Complaint to Alberta Election Commissioner.

The advertising during this election campaign has been overwhelming. TV, Radio, social media, billboards, newspapers… It doesn’t matter where we look we see political advertising. While this is hardly shocking during an election, it is surprising seeing the volume of advertising when it is considered that all of the parties are bound by a maximum of $2 million in expenditures during this election. While that sounds like a lot at a glance, it really doesn’t go far when a party is reaching out to an entire province. There are countless other non advertising expenses There are only two parties that have that kind of funding as well.

So where are all these ads coming from?

Third party advertisers. When you put a cap on the spending bottle, people simply find other ways to spend. Again this is not surprising. These advertisers are listed here.

Third parties should indeed have the right to promote their interests during elections. Due to the cap on party spending however, some heavy regulation is required. Are these third parties actual interest groups or are they simply acting as direct arms of parties in order to bypass the spending maximums? It is pretty difficult to distinguish, particularly with the NDP and their intertwined relationship with organized labor.

I was shocked to find that the Alberta New Democratic Party actually is bound within their own constitution to have two members of the Alberta Federation of Labor on their provincial board along with one of each of the Alberta affiliates (there are 67 affiliates). That leaves the NDP provincial board utterly dominated by labor affiliates many of whom are registered as third party advertisers. The Treasurer of the NDP serves in senior positions within several registered third party advertisers. How on earth are these acting as separate entities within this election without collusion?

Other relationships are evident as well. Unfortunately the Alberta NDP is very secretive and they hide who is actually serving on their provincial board. In light of all this intertwining with third party advertisers however, one can see why they are keeping the list to themselves.

This has led me to feel that we need the Electoral Commissioner to look into this. They have the means and authority to take a closer look at just who is controlling the party and what their relationships with third party advertisers are. Collusion to bypass spending limits could be a very serious offense.

The complaint I sent is below. I do hope they find time to investigate soon.

I will be posting more on the relationships of the Alberta NDP with outside parties in the next couple days.

Continue reading

A vote for Rachel Notley is a vote for Jagmeet Singh

The New Democratic Party is not like any other party in Canada and that is worth noting when people are considering a vote in a provincial election. While many federal and provincial parties share a name and general principles, those parties are completely separate entities in reality. This is a critical distinction when it comes to provincial/federal negotiations on issues. The federal Liberal Party of Canada is not formally associated with the Liberal Party of Alberta for example. Provincial NDP parties however are all simply branches of the central federal party.

While the NDP constitution refers to provincial wings as being autonomous parties, this is simply not true when it is considered that membership in the federal party is mandatory if one wants to be a member in a provincial party.

If a person likes the policies, leadership and platform of their provincial Liberal party but does not want to support the federal party they simply can choose not to buy a membership in the federal party. That applies with every party in Canada aside from the NDP. Centralized leadership is a tenet of socialism and they will never truly support any forms of regional autonomy.

This does help to explain a lot of Rachel Notley’s rather lackluster support for Alberta’s energy sector. Oh sure, Notley has talked a fantastic game but when push comes to shove she has accomplished utterly nothing in the protection of Alberta’s key industry aside from increasing direct government involvement in the production of energy products and the financing of these ventures. Increased government control of the energy sector is important as it would help facilitate the shutdown of the industry as per NDP goals outlined in the LEAP Manifesto.

The LEAP Manifesto is an extreme socialist document that essentially calls for the shutdown of Alberta’s energy industries within the next decade. The manifesto was created by key NDP players in Canada and has been embraced by the federal NDP at a general meeting. Despite the loud denials on Notley’s part, that manifesto is part of what forms the basis of her party’s goals. This is because when push comes to shove with principles and policies, the provincial wings of the federal NDP are constitutionally forced to be subservient to their federal masters.

As can be seen in the constitutional statement below, while provincial parties are called “autonomous” this is chained down by the very hard reality that they have to match the principles of their federal superiors. “Principles” is a pretty broad term. In having embraced the LEAP Manifesto though, the federal party has made their principle in working to shut down Alberta’s energy industry crystal clear.

