Spin spin spin.

Proponents of Calgary’s potential 2026 winter Olympic bid are going into full damage control mode as the secretive and loosely cobbled bid process is falling apart. 

Taxpayers were already getting pretty skeptical with the grossly understated Olympic expenses being proposed from the secret Olympic bid committee and their skepticism has evolved into outright opposition to the bid as real numbers begin to emerge. 

Nenshi and gang were counting on the provincial government to commit at least $1 billion dollars towards the Olympic games.  What they got was a subdued press conference from Joe Ceci held on a Friday afternoon where it was announced that the provincial government will contribute maximum of $700 million to the games and they attached a number of conditions. 

Aside from the 30% reduction in potential provincial funding, the tone and conditions of the funding announcement told a bigger tale as it was clear that the provincial government does not share Naheed Nenshi’s enthusiasm in spending billions of dollars on a two week party while the province remains mired in recession.

They made it clear and repeatedly that the $700 million was a MAXIMUM expenditure from the province. This is their way of saying “don’t even try to ask for more”. They also put transparency conditions upon the funding which were modeled purposely to poke at the most secretive Mayor and council in Canada. Calgarians are becoming increasingly frustrated and annoyed with a city council and administration that doesn’t trust them with information on how their own tax dollars are being spent. Clearly the Notley government doesn’t want to get dragged down in the backlash from this secretive group as an election approaches. 

Even Nenshi is having trouble polishing this Olympic turd these days and it shows in how he is starting to frame his excuse for when the Olympic bid fully falls apart under the opposition of taxpayers in the coming plebiscite. 

“I think if you’re looking at the city putting in $800 million, more than the province, that is not a good deal,” Nenshi said Monday.

Nenshi then began mumbling about some ways that spending can be cut on the games in order to make them feasible. 

Come on! We all know that the $5.3 billion dollar number is grossly low already. Vancouver cost well over $7 billion and Tokyo is now looking at a staggering $25 billion and growing for their games. Don’t bullshit us further in claiming that you can make that $5.3 billion dollar number even smaller. We would be lucky to come in at $10 billion in reality. 

Lets talk about measures of public support. 

As is usual, Nenshi has tapped the services of Stephen Carter in pushing for this multi-billion dollar pet project. A hallmark of a Carter campaign is to typically see a leading polls which all lead to the conclusion that the pollster wants to see. This was heavily and successfully utilized in Nenshi’s first mayoral campaign and we saw a taste of it last winter as a grossly weighted “engagement” was put out by the city where people had to answer about a dozen leading questions in order to register a simple no vote. 

The Olympic “yes” side is heavily funded and has experienced campaigners. Despite this, we have not seen a series of poll results released showing momentum for the games bid.

We know the polls are being done, so why are we not seeing any results? 

Its because polls are showing a broad lack of support among taxpayers for the games!

There can be no other reason. Campaigning 101 calls for using positive polls to try and build upon supportive momentum. The only reason one would not do this is if there simply isn’t enough of a support base to begin with and the momentum just can’t be built. 

The city of Calgary put out an engagement poll a couple weeks ago on their site. 

Despite the constant positive cheerleading from the city, they still can’t manage a glimmer of positive support from taxpayers as nearly 4,000 people have taken part in the process and 80% remain opposed to bidding on the Olympic games!

Olympic cheerleaders are understandably mortified by this public relations backfire. They have lamely tried to claim that their process was “hijacked” by opponents to the games. Their desperate reaction is sadly laughable. 

The only thing that the site was “hijacked” by was reality. 

People simply can’t bring themselves to support this terribly Olympic game bid while we remain in a recession. 

I posted a 24 hour poll on Twitter yesterday. It clearly will have a slanted outcome as I have been a vocal opponent of the Olympic bid and my following reflects that. All the same, I cant control who votes which way and proponents can’t be kept from voting. With an open vote such as that, 75% or so in support of my view would be expected. 

With 360 people voting in 24 hours even I was surprised as we found 91% of people opposed bidding on the games. 

Yes, in the end only one poll counts and that will be the one held on November 13. 

Right now though, it is looking very unlikely that Calgarians are willing to embrace this extremely expensive venture proposed by the Mayor and his gang. 

Expect the spin to get more desperate and shrill as proponents continue to push the games in light of dwindling support. 

It is going to be an ugly few weeks yet but it appears that Calgarians see through it. Lets just hope they make a point to get out and vote. 

A demonstration of the left view on economics.

Last night was a quiet one in my pub. Being a Thanksgiving with poor weather this isn’t surprising. That leaves me with some time to mess around on social media while working. 

As is common with me, I tweeted about something that happened during the evening in the bar as it was representative of happenings in all restaurants in our current economic climate. 

While I often post thoughts and things with the intention of stirring the pot, I really didn’t think much of the tweet I was sending out. I didn’t see it as being provocative or controversial. 

