Nobody moves, nobody gets hurt.

On January 31 of next year, Alberta businesses will no longer be required to have an occupational health and safety (OHS) committee at every worksite. This is fantastic news for all businesses as the requirement for these committees implemented by the NDP was onerous, expensive and didn’t really do a damn thing to increase safety at Alberta worksites. Given enough time, these committees could have cost untold millions or even billions as they create increasingly ridiculous and inefficient workplace regulations. Anybody who has worked in the oilfield in the last few decades knows just how absurd the red tape has become and all under the guise of safety.

State regulation of work sites has made North America one of the safest places on earth in which to work. Long gone are the days when people are commonly forced into working in unsafe conditions and the obligation for employees to speak up on safety issues is now applauded rather than shunned. There is always room to improve safety but the formation of thousands of pointless committees is not the way to do it.

The main problem with safety committees is that they begin their mandate as a solution looking for a problem. In any reasonable workplace, all major hazards for workers have been identified and addressed either through elimination or mitigation of risk through training and changes of workplace practices. When you form a committee to seek and address hazards in this kind of environment, they feel obligated to find something even if no realistic hazard exists. That’s when we see bizarre regulations coming about.

In the oilfield there has been an almost cult-like pursuit of safety within the industry. The justification has always been that we must regulate the hell out of ourselves or the state will shut us down. There is a fear bordering on hysteria on the part of management within energy companies about safety based liability. This has led to the creation of a monster that is never satisfied and creates endless efficiency killing rules and procedures while not really addressing real safety issues.

I am going to list a few examples from my own work experience over the years to demonstrate just how ridiculous and costly things have become. Talk to any person who has spent time in the oilfield or on large scale construction projects and I can assure you that they will all have many similar stories.

I spent over 20 years working as a surveyor on geophysical projects. We worked with explosives and we cut large trees at times which created hazards. We often worked in isolated areas where emergency services were not readily available. This required strong and comprehensive safety policies and practices of course. Over the years though, the safety department moved well past common sense and well into the ridiculous as they ran out of things to address.

I spent four winters working in the Arctic. We had an annual contract which would do seismic over the Mackenzie Delta region and right onto the frozen Beaufort Sea. It would require about 80 workers for about five months per year. In my first year up there, the initial project orientation for a worker starting up would take about 4 hours. They covered Arctic basics in dealing with issues such as extreme cold, thin ice, polar bears, etc. Common sense things. By my final season in the Arctic the orientation had become a two day affair. That works out to 160 person-days plus accommodations in Inuvik (very expensive rooms) for every project up there. All the real safety issues could be covered within a few hours so then workers were drilled on things as ridiculous as eating balanced diets, wiping front to back and holding role-playing sessions on possible safety scenarios. Utter waste of time.

While in camp in the Arctic we held a safety meeting every morning before heading to the field. These meetings bloated to an average of 40 minutes per day and they were so boring that most attendees would be lucky to retain even a minute of valuable information from the meeting. This was due to an utterly stupid hazard identification system. You see, every worker was tasked to write and turn in a hazard identification card every day no matter what. Each and every one of those cards was then read at the meeting. With 80 cards to read, half of the room was asleep by the tenth report of ice being slippery on the frozen ocean. Meanwhile, a real hazard or two gets lost in the mix of all that paperwork BS. I don’t need to hear 20 times per day that the dark creates a winter driving hazard in the Arctic but I really did want to hear about the polar bear activity spotted in my work area. Alas, I had nodded off before the committee head got to that card.

There were few things more dangerous in the Arctic than safety personnel with little to do. One luminary went out in the night and checked tire pressures on all the trucks. When you open a valve stem at -45 thermometer temperature, there is a high chance that the valve will get stuck open. What we then had was a morning with 20 trucks with flat tires. We then had to take off and bring those tires into the camp before filling them as they were frozen hard as rocks. The idiot’s justification? Safety of course.

The safety committee kept demanding larger and larger fire extinguishers in the camp. Then a committee member realized that our female workers couldn’t life these giant extinguishers which were every 20 feet in the camp. They then brought in dozens of smaller ones but found that we didn’t have enough mounts for these ones. They were placed on the floor. This camp was a multi-level affair built onto a barge and frozen into the ocean. One of the extinguishers was knocked over and rolled down a stairwell almost injuring a person coming up the stairs. Safety indeed.