The second statement makes it clear that the federal party has the authority and ability to remove party status from any of their provincial wings should they choose to. While this has yet to have happened in Canada, the constitutional clause makes it pretty clear who is the boss when it comes to provincial and federal wings of the NDP.

Notley can talk a good game when speaking of protecting Alberta’s energy sector but she can’t really act. This is why Notley drafted legislation to cut off the flow of oil to BC but never actually used it. All she can do is bluff. If Notley acted overtly against her BC comrade Horgan, the federal boss would be forced to intervene in the fight. As Horgan is the Premier acting in closest faith to the LEAP Manifesto it is pretty easy to see what side he would take in such a dispute.

The NDP has many many flaws. One of their greatest ones is their forced adherence to central leadership while trying to operate in a country with diverse regional needs.

This should be remembered when choosing who to vote for this spring. While you may indeed trust and like Rachel Notley to lead Alberta, a vote for her will actually be a vote for Singh. Can we trust him to look out for Alberta’s interest or Notley to stand up to him when she needs to?

Progressive Conservative riding projections for 2008 election

In digging through some old emails looking for something else, I happened across a document that I had long forgotten about. I was on the board of the Wildrose Party at that time and ran for them in the 2008 election. Somebody leaked a Progressive Conservative riding projection document along with comments to us in late 2007.

There is nothing earth shattering within the documents. It really is of interest primarily to political wonks who were active at that time. It is neat looking back to see how the party in power looked at those constituencies at that time as the comments are somewhat candid though hardly scandalous.

I have no idea who the author was or who leaked it to us way back then. Since the PC Party no longer exists and not a single PC MLA within the document is still in office, I see little harm in sharing this now.

It is striking how the legislature has had an almost 100% turnover in the last 11 years.

I don’t have the time but will likely drill down later to see how accurate the predictions were. At a glance they looked to be mostly accurate though some of the ridings hadn’t even finished their nominations yet.

Happy reading.

Everybody benefits from corporate tax cuts.

I do love the above quote from Hayek and use it often. The goal of this post is not to try and reason with socialists. They are as lost cause as far as economic understanding goes. I do want to clarify just who benefits from healthy profitable corporations though as myths and misinformation on that subject are par for the course from defenders of big government. Non wonky people (the majority) don’t really put much thought into where corporate profits go and how they may benefit them. They are too busy working and paying taxes.


While we constantly hear of them and see them in the news, those corporate barons who rake in billions are actually pretty few and far between in the scheme of things.There are not many of them out there and contrary to popular belief they don’t hoard their cash and swim in money bins. They tend to re-invest their profits which of course keeps economic activity pumping.

While they may not know it or like to admit it, union members are some of the biggest beneficiaries of corporate profits

The Ontario Teachers Pension Plan has fantastic growth and is worth a staggering $189.5 billion dollars!

I say good for them.

What has made that plan value grow like that over the last 27 years though? I hate to break it to folks but the majority of growth comes from corporate investments and profits.

In other words, raising taxes on corporations will simply take a bite out of the pension plans of teachers. Yes those corporate fat cat types will pay a as well but as noted before, they are in a small minority.

Corporate profits are what makes RRSPs and mutual funds grow as well. If you have any sort of private plan, you are a corporate shareholder and those taxes will reduce your return.

You will pay taxes yet again on those funds when you convert them by the way. How many times and how much tax do you want to pay on your retirement?

But what about folks who don’t have private or union plans? What about people who are counting on the Canada Pension Plan?

Well, the CPP is of course as dependent on corporate growth as much as any plan is. To increase corporate taxes is to take a bite out of the return on investment for every person in Canada who contributes to the CPP.

Yes kids, the fund is worth $356 billion and that makes you a corporate shareholder. I guess if you never want to see the fund grow faster than inflation you could support higher corporate taxes but that really won’t make anything easier on yourself.

