The age dense urban living is gone

The industrial revolution brought about the need for skyscrapers and densely packed city centers. Mega companies were forming which needed armies of administrators and it only made sense to set up shop in city centers. It was efficient for different departments to be able to commute floor to floor rather than across a large industrial campus. Commutes were kept short as white collar workers lived in high rise residential developments on the fringes of the business districts.

High urban density made perfect sense last century. Does it make sense now though?

The creation of the fax machine was actually the first development that really undercut the need for dense, urban business centers. For those who lived in the 80s, we all remember how city centers were busy hives crawling with bicycle and even walking couriers. It was essential for businesses to send documents from building to building in a timely manner and in a dense downtown this made it relatively easy. With the invention of the fax machine, a document could now be sent across the world in minutes, never mind across a city.

Another essential advantage of downtowns was the ability for tight networking. Business lunches were an integral part of enterprise and communications within and and between companies. While not as socially appealing as a luncheon, the internet has provided an alternative to meeting in person and due to the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses have become accustomed to digital rather than in person meetings.

With essentially every family now having at least one personal automobile, the need for an employee to live in close proximity to their workplace is gone. Why lose hours of personal time per week jammed onto a public transit system when you can have a quiet and comfortable commute where you can plan your day? COVID-19 comes into play here again as well. While businesses have been operating again, transit remains nearly empty as few people have an appetite for spending time in close quarters with strangers. The same applies to elevators.

Families have lived within the urban centers for decades simply because they had no choice. When given the option, the vast majority of families will choose to live in the suburbs where they can raise their kids on quiet streets with their own yard and away from the dense traffic and aggressive homeless people in the city core. Businesses have been responding to this demand by developing suburban business centers which gives them a strong edge when recruiting employees. Quarry Park in Calgary was drawing enterprise out of Calgary’s core well before the energy price collapse and the pandemic.

Calgary’s downtown is well over 30 percent vacant and that number is expected to grow. Other cities are experiencing similar trends as the economy contracts, dense living appears unhealthy and a new age of home offices has exploded.

Urban density has turned into something of an immutable orthodoxy for many urban planners and municipal politicians. With an almost cult-like fervor, they use every tool they can to try and force a square peg into a round hole in fighting a consumer exodus from dense, inner city living. The density zealots are losing this war but they are creating some very dysfunctional cities in battling the will of citizens. Satellite communities outside of large cities are booming as citizens and businesses flee increasingly intrusive and ideological city councils.

The era of the crowded downtown skyscrapers is done. We need to focus urban planning based on the reality of continued outward growth while trying to find creative ways to make use of decaying downtowns.

Voters in municipal elections need to flush the dinosaurs from their city councils as soon as possible. There can be no reasoning with politicians and administrators who feel that raising business taxes and hiking parking rates while jamming roads with bicycle lanes is a way to stem the outward flow of the population. These ideologues need to be replaced en masse.

Calgary and Edmonton will have that opportunity in a year. They can’t afford another four years of urban planning based on a model from the last century.

Jagmeet Singh’s soft spot for terrorists is showing

I am not nor have I ever been a fan of Pierre Trudeau. He irreparably damaged Canada and his offspring is carrying on with the family tradition.

One thing that I have to respect Pierre Trudeau for though was his zero tolerance approach to the murderous scumbag terrorists called Front de libération du Québec (FLQ). With years of bombings then escalating to the kidnapping and the eventual coldblooded murder of a foreign diplomat leading to the “October Crisis”, Pierre Trudeau was absolutely justified in invoking the War Measures act.

We had domestic terrorism exploding within Canada and it had to be snuffed out without hesitation or mercy. That is exactly the sort of thing that the War Measures act was created to control. There can be no negotiation with murderous terrorists. That only emboldens them further.

It is not a shock to see the leader of the Bloc Quebecois demanding that Justin Trudeau apologize for his father’s use of the War Measures act. The Bloc are separatists who feel that the FLQ was justified in their kidnapping, killing and bombings.

What is truly pathetic though is Jagmeet Singh backing the demand for an apology. It has been noted that Singh has something of a soft spot for murderous terrorists but I still never expected him to back something as gross as this demand.

Here is some more background on Singh when it comes to his stances on terrorism

Singh was even banned from entering India due to his stances.

Canada’s parliament is in a sad state on so many levels but to see the party leader who holds the balance of power demanding an apology for Canada’s zero tolerance approach to domestic terrorism is a whole new pathetic low.

Ironically, these sorts of actions help destabilize the already tenuous unity of the nation. I am happy to see secessionism grow in Canada. We have the democratic means to pursue those sorts of things however. There is no excuse for terrorism even if the New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh thinks that standing up to terrorists is something to apologize for.

How many empty trains does Calgary need



While the city of Calgary is in a fiscal crisis like never before and while the city core is moving quickly towards a 50 percent vacancy rate, Mayor Naheed Nenshi’s main priority is to try and strongarm the province and Ottawa into rushing billions into his hands so he can rush the construction of the Green Line to nowhere.