I sure didn’t anticipate the vitriolic and hysteric reaction that it was going to draw from the left. The tweet is below:

Again, the tweet really shouldn’t be that controversial. It was a simple statement on business reality. Restaurants and bars have just had an added expense due to the increase in minimum wages in Alberta. All restaurants will have to examine ways to recoup this new expense. We have limited options as business owners as many of our costs are fixed. We can cut staff hours and benefits, we can try to reduce food costs through reductions in portion sizes and we can raise prices. There is simply no choice in this matter. 

My place like most has worked with a combination of these options. Every action has a reaction. If you raise prices too high, patrons will stop coming in. If you cut staff too far, service will suffer & patrons will stop coming in. If you cut portions too deeply, patrons will take note of this as well and it can cost you some business. As many of our pub clientele are ranchers and other working folks, we have typically provided large portions for those large appetites. We have however had to make adjustments. The patron who noted the portion reduction was actually quite understanding when I explained why we did so. Your average person doesn’t dwell on these things until they see the expense directly. 

My tweet was as innocuous as stating “my rent has increased so I had to make changes to deal with that new expense”. I wasn’t delving into the whole debate on the merits of minimum wage increases and such. 

Its not like I said something like “Tommy Douglas supported eugenics!” (though he did). 

With the response from the haywire left though, you would think I did. 

Within minutes, union activist David Climenhaga jumped out of the gates with this tweet: 


He sure can read a lot into a tweet. Where was I bragging? When did I mention or blame the poor? I didn’t offend the customer at all. I simply had discourse to explain our changes in business practices. 

Apparently one shouldn’t even speak of such things as that is a poor economic reality. 

Thankfully I am wise enough not to take business advice from union activists. That is how we have managed to remain profitable in such a tight margin industry this last few years. 

Next I got this gem: 

Yes. This fellow is hoping that I go out of business for daring to point out that I had to reduce portion sizes. He would rather see me lay off 14 people than cut portion sizes. 

Thankfully, I have learned to ignore business advice from virtue signalers who insist on wearing their bicycle helmets in profile pictures. 

Seriously though, what the hell is the matter with these people? 

Then there was this fellow:

Dude? “End of days predictions?” 

I tweeted about reducing portion sizes. 

I really was scratching my head. Why were these people all going so haywire over what was a simple statement on an economic action. 

Finally I got the vapid tweet below which caused the light to come on and help me understand where these people were coming from: 

Because I am bound by reality, I truly didn’t see it. I understand what business owners make and never considered how the envious left looks at things. 

They think that we restaurant owners are making shitloads of profit. We are all swimming in money bins and can easily just cut into our mountains of profit every time the government adds an expense to our operations. 

I am surely a greedy asshole! How dare I pass on these expenses to consumers when I sit upon millions! 

Restaurant margins are notoriously low. 4% on average according to Stats Canada. That means that a medium to small restaurant usually only pays its owner about $40,000 per year. The hours are long and few places have some sort of salary on top of that. Restaurant ownership is a passion and not a way to get rich. 

The Calgary Chamber estimates that government incurred expenses will cost the average restaurant nearly $61,000 this year. On top of that is the usual increase of $17,600 bringing the total new expenses to nearly $80,000!

These new expenses are well over what the average restaurant owner makes. There is no deep pocket to reach into and peel off bills in order to pay these new expenses. There is no money tree in the back where a fresh harvest can be made. Restaurants are forced to deal with these expenses from within and they are doing so. 

One has to look at the deranged outlook of the left in order to understand why they despise and demonize business owners who are forced to deal with market realities in the only ways they can. The left is incapable of seeing economic reality. There is little hope in reasoning with them. 

Hayek said it best: “If socialists understood economics, they wouldn’t be socialists.”. 

Some of the left activists do understand that businesses have to pass expenses on down to the consumer but they sure as hell do not want to hear about it. That exposes how cost of living rises, unemployment grows and all of the benefits of minimum wage increases become short term at best. 

I am not sure which is worse. The disingenuous left who want to hide the reality that minimum wage increases do nothing to help the poor, or the fiscally illiterate left who feel that money and resources are being held back by greedy business owners in the industry. 

I will never share the outlook of the left on economics but due to the responses to my simple tweet I have gained more insight into their way of thinking. 

I guess I should thank them for that if nothing else. 

When spending tax dollars, yes we need to be selective.

Most of us were pretty skeptical right off the bat when it was claimed that Mary Moran’s role in heading the secretive tax funded Bidco would be in engaging Calgarians on considering an Olympic bid rather than pushing for one side or another in the debate.  When it was announced that she would be taking leave from her highly paid appointment as the head of Calgary Economic Development in order to lead Bidco, it was reported that she would be receiving a large bonus if taxpayers were convinced to vote in favor of an Olympic bid. The back peddling was quick and this apparent bonus was removed from her already generous compensation package. Flip flopping, secrecy and deception have already become hallmarks associated with the organized proponents of Calgary’s potential Olympic bid and it will only get worse.

