Public opinion matters & rational demonstrations make a difference.

Last week while at his sixth appearance at the Okotoks courthouse, Eddie Maurice finally had all charges dropped against him. 

Eddie had been charged with a number of offenses after confronting a pair of criminals who were on his property very late one night last February. Eddie was the lone line of defense between these crooks and his baby who was in his home as his wife was out of the province at the time. One of the scumbags was injured in the arm in the confrontation and Eddie Maurice found himself potentially facing years in jail for having done what any responsible parent would have done in the same situation.

On March 1st Eddie Maurice made his first court appearance in Okotoks. This was when the authorities began to realize that they may be on the wrong side of public opinion in this case.

Hundreds of supporters for the Maurice family made time to come out on a cold winter weekday and tens of  thousands of dollars were being raised for Eddie’s defense. It was clear that the public ire had been raised and that neither Eddie Maurice nor the general public were going to let this go down without a fight.

It was clear that no simple court victory was coming for the Crown.

Some formalities were observed and the next hearing was scheduled for two weeks later.

Eddie dutifully appeared in court two weeks later. Also appearing on what was an even colder day than the first appearance were supporters and press who huddled in the chill and made sure that Eddie and the Crown prosecutors knew that Eddie wasn’t alone in this.

The Crown had no evidence ready & Eddie was unable to make a plea. The case was punted two more weeks down the road.
It was made clear now that Eddie Maurice would be pleading not-guilty and that he would be seeking a jury trial.

Two weeks later the Crown lacked evidence and punted the case two more weeks down the road.

On Eddie’s fifth appearance in court, the Crown yet again lacked required evidence and the case was knocked down the road for another month.

Eddie Maurice’s life had now been held in a stressful legal limbo for four months and he had not even been able to make a damned plea and defend himself yet.

At every one of these court appearances the supporters appeared. At every one of these court appearances the media appeared. After every one of these court appearances stories were written and fund raising for Eddie continued strongly.

What the state will never admit is that they were watching what the public was doing every time. They were dearly hoping that the crowds would dwindle. They were hoping that either Eddie’s funds or resolve would dry up. They were hoping that the media were going to lose interest. None of these things were happening and public support for the Maurice family was only rising as outrage over the treatment of these young Albertans grew.

Another thing that the state will never admit made things into a turning point came from the injured criminal, Ryan Watson. Neither Watson nor his accomplice were strangers to the legal system. These were career losers who enjoyed Canada’s revolving door justice system. Well it turns out that Ryan Watson was arrested yet again for housebreaking!

Yes, it appears that the person that the crown wanted to paint as a victim in all of this was back out and robbing property owners as soon as his arm healed. Makes it tough for the Crown prosecutors to paint Watson as an unfortunate victim of the evil Eddie Maurice in these circumstances.

The issue that was already a public relations headache for the state was now about to turn into a public relations nightmare.

Somebody somewhere on high made the call to pull the escape hatch. A senior crown prosecutor was assigned along with a high ranking RCMP officer to head down to Okotoks to face the press outside the courthouse as soon as the charges were all dropped. It was an effort in damage control and it was clear that while the state was backing off in this case, their backing off was grudging at best.

They stated that public opinion had nothing to do with the dismissal of the charges. They say that it was a forensic report that would have made conviction impossible. I say BULLSHIT!

Conviction was indeed impossible but that was directly due to public support for Eddie. The state knew damn well that there was no way a jury was going to convict Maurice. The case was too established in the public eye and the public had no appetite for convicting a young man for defending his family.

The jury system is there to reflect the public and the peers of the accused. In these sorts of cases acquittals are common from Steven Kesler who was charged for shooting a criminal, to Gerald Stanley who shot a criminal to Peter Khill who was acquitted just the other day for shooting criminal. All of those cases involved the death of the criminal and in all of those cases juries acquitted the person defending themselves.

The law is in place to reflect and protect the public. When the law fails, the public corrects it through juries.

It is wrong that people have to put their lives on hold for months or even years in court for defending themselves and their property. We need to change our laws to reflect what the public wants and that includes the right to protect one’s person and property.

Reasonable and persistent demonstrations of support for Eddie Maurice made all the difference in his case though a prideful state will never admit that. The public spoke up and that public won and I can’t thank everybody enough for having done so from the people who donated, to the people who showed up to demonstrate to those who emailed and called their representatives. It works and it helps. It is important for all of us.

