The Springbank Dam obsession.

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

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

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

Protection:

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

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

Environmental footprint:

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

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

Disruption of people and infrastructure:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cost to taxpayers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The sad history of liberals in Alberta.

It is hardly a secret that Alberta is not a liberal friendly province. Alberta has been and remains a frontier for the ambitious and independent.  Agriculture drew courageous settlers in the late 1800s. Oil drew more in the early 1900s and high tech energy related jobs still draw people from all over the world today.

To relocate into a new environment and take a gamble on a new life takes courage. To endure and remain until you have established yourself takes dedication. In other words, since the beginning of confederation Alberta has drawn strong, independent minded people who don’t want or need big government to get in their way. To put it another way, Alberta has never really been a strong draw for liberals.

This can be seen quite clearly as the Liberal Party has languished for over a century in Alberta as a party yet cant form government.

In 1905 Alberta joined confederation and Liberal Alexander Rutherford was appointed as our first premier. Rutherford called an election later that year and established himself an elected mandate. Not too difficult to do when no opposition party system had been created or established yet. It took 12 years before Albertans organized and tossed the Liberal Party of Alberta to the electoral roadside for what has now been a century.

Had there not been a Liberal government in Ottawa in 1905, I suspect that we never would have seen a Liberal party in power in Alberta.

While the Liberals have run in 25 general elections since 1917, they have never come close to winning power in Alberta. Laurence Decore came somewhat close in 1993 by running on a platform more conservative than the Progressive Conservatives. The populist wave led by Ralph Klein beat back that effort and today despite burning through half a dozen new leaders the Liberals are as deep in the electoral toilet as ever in Alberta.

What is a dedicated liberal sort of person to do in such a situation?

Any realistic liberal (there are a few out there) knows that they will never form government under the Liberal Party banner so they need to seek other alternatives.

A liberal can doggedly keep trying under the party banner as they pursue another century in opposition.

A liberal can simply give up and go federal.

A liberal can go municipal where party allegiance isn’t always evident. That way they can campaign conservative and then govern as a liberal upon election while depending on electoral apathy in order to maintain their job.

A liberal can sneak into a conservative party and hope to turn it liberal.

To be fair though, Sanda Jansen is more of a simple opportunist than a liberal. Jansen would have been begging to join the Wildrose Party had they won the general election. Jansen only cares about residing in a government seat. The party means nothing to her.

The strategy of infiltrating and controlling the Progressive Conservative Party was a successful one for a time. From the later years of Klein’s leadership to the party’s electoral catastrophe in 2015 it was evident that the party was leaning far more to the “progressive” side and drifting away from the conservative side as liberal style entitlement scandals erupted and deficit budgets became common again.

The liberal transformation of the PCs led to the development of the Wildrose Party as an increasing number of conservatives gave up on the PC party.

Unfortunately, due to the now legendary act of treachery led by Danielle Smith and Jim Prentice, the electorate became so horrified and disgusted by both parties that they accidentally elected the Notley NDP.

Now, while the NDP “cure” is turning out to be worse than the disease, we are at least seeing some good long term outcomes here.

The liberals within the Progressive Conservative Party were by nature opportunists. Many of them jumped ship shortly after the party lost power. They had no interest in serving as an opposition party. Other liberals hung on in hopes of turning the shell of the party into a re-branded Liberal Party. Those hopes were dashed as Jason Kenney engaged conservative grassroots voters and swept into the leadership last spring.

The upside I am looking at is that the liberal element has been very effectively flushed from the PC party making the ability of creating a unified conservative party viable.

Now where do all these homeless liberals go?

Fear not. They have taken a page from the 1937 Liberal playbook when they tried to come into power under the Independent Citizen’s Association. You see, Liberals realized that they couldn’t win under their party banner so they tried to hide under a banner that stood for nothing. They banked on the electorate being so tired of openly partisan politics that they would latch on to a party that claimed to shun partisanship through being a coalition of independents thus non-partisan than ever. This coalition failed dismally and the first stealth Liberal attempt ended after the 1940 election when the coalition fell apart. If a party wont openly stand for something, they simply cant concentrate support.

Undaunted however, disaffected Liberals are confident that they can pull this off through the Alberta Party.

