Give credit for labour empowerment where it is due.

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We live in a fantastic time. Our standard of living is the best it has ever been in human history and in general, it is only getting better. Despite this self-evident fact, there will always be a number of luddites who idiotically try to fight and condemn the very things that have led to our comfort and happiness today. Anti-vaccination kooks are a fantastic example of this trend. Another foolish but growing anti-progress group is the anti-automobile movement.

We (as usual) are paying a heavy price for our electoral apathy, particularly on the municipal level. Despite the vast, vast majority of people in North America happily owning and using personal automobiles, many municipal governments are taking on an outright anti-automotive stance on development. Despite need and demand for improved automotive infrastructure, municipal governments focus on initiatives designed to hinder automotive use with no visible benefit. Calgary’s ridiculous and barely utilized downtown cycle track are a prime example. Tens out thousands of autos have been displaced for these tracks as lanes and parking are lost while hipsters numbering in the dozens use these tracks. That is fine for Nenshi’s council as the goal was never to facilitate bicyclists. The goal was to hinder cars. Traffic calming measures, ridiculous pedestrian strategies and the constant choking of parking reflect this ideology as well.

This anti-automotive movement can be far more damaging to us than simply some inconvenience in commuting. If we allow more collectivization of transportation, we will begin to lose individual rights.

The personal automobile was as responsible for the empowerment of workers as labour unions were, if not more so.

In the last few years, I spent a great deal of time working on oil exploration programs in the “Rust Belt” of the USA in the last few years. There are countless small, single factory towns squirreled around Western Pennsylvania and Ohio. One that stood out for me was Avonmore Pennsylvania.

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Avonmore is a town of about 800 and is in the Kiskiminetas River valley about 40 miles from Pittsburgh. The town population peaked in 1910 at 1262 and has been on the decline ever since. This is typical of these types of towns as their industries decline. Many Pennsylvania towns have long histories and some great old architecture. Avonmore however is somewhat plain and it can be seen even in the design of the small downtown that this is a planned and company town. There is one large steel mill in the town and a small number of supporting businesses. That has always been the nature of this town.

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Being in a deep river valley and being so dominated by one company, one cant help but imagine just how dependent workers were in a town like this at the turn of the century. The only route out at that time would have been by rail (controlled by the company), or by wagon (slow and expensive). The dominant company in these towns often owned the associated businesses in the towns from the general stores to the local hotel and often the housing. It is this dependency that led to a great deal of labour abuse. While unions had made strides at the turn of the century, in towns such as this they had little power as labour was essentially captive. What would you do if you were fired? Move? How much do you owe the company store? Back rent on the house perhaps? Can you get all your belongings on the train? Does the company control the train? Can you shop for a new place?

This all changed in 1914 when the Ford Model T took America by storm. Suddenly a factory worker could buy a family automobile with just four months pay. A worker could now commute to other workplaces should they choose to. A family could travel and broaden their shopping options. Employers and services suddenly faced a mobile workforce who could and would commute or relocate if need be should they find themselves abused. A mobile workforce becomes a commodity and supply and demand now could apply to them. Reality set in and work conditions throughout the entire continent improved not with strikes and labour actions but through employees exercising their ability to take their services elsewhere. With Pittsburgh and other industrial communities being only a short drive away, the companies that controlled Avonmore and countless other communities were forced to change their practices in order to retain their workers.

We often take that personal mobility for granted as we allow municipal ideologues to chip away at this important individual right. Aside from labour mobility, the contributions that personal transportation make to our general standard of living can’t be understated. While municipal leaders often chide people to take the bus or ride a bike, how can this reasonably apply to the parent of a few kids who needs to go grocery shopping. Should they simply walk to a convenience store and pay the premium that comes with that? Do we really expect senior citizens to suddenly choose to ride a bike to the pharmacy?  What do we think will happen to the price of consumer goods if people can no longer broadly shop around? Personal autos also allow a possible escape for people in abusive relationships.

We need to be vigilant as ideologues try to take away or limit the very important right of personal mobility and nothing provides that right more effectively than the personal automobile. We have to thank the automobile for so many great things we enjoy in life today and to oppose personal automobiles is pure and simple foolishness.

We can get by just fine without labour unions today. If we lost the personal automobile however, we would all suffer on a number of levels. We should always celebrate this great innovation that has empowered us all.