On a program in the mountains North of Waterton National park, we had to use helicopters to access our work areas. This left an excess of safety people as they didn’t want to actually walk in the woods so they would roam the staging area. Some luminary on a safety committee had determined that short sleeve shirts were a hazard and we are all forced to wear long sleeves in the heat (which we all removed as soon as the helicopters dropped us off). A helicopter engineer was lounging in the staging area on a lawn chair. There was little for him to do once the crews were all out. Most of his work came in the early evening when he did maintenance on the helicopters. Well, the safety officers noted he was wearing a short-sleeved shirt and swarmed him. He then folded his lawn chair, got in his truck, gave the safety gang the finger and went home. Having no heli-engineer was a safety hazard. We then had to fly 25 crews back in from the mountains six hours early at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars. Feel safer yet?

This problem isn’t just a Canadian thing. While in Texas I did a lot of shopping. Somebody on a safety committee determined that our plastic fuel cans presented a static spark hazard. It took forever to find old fashioned metal ones for my crews. A new safety guy arrived and determined that the metal cans presented a leaking hazard and demanded I replace them with plastic ones. It took all my restraint to keep from pouring the gasoline down his unctuous throat.

Workplace safety is terribly important. Prior generations suffered under some unimaginable conditions as they tried to scrape out a living with little to no regulations for their well being. We never want to go back to those days but we have to get to a point where we can say: “I think things are safe enough.” When we keep forming committees tasked with finding problems that don’t exist, we only create red tape and ironically often make things even more unsafe.

Nobody has been made less safe with the removal of the NDP requirement for thousands of safety committees around the province. What we have seen is a great step among what I hope are many in making Alberta a good place to do business in again.

It’s time to tear down & repair the mess that the NDP made of Alberta’s Elections Act.

Rumor has it that the Kenney government intends to change the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act next year. During Rachel Notley’s tenure as Premier the act was quietly amended no less than four times. The NDP always knew that their odds of re-election in Alberta were slim at best. In messing with the Elections Act they hoped to set some traps and create conditions which would hinder the chances of competing parties. What was created was an unholy regulatory mess and it needs to be undone.

It is unfortunate that Jason Kenney and the UCP took such a ham handed approach with Bill 22. The rush to ram that bill through the legislature has ensured that Albertan’s will look at any reform proposed by the Kenney government with a jaundiced eye. With a number of United Conservative Party activists having been investigated and fined in the last year, any changes made to the Elections Act by the government will look self-serving. Nevertheless, the act needs reform.

In imposing stringent spending caps on parties, the NDP government caused political action committees (PACs) to spring up like daisies on the electoral landscape. People are going to promote their causes one way or another and if the party route is closed they will create a new one. The NDP used labor unions to get their election messaging out while remaining within their party spending limits.

Third-party advertising regulations have led to a myriad of court challenges which will take time, cost money and likely be rescinded due to court rulings.They are a clear violation of free speech and expression.

The most clever and disruptive trap that the Notley government planted into the Elections act was in having Elections Alberta take over the regulation and management of internal party business. Political parties are private entities and the management of their nomination and leadership races was traditionally self-governed.

In keeping with socialist principles, the New Democratic Party of Alberta is managed with a top-down centralized model. The NDP rarely actually holds democratic nomination races.The leader chooses and appoints most of their candidates while the central party takes care of most of the funds rather than constituency associations. In placing onerous regulations upon constituency associations the NDP wreaked havoc among the ground organization of other parties while feeling nearly no impact themselves.

Alberta Party leader Stephen Mandel was found to be ineligible to run in the general election. Despite Mandel’s being acclaimed as a candidate for the party, he failed to file a zero-expenditure report for the nomination race which was never held. Mandel got a last-minute reprieve and was allowed to run in the election. It demonstrates just how insidious the NDP regulations are when a party leader is almost blocked from running in an election due to a pointless reporting requirement.

The trap set by the NDP in having Elections Alberta govern and regulate leadership races worked in spades. The UCP is still dealing with the fallout due to a number of party activists along with one leadership candidate running afoul of the rules.



The NDP set a trap in the constituency nomination process by requiring all nomination hopefuls register with Elections Alberta. Those aspirants were then listed on the Elections Alberta website as nomination candidates for parties. There was no way for parties to approve or vet these candidates in any way. Inevitably some radical candidates registered to contest UCP nominations. The NDP then pounced and tried to paint the UCP party based on the registered individuals and few in the public had any idea that the party had no control over this.