The Alberta Party has been around in a few incarnations since the 1980s.  In 2010 a group of liberals took over the small party and in hopes of creating the stealth liberal party they desired. Ever avoiding a solid policy stance on anything, the Alberta Party held a painfully long process that hey coined “the big listen”. The logic was that if they claimed to be always listening to Albertans that they would somehow gain broad support. In maintaining this party that wasn’t a party approach, the Alberta Party took the province by storm in the 2012 general election with a solid 1.33% of the vote.

Undaunted, they carried on. They replaced the term listen with “center”. They follow a simplistic belief that the majority of people are in this mushy world of being in the center and that they surly will engage this giant yet sleeping majority and get a firm center (liberal) government in Alberta. Fiercely battling in the 2015 general election the Alberta Party garnered a staggering 2.28% of the vote. Apparently the center was sleeping that day.

Interestingly though, some experienced liberal operatives will be moving into the Alberta Party this time now that they have lost their Progressive Conservative home. A few champagne socialists will likely pony up some contributions to the next campaign as well.

Will the rallying cry of “centrists!” lead to the first Liberal government in Alberta in over 100 years? I sincerely doubt it.

All the same, it is nothing if not interesting to see a tenacious group of people working generation after generation to sell a product that simply does not appeal to the majority and through so many ways.

We are in quite a period of political flux in Alberta right now to say the least. It will be interesting to see where all the chips land in the next couple years and where liberals will go after the Alberta Party loses another general election through running on nothing.

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The Progressive Conservative establishment selected their candidate

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Now that the remnants of the Progressive Conservative Party old guard have finished trying to rig their leadership race rules as tightly as possible in favor of the party status-quo (which is moribund and indebted), they have now settled on their preferred candidate.
For those who want to turn the clock back and return to the Progressive Conservative Party that held no solid principles and governed simply based on the rationale of retaining power, Sandra Jansen is the clear candidate of choice.
Through her own actions over the years, Sandra has exemplified the shallow, self-serving, opportunism that the Progressive Conservative Party had come to represent after holding power for over four decades in Alberta.
Jansen never held or shared any conservative principles with the party of her choice. Jansen is and was a Liberal through and through as she demonstrated many times over the years. Sandra was canny enough to realize that if she aspired to rise above an opposition seat in Alberta and gain a cabinet position or even the Premiership, she would have to pretend to be a conservative and gain her seat through the party that appeared to her as being an unbeatable juggernaut (at that time).

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Jansen happily jumped on board with Alison Redford as Redford sold her party’s political soul to unions in order to win the party leadership (Redford later betrayed those union supporters too of course). As a loyal Redford supporter, Jansen was rewarded with a minor associate minister’s portfolio.


Even in an obscure ministerial role, Jansen could not help but let her Liberal elitism leak out as she embarrassed herself by berating electricians as being too low of form of trade to maintain political roles.
Jansen quickly scurried into hiding and let the party take care of damage control due to Sandra’s rather embittered outlook on tradespeople was exposed.

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As Redford fell into disgrace, Jansen wisely kept a low profile and waited to see who the next leader to latch on to would be. That person of course was Jim Prentice. In hopes of climbing the cabinet ladder, Sandra Jansen happily sponsored what would turn out to be a disaster in the first incarnation of Bill 10.
Despite claiming to be a champion for LGTBQ kids, Sandra Jansen sponsored a bill that would force those kids to appear before a judge in court in order to form support clubs in schools if the school or board refused them. As the backlash over Sandra Jansen’s bill grew, things got more absurd as the PCs of the time said that LGTBQ kids no longer would have to appear before a judge in order to form clubs, they would simply have to get an order from the Education Minister. It was also implied that these kids could simply form clubs down the street and away from school property if need be. Gee how progressive Sandra. Would they get off property washrooms and fountains too if there were more concerns?

Sandra Jansen’s version of Bill 10 was a complete catastrophe that offended most of the province. Prentice was forced to intervene and pull the bill off the table in order to try and rework it into something palatable in the spring.
Below we can see Jansen meekly standing aside as Prentice takes over and works to clean up her mess.

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Jansen has since claimed that her sponsorship of the bill was a terrible mistake. Hindsight helps that way. In reality, we all know that if the bill had passed in the legislature in it’s first incarnation and had Prentice not disastrously lost the general election that Sandra Jansen would happily be sitting in a cabinet seat in the Prentice government today doing what she is told and aspiring to his role in government.
A strongly principled person would never have sponsored legislation that goes against their personal principles. A person who puts ambition above principle however will do so without hesitation as we saw Jansen do.