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On free assembly and bringing Taber into the current century.

There are no rights more critical than our individual ones. Infringements on individual rights have to be countered and exposed as soon as they crop up. The erosion of individual rights is almost always an incremental thing and when it happens on even a micro level as it is happening in Taber Alberta, it is a big and important issue.

Depiction of Taber Mayor, Council and Police Chief.

Depiction of Taber Mayor, Council and Police Chief.

The Mayor and police chief of the city of Taber appeared on numerous news sites whining about the ridicule and bad press that they have been getting over their ridiculous bylaws. Sorry but those imbeciles implemented a backwoods, hillbilly style local bylaw that is simply a gross violation of a number of individual rights. Did they really think that people would quietly let them get away with trying to set back individual rights in their town by centuries? I know that I and others who value civil liberties will not let this crackpot law go. The Mayor and his supporters would be well served to repeal this idiocy before it goes to the courts and is tossed out which will doubtless lead to even more ridicule of their community. Sadly, the Mayor and police chief of Taber appear to be suffering under a deficit of common sense so it will likely take the time of a court and judge to explain to these fools that their bylaw is contrary to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

In this article we see Taber Mayor Henk De Vlieger and police chief Alf Rudd pissing and moaning (oops is that a swear?) about the backlash that their primitive bylaw has generated.

While the Mayor and Chief flaccidly try to point to other jurisdictions that have bylaws against spitting and noise, they skirt over the part where their bylaw outlaws the gathering of more than 3 people if a peace officer should make the arbitrary decision that that they may disturb the peace. This is a gross violation of free assembly and simply cannot be allowed to stand.

Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms pretty explicitly protects free assembly and association.

We are a spoiled society in that we have had these critical rights protected for a long time and many of us have forgotten how hard some people had to fight to win these rights for us. We can’t let those rights erode now.

One of the first things that any dictatorship will do is limit the right of free association and assembly. This keeps any opposition from organizing and stops visible public protest. In the days before modern communications laws banning assembly were very effective in halting things such as union organization or the organization of political movements. How could you begin to halt a dictatorship if you couldn’t gather more than three people together at any given time?

This law in Taber will be shot down. The only questions now are when and how. It is up to the sad little leadership in that backward city to determine how much more mockery they are willing to endure in protecting this legal atrocity before it is inevitably tossed out. I fully intend to be putting elements of this bylaw to the test soon if the fools in Taber won’t get rid of it soon. Do they really want me down there?

Perhaps they should ask Nenshi how much joy I can bring to a city council and Mayor when I feel they are improperly applying laws.

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Too important to test! (according to teacher’s unions)

DiscoveryMath

The most effective way to send the Alberta Teacher’s Association (union) into apoplectic fits is to propose any possible means of testing the competence of individual teachers. The union has long battled all forms of standardized testing of students and has recently displayed nothing short of hysteria when the Alberta government dared to suggest that we should test teachers directly. This of course is simply because the Alberta Teacher’s Association is protecting a great number of incompetent teachers in the system and they know it.

Let’s get the usual statements and platitudes out of the way. Our children are our future thus the role of teachers is greatly important to us all. Teaching is a terribly difficult job. Alberta’s education system is critical to the future competitiveness of the province. Investing in education is investing in our future. Our children deserve the best.

All of the above statements are accurate. The Alberta Teacher’s Association (union) uses all of those statements as reasons why we must never test the competency of teachers. Anybody with a grain of common sense knows that the above statements demonstrate why it is vital that we test the competence of our teachers!

I should save on the use of parenthesis and clear one thing up right now. The Alberta Teacher’s Association is a union that tries to cloak itself as a professional association. The second an organization is empowered to collectively bargain and go on strike, it becomes a union no matter how it tries to portray itself. The prime mandate of unions is to protect the union members and it shows with the actions of the ATA. Professional associations will look out for the profession as a whole. In their vehement opposition of all forms of quality control in the classroom, the ATA has proven themselves to be nothing more than a union.

Professional associations strive to protect the integrity of their profession in working to ensure that all members meet a standard of quality and they will eject members who do not meet this standard. In 10 years, the Alberta Teacher’s Union has not found a single one of their 35,000 teachers to be incompetent. Really? Not a single one? Here is a word that I was not taught in school but it is the best one that applies here: Bullshit!