All pretenses of Moran’s objectivity were shed within weeks as she pulled out all the stops in pushing Calgarians towards embracing an Olympic bid. She almost sounds hysteric as she actually invoked Brexit at one time and tried guilting a business group into supporting the games by implying that the current generation will be selfish and robbing the next generation if we refuse to embrace the Olympic bid. 

To be honest, I am hoping that Mary Moran is as effective in pushing Calgarians into accepting and Olympic bid as she has been in her role in leading Calgary Economic Development. While we see her at many functions and giving many flowery speeches, we really are not seeing any return on our efforts as downtown Calgary remains a virtual ghost town with nearly 30% vacancy in the office buildings. 

Moran got rather upset as economists along with other experts in the field exposed the proposed Olympic bid to be the absurd, low balled and poorly conceived concept that it is. Moran’s response reported in the National Post is below: 

This rather vapid justification for the spending of billions on the Olympics is distressing to say the least when one considered that it is coming from the person appointed to head Calgary Economic Development. She is essentially tossing out a shallow Keynesian case for spending in saying ‘who cares where the money is spent, as long as it is spent!’.  

People with a notion of economic acumen understand that at this stage in an extended downturn it is more incumbent upon us than ever to be selective in where we will be expending our increasingly finite public funds. 

The bottom line is that the Olympics leave little in the way of a productive legacy, they almost always come in way over budget and as has been demonstrated in Vancouver, they didn’t even significantly increase the tourist revenue in the year that they were held. The games are a one time event that really only benefit the local political elite as travel and cocktail parties become the norm for years in the buildup and end with a two week party where local taxpayers will have to pay exorbitant ticket prices to see the events. 

The estimate of the games coming in at $5.2 billion has been laughed out of consideration though Bidco is doggedly sticking to their guns on that. We will be lucky to come in at under $10 billion. 

Let’s be selective despite the council of Mary Moran and see where that money could possibly be spent with better returns. 

I will split the difference and assume that the games will come in at $7 billion. I know that this is split among multiple levels of government and that there will be some revenues (mostly coming from Albertans anyway) but it always has to be remembered that there is only one taxpayer. All of Canada will be paying for the games and Calgarians will get to pay on all three levels of government. 

Let’s look at what we can get with the expenditure of $7 billion tax dollars to help put things into perspective here. 

In light of our recent weather catastrophe

Would you rather double the Calgary snow removal budget for over 50 years….?

Or would you rather hold a two week party for Nenshi & friends?

Would you rather cut business taxes and parking rates in order to address the 30% office building vacancy in Calgary….

Or would you rather hold a two week party for Nenshi & friends?  

Would you rather build a few new hospitals or even dozens of new emergency trauma centers in Alberta….

Or would you rather hold a two week party for Nenshi & friends?

Would you rather end potholes in Calgary for the next century…

Or would you rather hold a two week party for Nenshi & friends?

Would you rather give out 7,000 seed money grants and loans to entrepreneurs who would draw investors into Alberta and employ tens of thousands….

Or would you rather hold a two week party for Nenshi & friends…

Would you like to build the entire Green line as opposed to the one cut in half due to city hall blowing the budget estimates….

Or would you like to hold a two week party for Nenshi & friends? 

The comparisons are endless as pretty much any damn expenditure is better for Albertans than pissing billions into a white elephant Olympic games. 

It is little wonder that Nenshi and his Olympic cheerleaders are working so hard to hide the real cost of the games from taxpayers. Even their grossly low balled $5.2 billion dollar figure is huge expenditure to make when our troubled economy already has so many areas of need. 

Yes, we need to be selective with where we spend our very limited tax dollars. To be frank, I think Moran should be dumped from Calgary Economic Development for this cavalier display of contempt for responsible spending. This is not a person who has the mind to bring viable enterprises to Calgary. 

Calgarians need to vote en masse to reject this whimsical waste of money not only to save today, but to send a message to city hall that they have had enough of this senseless waste of tax funds. The next generation counts on our getting our fiscal act together today. 

Or we could hold a two week party, 

Every road is different. Speed limits should reflect that.

It looks like Calgary City hall will be beginning their fall session with a discussion on a blanket lowering of speed limits in residential areas to 30Kph. I guess it is a nice distraction from the growing debacle of a potential Olympic bid. 

The usual lines are being tossed out there as pearls are clutched: “We need to protect the children!” or “its only a few more minutes a day to your commute” or my very favorite in vapid justifications for things “if it saves just one life…”. This of course tells one that the effort is being driven by emotion and ideology rather than actually being concerned with the outcome. 

There is a large segment of ideologically driven anti-auto folks on city council and particularly in city administration. They canonize pedestrians and cyclists while demonizing motorists at every possible opportunity. We have seen everything from Druh Farrell’s idiotic closures of Memorial Drive for a pedestrian festival (it was finally shut down due to public outcry over the sheer stupidity of it), to the narrowing of streets and building of bike lanes and tracks for a cyclist demand that doesn’t exist in any large numbers. Downtown parking supply is strangled leading to huge parking fees despite a 30% vacancy rate in downtown office buildings. The anti-auto efforts haven’t built a comfortable, pedestrian Nirvana in downtown Calgary. If anything, they have contributed to making the downtown into a ghost town as businesses and consumers have fled to the suburbs where they can still drive and park comfortably. 