If Sandra Jansen had what it takes to be a leader, she would have passed on sponsoring that bill or even spoke against it. Some in the PC caucus of the time did so. What other principles will Sandra Jansen set aside if she feels they will hinder her personal political path? Only time will tell.
The Progressive Conservative Party took what should have been a terribly humbling loss in the last general election. Their complacence and arrogant practices led to Alberta accidentally electing an NDP government. Despite this, the remaining old guard within the party feel that the best course of action is to bring in another leader that is weak in principles and carries the baggage of the last two leaders who left in disgrace.
The PC party has an opportunity to look ahead and re-brand with a new approach or they can elect a retread of Alison Redford who is a little less bright.

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We will find out in the next few months.

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My name is Earl. A steer’s journey from field to plate.

When Earls restaurant chain announced that they were refusing to buy Alberta beef in favor of a Kansas supplier that has a dubious stamp of being “humane beef” from a Virginia outfit that apparently certifies for these sorts of things, I have to say I was rather stumped. Why would a restaurant chain purposely alienate the people who built them? They were started in Edmonton after all.

There is nothing that the Kansas supplier provides that Alberta does not as far as standards for humane beef go. Regulations prevent antibiotic laden meat from hitting the market and there are countless suppliers who provide non-hormone filled beef on request.

Earl’s made some weak claims that there is consumer demand for this. As a restaurant owner I have to call outright bullshit on that. In this past year, I have had all sorts of odd requests from customers but I have NEVER had a request for certified humane beef. While Earls may have a different clientele in some of their urban locations, I still find it exceedingly hard to believe that there is or ever was any significant demand for this kind of certification.

Even assuming this demand was there and growing, for Earls to claim that they couldn’t find Canadian suppliers who could produce that sort of beef is simply bullshit again. Alberta alone has thousands of producers and over 5 million cattle. With only marginal effort Earls could have brokered directly with some large local producers who would have been overjoyed to produce in whatever manner Earls likes (in fact most of them already do). I guess if they went local though, Earls would have lost the strength of their ill conceived publicity stunt.

As is my nature though, I am inclined to put things to the test.

I decided to purchase beef for my restaurant directly from a local supplier who would abide by my requests for a lack of anti-biotics in the meat, lack of growth hormones and a humane treatment throughout life up to and including processing time.

It took me about 5 minutes on google and couple phone inquiries before I found such a producer.

Meet Earl!

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The young steer pictured above resides but 10 kilometers from my restaurant. I have purchased him and named him Earl in honor of some of Alberta’s less principled restaurant owners.

Earl will be local and grass fed. Earl’s natural growth will suffice thus he will not have any hormones applied. If Earl should grow sick, he will indeed receive treatment even if that means using antibiotics if need be. It would be sick and inhuman to refuse treatment like that even if some restaurants condone such heartless cruelty. If such should happen, Earl would have to wait a minimum of 90 days before heading to the processors all the same as is Alberta regulation. No medications make it to the plate here.

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As can be seen above, I have direct access to check on Earl’s welfare at any time I please. Earl’s mom is a little on the grouchy side so I didn’t get much closer for the shot. She will be a good mom to protect him from coyotes and some of the other hazards Earl may face in grazing free range around here. They have a good relationship and am happy to have purchased a steer from such a solid family unit.

I will track and document Earl’s progress through life here until he hits the plates in my pub. We will observe holidays together and enjoy the great scenery and atmosphere just West of Calgary.

Earl and any other livestock I purchase for my restaurant will be certified humane through the “Cory Morgan certification program” which is no less credible than any organization out of Virginia.

This whole process was remarkably easy to do. I expect it would have been even easier if I needed millions of pounds of meat as producers would be clamoring to get a client who can purchase so much.

In closing, if you want good solid Alberta beef which is antibiotic free and humanely raised, just come on down to Water’s Edge Pub in Priddis (10 minutes from Calgary).

Earl needs to grow a fair bit before he is ready to grace the pub himself but we already stock beef just as humanely raised as he will be.

Now was that so hard?

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Latest on Crazy George Clark’s pending kudatah.