The Alberta Teacher’s Union is currently furious that our Education Minister has permanently barred some sex-offender teachers from teaching as well. That is how deeply the member protection instinct in the Alberta Teacher’s Union runs.

We all can remember our years in the education system. We all can remember some teachers who were incredibly talented and made an impact on us for life. We all can remember some who had to use slip-on shoes as tying laces was too much of a task for them.

I will run down the road of anecdotes here as I am sure that most will be able to nod their heads in understanding with similar experiences. I attended Banff Community High School in the 80s. It is a small school as demonstrated by our graduating class of 32 people in 88. This meant that teachers had to often take on multiple specialties. I had a math teacher who was incredible for my years there. This man’s presence was incredible. I was a pain in the ass student yet never dared mess around in this teacher’s class. Myself along with pretty much every student in this teacher’s class saw a spike in our math test markings as this talented man managed to make the most dry of courses understandable. Now in biology 20 I (and others in my school) had the opposite experience. The school’s regular biology teacher had taken maternity leave so the girl’s gym teacher was brought in to teach the course. This woman’s form of teaching was literally to write the textbook matter on the chalk board and expected us to copy it verbatim in our notebooks. We then would be tested and 60% of us failed. With nearly 2/3 (my math is still good) of us failing Bio 20 the course can be safely called a waste. I signed up for Bio 20 the next year and found to my horror that this same incompetent teacher was running the course. After two classes myself and over half of the class dropped the course. I still don’t have Bio 20 to this day. That worthless biology “teacher” was compensated and protected the same as that incredible math teacher. There are of course 10s of thousands of examples if this throughout the province.

Teaching is a calling and the talent within the best of teachers is innate rather than taught. Most of the best of our teachers were drawn to the profession immediately upon graduation. They love their work and are worth every penny (likely more) that they are compensated. Imagine the talent we could draw if we drove out the incompetent teachers and gave raises to the great ones. That of course would be merit pay which again terrifies unions.

There is a hard reality about many within the teaching profession that the union really doesn’t like to talk about. A huge number of teachers joined the profession as they simply saw it as a good paycheque that provided them with extended holidays throughout the year. Some of those who joined the trade for this reason are still great teachers but that number is much lower.

Did you ever wonder what happened to the schoolmate you had who drank his way through university while gliding into a degree of Ethiopian philosophy? Ever notice that while coffee shops are jammed with baristas with liberal arts degrees that few of them are over 30? Where did the person with the music degree or dance degree go when the garage band and stripper pole became tiring? Many of these people went back to school, picked up a teaching certificate and joined the high salary, profound pension world of Alberta teachers.

Not every person who decided to become a teacher as a secondary career choice is incompetent but let’s face it, many of them are. If we do want the best and brightest teachers in the system that we entrust our children to we have to test them and test them vigorously. The Alberta Teacher’s Union has failed terribly in monitoring the quality of their members (as can be expected) so it should not be a surprise that some want to see some outside testing of the quality of our teachers.

Ignore the BS from the Alberta Teacher’s Union whenever they cry the standard vapid: “its for the children!”. When it comes from the Alberta Teacher’s Union the reality is that it is always for the union members. The call is always for more pay, smaller class sizes (less work) and of course no outcome testing of students or performance testing of teachers. At least they are consistent.

While I am far from being a supporter of the Progressive Conservative Party by any means, I am fully supportive of Minister Jeff Johnson in that our teachers desperately need competence testing.

Our teachers are so important that their testing is critical.

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Time to put Canada Post and it’s union out to pasture.

cupw

Reality is quickly catching up with Canada Post as the obsolete Crown Corporation continues to bleed record losses every year. $129,000,000 went down the hole in the last quarter alone and these huge losses will only grow as electronic communications and an ever efficient private sector fills the void where conventional mail used to be.

On top of these losses that the taxpayer will surely end up paying, Canada Post is carrying a $6 billion pension deficit with no realistic means in sight to pay that out. This monster of a debt that accumulated through decades of buying labor peace through unrealistic pension promises will surely be biting us all soon. That growing black hole will only get worse as long as Canada Post is in operation.

Along with technological realities making the services of a Crown postal carrier obsolete, Canada Post has been burdened with one of the most activist and self-destructive unions in the country. CUPW used to gleefully strike just before Christmas every few years. In holding the country hostage at holiday time, huge pension obligations grew and letter carriers became grossly overcompensated for what truly is unskilled labor.