Next on the block is a potential blanket lowering of limits. I look at this with a jaundiced eye in light of the past actions of city hall. I see this as just another way to chase down and hound those dastardly motorists who stubbornly refuse to embrace an urban hipster’s life of bicycles and public traffic. If we could just harass those motorists enough, they may change their evil ways right? 

To begin with, there is no pedestrian crisis in Calgary. Calgary is actually already one of the safest cities on the entire planet with a tiny number of pedestrian injuries and fatalities relative to population. Of course it is always good to seek to reduce that number but to set a zero goal is unrealistic and frankly idiotic. How did that plan to completely end homelessness go? Of course, proponents of these kind of plans aren’t driven by actual outcomes. They are driven by ideology and feel good goals. The only way to get to a zero pedestrian collision level would be to ban all automobiles. Not exactly realistic. 

Of those few pedestrian incidents (a couple hundred per year in a city with over a million people and most have no serious injury), most of them happen near the downtown core and on main streets rather than on residential streets. In other words, lowering residential limits will have utterly no effect on those incidents. 

All that said, there are many streets where 50kph is simply not a safe speed to travel. Many streets in the beltline are terribly narrow with vehicles parked on both sides and a 30kph limit is more than reasonable there. Many winding residential streets in suburban areas are not appropriate for 50kph limits as well due to the blind corners and narrow points.

Many many streets in residential areas can and do safely sustain travel at 50kph though and have no doubt, these are the ones that the anti-auto gang want to target. That is why they come up with plans to lower limits in a blanket way rather than picking and choosing by street and by real need. 

People need to get places and they need to do so in realistic time. We should not and do not have to justify ourselves as to why we want efficient travel. When some clown asks “Hey, whats a few minutes a day?” it has to be remembered that to a commuter that adds up to literal hours of lost life per year. We don’t want to give that up lightly. 

Not surprisingly, when the anti-auto set goes on about pedestrian safety they neglect to mention pedestrian responsibility. Many pedestrian collisions are a result of pedestrians jaywalking or crossing while drunk or distracted. That is a facet of this worth addressing but of course pedestrian education and law enforcement upon them doesn’t fit within that narrow anti-auto agenda. 

A common and often tragic pedestrian/auto incident is when a person is backed into/over. Speed limits will do utterly nothing to address this issue. Better driver education and pedestrian education is what is needed here. I swear, when people go on foot they suddenly lose all memory of what it means when those white lights come on in the back of a vehicle. I don’t care if you are legally in the right, don’t walk behind the thing at this unless you want to become a statistic. Don’t assume that the driver can see you. 

Kids are often brought up. They tug at the heartstrings and it is always most tragic when they are harmed or killed. Kids are far from being in the majority of incidents but due to their size they can often sustain some of the most grievous of injuries. Kids are kids as well. They can be tough to control and can sprint out into a street if you turn your back on them for a second. Sadly, this means we have to watch them ever more closely rather than trying to bubble wrap entire communities. 

Nenshi has a very expensive vanity project that he is pursuing right now. If he is to get those billions required for that two week party called the Olympics, he will need new revenue flows. Lowering the speed limits on streets designed for higher speeds coupled with a massive increase in speed cameras will be a great revenue generator. They can then justify it by saying they are saving children or vapidly say “If you don’t like it, don’t speed”. Not all laws are good or reasonable people. 

There is room for movement here. Yes, lower to 30 on some streets. Perhaps 40 on others. I say we could raise some to 60 if we look closely at them. When we see the usual suspects signing on with a blanket lowering in order to address a non-existent pedestrian crisis however, we have to get a little skeptical of their motives. 

Nomination minefield

Party candidate nominations are inside ball. Most people don’t have party memberships in any party and they only pay attention to candidates during an election period. Nominations occur outside of their radar until and unless there is something controversial in the race. 

Being an internal sort of race, a party nomination can and often does become heated as a political civil war can form within a constituency. No battle is more intense than one between former allies. Some constituencies never recover from nominations as divisions from dirty and personal races run too deeply for the association to come together as a functional unit after the race is over. 

Despite all that, nominations are still the best and only manner to date for parties to choose candidates with member participation. 

Nomination winners are not always those who best represent the membership of the party much less the electorate at large. A nomination race is based on who can sell the most party memberships and best get them out to vote when the time comes. Nothing more, nothing less. Successful nominees are those who can gather a group and organize them. Those groups are often based on a cultural or religious basis which gives a good base from which to draw supporters. There is nothing wrong with people organizing to win nominations in this way of course. They are using their existing strengths. It has to be kept in mind however that candidates who won in this manner were often propped up by a base that is not actually representative of the party. 

The only nominations that go trouble free tend to be uncontested ones. The only nominations that tend to go uncontested are ones in constituencies where a party likely has no chance of electing a member to the legislature. 