The NDP nomination trap lost its impact when I registered as a nomination contestant. I filled out the form and voilà, I was officially listed by Elections Alberta as an NDP nomination candidate.


I ran my campaign with vigor. I released a series of campaign memes based on NDP principles and began to attract support and attention.



Suddenly and unsurprisingly parties had the means to have nomination candidates marked on the Elections Alberta website as having been declined by the party. The NDP could no longer condemn the UCP based on their aspiring nominees unless they wanted to admit that Cory Morgan was actually representative of them.


My action wasn’t simply to disarm the NDP nomination trap. I also wanted to demonstrate the absurdity of having the government involved with internal party matters at all.


As a private entity, a party should be able to hold their nominations and leadership races however they please. I couldn’t care less if a party chose their candidates through a rock paper scissors match or with a massively regulated race. It is my choice as an individual as to whether or not a party is worth supporting or an internal race is worth voting in. Parties will create regulations to suit their needs and the electorate at large will make the final judgment on election day.

Elections need to be simplified. Parties have 28 days to get their messages out and I would rather the messaging was focused on actual policy rather than jousting over who may or may not have run afoul of party regulations that never should have existed in the first place. I want to hear from parties rather than a horde of PACs as well. There is enough information to digest as it is.


I can understand the reasons to distrust the UCP as they legislate on electoral reform. Repairing the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act may indeed be in the interest of the UCP. Repairing that act will also be in the interest of us all. The NDP made a mess of it and it needs to be fixed.

Ground-level democracy is too important to get the government involved in the regulation of it at the party level.

She wuz askin fer it. Gil McGowan on union violence against women

Last weekend a few hundred union activists decided to spend their Saturday afternoon protesting outside of the hotel where the United Conservative Party was holding their annual general meeting. Despite years of recession, the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees has been demanding a 7.9 percent wage increase for their members. As it became clear that there is no way that the UCP government was going to indulge such a ridiculous demand, union activists felt that public protests and tantrums may help them get their way.

As is typical with union protests, they descended into violence and intimidation.

The thug pictured below chased and punched journalist Sheila Gunn Reid in the back as she tried to cover the protest. He felt that violence was a way to shut down press that may hold a contrary editorial slant to his own. Again, this is typical of union tactics.

While the picture and associated video showing the thug assaulting Reid is quite clear and has been widely distributed, the assailant still has not been identified.

Again as is typical of union activists, they close ranks and protect their thugs when they cross the line. It beggars belief that nobody has recognized the loser in the picture above.

Gil McGowan is the head of the Alberta Federation of Labor. Gil is known as being on the more extreme side of union activism and has never been one of the sharpest knives in the organized labor drawer. McGowan is in something of a leadership role with public service unions though and his response to Saturday’s violence was beyond the pale even for him.

Gil McGowan blamed the victim as can be seen in the tweet he released below.

When you insert the word “but” after supposedly condemning violence it means you are working to justify the violence. When you call a punch to the back of a woman trying to flee the situation a “push”, you are trying to understate violence.

Read the words that Gil McGowan wrote in a backwoods Southern drawl to yourself and think about it: “But we all know that’s exactly what the Rebel “reporter” was there for.”

Translation: She was asking for it.

Gil McGowan sounded just like repugnant men who try to justify rape.

“She shouldn’t have worn a dress so short. She shouldn’t have gone to that bar. We all know exactly what she was there for.”

By Gil’s abhorrent logic, if you are a journalist that he doesn’t like and you try to cover a union protest, you will be essentially asking to be assaulted. I mean, we all know what these reporters are there for right?

There is no justifying violence against women and there is no justification for trying to suppress the press through violence and intimidation. Gil McGowan is sure trying his hardest to do so however.

We are in for some tumultuous times as the UCP makes budget cuts as they were elected to do while organized labor tries to prevent our government from doing what we gave them a mandate for.

There will be more protests and if labor “leaders” such as Gil McGowan keep trying to justify violence we can rest assured that we will see more violence.

The cuts are coming whether civil service sector activists like it or not. If they want to keep even a glimmer of public sympathy to their cause, their leadership needs to unequivocally condemn the violence carried out against a female reporter last Saturday and condemn McGowan’s attempt to justify it. Unfortunately I don’t think we will see that happen. Thuggery is entrenched within organized labor and I just can’t see them giving up that undemocratic tool.