George Clark declared some time ago that he would unseat Rachel Notley from government on February 8, 2016.

That date has come and past but George has no end to his excuses. He has pushed back his planned “kudatah” until March 8 now. That has given George the opportunity to raise thousands of dollars from his desperate supporters who have believed Clark’s delusion that a government can be unseated by petition.

So far, the fruits of all those thousands in donations appear to be signs such as the one pictured below which have been popping up on rural roads in Alberta.

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Clearly a refined and expensive advertising machine is coming together under the brilliant guidance of George Clark.

Despite such clear evidence that the donations are being well spent, I suspect that George is starting to feel some pressure from his donors and supporters as the date of the government takeover keeps floating around and the advertising appears to be a little less polished than expected.

That pressure looks to be making the crazy leak out of George Clark even more.

George appears to have used those dollars to expand his air war in advertising through calling in to talk radio shows with some less than coherent outbursts as can be seen below. I guess he does need money to pay those cell bills while he remains on hold.

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The video shows Clark doing an utter flipflop on his own BS. Sorry George, you have made that claim many times. Cant back out now. The internets are forever.
 

Unfortunately, George Clark’s ad communications team neglected to mention to him that he was speaking to Roger Kingkade rather than Rob Breakenridge. George seems to have lost track of the time of day as well since his call to action simply led to the spamming of Danielle Smith with text messages from his supporters rather than Kingkade.

Having all that pressure of a future Kingship over Alberta appears to be unsettling poor George.

Next George dives down the rabbit hole of international socialist conspiracy theories and his rabid followers expand on it.

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George Clark is not only going to save us all when he unseats Notley with his petitions this March, he is going to break us free from the shackles of an international socialist conspiracy while he is at it! What a guy!

Getting a little serious for a minute here though folks. Clark has a great many followers who really believe his pap and they are going to be extremely disappointed when it all falls apart on the steps of the legislature on March 8. I know that the vast majority of them will grumble and wander home harmlessly while thinking that they have been beaten by the Grand Conspiracy for now. Some however may not go so quietly. Many people have become quite emotional and really are getting pretty paranoid and worked up by George’s ongoing bullshit campaign. Lets hope these folks stay peaceful but prepare for the worst.

There is real work to be done in improving Alberta’s political landscape. George Clark’s loopy movement is distracting from and even harming serious efforts however. I do hope that the cold wash of reality that will hit him and his supporters on March 8 will get rid of them but I sadly doubt it.

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Totally tone deaf!

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They just don’t get it. They really haven’t a bloody clue. It almost seems like they are some sort of parody group or something.

What I am speaking of is the new Alberta PAC calling itself the “Alberta Prosperity Fund”.

This is a group that apparently is working on uniting Alberta’s right. They have some interesting names popping up in association with them but their website is brutally shallow in detail. What is the extended goal? Where are these funds coming from? Who exactly is running that show?

This group is already arrogantly making demands of the established parties as we head towards a by-election in Greenway. This group is holding meetings here and there where they speak in circles of a united right yet we don’t see any of the organized players at them.

I was nothing short of flabbergasted though when I saw that they had held a meeting in Cochrane recently where they had none other than disgraced former MLA Bruce McAllister on the panel.

Are you guys really that damned stupid??!!

Does that collection of conservative minds really have such a disconnect with the public sentiment and the views of Wildrose and PC members that they would so idiotically trot out a face as inflammatory as that of Bruce McAllister when claiming to want to unite these groups?

Here is refresher for those who may have forgotten.the events of a little over a year ago.

Bruce McAllister was one of the Wildrose MLAs who stabbed the entire Wildrose Party membership in the back when they crossed the floor following Danielle Smith in hopes of taking a shortcut to the government benches. If you want to piss of essentially every member of the Wildrose Party in short order, bring one of the disgraced floor crossers to speak to them.

Prentice and his vapid gang of floor crossers didn’t just piss the Wildrose Party membership off. The Progressive Conservative Party caucus and members were rightly furious with the crossing too. Promises of protected nominations and cabinet seats for the floor crossers evaporated. When the PC membership took out their ire by wiping out the floorcrossers one by one in nominations, Prentice panicked. Prentice then kicked every Progressive Conservative party member in Chestermere in the balls when he intervened and appointed Bruce McAllister as their candidate before the membership could fire his sorry ass as they did with Smith, Fox and others.