I remember well in the 90s when a tipping point was hit with the postal union. Postal workers made a great deal of noise as usual and hit the streets with the usual demands of more compensation for less work. What CUPE had not realized at that time is that the fax machine had removed business dependency on them for document delivery and things such as telephone banking were beginning to take hold. Consumers found the postal strike to be an annoyance at best as opposed to crippling as such strikes used to be. After some time picketing to an indifferent populace, the postal workers returned to work with their collective tails between their legs. Following that strike loss, Canada Post actually managed to profit for a few years as they could restructure with a cowed and humbled union. That was simply putting off the inevitable though as technology simply continued to advance and need for postal services declined.

The Canadian Union for Postal Workers should have been watching out for their workers and working with Canada Post to try and restructure the company for the future. Instead of using such foresight, the union went on extreme left wing activist crusades that were totally unrelated to their mandate of labor such as an ongoing and fervent CUPW campaign against Israel. Opportunity has passed and now the layoffs of the workers that the union was supposed to be protecting will be in the thousands (and Israel still exists).

Canada Post is rightly phasing out home delivery which will lead to the loss of 8000 jobs. That is simple reality and this can’t be fought. Letter delivery will be going up to as high as $1 as rates must be hiked dramatically in a vain hope of achieving solvency. While this increase in service charges is clearly needed, it will also speed up the process of people leaving conventional mail delivery behind.

In their usual bizarre manner, the idiotic Postal Union feels that Canada Post should expand into financial services and banking. I can think of few ways where billions more could be lost and pinned on the taxpayer. Why don’t those clowns pool their union dues and start their own damn bank and show us how it’s done then?

It is time to work on an exit strategy. There really is nothing that Canada Post provides that the private world can’t do (and usually does better).

The billions in pension debt will surely be a disaster as it is. Let’s end the growth of that debt and the ongoing burden to the taxpayer of constant Canada Post operating losses while we can. Things are not going to turn around.

The next dinosaur on the Crown Corporation list is the CBC but that is a matter for another post.

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Calgary tax dollars at work.

The other day, I ran across a picture on a Calgary discussion board that depicted the all too typical scene of a large number of city employees standing around while one or two fellows actually worked on the rather simple task at hand.

In this case the task was to paint a green square on the road on a bike track. The forum was at http://www.beyond.ca and the picture was posted by (and presumably taken by) a poster who goes by rage2.  

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The picture sort of says it all. We have had a Mayor and council constantly pleading poverty in Calgary while trying to justify a whopping 32% increase in property since Naheed Nenshi took the Mayor’s chair less than three years ago. Our Mayor and city council constantly pretend that it is utterly impossible for the City to streamline or even cut expenditures while scenes like that pictured above show that there is plenty of room to have the expenditure of our tax dollars done in a more effective manner. The excuses fly while countless dollars are wasted on foolish studies of whimsical plans and outright idiotic gameshow style “consultation” circuses that are ignored when the taxpayers wish something different than His Worship intended them to.

I tweeted the image and it took off as dozens of people retweeted this little piece of dark comedy.

This brought about the attention of Mayor Nenshi who to his credit is very responsive to social media. What Nenshi tweeted in justification of the depicted scene is below:

 

This whole scene was apparently a training session.

Umm….. OK… I guess I will just have to come right out and say it: HOW MUCH TRAINING DOES IT TAKE TO PAINT A GREEN DAMNED BOX ON A ROAD????

Seriously folks, we are in a city with over a million people that has thousands of civic employees and city contractors. None of them had been trained already in painting things on the road?

I wonder, is a special training course required to paint the image below:

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Does another differently trained crew need to come in and flip the stencil at other intersections or will they only need a different supervisor or two?

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Now we are going to get tricky. The painting job below requires two colors and possibly two stencils. How many workers were required? 20? 30? How many months was the training course?

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I have to admit, I could use a gig like training folks to paint boxes on roads. I had a great deal of informal training in my youth with more complicated design as pictured below:

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I can provide my own training manual so that there shall be no confusion for trainees should they find themselves in a circumstance where they may need to paint something with less than 6 supervisors present.

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As a surveyor I am familiar with complex tools such as graph paper and measuring tape so will be able to “confirm final design” on painted boxes with possibly as few as two assistants. I have ArcGIS and could confirm such things alone from the comfort of an office in about 30 seconds but I do understand that our city has a limited amount of resources and needs to be led in baby steps here.