The only bright side of all this is that it will make the pending spending cuts much easier for the public to support. In that sense, keep up the good work Gil.

Bill 207 deserves a true free vote in the legislature.

It has been an ugly week for democracy in Alberta. The ramming of Bill 22 through every reading within three days by the United Conservative Party was an act of legislative arrogance that would have made Alison Redford blush.

On issues such as abortion, Jason Kenney was quite clear that neither he nor the UCP would open the issue up. His exact words are below:

“A United Conservative government will not address this issue, will not engage in this debate, will not initiate legislation.” ~Kenney

Well, here we are eight months later watching a UCP dominated committee discussing a bill modeled to impact abortion access which was put forth as a private members bill by a UCP member.

Conscience rights for medical providers are already protected within the Charter and by medical professional associations. There has been no indication of problems in the medical community with this issue. The Alberta Medical Association has come out in opposition to this bill. The bottom line is that this is a redundant piece of legislation which potentially opens the door for new ways to hinder the provision of medical services.

The United Conservative Party can regain at least a glimmer of credibility when it comes to democratic process if we see a true free vote among the members on this bill.

In saying free vote, I mean each and every elected member taking a stand one way or another on this bill. No sudden stomach ailments making members scoot out of the chamber at voting time. No scheduling conflicting events at voting time. I am saying show up and have it recorded where you stand on this issue. I will consider any member who doesn’t vote on Bill 207 as being in support of re-opening the abortion debate within Alberta.

A few UCP MLAs have already come out in opposition to this bill. I appreciate that and look forward to seeing more come out.

There is little to celebrate in this legislative session when it comes to democracy. One thing we can potentially look to as a democratic victory will be to see the party in power allowing a true free vote in the legislature on this bill.

The standing committee responsible just voted 8-2 in favor of killing Bill 207.

Now let’s see the collected MLAs vote freely in the legislature to definitively kill this odious bill.

Gross display of bigotry from Jess Allen on The Social

I turned on the radio while at work today just in time to hear a repugnant rant from a woman who was cheered on by an audience as she derided Canadian hockey culture as being a nest of bullying white boys.

I had to look it up and listen again as I really couldn’t believe that a Canadian audience would let somebody spout out such a rant of vile pap without booing them off the stage.

Here is a facebook link to her disgusting diatribe. I will try to find something with better audio later.

It is a gross irony that this comfortable urban living white woman is deriding a Canadian institution which has actually been a binding factor for all races, genders and walks of life in communities across Canada for generations.

I live in Priddis Alberta. While rural, it is a bedroom community of Calgary. We also bound on the Tsuu T’ina native reserve. We have a pretty diverse local population.

We have two things which are community hubs which pull people together. Our community hall (over 100 years old), and our outdoor hockey rink.

Just this year we have had dozens of local volunteers working their asses off to renovate and get our little rink ready for the winter. It has been great to go out at night to see a whole bunch of people working together on a project like that.

They are just finishing the player boxes and should be flooding the rink for the season soon.

The rink will be packed with families for the entire winter.

Most of our community lives on acreages. We don’t often meet and get to know our neighbors. Winters are long and cold and people tend to shut in. The hockey rink brings people out of their homes and brings them together.



I love looking out from my pub (across the road from the rink) to see the kids scrambling around chasing a puck while their families cheer them on. Contrary to what that myopic dolt Jessica Allen implied, these groups are far from simply being white boys. The number of girls on the ice is starting to rival the boys and there are children of a number of races out there playing. This is how kids and parents from different cultures get to know each other. This is how they bond. This is how we do learn that at the very base of things, we are all the same. This somehow offends the senses of Jessica Allen.

Allen says that folks should take their kids on a vacation rather than play hockey? A two week trip rather than an entire season of healthy competitive exercise and bonding within the community?

Kids sit around playing too damn many video games as it is. It is astounding that some vacuous stooge such as Allen could claim that getting out and playing hockey is a bad thing (to the applause of gathered Stepford Wives).

The scene I have described here is repeated in thousands of rinks across Canada. These are social hubs which build and bind communities. If we want to reduce racism and gender issues, we need to be encouraging more community sports like this, not deriding them as that fool Allen did.

