warned the Olympic committee of the time that the location was terrible for the jumps?

The answer is yes. The committee was told repeatedly not to put the jumps on that hill. As a jumper in the 80s, I remember keenly watching the discussions. The bottom line is that the committee didn’t want to see more venues going outside of the city limits so they ignored the experts and put the jumps into that terrible location. That led to the white elephant that now resides there which will be torn down soon.

Many look back at the 88 Olympics with rose colored glasses and forget how little of an actual long term legacy it left us. It was a heady time and was one hell of a party but it didn’t leave us much to hang on to afterwards.

The 90 meter jump only lasted a year. Apparently Nakiska is no longer up to snuff for Olympic events and of course the Saddledome has been considered obsolete for over a decade. Hell, even Olympic Plaza is falling apart with the bricks that donors bought fading to the point where their names can’t even be read.

There were still some good developments. The biathlon facility in Canmore is still popular and will remain so until the firearms are banned and the bobsled track while now obsolete, has been a valuable training site.

Let’s not exaggerate the value of the “legacy” of the Olympic games as we have been. What is left behind is really of very limited value and we are seeing that today.

Calgarians have been feeling increasingly railroaded by the Olympic cheerleaders on city council and in the administration since day one. As leaks continue and the story keeps changing, it becomes increasingly clear that the entire bid process has always been a stacked deck and it is quickly falling apart.

The twisting, turning from Olympic proponents has been getting frenzied as they see their multi-billion dollar vanity project at risk of vanishing due to a push for a plebiscite. They know damn well that a majority of taxpayers do not support this expenditure and are becoming enraged at the prospect that the great unwashed masses may get a direct say in this matter.

The bottom line is that some city councilors think that taxpayers are too stupid to be given the chance to vote on that issue. “How dare those peons try to choose how we will spend their money!”

Councilor Jyoti Gondek:

“In my opinion a Yes/No plebiscite is going to be meaningless in a project of this complexity.”

Translation: this is too complex for the dim electorate.

Councilor Shane Keating:

Plebiscites attempt to boil down complex issues into a simple “yes or no” question. If only life were that simple.

Actually Shane, in this case it is.

Councilor Gian Carlo-Carra:

It’s not fair to ask everyone to become an expert

Uh huh. Then why do we have general elections? I mean, in those circumstances we are asking people to inform themselves on all of the issues and expecting them to make a choice.

Why is a yes or no plebiscite suddenly too complex to entrust voters with?

Mayor Naheed Nenshi:

Somebody’s got to pay for it. It’s two million bucks and it’s not going to come out of the existing budget, so you’ve got to find the money.

Nenshi has no interest in letting this pet project go to a plebiscite. He is however more politically wily than his council compatriots and has instead suddenly decided to become a fiscal conservative.

When it is considered that Nenshi happily tossed millions towards the stacked “Olympic bid exploration committee” and now another $2.5 million towards a “bid corporation”, his sudden reticence to spend less than two million to let taxpayers decide has the distinct scent of bullshit about it.

The question is a simple yes or no. Do taxpayers want Calgary to host the 2026 Olympic games or not?

There is no better way to have broad public engagement on a straightforward issue than a plebiscite campaign.

Just think, proponents and opponents will have time to put their cases forward and at the end of the campaign the stakeholders will make their decision. How could the public not be informed after such a campaign? Would there not be plenty of studies, stats and information presented over that time? Oh yeah, some think the public are too stupid to wade through all that. I disagree.

Why is there supposedly not enough information in anyway?

Just what the hell has that gold plated committee been doing?

The committee created a 5,700 page report. How much more damned study do we need?

The bottom line is that those opposed to a plebiscite on an Olympic bid know damned well that the tired and taxed electorate will probably reject the bid.

That’s democracy. Learn to make a better case for your pet project or drop it.

In the end the question isn’t whether Calgary should host the 2026 Olympic games or not. The question is whether Calgary city council and administration really actually want to represent the wishes of taxpayers or not. I fear I know the answer.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

Rural crime. If nothing changes, another death is inevitable.