Cory Morgan for NDP in Banff Kananaskis!

UPDATE!!!!

It appears that ranking apparatchiks have responded to Cam Westhead’s fearful cries as his nomination was democratically challenged. They have moved to block my effort with efficiency rarely seen among socialists!

Have no fear comrades! I am undaunted & will continue my campaign to ensure that Banff-Kananaskis has superior NDP representation to Cam “The Weenie” Westhead in the next election.

Viva la revolucion!

END UPDATE


Yes, I have had a revelation of sorts. I feel compelled to bring about true transparency in politics through the nomination system.

Everybody knows that the NDP is all one centrally run entity which constitutionally requires their provincial wings to follow the wishes, whims and policy planks of the federal party. While provincial leaders are beholden to their federal superiors, they like to talk a different game when it comes to winning their local seats.

Well its time to end our political double speak and dodging and run local NDP campaigns openly on what our agenda truly is!

I have taken the leap so to speak and put my name forth to usher in this new era of transparency in electoral politics among our socialist parties.

I am officially registered with Elections Alberta as a nomination contestant with the New Democratic Party of Alberta for the constituency of Banff-Kananaskis.

I am rather excited.

The inspiring and foundational document which will guide my actions & campaign is none other than the LEAP MANIFESTO which was heartily embraced by the gathered federal NDP members in Edmonton last year.

It is hard to stop gazing in awe and inspiration at this profound and nation changing NDP endorsed document. I wish other other NDP comrades of mine would come out in the open to promote this brilliance.

I think if I shave my head the right way, I will be a ringer for St. Vladimir Lenin!

I will highlight the most important points from the LEAP Manifesto.

Shift swiftly away from fossil fuels so that Canada gets 100 per cent of its electricity from renewable resources within 20 years

We have about 18 years left to shut down each and every coal and gas fired generation plant in Alberta.

Be entirely weaned off fossil fuels by 2050.

We will ban all cars and natural gas heating in 30 years and of course end all oil and gas activities in Alberta.

No new infrastructure projects aimed at increasing extraction of non-renewable resources, including pipelines

All new projects MUST be stopped now. Under Notley we have been well on our way to that already but again, lets get our agenda out in the open.

“Energy democracy,” in which energy sources are collectively controlled by communities instead of “profit-gouging” private companies.

When all of Alberta is powered by wind, solar and unicorns in a few years, all of those sources of power will be managed by the collective.

End all trade deals “that interfere with our attempts to rebuild local economies, regulate corporations and stop damaging extractive projects.

Yes we will rip up NAFTA and all provincial trade agreements. Yes we will be sued and lose in Canadian courts (as with beer) and by the WTO. Who said that saving the world will be cheap though?

Expand low-carbon sectors of the economy, such as caregiving, teaching, social work, the arts and public-interest media.

Yes. We will employ everybody in these sectors and will have the state take full control of the media (for the public interest of course). These will be funded by the aforementioned unicorns. They are a fantastic resource.

Pay for it all by ending fossil fuel subsidies, imposing financial transaction taxes, increasing resource royalties, hiking taxes on corporations and the wealthy, introducing a progressive carbon tax, and cutting military spending.

And of course through unicorn exports.

So, why Banff-Kananaskis?

I grew up and graduated high school in Banff.

My home in Priddis will be within the Banff-Kananaskis constituency when the writ drops and the gerrymandering…  I mean new boundaries come into full effect.

Last but not least, while Banff-Kananaskis is indeed represented by one of my NDP comrades right now, he is something of a weenie.

I fear that we simply can’t take Cam Westhead at his word on things as deeply important to the NDP as adherence to the LEAP Manifesto.

We need honest representation from somebody such as myself who will stay open and true to The Ideology!

Along with working to implement the LEAP Manifesto, I will continue with Notley’s work on ending poverty through business regulation and minimum wage hikes. I will lobby to raise the minimum wage to $120 per hour and regulate us all to a one day work week. What a happy world we will be! Those corporate fat cats can afford to fund this.

I also pledge to unionize kindergartens and to have a statue of our true patron saint erected in every town square.

Be sure to get on board and support the new revolution!

First Banff-Kanasaskis, then maybe Cochrane or something. Its negotiable.

 

The price for mailing it in. Highwood is ready for change.

Highwood is one of the safest conservative seats in all of Alberta. The constituency resides just South of Calgary. It was formed in 1971 and the combined Social Credit/ Progressive Conservative vote was 93% in its first election.