Not all communities meet and bond while sipping $12 lattes in downtown Toronto Ms. Allen. You would be well served to get out and learn that. And to the women who gleefully cheered Allen’s bigoted rant, you should be ashamed of yourself.

We need to celebrate traditions which bring people together if we want to see community unity in Canada. Intolerant twits like Jess Allen only drive us apart.

The notion of Alberta independence has more questions than answers right now.

The best way Jason Kenney could shut down the Alberta independence movement would be to hold a separation referendum within a year. Once Albertans vote over 75 percent in favor of remaining within confederation, it would take at least a decade before an independence movement could gain steam again.

Support for separation is hot right now and it isn’t cooling quickly. No matter how eager one is to go however, one has to step back and have a look at just how strong that support is.

A recent poll showed that 33 percent of Albertans think that “my province would be better off if it separated from Canada”. That is not saying that the province should separate or that they would support the separation. They just feel that the province would be better off. This is not the sort of support which will get over 50 percent of the province to vote to separate.

I have run in two different elections under an independence banner. I knocked on countless doors and the trend was clear. Albertans are always pissed off with Ottawa but very few are ready to actually pull the trigger on secession even if it looks like a better deal. One of the main things aside from sentimentality which keeps people from pursuing secession is the utter lack of a solid, coherent plan as to what would happen. They asked many questions to which I didn’t have answers then and I still don’t have them now.

Right now the independence movement is essentially a loose collection of groups holding rallies and shouting buzzwords but not building any sort of solid organization or plan. They are demanding a referendum yet can’t tell people what the West would look like after a “yes” vote. This will fizzle over time if a solid and rational foundation isn’t built.

Many questions are repeated over and over again. Some have ready answers and some don’t yet. Until those answers are developed nobody will be going anywhere.

I am going to list the most common ones.

WHICH COMBINATION OF PROVINCES WILL GO?

Is it an Alberta independence movement or a Western independence movement? Will it include Maniboba and Saskatchewan? What about the territories?

Some people have proposed taking part of British Columbia but leaving the Southwest portion out.

How could that be organized?

If we are going further into partition, what if Edmonton clearly votes to stay while the rest of the province votes to go? Could Edmonton become a small Canadian territory within an independent Alberta?

I am not asking these things simply to be difficult. I think they can be answered but it won’t be easy and these are things that people have and will ask before considering separation.


WHAT ABOUT FIRST NATIONS?

This is a dicey area. There were treaties signed with the Crown. I am assuming an independent West will be a republic. Will those treaties be then considered void? Will they be honored within a new nation?

This is one area where I can see the most justification for an outside nation to intervene whether Canada or otherwise is if there is real or perceived abuse of First Nations.

Unrest from people residing within reserves will need to be addressed as well.

WHAT SORT OF POLITICAL SYSTEM WILL BE ADOPTED?

I mentioned a republic but that is still pretty broad. Will it be bicameral? Westminster Parliamentary based? Unitary? Decentralized?

At the very least some sort of draft constitution needs to be created.

WHAT SORT OF CURRENCY WILL BE USED?

Will Canadian dollars be retained? American dollars used? Shekels? Will any country be willing to facilitate that?

Perhaps an Alberta dollar? Bitcoin?

Creating a new currency and integrating it with the world markets won’t be easy.

WHAT ABOUT ASSETS WITHIN AND OUTSIDE OF ALBERTA?

Many Albertans own property and assets outside of the province. Many Canadians own property within Alberta. Many companies are integrated with assets throughout the country. How will that be addressed?

This sort of thing could take decades to sort out if there isn’t a detailed transition plan.

MILITARY?

Will there be a military? Will it be a large one? Small? Will it take part in NATO? UN?

What about current military assets within and outside of Alberta?

What about military personal stationed within and outside of Alberta?

IS THERE A PLAN TO JOIN THE UNITED STATES?

Would the USA want us? Would we want to join?

RCMP?

Would existing officers be able to join a new force?

IMMIGRATION?

How open will the borders be? Will we welcome a large number of immigrants? A few? None? Will Canadian immigrants be prioritized over others?

ACCESS TO TIDEWATER?

There are still many more questions out there but I think I have made my point. I may as well end this list on a big and constantly pressing one.