Nenshi is desperate. He likely won’t win the next election and may not even have the courage to run in it. He wants a personal legacy aside from massive tax increases, a decimated downtown and a catastrophic failed Olympic bid. That leaves the Green Line to nowhere and he is pulling out all the stops to get that thing going.

The BRT down 14 st is a sad joke. Years of construction only to build a dedicated lane which runs the odd bus which is almost always totally empty. Calgarians realize that among the many things the city need right now, an expanded transit system is not one of them. The city is broke and nobody is riding the buses and trains. Why the hell would we want to spend billions on expanding a system which is already barely used?

As with the Olympic bid, the Green Line has turned into a multi billion dollar vanity project for Nenshi. Like the Olympic bid, it can be stopped if Calgarians stand up for themselves.

Its time to stand up.

Put this white elephant on hold. We have a municipal election in a year. Let’s let Calgarians choose if they want to sink billions into this pending boondoggle. If Calgarians really want this project, they will surely re-elect Nenshi in a landslide if he campaigns on it.

Otherwise we are sending more good money after bad.

Notley wants to nationalize insurance

Not satisfied with the interminable waiting lists for driver testing due to having nationalized drivers tests, Rachel Notley wants the government to take over the auto insurance business.

While there certainly are some issues to be dealt with in the insurance industry, rest assured that government would make them much much worse. For those of us old enough to remember, when government ran registries you used to literally have to take an entire day off in order to renew your drivers license or get a new plate, much less get a test.

It’s not as if there isn’t a living breathing example of government run auto insurance nearby. British Columbia’s ICBC is the bane of citizen’s existence out there with some of the highest rates and poorest service in the country.

Thankfully as a former premier, Rachel Notley is pretty much just shouting at clouds on this one. There is no appetite for it in Alberta and she hasn’t the power to do it anyway.

So why is Notley taking this stance?

It all comes down to who her real boss is and that’s Gil McGowan. The NDP is unique in that they literally have it written into their party constitution that the Alberta Federation of Labor and its affiliates are to dominate the governance of their party. Gil McGowan is far more powerful and secure in the NDP than Notley is.

Gil McGowan and the AFL simply have one mandate and that is to create as many union jobs as possible and however possible. That leads to dues which feed executives like Gil very well and allows big labor such as the AUPE to built themselves $49 million palatial office buildings while the rest of the province is in a deep recession.

More nationalized industries means more union members thus Notley is obliged to pursue these crazy notions even if she likely knows better.

As the NDP reside in opposition where they belong, we can expect that veneer of pragmatism that they put on while in government to continue to fade as they go back to their formal role of being a legislative mouthpiece for the AFL.

Nenshi wants an Iron Curtain

There are many many problems with authoritarian socialism.

One of the biggest ones is that whenever a government tries to create a worker’s paradise of their own modeling, those damned people of talent, ambition and work ethic all try to get the hell out.

That is why we have never seen people boarding rickety rafts and trying to enter Cuba, Venezuela or the Vietnam of old. Did we ever see people scaling the wall to fight their way into East Berlin? How often do we see people sneaking into North Korea?

While Naheed Nenshi would love to have the authority of the leadership of the aforementioned nations, he has to make due with the powers bestowed upon him as a Mayor. That means he has to be more creative in his means to stop the outflow of capital and people from the city-state that he has been trying to create.

You see, Nenshi’s decade long effort to create a hipsters paradise where the majority of the population lives in the inner city while taking transit or riding bikes to work has been an utter catastrophe. Businesses and residents have fled the overtaxed and bikelane congested city core leading to a 30% downtown vacancy rate while city buses drive empty. Yes, the pandemic creates a handy immediate excuse but this has been happening for years now.

The problem is that Nenshi can’t cork the bottle. New businesses are setting up shop just outside of Calgary city limits while citizens are moving to homes in Airdrie, Cochrane, Okotoks and Strathmore who have all seen growth booms since Nenshi’s city regime came to power.

People won’t sit still and take it! Those unwashed ingrates just don’t know what is good for them!

While Nenshi can’t build a literal wall to keep working Calgarians and businesses within his little fiefdom, he can try to put up invisible ones.

Nenshi has long pushed for a municipal government plan which would give him control over the development of neighboring communities. Thankfully, even Notley knew better than to give Naheed such powers. Now Nenshi is trying a new route.

Nenshi wants to annex massive quantities of land outside of Calgary’s borders in what is to be a 30 year plan for growth.

The city of Calgary can’t even managed their planning year by year. They sure as hell can’t look ahead by 30 years.

What Nenshi really wants to do is annex the land and simply sit on it. The city can then refuse all outward development and try to force the flow of growth back into the core. This effort would of course fail and we would see a growth boom in Red Deer but this reality doesn’t deter Nenshi in trying to see his urban plans realized by any means possible.

There is little love for Naheed Nenshi’s administration within the UCP government and I suspect that they will not be facilitating His Worship’s plans.