Is it really surprising that Calgary City council managed to blow the West LRT budget literally by 100% in light of how complex painting a simple box on a road appears to be?

In light of all this, I wonder what portion of our city budget is dedicated to road painting alone in Calgary. We have a great deal of pavement out there.

I really have not seen such a scandalous waste of tax dollars on paint since Mulroney purchased the masterpiece below for $1.8 million Canadian tax bucks.

voice

Calgary really needs to flush out City Council this fall in favor of some candidates with at least a little grounding in fiscal reality.

I am making light of this, but the issue of out of control spending by municipal governments is deadly serious. As Detroit how they are loving that great art collection these days.

 

Response-to-City-Budget

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The show must go on. We can’t stall pipelines forever.

Revenues have gone down, taxes have gone up and folks have lost jobs thanks to the trend of hysteric opposition to the safest form of oil/gas transport known to man: pipelines. Time and reality will win in the end and Canada will continue to increase exports of oil and gas products despite the irrational blanket opposition to all development coming from groups that purport to care about working class Canadians.

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TransCanada Corp announced that they are moving forward with their proposal to build infrastructure to bring crude oil to St. John New Brunswick that would transport over a million barrels per day.

The usual union backed suspects are already gnashing their teeth in opposition and rounding up bored hipsters and natives to try and stage protests against Canada’s latest effort to bring jobs and prosperity. The ink isn’t dry on the proposal and it does not need to be. Reality and facts are of no consequence as organized labor claims to care about the working man yet consistently opposes all efforts to create infrastructure to support an industry that employs hundreds of thousands of people. Screeching members of the loony-left automatically oppose all energy development while howling for more expenditure on a myriad of social programs. The folks truly have no concept of where the cash comes from for their beloved arts projects, welfare and even health care. They really believe Canada will be fine without the billions and billions of tax dollars brought in annually from the energy industry.

Now on to reality. The aforementioned chronic opponents of development can and will be dismissed as they are truly irrational and there is no reasoning with them.

Reality: THERE IS NO REASONABLE ALTERNATIVE TO CARBON BASED ENERGY YET!!!

We can make windmills, talk of tidal and geothermal and dream of solar energy. The reality is that none of those sources can generate power in nearly the volume required or at a cost that is at all reasonable at this time. What happened to the hydrogen fuel cell powered car anyway? How about the Volt? How is that biofuel black hole going? Governments can be pressured into investing into many pie-in-the-sky alternatives but fiscal reality inevitably returns to bite them (and the taxpayers in the arse).

Reality: CANADA’S PRODUCTS MUST GET TO MARKET!!!

Canada has some of the largest energy reserves on the entire planet. Our prosperity as an entire nation is not only dependent on our development of these carbon based products but on our selling of those products to consumers outside of Canada. Protectionism is always a shallow farce. We need trade and oil/gas are our strongest items for this. It is not reasonable to turn ourselves into a third world country in refusing to trade with our best asset.

While keeping our energy in could indeed lead to cheap domestic fuel prices, we would be broke otherwise. Venezuela is a wonderful example of foolish policies (socialism). While they have some of the cheapest domestic fuel prices of earth, damn near none of their citizens can afford cars. Not really a good trade.

Reality: THE USA DOES NOT NEED OUR OIL AND GAS

Peak oil has been a myth propagated to keep folks in fear for over 50 years. A few minutes on google can find countless predictions of the world running out of energy and they have all of course been wrong. There has always been somebody predicting the end of the world and to date none have been correct.

New fields are still being discovered and new extraction technology is always coming on-stream.

In the last five years I have spent more than half of my time working South of the border on American oil/gas exploration projects. While we piss and moan and delay domestic energy projects, a very mobile workforce has been taking it’s expertise (and tax dollars) out of the country. We are not going to sit and go broke and wait for common sense to ensue.

I have worked in oilfields in Pennsylvania that are literally well over 140 years old that are now getting new life thanks to fracturing and seismic technology. Texas and Oklahoma are booming as new wells are being drilled and product is flowing. North Dakota is discovering whole new and giant reserves.

I spent three years working in the Arctic on the ice North of Inuvik. I assure you there is at least a couple more generations of oil and gas sitting up there and not a drop has been taken out yet. We need to look ahead but we are a long way from running out of reserves yet.