Alberta and most of the independence proposals mean being landlocked. That in and of itself is not necessarily bad but it is a challenge. Switzerland, Austria and Luxembourg are among the richest nations on earth yet they are landlocked. Some of the poorest nations are landlocked too.

The point is valid that we are having our product blocked from port access right now so there is little to lose in becoming independent.

Some folks keep pointing to the UN policies on landlocked nations. These are often the same people who say that the UN is an invalid organization though so which is it going to be?

The international conventions on access to tidewater don’t explicitly cover pipelines and they still require negotiation. There are nations that have blocked other nations from tidewater for decades as well. If they want to ignore orders from the UN there really isn’t much stopping them from doing so.

A rational plan has to be developed and published on this or it will be one of the biggest question marks killing a potential independence vote win.

Many are willing to attend the rallies and make the noise for independence. That is the fun part.

The reality is though that if Western independence is ever to happen, it will only come about with years of hard work and planning. Meetings, fights over policies, negotiation and late nights along with some really tedious conventions are required. That is not the fun part but it is the essential part.

My advice for those impatiently calling for a referendum on secession is to cool their jets for a bit here. Look at what needs to be done first if you are serious about this.

Secession if it ever is going to happen is going to be years away yet. In the meantime lets start building the foundation for it. Bring home our pension assets. Take control of immigration. Form our own police force. Build new relationships with First Nations independent from Ottawa. Always stand up to the federal government and develop provincial alternatives to every service that they provide when possible.

Along with pursuing all of the “Alberta Agenda” sort of policies above, plan, meet, think and answer those questions. If you don’t you will never get a “yes” vote no matter how badly you want it.

Somebody is going to get killed soon

At 1 AM last Monday a gang of thieves broke into my pub.

They were there for seven minutes. Got away with perhaps $1,600 worth of cash and liquor but did around $4,000 in damage. The morons stole Redbull and Sourpuss while leaving the scotches behind. We are not talking about polished criminals here.

They smashed out all of my cameras and stole every bit of electronics that could be found within the place including the box which held the video data (we of course have cloud storage now).

They tied a tow rope around my ATM and tried to yank it out of the place with a truck. They failed. They then fled when the floodlights came on. Video from my neighbor’s camera caught them leaving in their truck. It was three men and a woman.

Undeterred by their experience at my pub, these losers then traveled to Bragg Creek where they attempted to break in to the Powderhorn Saloon. They failed to get in but damaged the back door and camera of course as can be seen below.

After the Powderhorn attempt, the thieves went to Rockies Tavern and Grill in the same mall. They did manage to gain entry and as with my pub, they did massive damage along with stealing a small amount of cash and liquor.

As if all of these bold efforts were not enough, these thieves returned two nights later and did it again!

They attempted to gain entry into the Powderhorn Saloon through the front window this time. They smashed glass but didn’t get in.

They then went to Rockies Tavern and Grill again and managed to steal a few more things along with doing more damage.

Having destroyed the security systems the night prior, they knew they would not be noticed.

They skipped my pub on the second round. Likely due to their initial close call.

In rural Alberta for households and businesses this kind of story is getting all too common. Criminals emboldened by a weak justice system and an overloaded police system are increasingly robbing citizens blind and people are getting more than a little fed up.

The gang who hit the pubs last week were typical. They are desperate (likely addicts), stupid and dangerous in their stupidity and desperation. If and when a business owner or homeowner confronts these guys, it is going to be an ugly scene for somebody.

To their credit, the local RCMP are taking this very seriously and they are working hard to catch this bunch. They know how dangerous this is becoming. They have a lot of square miles to cover however and limited resources. Meanwhile a home is broken into almost daily in the MD of Foothills. Thieves are hitting rural properties day and night out here.

There is only so much we can do. We have security systems but with an average police response time of 40 minutes, they are of limited value.

We secure our items. We put up bars and gates. When thieves use winches on stolen trucks to tear things down though, these deterrents become useless.

I have listened to urban folks at times saying “Its just stuff. Let it go!”.

Its not just “stuff”. These are items that we worked and paid for. These are the tools of our trades. These are items with sentimental value. We can’t and won’t just “let it go”.

Insurance companies are beginning to refuse coverage to some rural residents because they have been hit too many times by thieves. As a business owner, I have to either pay a fortune in premiums or carry a very large deductible in order to remain in business while being insured.

We can’t just let our property continue to be stolen.