Right now, the United Conservative Party is the hands down favorite in most constituencies outside of Edmonton. That is why the vast majority of the nomination races have been contested and hundreds of aspiring nominees have been applying for the job. Due to the volume of applicants and the high stakes of the races, some nomination eruptions are expected and inevitable. 

Parties such as the Alberta Party have pretty much no hope of winning any seats. They are simply trying to find rational contestants to run for them in the general election thus acclamations are common and what few races there are tend to be pretty subdued. It spares them of nomination flare ups. 

The NDP have many seats in play but are a top down party that discourages open nomination races. Hell, one can’t even find information on their website directing folks in how to even apply for the job much less encouraging them. Because of this, nomination aspirants for the NDP run into the dozens rather than hundreds as with the UCP. While being terribly undemocratic, it does spare the NDP the untold grief of managing open nomination races. 

Partisan folks and media members love jumping upon nomination race issues in hopes of tearing down parties that they don’t care for. It is cheap politics but it can be effective as many folks in the public don’t understand just how little a nomination can actually represent a party as a whole. 

The latest nomination mess is a pretty striking one as an image was released of a group of men violently attacking a man on the ground. Apparently this attack was motivated by a UCP nomination race in Northeast Calgary. 

This is politics at its ugliest. No party condones or encourages these sort of actions. That won’t stop the unprincipled from trying to claim as much though. 

Northeast Calgary is a political nightmare when it comes to politics and it has a long history of dirty politics on every level. There is no sense beating around the bush, that part of the city is dominated by people of South Asian heritage and that culture comes with an acceptance of dirty political play that we are not accustomed to. Many in that part of the city view rules as things to be stretched or broken at any and every opportunity and they will do so without hesitation. They see strict adherence to party rules as a sign of weakness. This is not true of every person of South Asian decent of course but anybody claiming that this sort of political attitude is not dominant is simply being disingenuous. It will take time to shed those old attitudes but for now, it leaves NE Calgary as a political hornets nest. 

In 2011 I was on the Wildrose Party provincial executive while the nomination race in Calgary McCall was called. Four candidates vied for the position. They were Deepshikha Brar, Khalil Karbani, Braham Luddu and Grant Galpin. Astoundingly almost 6000 memberships were sold by the first three mentioned candidates within weeks. This is well beyond what is normal and we looked into things. We burned up the phone lines and literally sent people to hundreds of doors to check the veracity of these memberships. It was immediately apparent that cheating was occurring. Countless memberships had been sold to people who didn’t exist. All of the candidates aside from Grant Galpin had duplicate members in their list as they unwittingly shared lists and signed people up without their knowledge. We covered our bases carefully and did what we had to do. We disqualified the three proven cheaters. The optics were still terrible. We punted the three brown people and kept the one white one. What else could we do though? 

This was hardly unique to the Wildrose in Northeast Calgary. Alison Redford had to deal with a Calgary McCall nomination race that had nine candidates and devolved into death threats. 

Federal Liberals, the old Reform Party and the contemporary CPC still wrestle with trying to keep the scandals and cheating to a minimum in Northeast Calgary ridings. Its just a political reality in that part of the province that every party will have to deal with. 

Are nominations important? Of course they are. Should we pay attention to them? Of course we should. Should we jump up and down and try to paint entire parties when a race goes off the rails? Not if we want to be honest about things. 

There is no perfect system but this is the best we have right now. Lets not waste the hysterics on nomination races that have little to do with the attitudes of the parties as a whole and save it for the general election when they truly contest for the seats of power. 

Empowering Maxime Bernier

Bernier’s departure from the Conservative Party of Canada was bitter and from most appearances self-serving. The timing spoke to a planned effort to cause the most disruption possible for Scheer as he began the CPC convention in Halifax. There is little doubt as well that much of Bernier’s motivation is driven by sour grapes after having been handed a leadership loss to Scheer by the narrowest of margins. Some second place finishers can handle remaining within the party to try again another day and some simply can’t. We don’t need to wonder where Bernier lands now. 

Scheer covered pretty much all of the above when he responded to Bernier’s exit. 

Things could have been left at that. A man was embittered and he parted ways with the party in an explosive way. Life goes on and the party moves forward. Unfortunately the Conservative Party of Canada then moved into their convention and seemed to almost purposely work to prove some of Maxime Bernier’s contentions correct.

 Christopher Bataluk summed it up excellently in the tweet below:

What I am getting at is the party’s unwavering support for Canada’s Soviet style supply management system due to Andrew Scheer cutting a deal with the dairy cartel in order to win the party leadership. 

It is no secret that Scheer sold his political soul to Canada’s supply management lobby in order to win the leadership with a tiny margin.  Scheer even gallingly joked about the deal at the press gallery dinner this year as he guzzled milk for the crowd. 

Look, I understand how politics works and understand that deals get cut. 

At some point though a leader has to choose between well funded minority lobbying interests and the interests of the party and the nation. The only principle we are seeing out of Scheer right now is that when Scheer gets bought, he stoically stays bought. 