It doesn’t take a lot of time to see how increasingly bold and violent rural criminals are becoming. Just a quick google search found all of these violent rural home invasions in Alberta just in the last few years.

A 64-year-old man was hospitalized with a gunshot wound during a failed home invasion this week near Vermilion.

Blackfalds RCMP are looking for three suspects in a home invasion at a rural property near Red Deer.Police say the three entered the home in Linn Valley Monday morning at about 8 a.m. dressed all in black with face masks and carrying long-barrelled guns, RCMP said.

RCMP have identified a suspect in connection with a home invasion in rural Alberta where an elderly man was threatened at gunpoint.The masked robber was alone when he broke into the home in the Municipality of Foothills at about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, police said. He pointed a firearm at the 77-year-old resident demanding money.

Many Alix residents are feeling uneasy and unsafe in their community after a local man was allegedly attacked with a machete by two men in a home invasion incident.

Ponoka RCMP are looking for five male suspects in a home invasion in Morningside.At approximately 2 a.m. on June 24 police say the men entered the home and restrained and robbed two occupants. Police were alerted to the incident after receiving a 911 call.The two residents were located in the home with minor injuries resulting from an altercation that occurred in the home.Further investigations revealed that the men entered the home with a firearm and restrained the two victims. Further to the invasion the suspects took five firearms, coins and a 1995 maroon Dodge Ram that belonged to the victims.

The RCMP has arrested two men following two home invasion incidents where a man was held at gunpoint.Two men are facing charges after a lengthy investigation involving Morinville General Investigation Section (GIS), the Forensic Identification Section and the RCMP Edmonton Serious Crimes Branch.

Sylvan Lake RCMP say two men rang the doorbell of a residence on Leaside Crescent at 9:30 p.m. on Aug. 7.The 65-year-old female home owner answered the door and the men came into the residence and assaulted her. Police say she was punched several times by one of the males, but was not seriously injured.

There are many more reports of violent incidents and literally thousands of property crimes to report. I think I have posted enough to make my point.

RCMP are advising rural residents to lock their doors, call 911 and cower and pray if people invade their property. People are expected to hope that the criminals are not violent and they are expected to let their hard earned property get stolen over and over and over again.

Sorry folks but that just isn’t good enough. In light of an explosion of rural crimes coupled with 40 minute police response times, rural citizens are feeling the need to protect themselves and their families and they will be using firearms. Chiding from fools who live in urban environments where neighbors are mere feet away and police response times are often under 5 minutes won’t dissuade rural crime victims from planning on self-defense nor will threats from the law.

The old saying of “I would rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6” is what applies here. In reality, we know that no jury would convict in these cases so yes we may very well choose to come out with guns blazing.

How are we to know if and when the latest invaders are going to be violent?

Do we know if they will simply stop at stealing from the yard or garage? Will they just steal one of the vehicles and leave? Will they decide as many do to break into the household? Are they just thieves or are they rapists as well? These are the things we have to think about while we sit in our homes as people invade our property. We often will have as long as an hour to think about it before police arrive. The criminals know this too of course and that is a large part of why rural crime is spiking.

Some fools say “It’s only property, let it go!”.

Really? How much are we expected to “let go” of?

This property is often what we require to make a living. Tools of our trades. Vehicles. Fuel. All things that we need to use in order to feed our families. Are we supposed to let these crooks just keep taking it at will? That is what is happening as some properties are getting hit over and over and over again. Not all crooks are stupid and they remember which houses are taking the cower approach to crime. They know that they can comfortably rob those homes repeatedly.

Another popular vacuous statement is “Let insurance take care of it”.

Do these people think that insurance is free? Every time you make a claim the premiums will rise. Not only that, many rural homeowners are finding that insurance companies are refusing them coverage for theft because it simply is happening too much. Where does that leave us?

Yes, it is inevitable that somebody is going to die soon. The only question is whether it will be a homeowner or a criminal.