The final rejection of Bruce McAllister came from the voters themselves in the general election. They rightly tossed McAllister to the unemployment line where he deserved to be.

Now I ask, since Bruce McAllister is despised by the Wildrose members, loathed by the Progressive Conservative members and was soundly rejected by the electorate of Alberta, what asshole in their right mind would put this kind of person front and center when supposedly trying to unite all three of these groups?

This is not a unifying effort. People like McAllister are a red flag in front of a grassroots bull. McAllister represents everything that principled party members abhor. It is difficult to find a person worse to represent unity.

If this is any indication of the sort of political instinct and judgement coming from the brain trust of the Prosperity Fund, I say no thanks. They look like all the unemployed assholes who the voters just tossed out and are trying to find a new backdoor way to get to the government benches again .

I would rather take my chances with a divided right than put the weasels back in power.

If things are going to unite in any sort if way, it will come from the bottom up. It will be members initiatives from both parties and it will take time. It will never come from a group so bloody obtuse as to highlight a person like Bruce McAllister. Will they dig Rob Anderson from the bowels of the disgraced political world next?

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Unite the right? Not so fast!

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Let’s be clear. The Notley NDP were not elected due to Alberta having a divided right. As can be seen with the historical NDP support numbers in general elections, there is room to split things over five ways before risking the election an NDP government.

What happened in the 2015 election was the result of a collective revulsion on the part of the electorate over Danielle Smith’s treachery and Jim Prentice’s repugnant and flagrantly power hungry behaviour.

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The electorate was appalled when Jim Prentice lured Smith and her followers into a mass floor crossing that spat in the faces of thousands of their former supporters. Voter disgust only increased as Prentice manipulated nominations in his own party while breaking his own party’s law for fixed election dates is what was a clear power grab.

When given the opportunity, party members showed their ire as they tossed out floor crossers at nomination meetings despite the best efforts of Prentice and Navigator to protect them. The panicked protection of Bruce McAllister’s nomination after other nomination losses only served to infuriate members and voters further as we moved towards an election with no justification.

Former Wildrose opposition leader Danielle Smith delivers a speech after losing the PC nomination to Carrie Fischer for the Highwood riding in High River, Alta on Saturday, March 28, 2015. Smith crossed the floor with 8 other Wildrose MLAs, defecting to the PC party and leaving the Wildrose with 5 seats. There were a total of 942 ballots cast for the nomination, but the exact results were not disclosed.

Former Wildrose opposition leader Danielle Smith delivers a speech after losing the PC nomination to Carrie Fischer for the Highwood riding in High River, Alta on Saturday, March 28, 2015.

People were outright disgusted with the Progressive Conservative Party and it’s leadership as the 2015 election campaign began. The Wildrose Party was still reeling from the mass defection and adjusting to a brand new leader. The taint of Smith’s self-serving actions still hung on the Wildrose Party as well whether fair or not. The Liberal Party was in shambles and the Alberta Party was still essentially unheard of by the majority of the electorate.

Desperate voters migrated to what they saw as the only familiar and principled voice in the electoral lineup. Nobody was thinking of right or left as they migrated to Notley. What people wanted to see for a change was some honesty and principles no matter what side of the electoral spectrum those principles came from. The PC principle of power for the sake of power was roundly rejected. Notley won a majority by default and we are all paying for that situation today.

The reason I am going over this is that some people are trying to simplistically claim that it is nothing more than a split on the right that got the NDP into power in Alberta and that simply is not true. If efforts to build an alternative to the Notley government do not take these facts into account, we may indeed really be working towards putting the Notley NDP back into power for another term.

We hear columnists calling for uniting the right.

We have a MPs calling for uniting the right.

We have Brian Jean calling to unite the right.

We have an American style PAC gathering notable names and raising money to unite the right.

We have basement meetings chaired by former MLAs calling for uniting the right.

Despite all of these calls to unite the right, nobody has defined what this united right is supposed to look like or how it will be formed. Are talking about a merger of the Wildrose and the PC parties? Are we talking about forming yet another whole new party? Are we talking about rebranding the Wildrose?

All of the above are considerations but it is going to take some time and a lot of deliberation to determine what course is best. Rushing into things with so many questions hanging could lead to further splintering and alienating the electorate even more.