Supply management is undoubtedly one of the worst and outdated economic policies in Canada. There is utterly no reasonable defense of the policy from a fiscally conservative perspective and any conservative trying to defend the policy is either delusional or to be frank, full of shit. The dairy cartel has been incredibly effective in lobbying for this rotten policy that rips off all Canadians (particularly low income ones) to the point where a “conservative” leader won’t even show shame in protecting it. 

A proposal to debate ending support for supply management was to be presented to the Conservative Party of Canada’s membership yesterday. The party blatantly killed the proposal before members could even debate it much less vote on it. 

I am familiar with these tactics. I was VP of policy with the Wildrose Party for multiple terms. If we wanted to make sure that a controversial policy didn’t actually make it to the floor this is exactly the sort of thing we would do. It gives the impression that the policy was addressed while not actually letting it get into open discussion where there is potential for embarrassment. We did this with policy proposals that were crazy or offensive however, not with ones contrary to the very core of conservative principles such as supply management. 

The bottom line is that if the CPC wanted to let members debate supply management at their convention, they would have. They purposely buried the proposal despite it being a big news item lately which is causing our entire nation untold grief with NAFTA negotiations. 

The only reason to bury this debate was solely to protect Scheer’s deal with the Canadian dairy cartel. 

Within hours of killing any debate on supply management, Scheer was in attendance with his masters at a reception. They surely patted him on the head and promised more dollars for future campaigns. 

It is through this sort of action that Bernier will not be going away. It is in proving that there is intellectual dishonesty within the party that Bernier will be able to capture supporters and donors with his fledgling party. Bernier could have been shepherded into the political sunset but instead Scheer chose to empower him through his dogged support for the lobby that bought his leadership. 

No, I do not support Bernier nor am I calling for people to get behind his new party. I am however disgusted with the behavior of the CPC under Scheer right now and through these actions he very likely ensured that we will have another term of Trudeau. 

Let’s face it, Scheer has demonstrated all of the political charm and hype of an over ripe eggplant so far. Most of the nation couldn’t pick him out of a lineup and his chances of dethroning Trudeau next year were already rather limited to say the least. If Scheer is to win the next general election, it will be by the most narrow of margins. That will be pretty much impossible if Bernier is taking 10% or so out of him in select ridings throughout Canada and Scheer just gave Bernier a great wedge issue to work with. 

We can and should be upset with how Bernier has done things. 

We shouldn’t forget however that through his unwavering loyalty to the dairy cartel that Scheer has turned Bernier from a lone malcontent into a potential leader of a spoiler party in the next election. 

Scheer could have defused this by simply letting members debate the policy. If supply management went down, he could shrug and say it was the will of the members. 

Unfortunately Scheer chose instead to remain firmly bought. 

The libertarian conundrum

There can be no political ideology that is more inherently self-defeating than libertarianism. 

We are seeing a growing number of people who identify as libertarians as they shed outdated social conservative values of the traditional right along with rejecting bloated and intrusive government of the traditional left. 

This trend among gen-x was recognized in the 90s and they were labelled as “South Park Republicans”.

Libertarian wings of main stream parties have been formed and in some cases have been quite influential for short periods.

Libertarian parties have sprouted up like daisies but tend to remain mired within the political hinterland. 

So why the hell can’t libertarians get anywhere politically? 

Unfortunately the very nature of libertarians makes them the least likely to succeed in a partisan system. How the hell do you organize self-styled individualists into any sort of working group? 

Living and working under a central authority is utterly contrary to the very nature of a libertarian. Staying silent and taking one for the team is tough if not impossible for a libertarian. They can hold it together for awhile, but eventually the cracks will show and a blow up is almost inevitable. 

Maxime Bernier and Derek Fildebrandt were both recognized as libertarian thought leaders in their respective parties. Both rose to prominent positions with high expectations. Both flamed out and have marched off to form their own parties. 

There were contributing factors in the cases of both Fildebrandt and Bernier aside from their libertarianism which led to their departure from their parties of course. Fildebrandt created a lot of grief for himself with some poor personal judgement calls and Bernier is clearly still holding some personal sour grapes after losing the party leadership by such a tight margin. Non libertarian types would be able to suck it up and move on within the party more easily.

Individualists chafe and get bitter under party discipline.  That can and does lead to some pretty rough breakups when they part ways. 

So what can libertarians do? 

I do wish I had a simple answer for that. I do see libertarianism as the way of the future and betterment of us all as the state grows ever more intrusive and malevolent. I am just not sure how to accomplish it. 

The party system is essential whether one likes it or not. No major wave of ideological change will come without a party driving it and either coming into power or holding the balance of it. So how does a purely libertarian party come into power? It doesn’t. It simply won’t happen. 

I am not saying that there is no role for libertarian parties. I ran in the last federal election for the Libertarian Party of Canada after all. Tim Moen has been doing a fantastic job in holding things together with that volatile bunch and has been promoting both the party and the ideology excellently. I don’t know where he gets the patience and energy from. 