Perhaps some or even many have died already. How often do we hear of addicts who have suddenly disappeared never to be seen again? I wonder how many of those picked the wrong rural property to rob and found themselves buried on the back 40? There is nobody around to hear the gunshot or watch the backhoe work.

It should not come down to this but that is where we are going.

Rural crime is exploding due to a number of factors and unless all of them are addressed we will see it continue to rise and with tragic consequences.

The biggest elephant in the room is the native element in rural crime. Native reserves are socioeconomic disaster zones where crime and addiction are running rampant. Rural crime rates explode in areas within 50 km of any native reserve and it is hardly a coincidence. Nothing terrifies politicians and authorities in general more than dealing with the catastrophe that we call the reserve system but it will only get worse until somebody gets the balls to take on the issue.

While dominated by natives, not all rural crime is committed by them. The Maurice case in Okotoks has no racial element to it at all. In the Maurice case though, the criminals were found to be in possession of methamphetamine. Addiction is another huge piece in the rural crime puzzle. Increases in funding and supports for addiction treatment will go a long way towards reducing rural crime (along with health and incarceration costs). We need to seriously work on addiction issues everywhere in Alberta.

The justice system needs more teeth as well. The vast majority of rural crimes are being committed by a small number of repeat offenders who are constantly being released in our revolving door justice system. We need to give strong sentences to repeat offenders and need to stick with them. It is no cheaper to have them in and out of court 6 times a year than to simply keep them in prison for a solid year. Maybe with a long sentence they can get the treatment they need. Releasing them sure as hell isn’t working.

Local policing needs more resources. The NDP announced funding for 39 more officers recently. That indeed helps and it is appreciated. It is however a drop in the bucket when it is considered that we have well over 100 detachments in the province.

We could better prioritize our police resources. How much time do uniformed police officers have to dedicate to traffic enforcement and writing reports? Are there not auxiliary units for paperwork and other minor incidents? Lets examine how we can free up our highly trained RCMP officers for the more serious responses rather than tying them up on mundane issues.

Rural crime watch organizations are self-funding and often have some pretty lean budgets. With more resources in funding and training these organizations can become much more effective in preventing crime and making rural communities feel safer.

Those of us living in rural communities do not want to take the law into our own hands. If we wanted careers in law enforcement, we would have applied to be police officers. We would gladly hand off home protection to the authorities if we felt it was effective.

Right now though, 40 minute response times coupled with unreasonably long police response times makes us feel we must take care of things ourselves.

Warnings won’t make us stop protecting our households and property with whatever means are at our disposal. Only substantial changes to how we deal with rural crime will do that.

Until the change happens, we are on a collision course with tragedy as somebody is going to die.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

The sound of silence

 

Rural crime in Alberta has been spiking for years. While RCMP stats claim the increase is as low as 41% somehow, local stats just in my little area have vehicle thefts increasing as much as 300% and property crimes in general doubling in the last few years.  This trend is evident across the entire province.

Below is my local report for just the last two days. It just doesn’t stop.

Jason Kenney and the UCP requested an emergency debate on rural crime in the legislature last November. The request was unfortunately shut down by the Notley government.

It came as no surprise to rural citizens when a situation arose which led to somebody getting shot.

 

 
Fortunately, nobody was killed when the situation unfolded on Eddie Maurice’s property in the very early hours of February 25th. A man was shot in the arm however and now Eddie Maurice is facing some very serious charges for the crime of standing up to protect his family.

Frustrated, infuriated and sympathetic citizens came out en-masse to show support for Eddie Maurice and his family last Friday when Maurice made his initial court appearance.

It speaks volumes when 200 people make time early on a cool Friday morning to come and stand outside of a rural courthouse.

Rural citizens are tired of being robbed and terrorized. They fear for the safety of their families and their property. They understand that things are escalating and that any one of us could have found ourselves in Eddie Maurice’s shoes if put into the same situation.

We understand that if this explosion of rural crime is not addressed soon, it is inevitable that a situation is going to arise where a person gets killed. Warnings from the RCMP against us defending ourselves and our property will mean little when we find intruders threatening our homes after dark when we know that the average police response time for an emergency is 40 minutes. We will take things into our own hands and deal with the legal fallout later.