The state can’t protect us and our items and we are going to protect ourselves no matter how many times we are told not to so lets start modelling policy to reflect that reality.

Rural crime is a complex and growing issue. Contributing factors include the addiction epidemic, aboriginal issues, modern means of fencing stolen goods and the removal of the ability for citizens to defend themselves and their property.

All of those issues need to be addressed if we want to see a reduction in rural crime.

The Kenney government is taking rural crime seriously. I was impressed when I went to see Miranda Rosin and Doug Schweitzer speak in our area. Schweitzer understands that as an urban dweller that he needs to learn what we are dealing with and he is making the effort. The questionnaire given to us hits the right buttons as well where there is room for improvement.

All of the above measures will help. It will take time before these kind of measures make an impact on the crime rates.

The addition of thousands of new addiction treatment beds was welcome as well.

Castle laws would help. Whether they exist formally you can rest assured that such laws exist in our minds and moral codes out here so we may as well enshrine them.

Crime is an issue everywhere but in rural areas the risk is more acute.

We feel vulnerable and victimized. We are running out of options. We would rather not confront criminals but we know that unless we do so, the criminals will have our way with us.

My pub is only one minute from my home. If the alarm goes off again you can bet that I will respond in person. I am not a trained law enforcement type so my measure of force may not be well judged. I will put the safety of my person and protection of my property ahead of the safety of criminals and it may end very poorly for somebody.

Rest assured that rural residents and business owners are thinking the same way.

We need to act on this rural crime issue and we need to do so fast.

Tensions are high out here and unless some changes happen soon, we are going to see tragedy occur. It is not a matter of if somebody gets killed. It will be a matter of when.

Time to kill the health care sacred cow.

The support for the Canadian health care system is almost cult like.

I grew up being taught that Canada has the best health care system on the planet. This mantra was repeated by teachers, politicians, union heads and news organizations.

Canada’s State Broadcaster even named Tommy Douglas as our greatest Canadian in 2004 after a short game show style reality series.

The problem is that its all bullshit.

When it comes to health outcomes Canada is not at the top. When it comes to value for health care dollars, Canada is not at the top. If we are not at or even near the top by those two measures, we have no damn place claiming that we are at the top.

By the way, I don’t give a shit about the American system. I won’t play into that hysteric narrative which limits discussion on health care to two systems.

There are dozens of systems out there with universal coverage for citizens and many of them spend less than we do while seeing better outcomes than we do. To be frank, we are being idiots for refusing to look to other systems to see how we can improve ours.

People are literally dying on waiting lists while we run record deficits at all levels of government. Something has to change.

So what is keeping us from pursuing health care reform? Why is ideology more important than outcomes when it comes to health care in Canada?

Our leadership needs to find the courage and will to address the biggest elephant in the room when it comes to health care reform. That elephant is unions.

Unions don’t give a rats ass about patients, taxpayers or health outcomes despite what they may claim. Unions exist for the benefit of their membership and the growth of the union. Nothing more.

Canada’s bloated and inefficient health system status quo benefits public service and health care unions greatly. When we have turned our system into a religion where the only actions a government is allowed to do is toss more money into it while refusing to pursue accountability, we have created a union paradise.

Health care spending has been exploding over the past few decades while waiting lists grow. This pattern is simply unsustainable.

We need challenge the Canada health act. We need to examine practices and seek efficiencies and we need to get the spending under control.

The unions will go haywire when we try any of those necessary measures. A parasite is never more tenacious than when it is being removed.

Jason Kenney is well aware of how tough this battle will be. That is why while he campaigned on fiscal austerity, he still committed to maintaining health spending. That won’t work for long. Health care is simply too big a spending item while our debt continues to grow.

We need to expose and pick at what the unions don’t like to talk about. Aside from the terrible inefficiency of the system, we are paying most of those within it too damn much.

While Alberta has languished in a prolonged recession with citizens taking pay cuts or being laid off, health care workers in Alberta remained the highest paid in the nation for the most part.

Franco Terrazzano with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation put out a report on Alberta health care salaries and benefits here. It is well worth the read.

The differential is striking. If we could just bring compensation for health care workers to the national average we could save hundreds of millions if not billions.

I am not talking about draconian wage cuts here. I am talking about simply bringing our workers in line with the rest of the country.

Doctors are no exception either. $900 million per year could be saved by bringing their compensation in line.