All the same, it should be noted just how far Nenshi is willing to go to try and create his own little urban planning utopia against the will of the actual citizens.

Especially in an election year.

Podcast on the state of Canada’s healthcare

As we enter what is clearly going to be a period of austerity, we will need to seriously examine how much we are spending and how we are spending it. The number one spending item in Canada is health care. 

The costs are growing along with the waiting times. 

We have long been told that Canada has the best health care system on the planet but it is becoming increasingly clear that we do not even by a long shot. 

Its time to gore the sacred cow of Canada’s health care system and have a realistic talk about reform. 

Listen below:

Polipoker! Let’s get a game going.

Its going to be a long winter, especially in this weird year of social and travel restrictions.

It is an ideal time to set up a fun, small stakes online poker league however so we can take a break from things now and then.

The game is set up tourney style at $11 USD entry with one rebuy. Top 20% positions are paid out. It is at a good casual or beginners level of poker. No limit holdem. Games are weekly on Sunday at 2:30pm MST.

I don’t get a nickle from this by the way (unless I get into the top 20% at the end of a tourney like anybody else). Just want to set something fun up for a couple hours a week where people can take a break from things, play some poker and perhaps do some political dogmouthing during the matches.

The league is set up at Pokerstars. It is not available to American players. You would have to sign up and download the app if you are not already on. There are a number of ways to deposit money into your account.

The club ID is #3658983 Invite code is linked here. its 69696969 if there are link issues.

Join up and try to take my money (among others). Its a fun game at these affordable levels.

Send me an email if there are any questions.

See ya on Sunday.

Cartoon pictures of Muhammad

Yet again an innocent person has been murdered for daring to show pictures of Muhammad. This time it was a teacher in France. Details of the murder can be found here.

I have little use for religious extremists. I have even less for the murderous ones.

In return for killings of people for posting images of Muhammad Mohammad etc.I will make a point of posting pictures of the “prophet”.

If we don’t push back this way, the extremists have indeed won.

If they want to see an end to cartoons of their prophet, then perhaps they should endeavor to cut back on killing people over it. Its a form of the Streisand effect in a way.

Enjoy and share these fine depictions of Mo for others to admire.

Trudeau plans to halt Alberta’s economic diversification efforts

As fast as Alberta can work to expand and diversify its economy, the Trudeau Liberals with the backing of Singh’s NDP is working to stop them.

Alberta is rich in natural resources and the end product is not simply oil. Petrochemicals make up all sorts of end products including hydrogen and yes, plastics.

Plastics are a huge and growing industry with world demand climbing, particularly in these pandemic times when people need single use PPE items. Aside from single use, plastics are in everything from your car to your phone to damn near every household item that you have. It only makes sense as a province rich in petrochemicals to further develop our production of raw plastic materials for export.

The Trudeau government has other plans however. They with the backing of the NDP plan to have plastic declared to be toxic in legislation. This would decimate Alberta’s plans for recycling and producing new plastic products as well as kill potential incoming investment in Alberta.

From the Alaska to Alberta railway to our conventional oilfield to plastics to natural gas, the Trudeau government has moved to block every initiative that Alberta has made to develop its struggling economy. Nobody sane would invest in Alberta when it is clear that the province is suffering under a vindictive, economic embargo from the federal government.

This is what happens when a province is stuck within a system which demands that the government cater only to central Canadian wants and needs.

Unfortunately, Premier Kenney’s long string of strongly worded letters to Ottawa will likely have little impact on their anti-Alberta actions.

The latest virtue signalling legislation will do nothing for the environment as a hungry world market will simply buy their plastic elsewhere. As usual though, Alberta will be left in the cold yet again.

Trudeau government members eye a tax on your children’s inheritance

Not content with indebting our children and grandchildren with record government deficits, the Trudeau government is now considering taking their inheritance too.

Inheritance taxes were abolished in Canada in 1971. They are terribly regressive taxes which rob people of their hard earned savings and are second perhaps only to capital gains taxes in stealing away incentive from people to earn more during their working lives.

The Trudeau government is desperate as their pandering to the NDP in order to remain in power has left them with an unimaginable revenue hole. Being ideologically inclined to the politics of envy, some are seeing inheritance taxes as a form of low hanging fruit that they can harvest from the “rich”.

According to Blacklock’s Reporter, Liberal MP Sean Fraser, parliamentary secretary to the finance minister feels that an inheritance tax will address what he sees as a “plague” which the state needs to address.

Fraser is using tough terms and saying “we will not be afraid!” as he spoke during a House of Commons debate on taxes.

The Liberals don’t really need to pretend to talk tough when pursuing a tax grab such as this. Jagmeet Singh will happily back the Trudeau Liberals up on such a move as he sees his dreams of Canadian socialism realized.

Unfortunately, socialist paradises invariably end up like Cuba and Venezuela and Canada is well on its way to that sad status. An inheritance tax would be a great leap towards it and there doesn’t seem to be a way to stop it.

Better start hiding your savings folks if you want to leave anything to your children.