The Maurice incident appears to have finally awoken the Notley government on the issue as $10 million was just dedicated to fighting rural crime.

The funding will bring 39 new officers, 40 civilian staff and 10 Crown prosecutors focused on rural crime.

I fear that the increased officers and prosecutors will be used to crack down on crime victims who act to protect their own property but lets hope for the best. The government realizes that there is a serious problem and the addition of more officers is a good start.

Now that Notley and the NDP have awoken on the issue, where is Jason Kenney and the UCP? Where is Andrew Scheer and the CPC?

The issue of rural crime has been burning hotly throughout Alberta yet the silence from our elected conservative officials has been nothing less than deathly.

While I understand and appreciate that MLAs and MPs should not speak directly to specific cases before the courts, there is no reason nor excuse as to why they cant speak to the broader issue of rural crime as a whole.

While hundreds of citizens gathered in Okotoks last Friday, Pat Stier and Wayne Anderson of the UCP were nowhere to be seen. John Barlow of the CPC was absent as well. Neither the legislature nor the parliament were sitting on that day. If 200 people gathered and fearing for their safety is not an issue for an MP or MLA to attend to personally, what the hell is?

Now is not the time for political cowardice. This issue is too damned important.

Yes, there are some sticky aspects to this issue that makes many politicians want to cover their political testes and hide. Firearm use is touchy and polarizing. Addiction issues make many politicians squirm. While the Maurice issue appears to have no racial element involved in it (thank FSM), a huge amount of rural crime is directly tied to the socioeconomic catastrophe that we call the reserve system. Few things make politicians shudder more than native issues.

Well too damn bad! Suck it up guys! You campaigned to take on the tough jobs, now one is in front of you and I want to see you address it!

Where are the highway signs advertising town hall meetings on the issue? Where are the emails? Where is the press release? Where is the policy paper? Where is anything on this damn it?

At times, rural voters can be taken for granted by conservative parties in Alberta. The UCP and CPC know that they essentially have all of our rural seats in the bag and they are acting carefully to avoid possibly offending urban voters. Again, that’s just too damn bad. Urban voters would like to protect their safety and property at times too. Find a way to address it for all of us. Its your job.

While elected UCP MLAs are still hiding under the cone of silence, I see that some of those who are seeking nominations are speaking up at least.

Christine Moore is seeking a UCP nomination in Innisfail-Sylvan lake and as can be seen, she is not being subtle on the issue.

Perhaps some of our incumbent MLAs need some nomination challenges based on this issue in order to get them to speak up. Few things wake up a politician faster than the risk of losing their job.

This issue is a literal life and death one. The next incident may end up with a much higher price than a criminal just finding himself with a hole in his arm. A criminal is going to end up dead soon (maybe some are already buried on the back 40). A homeowner may very well end up killed soon too.

Our elected officials need to get on this bus with this one. If they can’t get involved in an issue this acute, what the hell good are they indeed?

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Support Edouard Maurice

UPDATE:

The rally in support of the Maurice family will be held at the Okotoks courthouse on Friday, March 9 at 9am. A map to the location is below and some more details can be found at the facebook event page linked here.

Along with the account and email address below, a “fundrayzr” page has been set up for the Maurice family as well. Click here. 

 

 

Edouard (Eddie) Maurice of the Okotoks area is facing three charges of aggravated assault along with firearm charges due to an event that happened on his property early in the morning of Saturday February 24.

As has become an unfortunate trend in Canada, the victim is treated as the criminal should they choose to defend their family and property from intruders.

Defending one’s property and family should not lead to imprisonment and possible bankruptcy.

While Maurice’s case works through the court system, a great deal of financial and emotional pressure will be placed on Maurice and his family. Legal fees and living expenses will become acute as time is consumed with his defense.

That is why friends and supporters are raising funds to ease these burdens on the Maurice family in the months to come in a trust fund.