We can’t simply jump into the system with an axe and start cutting wages for nurses and doctors. There are contracts in play and we don’t want to be losing too many workers at once.

It is long past time that we recognized that we are paying too much for health care labor though and began talking about how to bring that in line. The conversation has to begin.

A good showdown with the labor unions will help us all in the long run. They are keeping us from innovating and they are simply costing us too much. We can’t let this organized labor tail keep wagging our health care dog any longer. It is simply too important.

We need to break the two myths which the unions are desperately trying to maintain. The myth that our health care system is perfect and the myth that our health care system is sacred. With those myths broken we will finally be able to seek out the health care changes and innovations which other nations enjoy.

End corporate welfare

There aren’t many issues which can unify left minded and right minded people but corporate welfare is one of them.

All three levels of government participate in corporate welfare and it is an economically destructive practice in all cases .

Businesses, particularly small ones in Alberta have been having a tough go of things for years now. Taxes and expenses rise while sales remain flaccid.

To add insult to injury for beleaguered small businesses, the governments who tax and regulate the crap out of them are taking their money and handing it out to other businesses.

We are literally bleeding our successful and hardworking entrepreneurs in order to give welfare to connected business people who apparently can’t manage to run a business without being subsidized. It is ridiculous and harms our whole business environment.

Governments get drawn into corporate welfare for a number of reasons. They toss money at unviable industries based on ideology at times, based on cronyism, in order to buy short term labor peace and in order to buy the electoral love of some regions. None of these reasons justify robbing the successful to pay off the undeserving.

We are entering a period of austerity. Government spending will be cut provincially soon. Federally and municipally the cuts are inevitable as overspending continues.

One of the easiest ways to cut government spending is to cut their corporate handouts but we will need to speak up and tell government to cut it out! If we remain silent, they will continue to rob us.

Ottawa pisses untold billions into Quebec companies such as Bombardier, Calgary taxes businesses right out of the city while handing $100 million to “Calgary Economic Development” so they may hand out grants to cronies and Alberta is continuing the welfare game with handouts such as the recent $10 million given to McRock Capital.

This has to stop!

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is sending an open letter to the Province of Alberta on behalf of businesses calling for an end to corporate welfare. We have thousands of businesses in Alberta working hard to pay taxes only to have those funds handed out to others. They need to speak up if they want to stop being milked like this.

Again though, unless we speak up the government simply won’t stop. Click on this link to sign the petition. Send the link to other business owners. Those dollars will do more for small businesses and Albertans at large when they are left in our own pockets.

We can’t afford to keep remaining silent on this.

Nine extremists emasculate entire Edmonton police force.

It really must be humiliating to be a law enforcement officer these days. You feel a calling, you take the training and then find yourself relegated to a role in life as a speeding ticket writer and traffic control officer for illegal protesters while innocent commuters lose hours of their lives due to traffic blockages.

This morning in Edmonton, nine or so extremists held hands across a major bridge in a protest and snarled commuters for hours.

It would have taken a few police officers a matter of minutes to move these idiots off the bridge and charge them. Instead, police acted like the personal security service for the protesters and protected them from infuriated, taxpaying commuters.

Click here to watch the video. It is pathetic as a clearly completely powerless police officer works to ensure that nobody interferes with the illegal protest. You can feel the rage building from the countless people locked in a standstill while a handful of losers holds them hostage.

These giggling assholes won today. They held up thousands of people for hours with impunity. Rest assured they will do it again.

What if an ambulance couldn’t get through? What if there was a medical emergency in the backed up traffic? How many people lost hours of work? Did any people potentially lose their jobs? Not every employer is sympathetic with excuses for being late.

These blockades are not a minor thing. They are illegal and we need to enforce the damned law.

Its not surprising to see these protests escalating as our cowardly authorities refuse to enforce the law.

Hell, even after putting first responders in danger in Vancouver as they dangled from a bridge and forced a high level rescue at costs of untold thousands of dollars, Greenpeace extremists never even got a slap on the wrist.

Seriously, what the hell is the point of the law and the point of the people tasked with enforcing it if they can’t even deal with a problem this cut and dry and simple?

Perhaps they should just stick to speeding tickets and doughnut eating and let the public clear the roadways themselves. It would be more effective.

I can’t wait to see the next blockage and rest assured it is coming soon.