The USA does not need our energy and pricing ourselves out of the market will not help. We need to get our product to the coastlines in an increasing amount if we want to retain our standard of living across the country.

Reality: OIL AND GAS ARE ALREADY GOING TO OUR COASTS AND IT HAS FOR DECADES!!

It is painful listening to the daft, shallow souls howling about tanker traffic suddenly coming to Canada’s West coast or pipelines spanning our Rocky Mountains when we consider that tankers have been going to the coast already for decades and we have been pipelining oil across the mountains for over sixty years already.

We have transported untold millions of barrels across the mountains and then the Pacific without major incident and our technology is only becoming safer.

Rail traffic in crude oil has quadrupled in just the last few years and it will continue to grow if we keep foolishly delaying pipelines. More bears will get splattered and a much higher risk of spills and derailment will continue if we keep forcing the use of rail despite a safe means of transport being in front of us.

Governments are sensitive to the environmental lobby but they are even more sensitive to revenue. These new pipelines will get approved and will be built no matter how hard the union funded opposition howls. What we have to ask ourselves is how much more time and resources we will waste before getting on with it. We can’t afford as a nation to keep pissing around with this and we will not no matter who heads the next federal government. Reality dictates this, lets accept it and work with it.

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A string of comments on a newspaper actually worth reading.

It is pretty well known that the comment sections of most newspapers have quickly become cesspools of vapid and belligerent ramblings from people on all sides of the political spectrum who like to hide behind the veil of anonymity. This has been sad as with this wonderful age of communication it would be good to see more real discussion from average folks on news issues. What many newspapers have been doing to address this lately is switching to a facebook commentary format (have to get around to doing that on this site). While not perfect, this at least takes away most of the wall of anonymity hiding the keyboard cowards out there and has fostered some decent discussion and counterpoints to stories.

The Calgary Herald recently reported that CUPE was working to organize flight attendants with WestJet. (CUPE is the union for federal civil servants but they will try to pad their membership in any industry)

Now the story implies that there may actually be a real chance that a union may finally be making inroads with WestJet. I say finally as pretty much every year unions salt a few staff into WestJet in order to try and fail dismally to organize in a company that has well paid and very happy employees. I wrote on this a few years ago when the Canadian Auto Workers Union made a laughable attempt to break into WestJet.

Unions despise WestJet as the company has consistently remained profitable in a sea of airlines that chronically lose money. WestJet has never made bones about the fact that it is the lack of unions that is the paramount reason that the company has been such a grand success for both it’s shareholders and employees. In the usual union manner, the unions would rather try to break in and drag WestJet down to the level of the other airlines than try to improve things at the already unionized airlines that are bleeding terribly. Socialism is indeed the equal distribution of poverty.

Now getting back to that comment section, it is worth giving the few dozen comments a read. Real employees of WestJet using their real names repeatedly and very effectively put lie to the threat of unionization within the company. Without the comment section in this case a person not familiar with the WestJet situation may have mistakenly thought that the company may actually get a union.

The internet provides us with a barrage of information. Sifting through this mass of information to find out what is true, what is exaggerated and what is outright BS can be a fulltime job. With true exchanges of views without anonymity we are seeing a great new tool in helping us find out what is really happening out there.

In light of the utter destruction of Detroit thanks to both public and private sector unions over the last few decades, getting to the truth of the costs of unionization in the modern world is more important than ever these days.

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Video captures the true essence of “Idle No More”

Yesterday around a hundred hipsters and other assorted union-paid layabouts decided to march to the Sun Media building in Toronto to protest against free press in Canada. This unvarnished ten minute video really does show the “Idle No More” clearly for what it is from the gross idiocy, to the intimidation attempts on Ezra Levant as he tried unsuccessfully to get simple questions asked to the fact that natives among the group are actually a tiny minority.

“Idle No More” hasn’t been a native rights group almost since it’s inception. Many media outlets love showcasing the handful of actual natives at the front of demonstrations while neglecting to film the collection of white, urban-dwelling hipsters making up the bulk of the demonstration in the back rows. These union backed idiots with their baseless cause and vapid accusations are the same fools we had to kick out of Canadian parks at great expense last year. Now they are just hiding behind a few natives.

Don’t just take my word for it though, watch the video below and see for yourself.