Conservative support has softened in Highwood over the decades to the point where the combined Progressive Conservative/Wildrose Party vote in the 2015 election was a mere 74% (it was over 95% in 2012).

The real democratic race in Highwood will be for the UCP nomination rather than in the general election and this coming nomination race is ramping up to be a hot one.

Most parties will snap the nominations open and shut quickly in constituencies where they already have strong incumbent MLAs. The UCP is no exception.

Prasad Panda, Ric McIver and of course Jason Kenney have already had their nominations opened and closed.

Highwood is a different story. Not one but three strong candidates are contesting the UCP nomination right now.

Wayne Anderson is the incumbent MLA in Highwood. He was in the right place at the right time and was acclaimed for his initial nomination. The 2015 election was hard fought but the Wildrose still won Highwood constituency with narrow 8% margin. It should be noted that the combined conservative vote dropped in Highwood by 20% in that campaign. The winner got a grudging endorsement from the voters.

The relatively narrow win coupled with a drop in general conservative vote would have served as a warning to a canny incumbent. It is clear that the electorate in Highwood want to see an active MLA and want to feel that they are strongly represented. Alas, Mr. Anderson instead chose to mail it in with a lackluster backbench presence which is now catching up to him as electors organize to have him replaced. There will be no comfortable acclamation here.

One of the most pressing issues for residents of Highwood has been the ongoing and growing epidemic of rural crime. The issue came to a head when Highwood resident Eddie Maurice was charged and faces jail time for wounding a criminal as he defended his home and baby.

Highwood citizens along with Albertans in general were outraged at the charges being laid against Mr. Maurice. Hundreds rallied in support of Eddie Maurice at his first court appearance in Okotoks on a cold Friday morning. 

Notably absent from the rally was the local MLA Wayne Anderson. The legislature was not sitting and while Wayne never misses a mid-week fundraiser he somehow couldn’t find time to join hundreds of his constituents to express concern on an issue that impacts us all. Perhaps it was a little too chilly outside for him. That can have an effect on urban types such as Mr. Anderson.

On the following Monday Wayne Anderson had a chance to speak to this issue at the legislature.

As reported by Rick Bell:       “Then, lo and behold, Wayne Anderson, who represents Eddie Maurice in the legislature, stands up. This should be good, I’m thinking. Sadly, nothing on the criminals creating havoc in the countryside.”

Apparently Wayne didn’t think the issue was important enough to use his question on. Perhaps Wayne just didn’t want to wade into an issue as complex and potentially sticky as rural crime. Backbench warmers do have a tendency to vanish from any possibility of a controversial issue.

Eddie Maurice made five more court appearances since that first one. His issue is still ongoing. Sadly, his provincial representative has hidden from each and every one of those hearings.

While Wayne Anderson may be oblivious to the issues that are most important to his constituents, it is clear that residents of Highwood aren’t.

Daniel Smith learned the hard way what happens when you incur the wrath of the membership in Highwood. As an incumbent she lost her nomination to Carrie Fisher. That same Carrie Fisher is now running against Wayne Anderson for the nomination.

Along with Fisher, R.J. Sigurdson is running for the nod in Highwood. Sigurdson is a former constituency president of Highwood and is familiar with the members out there.

Local businessman Dean Leask was the first out of the gate in challenging Anderson for the nomination. Dean has some very strong credibility with his past involvement in both the PC party and the Wildrose Party at the provincial executive level. He knows how grassroots organizing works and isn’t hiding from the issues. 

Rather than perhaps looking inward to understand why he is being so strongly challenged for his nomination, Wayne Anderson has come out indignant and spitting. His first response was to attack Fisher and Sigurdson in an interview with the High River times. 

Wayne would be better served to consult with his constituents rather than attack the people who have put their names forward to better serve them.

Its in Anderson’s reaction to the challenge where we see the entrenchment of entitlement. One of the worst possible ailments of elected officials.

Will Anderson learn how to hit the ground to meet with constituents and sell memberships fast enough to head off these challengers in the coming weeks? Time will tell. He really should have started on this years ago.

Nominations are often overlooked by the public but they are a critical aspect of our system. When run properly, they keep our elected officials on our toes and they teach up and coming candidates how to consult and connect with their constituents.

The nomination process appears to be doing its job in Highwood.

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.

 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.