Not every dollar earned by a corporation goes back out to shareholders of course. Billions of dollars in corporate profit are re-invested which employs millions of people and generates billions more in taxes in the long run. Every dollar taken out of corporate profit through taxes however is another dollar that won’t contribute to economic growth.

Corporations are indeed bound by the goal of making a profit. They are impersonal and make decisions based on what will best serve the corporation. That means that the higher that a jurisdiction raises corporate taxes, the higher that chance that corporations will leave that jurisdiction in search of lower taxes. It isn’t personal, its math.

Calgary’s downtown is in a crisis with nearly 30% vacancy in downtown office buildings. If we want to bring investors and tenants back, one of the best things we can do is cut corporate taxes. We need to make ourselves more attractive to invest in and unfortunately with the triple whammy of high tax leadership from Nenshi, Notley and Trudeau, Calgary has become one of the worst places for businesses to invest in all of North America.

We can turn that empty office space into an opportunity but in order to do so we must cut taxes. Corporate taxes are among the easiest taxes to cut and we will get the most return in economic stimulus for doing so. We have to start getting rid of our high tax leadership in Alberta first of course. It is looking likely that Notley will be leaving office soon and then we can work on changing the other two levels of government.

Assuming that Jason Kenney becomes Alberta’s next Premier and that he keeps his promise of corporate tax cuts, don’t fall for the simplistic and inflammatory lines about the money lining the pockets of millionaires. Those tax cuts will help the line of each and every person in Alberta including you. Those cuts will help keep you employed today and keep you comfortable in retirement in the future. Celebrate them.

Trudeau’s government is crushing Canadian media credibility.

Conventional media around the world is having a tough time adapting to the information age. Newspapers are restructuring, merging or simply closing their doors as digital news makes the initial medium obsolete. Ad space on a news website sells for a fraction of what print ads used to. Television news is having a terrible time in drawing viewers as they are forced to compete with hundreds of channels including on-demand packages such as Netflix. Radio stations are losing listeners to satellite radio and podcasts. It is simply damn tough for media to make a buck in that environment.

One niche that conventional media continues to hold is that of traditional reporting. Bias should be set aside for reporting and most publications and reporters do so. Blogs and YouTube videos are no substitute for reporters on the ground or trained correspondents around the world. My blog for example is highly biased and selective in what it will report upon. It is no substitute for proper media and I don’t claim it is. Few blogs are though people are increasingly and unfortunately using them as news sources.

The cry of “fake news” is constantly trotted out from people on all sides and all levels of the political spectrum. There truly is fake news out there and it is getting more and more difficult to sift through it for the truth. Cynicism is growing among the populace and people are losing trust in media from all sources. Ironically that tends to drive people even further to “alternative” sources of information which exasperates the situation even more.

Reporters are expensive and as media revenues continue to plummet we see more contraction of media outlets as they try to say solvent. In news reporting, accuracy and a lack of bias are critical if this niche is to be held. Media sources need to be trusted if they are to survive. The actions of the Trudeau government have been destroying that trust.

Now in establishing that there is a problem facing media today, we needed only wait for government to intervene and make the problem worse. Trudeau of course did exactly that.

Perhaps it was well meaning but it is impossible to tell. In dangling $600 million in tax subsidies for media outlets last fall, the Trudeau created more distrust in the Canadian media than dozens of shitty editorials ever could. Whether it is the case or not and whether it is fair or not, it now looks like Trudeau outright bought the favor of Canadian media.

The statement below makes it even more galling to folks:

To determine eligibility for the credit, the government plans to create an independent panel drawn from the “news and journalism community,” which will also “define and promote core journalism standards (and) define professional journalism.”

An “independent panel” eh? This handpicked panel shall define journalistic standards no less. In other words, the government will pick and choose who they deem worthy for this subsidy. How many media outlets will or have danced like trained monkeys in order to get this subsidy which is being dangled in front of them? We may never know but it casts doubt upon the credibility of every media outlet that may qualify.