I don’t have solid answers but I can certainly see some things that are sure to fail.

For some sort of alternative to succeed it has to be created totally in the open!

Among the many things that repelled the electorate last year, the backroom negotiations and nature of the moves by Prentice and Smith were paramount. Nobody likes secret, self-serving deals and if the public gets even a whiff of such activities in any new efforts they will head for the door in droves. It is this issue that makes me hope that the new PAC starts becoming much more transparent in its funding sources and its goals or it may be quite counterproductive,. On the surface right now it looks like many of the same old players trying to recreate the PC party simply for the sake of getting back into power again. This may indeed not be the case at all but perception in politics is indeed reality and the perception had best be improving soon.

I attended an informal gathering of conservative minded folks hosted by Wildrose MLA Derek Fildebrandt and PC MLA Mike Ellis last December. While nothing solid came from the meeting, I think it was very productive in that it got many stubborn partisans into the same room with the goal of examining where they have common ground. The complete transparency and informal nature of the gathering was of great appeal. It let us put our hackles down with no hard agenda and let many of us realize that we are closer together on things than we may think. While these sorts of gatherings don’t produce immediate, solid results, they help build the foundation we need. I hope that we see more of them. Again, patience is required here.

We need principles that run deeper than simply gaining power and raising money!

The Wildrose Party is celebrating record fundraising numbers and they should. Strong fundraising indicates a good grassroots support base. That being said, we saw rather clearly in the last election that spending alone does not win seats. The electorate doesn’t give two shits about which party or candidate raised or spent more money. They want to vote for somebody who shares common principles with them.

If the move towards an alternative can only define itself as existing for the sake of gaining power, we can rest assured that the movement will be rejected as well. The PC party in it’s last few years in government truly demonstrated that retaining power at all costs was it’s only mandate and Albertans got more than tired with that. We need something more.

We have to define just what the heck the “right” even is.

What is right? Is it just fiscal conservatism? Is it social conservatism? How much mix? While the Wildrose was being labelled as being anti-gay due to the odious “lake of fire” ravings of one of it’s former candidates, the PC Party infuriated the province with the pushing of Bill 10. So which of the parties is socially conservative and how?

PC MLA Sandra Jansen is demonstrating a social leftism which puts her on par with the NDP despite her flogging of Bill 10 only a little more than a year ago. This sort of demonstration of floating personal principles demonstrates exactly the kind of self-serving opportunism that we are all sick and tired of. Jathensen will clearly support anything if she thinks it will keep her seat. Is she right wing? Is she left wing? Does it matter? If parties somehow merged, would she really be able to share a caucus with Rick Strankman for example?

I don’t think we should see MLAs and candidates lining up and declaring themselves to be right or left and not budging based on ideological standing. If we are going to keep harping on “unite the right” though we had better settle on just what the “right” is.

The last PC budget was decidedly left wing while their social policies in the end were right wing.

I am socially very left and fiscally very right. I wont claim that Alberta has a libertarian majority but it is a significant element among voters. How will a united “right” capture that element of the electorate?

I am looking forward to seeing an alternative formed and growing to the Notley government whether it is something new or an evolution of one of the existing parties. We need to act carefully though and resist the temptation to rush here. As can be seen in the initial stats in this posting, the NDP is far from being the natural governing party of Alberta. An alternative to Notley does not need to be perfect in order to replace her government. The bar is rather low when looking at traditional NDP support in Alberta as a matter of fact.

Let’s take our time and give the NDP more rope. They will take care of much for us. We cant sit on our hands for the next 3-4 years but we don’t need to hatch a “united right” in the next few months either.

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How to remove the Notley NDP from power in Alberta!

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My last two postings have been dedicated to exposing Crazy George Clark’s “kudetah” movement for being the impossible dream that it is. No matter how much Clark and some of his supporters want to rail and rave about petitioning or going to the Queen with some misguided, perceived loophole in the elections act, they simply will not be unseating the legitimately and democratically elected NDP government led by Notley.

People are fearful and frustrated with the highly ideological government that Alberta accidentally elected thanks to a collective revulsion to the two right of center parties that Danielle Smith and Jim Prentice created with their gross opportunism. That has led them to seek unconventional ways to change the government and kooks like George Clark are more than happy to lead them down the garden path.