A trust account at TD Bank has been set up by Travis Dunn (family friend) which will gather and hold funds on behalf of Maurice.

Donations can be made to any branch of TD to account number 8079-6142303 and e transfers can be sent to helpeddiemaurice@gmail.com

A rally is being organized to show support for Eddie Maurice on the morning of Friday March 9 at the Okotoks court house where Maurice will be appearing that day. I will add details for the rally as I get them.

Financial support is welcome and critical.

Showing support through the rally and online helps too. We need to let the Maurice family know that fellow Albertans will stand by them even if the “justice” system may not.

Rural Albertans are tired of being victimized by criminals and being victimized by the system when they try to defend themselves. Rural crime rates are exploding and people can’t be expected to wait up to 40 minutes for aid to arrive. Self-defense of family and property is essential.

Please consider sending some funds to help the Maurice family and try to find time to come to the rally. This is so important to the Maurice family and all of us.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

Thinking outside the box on homelessness.


Less than a month ago, Calgary’s ambitious ten year plan to end homelessness came to an end. While Calgary bureaucrats and folks within the established social services industry are trying to sugarcoat the outcome, it is clear that the plan was an abject failure. With roughly 3,200 people remaining homeless after a decade of effort, there really is no reasonable way to call the plan a success. That is down a few hundred folks but then again, Calgary’s population growth has been stunted this last few years. The plan was supposed to end homelessness either way, not simply slow the growth of it.

As with so many programs spawned by the establishment, they insist on linear thinking and placing more merit on the intention of their plan than they do with the outcome. Rather than look at the ten year plan as a failure, most of those in the homeless industry (and it is an industry) keep insisting that we need to follow the same path and perhaps spend even more money.

The first thing that needs be added to plans to address homelessness is a strong dose of reality. Homelessness will never be ended, it can only be mitigated. Let’s stop setting lofty but unrealistic goals and model plans based on what can actually be accomplished. We can reduce and mitigate homelessness and need to set our goals based on that.

It is in everybody’s interest to reduce homelessness. Homelessness impacts us all and costs us all through social services, correctional services and health care costs. Every homeless person who can be permanently housed helps reduce pressures on society on all levels and we need to seek those secure homes for these people where they may have a better chance of stabilizing their lives.

Shelters are important but who can really build a stable life when living in such conditions over the long term? How can one settle down, maintain a job, build personal possessions and get that ever important sense of self worth while living on a cot?

Investment in support services for addiction and mental health is critical of course. Simply putting a roof over the head of a homeless person does little to address the root issues that got that person into a state of homelessness in the first place. People need support to get off the street and stay off the street. These supports are expensive however and when we waste so much money on inefficient housing, we find ourselves lacking in the resources needed to truly help people rebuild their lives.

Housing in Calgary and most major cities is simply very damn expensive. There is only one way to reduce the cost of housing in Calgary. We must increase supply. Rent controls are always a failure and we are already fully utilizing all of the subsidized housing that we can.

The current way of thinking in addressing the supply shortage however is the old way. They want to maintain the system but spend more money. This simply isn’t sustainable. Look at the projected numbers below:

Projected unit costs are huge and are not taking into account the massive maintenance deficit that exists in current subsidized housing projects.

Now I am going to get to the guy who is thinking outside the box.

I have written on Paul Hughes a couple times before. What I most like about Paul is that he doesn’t ask, he simply does. Rather than contact the city and ask about an idea in order to give bureaucrats an excuse to explain why the idea won’t work (and then work to stop it), Paul acts and gets the job done. It is tough for bureaucrats to pooh pooh a notion when Paul has already proven that it can and does work. That is what Paul did with his Grow Calgary site which I wrote about last fall.

Paul has done an excellent job in addressing local food supply and has now turned towards addressing local housing supply.

Appalled by the projected $200,000 per unit projections for housing units, Paul Hughes has been working with micro homes to seek far more affordable housing solutions.