 

At the 8:40 mark watch as a person almost criminally tries to physically intimidate Levant causing police to intervene and move Levant aside. At the 10:00 mark watch the gross and blatant anti-Semitism erupt from a nut. Watching the entire video really is a must though as it says so much about the entire “movement”.

The video above is what it is all about people. Directionless ire and rage being perpetuated by directionless fools.

There are some real native issues that Canada needs to address. This won’t happen through the fools with “Idle No More” and their bloated fake hunger striking Queen Theresa Spence however.

Credit and thanks to BlogWrath for heading out there to give us this video.

Adding a screen cap from the official “Idle No More” official page. The posting had been up for over an hour at the time of this posting.

Why is the anti-Semitism surfacing so strongly among a Native movement?

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What part of broke do they not understand?

It is happening all around the world including Canada, the only difference is in degree. Governments on all levels are spending more than they are bringing in and the inevitable financial collapses are beginning to occur.

Cowardly politicians and shallow electorates have repeatedly brought in policies and programs that are totally unsustainable and have done so through debt. Nowhere is this more acute right now than in Europe where they have reduced retirement ages, shortened work weeks and grossly increased social entitlements such as pensions and welfare to the point of complete fiscal unsustainability.

The productive have been taxed out of the nations and investment is avoiding the EU like the plague.

One by one we are watching these nations collapse as they pass reasonable debt thresholds.

The economic collapse of these nations is not all that shocking. Right or left, the concept is very simple and immutable: IF YOU SPEND MORE THAN YOU TAKE IN EVENTUALLY YOU WILL GO TOTALLY BROKE!

Despite what should be a stark and self-evident reality, entitlement has blinded the citizens of these countries. As the inevitable austerity budgets come down, union-led riots erupt as people flood into the streets to demand funds that simply no longer exist. We saw this last winter in Greece and now are seeing it in Spain as pictured below.

Hipsters Gone Wild! Spain edition!

 

 

People can scream, shout, riot, assault police, attack businesses and throw whatever tantrums they like, it will not change the hard reality that the cupboard is bare.

Do these rioters think that their government is hiding a big pile of resources from them? Do they think their local legislative building has a mountain of gold hidden within it? Whatever their delusion may be, rioting is futile and they would be better served seeking employment and pinching their pennies.

As I said earlier though, we are only better in degree. Our governments at the federal, provincial and municipal levels are all spending more than they are taking in and it has to end. Will we let it end in bankruptcy like our European neighbors or will we begin to cut spending responsibly now while it can still be on our terms? I fear the answer for that.

We need to cut spending people. This is not a matter of opinion, it is simple reality. Otherwise we will inevitably end up in Europe’s shoes. It will be even worse for us pride wise as we have no excuse in not seeing this coming.

 

 

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Follow the money!!!

 

We have all encountered the statement in the title of this post. Usually the statement comes when discussing something of substance with a person lacking in substance. The aforementioned person will often wink and smirk conspiratorially while stating: “Follow the money.” and then act as if the discussion is now at a close. That statement alone apparently says it all. Read into it what you will.

Now the use of that statement is usually meant to imply that there is an individual or small group of them secretly in control of whatever was the subject of the conversation whether that be in politics, religion, economics or the leadership of the local geranium growing society. Apparently if you follow the money, you will eventually get to the head of whatever nefarious conspiracy is at hand.

When something is difficult to examine or explain, many people simply like to explain it away with a pithy statement rather than explore the issue more deeply. Much like those who love saying “God works in mysterious ways”, many try to close discussion by demanding that one follow the money. Unfortunately these people rarely if ever take their own council and actually follow the path of money or they likely would not fire out that vapid statement so often.

I am going to “follow the money” in a few examples where these statements are common.

The left loves to imply that conservative leaning parties are secretly and massively funded and controlled by evil faceless corporations. Well, if one begins to follow the money through looking at the means of federal political contributions, they will first find that corporations have not been able to donate since 2004. While individuals may contribute up to $1,100 per year federally, it makes it rather tough for an individual to control a national party on that scale does it not?

The entire breakdown for federal contributions can be found here and with only cursory examination it will be found that the federal conservatives are being funded by thousands and thousands of small individual donors. No hidden shadowy figure in control of the party or gross corporate influence. It took me about 3 minutes to google that information though, that is indeed much more effort than would be required in simply saying “follow the money” in a cryptic manner.

