The Springbank Dam obsession.

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

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

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

Protection:

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

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

Environmental footprint:

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

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

Disruption of people and infrastructure:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cost to taxpayers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Its time that conservatives tackled the sexual orientation albatross.

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

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

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

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

What will it take though?

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

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

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

 

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

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

THIS SHIT HAS TO STOP!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next: actions speak louder than words.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Something else to remember: IT WILL NEVER BE ENOUGH!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Its up to us.

First conservative unity, next conservative policy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image ht to Roy Doonanco

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

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

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

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

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

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I’m stupid!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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These rallies and protests are not helping!!

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

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

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

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

rally

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

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

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

rally2

Carbon tax = sodomy????

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

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

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

rally3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Government managed economic diversification? Been there, done that.

nutley

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

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

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

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

getty lougheed

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

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

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

Sound familiar?

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

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

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

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

corymag

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

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

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

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

1986 Gainers Loss covered by taxpayers: $209 million

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

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

1977 Chembiomed Loss covered by taxpayers: $44 million

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

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

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

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

ralph

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alberta Pacific Terminals $10 million

Alberta Terminals: $2.6million

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

Alert Disaster Control: $2.6 million

Canadian Professional Munitions: $803,000

Carbovan: $5.9 million

Climate Master: $5 million

Dial Guard: $600,000

Emery Apparel Canada: $2 million

Fletchers Fine Foods: $13.9 million

General Composites Canada: $3.5 million

Myrias Research Corp: $9 million

Nanton Spring Water: $2.8 million

Norstar Recreation Products: $1 million

Northern Steel: $11 million

Peace River Fertilizer: approx $6 million

Ski Free Marine: $2.8 million

Teknica Resource Development: $1.9 million

Tomotechnology: approx: $1 million

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I finally joined the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta

Progressive_Conservative_Association_of_Alberta_Logo

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

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

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

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

jansen

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

smith

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

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

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

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

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

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

KenneyJason_CPC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Danielle Smith still trying to rewrite history with bullshit.

smith

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

smithbs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

brian

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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