I was under no illusion that I would win or even threaten the seat of the winner in the last general election. My goal was to use the electoral platform to ensure that libertarian questions were asked and answered and I think I did a good job of that. Issues such as supply management or increasing private involvement in health care provision will never even be brought up without a libertarian candidate forcing the issue. The reality that has to be faced though is that libertarian parties exist to promote ideas rather than win elections. 

Another partisan challenge for libertarians is that they can almost never get along with other libertarians. I gave up on most online libertarian discussion groups as they inevitably devolve into categorizing themselves into sub groups and begin fighting with each other. Anarcho-capitalists, minarchists, libertarian socialists (still can’t wrap my head around that one), geolibertarians, classical liberals, objectivists and the list goes on and on as new sub categories are invented. Fervent adherents to any of those sub categories will invariably declare that folks who follow any other sub category are clearly not “true libertarians” and will stomp out of the room. 

Pure libertarianism (whatever that may be) won’t be coming along any time soon. Principles of libertarianism can be promoted and embraced by administrations though. Libertarians just have to learn to accept incrementalism.

People who can manage to bite their tongues and take one for the team can and should promote libertarian principles within mainstream parties. It is a tough role for any individualist but it certainly is one that benefits us. 

Those more dedicated to full on individualism should stick to promoting libertarianism through discussion and activism. They will only cause damage to organized parties if they try to work from within. 

It is more fun working as an individual anyway and if you do it right you can make a point and influence policy. 

For example, the Notley NDP thought it was a good idea for the state to manage party nomination contests. I have been having a great time ever since as an aspiring NDP nomination contestant in rubbing their noses into their own shitty legislation while exposing it for the crap that it is.

I would not be able to pull such stunts were I constrained by a party however. It took me awhile to recognize where a nutty libertarian such as myself belongs and I have been embracing it. I hope that more libertarians find their comfortable roles rather than taking a scorched earth approach to parties in the future. 

Death by regulation


The writing is on the wall and the numbers are distressing to say the least. Foreign investment is fleeing from Canada and we are becoming an international investment pariah.

Sadly, this trend should not surprise anybody as our national regulatory environment for large projects in the energy industry went from onerous to outright obscene. The Trudeau government is obsessed with adding unreasonable requirements for new business ventures and they have pushed things to the tipping point. Private enterprise can no longer do large projects. We are losing billions though lost development and price markdowns due to lack of infrastructure.

I spent four years working in the Arctic back in the early 2000s. The area was booming as people trained and looked forward to development of a local industry. There is a massive oil and gas deposit in the Mackenzie Delta that would bring billions if not trillions into Canadian coffers over generations if we could only get the product to market. We spent decades and countless dollars in drilling wells and acquiring data in the North in anticipation of a pipeline which would run a relatively short distance from Inuvik down to Norman Wells in the Northwest Territories. There are literally thousands of capped wells just sitting up there waiting to be brought into production.

Pipeline discussion began in the 1970s. In the early 1990s cost estimates for such a pipeline ran around $1 billion. After nearly two decades of studies, permit applications, hundreds and hundreds of public hearings and infrastructure investments into the Mackenzie Delta area, the projected cost for a pipeline had ballooned to an astounding $20 billion dollars.  Regulations had utterly destroyed the viability of the line.

The Mackenzie Valley pipeline consortium finally, formally pulled the plug this year after 40 years of wasted time and billions of dollars. Inuvik, Aklavik and Tuktoyaktuk now languish as impoverished communities dependent on government welfare with no realistic local industries to develop. The hopes that they had for a prosperous future died when the pipeline did. There is no viable fishery, forestry or mining in that area. Just a little tourism and some sustenance hunting. Many will end up having to move down south to make a living while leaving behind one of the richest energy deposits on the planet.

It was in watching a government employed lawyer spouting off on twitter about how it was natural market conditions as opposed to regulation that killed the Energy East pipeline project that I found inspiration to write on this issue. Not enough people understand just how much our bloated regulatory environment harms our energy industry. Misinformation from parasitic, taxpayer employed lawyers who thrive on an ever increasing bureaucracy spreading self-serving pap about what does or doesn’t harm industry isn’t helping.

Massive LNG projects have vanished while pipelines in all directions are either cancelled or stalled while every level of government adds to the hurdles already killing development and investment in Canada.

The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is the last one left and few people feel much confidence that it will be built. This isn’t even a new pipeline, it is an expansion upon an existing line which has safely operated since the fifties. Rather than cut regulation and streamline the process, the Trudeau government bought the pipeline project before it could be cancelled. Just today we are hearing that the cost of the pipeline has gone up by almost $2 billion. 

How on earth is this or any other large project going to get done until and unless we truly cut and gut our regulatory burdens? In British Columbia alone, the Trans Mountain line needs 1187 permits! 1187!

That is just one aspect and one level of government. How could so many permits possibly be required? How many studies? How many applications? How much time to wait for approvals? How many revisions get called for? By the time the last permit gets approved, the first ones will have expired. It is nothing less than madness.