Ahh, but what about provincial parties particularly in capitalist Alberta? Corporations can contribute up to $15,000 in Alberta so surely that collection of corporate lackeys within the Wildrose Party is terribly beholden to those faceless organizations! Alas, in following the money it has been found that while the Wildrose Party has been setting new records in fundraising; 75% of those funds still come from individual donors. Assuming that a party acts solely based on where they can raise funds the Wildrose Party is clearly beholden to a large number of individual Albertans rather than those dark-souled corporate interests. People can find all the financial political information in detail here. It is not tough to follow the money in Alberta if a person wants to dedicate a little time to it.

With modern resources, disclosure and transparency it is becoming easier than ever to follow the money indeed. Environmentalist conspiracy theorists often demand that we follow the money when decrying the actions of the productive in industry. What is fun though is turning the gun around and following the money flowing towards our green little friends. When thinking of environmental extremists, the Greenpeace corporation is the first and largest one that comes to mind. Yes, in following the money, it can be found that Greenpeace is a $350 million per year multinational corporation that provides some pretty massive perks to line the pockets of their senior management teams. I mean hey, power to them. Greenpeace need only be accountable to it’s donors. Let’s not try to live under the illusion that Greenpeace is some sort of altruistic organization though. Even the founders of Greenpeace are pointing out how the organization is little more than a well funded corporation with an extreme left-wing agenda (seems almost counter intuitive).

Let’s face it, when we follow the money we find that there are big bucks to be made in the environmentalist industry. Thanks to people following the money, it has been found that Tides Canada has been laundering and filtering some pretty big foreign bucks to some extreme Canadian activist groups. Some of those patchouli scented punks you see at virtually every protest are actually rather well paid to be there. Due to listening to them and following the money though, Tides may (rightly) lose it’s charitable status soon.

Thanks must be given to Vivian Krause who has worked so hard to follow the money and has exposed so many of the rather well heeled fiscal shell games going on under the guise of environmental activism.

But what about those evil corporations in themselves? Who is benefiting from those boardroom monsters? Who are those suited villains really serving? Who really owns those megacorporations?

The answer to the above questions once we follow the money is: ALL OF US!!!!

It is frustrating how quickly people jump up to decry corporations when they won’t actually follow the money and see at least the basics of how these places work. Sure there are some individuals who we read about who have unimaginable amounts of money and assets. These people when added up still only make up a tiny portion of the ownership of large corporations. When looking into corporate ownership, banks, mutual fund groups, financial management, insurance companies and capital companies tend to be predominant. Where do those companies get their money? Well these companies get their funds from pension plans, insurance premiums and private RRSP type investments. Government pension plans are heavily invested in these corporations too.

Do you pay any kind of insurance premium? Well, it is the money made through the investments of your premiums that keeps the premiums within affordability. Do you plan to collect from the Canada Pension Plan when you retire? Well, the CPP is a huge corporate owner (in other words you are). If you are a part of any kind of private pension or savings plan, you are a corporate owner and are benefiting from corporate profits. Do you enjoy the lack of sales tax in Alberta? Well the revenues from investments by the Alberta Heritage Fund are much of what helps keep our taxes low (though there certainly is room to improve there).

So many people howl about corporations yet never give a second thought to how their investments grow. What makes your RRSP (hopefully) get bigger? It is not a magical fairy out there that makes your money grow when it is out of your hands, it is corporate profits and you are a beneficiary of them.

Just for a little more fun in following the money, I always love exposing union hypocrisy. While unions love to claim solidarity forever and supposedly support each other, that goes out the window when it comes to padding their own pockets. Follow the money to the Ontario Teacher’s Union pension plan.  Worth over $117 billion dollars, the OTPP is a major corporate player. The Ontario Teacher’s Union plan investments read like a who’s who of apparent evil corporate interests. The union invests billions in oil companies, pharmaceutical companies, banks and some very anti-union type organizations.

When one has over $100 billion in leverage, one could very easily control the actions of the company that one invests in. Why does the Ontario Teacher’s Union not wield that power for good? Why won’t the union come down on those vile corporations and make them clean up their ethical act? The answer is very simple; to do so would impact return on their investment. To put it in one word: hypocrisy

Yes, I finally listened to the left and followed the money. I think they may not like the conclusions. The next time somebody tells you to follow the money, may I suggest that you respond with another overused cliche: Be careful what you wish for…..

 

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