Defenders of this subsidy scheme could try to dismiss opposition to it as being paranoid or too cynical. Well, in light of last week’s revelations from the Jody Wilson-Raybould it is clear that concerns about government control of media are very justified.

There were so many bombshells dropped in JWR’s testimony that it is hard to keep track. One striking statement however was on how Trudeau’s Chief of Staff made assurances that they could get favorable media when they need it.

Here is the exact quote:
“Katie Telford thinks it gives us cover in the business community and the legal community, and that it would allow the prime minister to say we are doing something. She was like “if Jody is nervous, we would of course line up all kinds of people to write op-eds saying that what she is doing is proper.””

“All kinds of people”? Which people? Which publications? Which channels?

This is not minor people. I and I am sure many others now look at every article out there wondering whether or not it was created by one of those “all sorts of people”. I am sure that the vast majority of articles and op-eds out there weren’t directed by the Prime Minister’s office but how the hell am I to know which are which?

Shortly after Trudeau fired Jody Wilson-Raybould in January, the Toronto Star leaped into Liberal spin mode in trying to justify the move.

That was a rather well timed hit piece on Jody Wilson-Raybould and it came out well before the scandal broke. It certainly makes one wonder how fast those “all sorts of people” were rounded up to start trying to spin on what has turned into the biggest Canadian scandal of a generation.

One almost feels embarrassed for Heather Mallick with the Toronto Star as she clearly participates in journalistic prostitution of the highest order. Mallick has churned out piece after piece trying to tell Canadians that there is actually no scandal to be seen. It is almost nauseating to read the tripe she has written in hopes of distracting Canadians from this massive scandal while currying favor from Justin Trudeau.

Mallick’s lame efforts remind me of good old Baghdad Bob who tried to assure Iraq that all was well while the rockets were literally landing behind him.

Rather unconvincing to say the least.

Time will tell whether Mallick will get that Senate seat that she so clearly covets. Perhaps she is even aspiring to the Governor General’s throne.

It is going to be tough but now is the time for media members with integrity to step up and help assure the Canadian public that they are not simply a tool that has been purchased by the Canadian public. Most media members are truly independent but now it will be incumbent upon them to convince us that this is the case. It’s not fair but that is how things stand today.

Media credibility was in tough shape months ago. Trudeau’s recent actions have unfortunately left it in tatters. Let’s hope that they can recover because an independent media is critical to a free society.

Get government out of party business.

In a rather stunning development, Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel has found himself ineligible to run for his own party on the eve of a general election call due to his filing of his nomination expense forms too late.

This is nothing less than a disaster for the nascent Alberta Party which had been dearly hoping to pull themselves from single digit support into being a viable alternative in the general election. Mandel is trying to appeal the Elections Alberta sanction, but time is short and it appears that he broke the rules. Even if Elections Alberta lets him off the hook, the embarrassment to his party won’t be going away. How on earth can they convince voters that they will govern the province well when their own leader can’t file his expense forms on time?

Let’s be clear, I am no fan of the Alberta Party. They are a group of liberals wearing a thin coat of blue paint peppered with a number of disenchanted red Tories left over from the defunct Progressive Conservative Party. They talk a big game on social media but fail dismally when faced with actual elections. Former Leader Greg Clark won Calgary Elbow but he won that constituency on his own merit rather than the party’s. As a reward, he compatriots within the party kicked him to the curb in order to bring in Stephen Mandel as a new leader. Hardly looking like a wise trade today.

I also understand just how easy it is to fill out a zero expense form for Elections Alberta after running in a nomination race. I did that very thing last fall and it took me about twenty minutes.

What I question is the need for parties to answer to Elections Alberta at all when it comes to nomination races. Political parties are private entities. They have their own constitutions, they have their own memberships. Nobody is forced to join or support political parties. Nomination and leadership races are entirely within the domain of these entities and they should be able to run them however they damn well please.