Today we see a government in shock as Saudi Arabia cuts ties to Canada over a tweet. Some are trying to dismiss things by pointing out that Saudi Arabia only supplies 10% of Canada’s oil imports. 10% of an entire nation’s oil imports is no small amount folks. The vast majority of Canada’s imported oil is coming from the USA. Trudeau hasn’t exactly been endearing himself with the American government lately so we remain vulnerable on that energy front too.

Canada has more than enough oil and gas to supply the entire nation with domestic sources. What we lack however is transmission infrastructure. We can’t even build a bloody pipeline across our own nation due to regulatory burdens. It appears that the government would rather see foreign tankers of oil travel up the Saint Lawrence river daily than see a pipeline come out from Alberta.

The situation is absurd and it is untenable. Sadly nothing will change or improve until we admit that our regulatory system is out of control and then make a serious effort to fix it. I won’t hold my breath.

Racists, junkies and sex offenders. Camp Cloud has it all.

While the City of Burnaby continues to sit on its hands, the squatter encampment that calls itself “Camp Cloud” continues to spiral ever more out of control.

Violent eruptions are becoming common place while rampant and open hard drug use seems to be taking over the encampment.

Here is an account from a native activist who used to be supportive of the camp. After having been repeatedly groped by the camp members who have also harassed female joggers and in seeing the drug use she gave up on them. The camp also apparently houses and twice convicted child molester. This was a common theme as multiple child molesters were found to be dwelling in the “occupy” Calgary squatter encampment years ago. They seem drawn to these places. The full account is below.

Here is a video of the impaired denizens of Camp Cloud assaulting a young couple.

Here is a video of the matriarch of Camp Cloud going on a racist rant calling Chief Ernie Crey a “son of a bitch raised by white trash”.

Here is a part of a video that Camp Cloud shared today. At the 18 second mark, one can see the filthy collection of syringes that they keep presumably for hard drug use.

Here is a picture showing their two story shack built illegally and dangerously under power lines.

They have ignored multiple eviction orders and manage an open fire during a fire ban due to dry conditions.


Will it be an overdose? Will it be a rape? Maybe a murder? Maybe a few more assaults? How about if they set fire to the area and burn down some of the neighboring homes?

This is a national embarrassment and something needs to be done.

These criminals will be evicted.

The only question that remains is by whom.

Will it be by the authorities or will it be by the hundreds who have been gathering on facebook at the group linked below who are planning to do it themselves?


Only time will tell and it is passing quickly.

Its time for citizens to get to work and clean up “Camp Cloud”

The ramshackle two story shack built dangerously under a power line acts as a giant, symbolic middle finger to Canadians who value commerce under the rule of law. Indeed as can be seen in the picture above, the squatters in the encampment that they have named “Camp Cloud” like to use the shack to stand upon and literally give the finger to Canadians.

The shack and the surrounding mix of tents, trailers and trash send a message to the the world investment community. It says that the administration within Canada is so cowardly, they will let a group of miscreants set up an illegal encampment in a community and impede legal commerce with impunity. It says that following process and law in Canada is pointless as crazed, extreme minority groups can bring your efforts to a halt on a whim and the state will do nothing to protect your investment. It tells neighboring property owners in Burnaby that compliance with bylaws, construction standards and public safety rules is only expected of them as legal, taxpaying homeowners. Self-identified “water protectors” can squat at will without paying any taxes and while flaunting all local laws.

The continued presence of “Camp Cloud” sends the message that violence is an acceptable means of discourse as the squatters repeatedly have assaulted people in the area as shown in the video below.


Click here for the full account of the latest violent encounter with “Camp Cloud”.

The City of Burnaby sneaks in during the early hours to drop eviction notices for “Camp Cloud” and scurries away. The city gives the squatters 72 hours notice to vacate due to a plethora of safety and bylaw violations. The squatters scornfully ignore the warning and are rewarded as the callow authorities do nothing to enforce the law.

The camp grows more deeply entrenched and the violent, entitled attitude of its dwellers grows. Why shouldn’t it? It appears that they are above the law. Warnings are toothless.

Enough is enough.

If the authorities will not clean up “Camp Cloud” it becomes incumbent upon citizens to do so. Energy workers have endured a deep recession for years only to have economic recovery hindered by illegal opposition to energy infrastructure. Many of them are more than happy to take a day to come out to clean things up. Many Burnaby residents are ready to come out and help clean up their community. Many citizens in general are tired of a government that lets extremists walk all over them.

I created a facebook group late last night to gather these citizens and organize the cleanup. By this morning the members neared 200 and it continues to grow. Click here to join in the organization effort. 

Its time to bring this standoff to a head.

The illegal and dangerous squatter encampment called “Camp Cloud” is going to come to an end in coming weeks. Whether the clean up is done by authorities or whether it is done by the group I am organizing is up to the state. I and others are going to continue planning, gathering people and organizing them under the assumption that we will have to do this ourselves.

We are left with no other choice.