With common sense applied and bureaucrats moved aside, we can do all sorts of things for a fraction of the cost. Who can forget the Toronto man who built a set of stairs in a local park for $550 when the city bureaucrats has determined that $65,000 needed to be spend to address the issue? Sure the $550 set may not have been adequate but he proved that $65,000 was an obscenely high number when a couple thousand would have been more than enough.

It takes solid examples to prove the naysayers wrong when they come out with their grossly inflated numbers in project costs.

Paul has been building a micro home on the Grow Calgary site with volunteer help and donated materials. So far at virtually no costs, he has a little home that will be quite habitable for a person very soon.

With a tiny footprint and the use of a loft or sleeping quarters, a person can live quite comfortably in this micro home. Utility and maintenance costs are minimal in such a small abode too. What these little homes can do though is provide stable, private home spaces for people where they can settle and get things together.

Hughes understands that he doesn’t know it all by any means and he knows that there are all sorts of great and creative folks out there who can contribute to this project. That is why he has put out the call for others and is holding a micro-home building contest on the Grow Calgary site. Details can be found in the poster below and applications and rules on the Grow Calgary website.

There is a great flat space on the Grow Calgary site where these houses will be constructed and they can eventually be utilized to house volunteers to work on the fantastic farm there.

It is going to be quite exciting to see what kind of units are built and at what kind of costs they come in at.

Hughes has a broader vision for these micro-homes and how homelessness can be addressed with the great capital savings.

Paul’s vision is pretty high level and there are surely details that would need some ironing but it is compelling and even if not implemented in whole, it surely is worth trying in part.

Hughes estimates that with good design and economies of scale that good micro-homes can be built for about $10,000 each. If building for 4,000 homeless there would be an initial capital cost of $40,000,000.

In order to avoid developing slums or enclaves, Hughes is looking at 400 communities of 10 micro homes each.

Paul understands that supports beyond simple housing are required. Let’s say that each community of 10 has one social worker, one job manager for training, one health/farm manager (I expect he wants to incorporate urban farming in the communities), and one administrator. That is four people supporting every ten housed. Assuming costs of $60k per year each for those folks, that comes in at $96,000,000.

With a miscellaneous budget of $20,000,000 built in Hughes plan comes in at with a capital cost of $40 million and an annual cost of $116 million for the manpower and supports. I imagine there are many other unanticipated costs and land costs have not been accounted for but this is still a tiny fraction from the projected $200,000 per unit for unsupported housing in current plans.

As is expected, the city and established homeless groups aren’t enthusiastic about Paul’s plans. Too many are simply too invested in the status-quo.

The hipster dominated urban planning festival of “Bacon Fest” snubbed Paul and prevented him from even bringing flyers to the event. They like to jealously guard their vision of urban planning unfortunately.

Undeterred of course, Hughes is plowing ahead and I expect he will promote and round up some great competitors for his competition.

Is Hughes vision too ambitious? Perhaps. Is it a panacea? Of course not.

What Paul is proposing though is a radical departure from what has already been tried and failed. He is looking at a new approach and we dearly need one.

Micro-homes have applications outside of aiding in homelessness as well. Seniors looking at downsizing, veterans establishing themselves after leaving the service, young people and under employed people could all potentially use micro-homes. It is nearly impossible these days to get into the housing market if a person doesn’t have a head start. Micro homes could provide a great way to start building equity in a home until a person is ready to move into something larger.

I can’t see any authority signing off on a 4000 micro home project quite yet. I don’t see why we can’t try at least a few of these communities on an experimental basis and then expanding on that if it is successful. Its not like the city can point to their resounding success with the current strategy.

It will be harder to say no when a small community is built and functioning at Grow Calgary as well. Paul as always is leading by example and taking excuses away from those who fear trying new things.

I really look forward to seeing what is springing up there in the coming months and seeing how these innovations can be applied throughout Calgary and beyond. I encourage others to contact Paul if they are interested in participating or lending a hand. He can be reached through the website.   Drop him a line and see about dropping by Grow Calgary’s location. It is impressive and well worth the visit to see what can be accomplished by a guy who just goes out and gets things done rather than asking or waiting for others to do it.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,