Rachel Notley has grossly abused the Alberta electoral process since becoming our accidental Premier almost four years ago. The Alberta Elections act has been amended at least 4 times since she took power and it has become a quagmire of over reaching rules and controls. Even Elections Alberta themselves have difficulty in giving clear answers to questions on how spending and campaigning work when we have this bizarre “election period” leading to a formal campaign at some unknown time while essentially banning campaigning before this nebulous “period” comes into play. All parties have spent countless hours scratching their heads in trying to figure out how to promote their brand while remaining legally within the ever changing constraints of the Elections act.

One of the traps that the NDP planted into nomination legislation was in having all people register publicly with Elections Alberta if they are even considering running for a nomination. The intent was to embarrass parties as undesirable candidates appear on a list associated with the party while the party had utterly no mechanism to keep that from happening.

This strategy backfired when I registered as a candidate for the NDP for Banff Kananaskis.

After I released a few embarrassing campaign planks in my run as an NDP candidate, parties suddenly became able to put an annotation in the listing to label a candidate as having been rejected by the party. Rest assured though, had I not done that the NDP would have happily been using the nomination listings as a hammer to beat the UCP up with as every crackpot who takes the time to fill out a simple form suddenly becomes listed as a nomination candidate.

While other parties wrestle with this legislative mess, Rachel Notley and gang happily have been in full campaign mode for months as they advertise and make spending announcements while being immune from the act as they are claiming to be acting on government business. It helps that the NDP rarely actually holds democratically challenged nominations.

Now Albertans are stuck in this election campaign that isn’t an election campaign. Vitriol is rising as parties and voters become frustrated in this electoral purgatory. Electoral discontent and apathy is surely growing as this hyper-partisan environment dominates the news and a date for an actual election still hasn’t actually been set.

Gross fundraising and spending constraints added to the Elections Act have only served to spawn numerous PACs which are even less transparent than the parties were. Lets face it, if people want to promote a party they will find a way no matter how hard the government tries to prevent it. Now the poor souls at Election Alberta are scrambling to try to track the actions of a bunch of “independent” groups on top of all the party tracking they are tasked with. It is an utter mess.

We need government to get the hell out of party business and elections.

To begin with, we need truly set election dates. None of this “election period” bullshit which gives the Premier months to play coy and mess with the election call for the benefit of their own party. We need an election date set and I mean the actual day of the vote. Nothing less.

I understand that with our constitution that any law for a fixed election date can be repealed by a majority government. We saw Prentice do that very thing. How well did that work out for his government though? A fixed date would put some pretty heavy pressure on the government to abide by it and if they decided to break it they had better damn well have a good reason or the electorate will be certain to apply punishment at the polls.

Nominations and leadership races should be completely left out of electoral legislation. It is up to parties to set their own rules. If the public doesn’t like how they do it, they simply don’t have to support those parties.

Aside from a degree of disclosure requirements and perhaps a very high upper limit, parties should not have their fundraising ability restricted as well. As long as we know who donated and how much, we need little else. It would be true transparency.

Party politics do indeed run on money but money is hardly a guarantee of electoral success. Notley and Nenshi both won elections while spending far less than their competitors. We don’t need to try to strangle party fundraising or spending. Let voters be the judge.

It is rare that an incumbent party has the will to change laws in favor of other parties. The window will be short but I think it is important that we all pressure the next government of Alberta to reform the Elections Act yet again. This time though, we need to look at how we can strip it to its bare minimum. Let grassroots democracy take care of the rest.

It’s now or never for Canada’s energy industry.

This is it. The very last active major energy project in Canada is the Coastal GasLink pipeline in BC which if ever completed, will transport natural gas to Kitimat where it can be converted to Liquified Natural Gas and exported overseas.

Every other major energy project in Canada the last few years has either been shut down by government whether through unreasonable legislation as with Energy East, or through activist judges who move the regulatory goalposts as with the Trans Mountain expansion or with an outright ideological based shutdown direct from government as we saw with Northern Gateway.

Coastal GasLink is the last one standing. TransCanada did every requisite study. They did every requisite consultation. They cut every requisite deal with impacted communities. They applied for and received every one of the seemingly endless permits to operate.

Coastal GasLink played by all of the ever changing, convoluted rules and roadblocks that Canada put before it yet it still is finding itself stalled by protesters and pending court challenges.

Yes, after months of delays and countless thousands spent in the courts an injunction to clear a handful of protesters who had set up a fake “healing lodge” and illegal blockade on a bridge out of the way so that crews could do preliminary work in order to build the pipeline.

After way too many generous warnings, 14 idiots were arrested and removed from the site by the RCMP and the bridge was opened.

Protests from the extreme were held across Canada in support of the handful of pipeline protesters. Hundreds of thousands have been raised to fight this legal project and Canadian musicians and celebrities have jumped on the bandwagon in trying to shut down this legal project.

Within weeks, work was shut down as extremists placed trap lines in the work zone and put workers and “trappers” at risk. The placement was purposeful of course. With literally hundreds of thousands of acres wide open for trapping, the protesters just happened to choose the small work zone for the pipeline. While the traps have been cleared and work is resuming, I have not heard of any charges against these illegal trappers yet.

More protests are coming and more court challenges are pending.

The bottom line is that if we can’t get this pipeline built we will never get a single new large energy project done in Canada again.

This isn’t even an oil line. No evil bitumen or “tar” sands products. No risk to whales. No chance of an oily leak into a water body. We fart the same product that the pipeline will carry and like our personal flatus, any accidental release of natural gas from the line will simply dissipate.

As far as energy projects go, this is low hanging fruit.

There will always be protesters. There will always be fake chiefs among them such as the travelling loon “Chief Grizzly Mama”. Nothing we do will stop these extremists from opposing developments. There is no negotiating that can be done with these people. There is no reasoning that can be had with them. They are crazy and if we want to get something done these people will have to be arrested and charged.

It remains to be seen if government has the will to follow through and facilitate the construction of this pipeline. It took months and many court injunctions before a small collection of drug addled bums could be removed from “Camp Cloud” in Burnaby and it was clear that the authorities would rather have left the protesters where they were if they could have gotten away with it.

It is little wonder that extreme protesters feel emboldened when we see so many displays of cowardice from government in the face of law breaking. Even when those nutcases from Greenpeace put dozens of first responders in danger by forcing them to do a rescue and arrest operation at high heights, not one of those criminals got so much as a ticket. Aside from the risk they put the police and others into, how many thousands of tax and private dollars were wasted as these idiots hung from a bridge? If we fail to come to a complete halt at a stop sign on a deserted rural road the RCMP will not hesitate to hand us a heavy ticket yet we can’t find it in ourselves to charge Greenpeace extremists.

This simple pipeline is the litmus test. Shutting down the protesters and getting the Coastal GasLink will be a veritable cakewalk when compared to what will have to be done to ensure that the twinning of the TransMountain line is completed.

I have little faith that Trudeau has the will to get any of these projects done. The international investment community clearly feels the same as incoming dollars to Canada plummet. Who in their right mind would invest here when the most basic of legal projects can’t get done?

Watch the construction of the Coastal GasLink project carefully. Even if it does get done, things don’t look promising for TransMountain. If Coastal GasLink doesn’t get done, we can confidently say that nothing will. The construction season is passing. We will know in the next few months if Canada is open for business or not. I am afraid that I am not terribly optimistic.

Coward to the end. Sandra Jansen cuts and runs.

In what really wasn’t a surprise move the most opportunistic member of the Alberta Legislature put out a short statement, deleted her twitter account and ran away from Alberta politics. The bottom line is that Sandra Jansen had burned every possible political bridge in Alberta with her crass opportunism and rather than face a pending electoral loss with dignity, she chose to toss her party and constituents under the bus as she chooses not to run mere weeks before a potential election call.

It wasn’t all that long ago that Sandra Jansen was in the headlines claiming she would fight to keep that seat for the NDP until the bitter end.

The reason that Jansen’s apparent willingness to run again made headlines was that few people expected her to show the strength of character to run in what was sure to be a tough race to say the least. Clearly the critics were right as Jansen pulled the escape hatch without warning.

When the going gets tough, Sandra gets going indeed. Jansen waited until the very last day before the deadline to run for the leadership of the PC party before dropping out. The reality was that she was actually still scrambling to get her nomination signatures in order to enter the race and it became abundantly clear that she didn’t have nearly enough support to make a respectable bid for the leadership of the party much less win it.

Rather than bow out with dignity, Sandra claimed she had been bullied out. Not surprising from her of course as Jansen has long had a pattern of playing victim when things don’t go her way.

I don’t doubt for a second that some nasty things had been sent to her and said about her on social media. Like it or not, that is simply a factor in public life whether one likes it or not and she knew that.

Sandra Jansen does indeed draw more vitriol and ire from political opponents than most MLAs do. That is because she invites it. Sanda Jansen has always been one of the most vocal attack dogs on social media and has a habit of claiming to be the victim when the shit inevitably comes flying back at her. That only draws more vitriol of course.

When not claiming victimhood, Jansen is also well known for hiding from her legislative duties when she finds herself in trouble. We saw this when Jansen did a disappearing act after having insulted every tradesperson in Alberta with her dismissive, elitist statements about electricians. She is rather cowardly when she gets herself into the soup.

While Jansen tried to rebrand herself as an advocate for gay rights, we can’t forget that she was the MLA who tabled Bill 10 on behalf of the Progressive Conservative Party in 2014. That bill was designed to undercut a Liberal private members bill which would have entrenched gay straight alliances. Bill 10 was so odious in its intent and content and Jansen blew her own bill so badly that it had to be pulled from the legislature and re-written for the next sitting. Jim Prentice had to essentially take over the job for Jansen as can be seen below while she stands meekly aside. It was a low point in that administration.

I don’t think Jansen is anti-gay by any means. I don’t think she really supported that bill and I doubt that she had much to do with the writing of it.

What Jansen’s being willing to table Bill 10 demonstrated in spades though was that pure self-serving opportunism which has always been the prime driver in Jansen’s career. It got her into the spotlight that she loved and kept her in cabinet potential. Being on the front bench was far more important to Jansen than personal principle ever was.

That utter lack of principle was on full display yet again as a petulant Sandra Jansen crossed the floor to Notley’s NDP. Sandra wanted back in cabinet at all costs and truth be told, if the Social Credit Party had won the election Jansen would have crossed to them, donned a crucifix and led pro-life rallies in hopes of endearing herself to the party leadership.

My biggest beef with Jansen is that utter lack of principles. I am still an idealist to a degree. I respect people who stay consistent to their beliefs even if those beliefs are not ones that I share. Socialists dedicated to the NDP at least have an ideal albeit a flawed one. Jansen had no ideals aside from charting her own personal course. Pragmatism is essential at times and people change views but flipping from PC to NDP was based solely on opportunism.

I guess it is fitting that in going out that Jansen screws her own supporters the most. Volunteers were lining up to help Jansen get re-elected. Donors coughed up funds to Jansen’s constituency. The NDP dedicated all sorts of resources to Jansen’s constituency along will giving her profile at all major announcements.

In the end, it didn’t matter how many people put their necks on the line for Jansen. When it was clear that her chances of winning the election were slim, Sandra abandoned them. Sandra is in it for Sandra and she just couldn’t see the benefit of putting in all that work only to no longer be in government.

I am looking forward to many positive changes in the Alberta Government in 2019. One of those changes came early in that one of the worst politicians to have graced the Alberta Legislature in some time has decided to leave earlier rather than later.

Goodbye Sandra Jansen. You won’t be missed but you will be remembered.

Don’t sweat the nuts on the internet.

Back when I started in the oilfield I was struck by how many oddballs I encountered and worked with. Strange views, strange habits and just general weirdness seemed to infect every person I met on an extended field program.

For my first few years in the field I wondered: “Does my industry attract lunatics or does it take normal people and turn them into lunatics?”

In time I figured it out. Both of my questions were wrong. The true answer is that everybody is damned weird. The difference was that when you worked in my part of the field, you would have the pleasure of literally spending 24 hours per day with people for months at a time. At the start of the 1990s it wasn’t uncommon to be stuffed into a 10×12 foot camp room with the same person you worked with during the day for months. The only way to get to know a stranger more intimately in a condensed period of time would be to be incarcerated with them.

When working in the normal 9-5 world you never really got to know just how weird your co-workers were. You didn’t see what they did on the weekends. You didn’t see what their bedtime rituals were or what odd things they did with themselves in the mornings. These people seemed perfectly normal and you lived in blissful ignorance of their weekend hobby of slathering themselves with tomato sauce while playing twister with fellow unicycle enthusiasts.

As with the oilfield which brought the oddness of people into sharper notice to co-workers, the internet has given lunatics a new platform to spread noise and let the world know just how crazy they are.

Twenty years ago you didn’t have to look far to find a self styled political expert who would work themselves into a lather until they said utterly inappropriate or even threatening things. You just had to go to the local bar. Every bar has one or even a number of chronics who will expound at drunken length about what is wrong with the world and how to fix it.

These drunken philosophers would be ignored by patrons and any slurred calls for hanging politicians or calling public figures offensive names would not be taken seriously. Eventually these folks would pass out, be carried home and would repeat the cycle in a day or so.

What is different today is that these annoying and offensive though usually harmless nuts have a whole new platform to use in order to spread their rambling. The internet has given the fools who couldn’t gather more than three people at a time to listen to their inane ramblings a tool where they can annoy and offend potentially thousands at a time. Even better, nutcases with foresight can create anonymous accounts so that they never have to face the consequences of anything they may say.

A glance at Facebook or Twitter is all one needs to see just how many of these keyboard cowboys are out there and how vocal they are. A glance at your own settings shows you how easy it is to block and mute these people as well.

Quit playing victim if you see something offensive online. Just block it for crying out loud.

As for actual threats, yes they are never acceptable and should never be totally dismissed. How many internet threats have actually ever translated into a real confrontation though? The reality is that the number of peckerheads to type out online threats who will actually leave the safety of their own basements in order to act upon them is miniscule.

Politicians do love using internet vitriol as an excuse to get out of things however. Career victim, Sandra Jansen is a great example. When it became abundantly clear that she couldn’t even meet the bar to enter the leadership race for the PC Party much less win it, she used internet vitriol and bullying as an excuse to drop out of the race. I don’t doubt that some abhorrent things were said about her and even sent to her. I don’t condone that kind of idiocy but really, it isn’t that tough to ignore and block it. Like it or not, enduring some of that is part of the job. People were just as bad 30 years ago but they rarely took time to put a pen to paper to send their thoughts out.

Shannon Phillips used the threat of fictional threats in order to get out of public consultation meetings that she didn’t want to hold. She lied repeatedly about RCMP involvement only to greatly embarrass herself. Supporters have since been screen capping online tweets of apparent threats in order to try and justify the cowardly cancellation of meetings. If any of those threats were of merit, we can rest assured that the RCMP will follow through and investigate these things. They don’t have time to track down every dolt who drank too many JagerBombs and tweeted out something stupid while seated on the toilet and the RCMP know these are not credible safety risks. All the same, increase security a bit and carry on. Mean tweets are not enough reason to cancel important meetings.

The internet is a wild west of commentary and information. There is some witty stuff, some deep stuff, some weird stuff and unfortunately some threatening and offensive stuff. The people who put that stuff out there have always been with us. They are among those co-workers who you work with 9-5 and that neighbor who you see watering his lawn. They are odd and annoying but present no real danger to you. The internet has exposed just how rude and disturbed some thinking is but it hasn’t created any more of it.

The world is no worse or dangerous than it ever was so click that mute button and get on with your life. It is much more respectable than playing victim.