When confronted with the reality that our government will not be unseated by a petition, some of Clark’s supporters often indignantly ask “Well what are we supposed to do? Just sit around and wait for 3.5 more years??”

The answer to that is yes and no. Yes, we will have to wait 3.5 to 4.5 more years to unseat Notley. No, you do not have to nor should you just sit around and wait. In fact, if you do nothing but sit around, Notley will likely win another term.

The way to remove the Notley government from power is pretty straightforward. Notley has to lose the next election. Nothing less.

Our political system is a partisan one. Elections are not always won with the best ideas (though I wish it were so). Elections are won by parties that present those ideas in the most palatable way to the largest segment of the voting electorate. Like it or not, this means that we have to work within the partisan system. That means joining and supporting a party whether financially or with personal effort or both.

The vast majority of Albertans do not belong to political parties. That means that a tiny minority controls these parties one of which will always form government. There is nothing unfair or wrong about this. It simply means that people need to quit abdicating their role in a participatory democracy and start actually participating, even between elections.

I don’t expect a majority of Albertans to ever join political parties or participate in them. I do hope that more people do though as it really is critical to all of our well being.

One huge hurdle that people encounter when considering participating in partisan politics is simply wondering where to begin and what is involved. There really are no simple guides to getting involved or what obligations and tasks would be expected.

I joined my first political party right at the beginning of the 90s as a young, long haired guy who bought a membership from a guy named Preston Manning who was standing in a small booth at the exhibition of the Calgary Stampede promoting the Reform Party. I was thrilled with this little card that arrived in the mail but hadn’t a clue what it meant or what I could do with it. Over years attending local meetings and volunteering in campaigns I learned a great deal and have never been without one party membership or another in my wallet. I like most others went into partisan membership blindly though.

I am going to write on some of the basics of party membership in Alberta. This will be dull to those who are already familiar with party politics (and maybe dull to those who aren’t), but I would like to get a basic guide and resource out there on the interwebs for folks who may be considering getting involved with a party. This will be the closest I come to being non-biased on here.

Choose a party

This is likely the toughest step of them all. Every party of note will have a detailed web site and contact information. No party of note will hesitate to answer all of your questions quickly as they all want to grow their active membership.

Every registered party in Alberta can be found at the Elections Alberta website.

The parties vary very widely in ideology. Careful research is required but as mentioned earlier, their web presence makes it easy to get a general idea of what they stand for.

Buy a membership

How much or how little a person wants to participate in a party is totally up to the individual of course. The first step in participation is being a member.

Every party has a membership system. The cost of a membership can vary from $5 per year to $40 that I saw with one small party once. I think $10 per year is pretty much the standard these days. Most parties provide online membership sales or at least an address where a cheque could be mailed and a membership purchased.

The entitlements that come with membership vary party by party. In some parties, the leader is chosen in a one member, one vote system. That means you could vote in the next leadership election. Other parties use delegation systems but your membership will allow you to influence the delegates sent to a leaders convention through participating in local meetings. Other party members will happily explain to new members how it works. Every party has a constitution or set of bylaws that governs their operation. In those documents one can find out their limits and powers as an individual member as well.

One of the most important things that comes with a membership is the ability to participate in the selection of your local nominee for the next election. In most parties, a nomination race is held and local members can vote to select who will represent them in the next election. This is a very direct and local way to influence your local representation. Nomination races have been abused by parties and sometimes candidates are appointed by parties for reasons of either political expediency or a lack of a local organization.

Get involved with your local constituency association

In our system, constituency associations are semi-independent, organizational units that are essentially the hub for local election preparation. The associations are guided by their own bylaws which are typically set by the central party. The size and organization of constituency associations can vary from literally nothing to managing thousands of members with dozens of local directors. Larger parties will have contact information for each constituency. Smaller parties may require contacting the central party to find out who your local organizers are if indeed there are any in a formal association.

Assuming a constituency association is active, they will be holding an annual general meeting at some time or another. This is a great time to get involved as the general membership is open to attend and one can see as well as participate in the governance of their association. The first thing one should ask upon joining is when the next meeting is. Many associations hold other events as often as monthly or quarterly that are open to members as well.

A constituency association is often essentially a micro version of the central party organization. There will be a President and a number of other Vice President or directors roles. This depends on the bylaws set out by the party. These roles are usually filled at general meetings and are directly elected by the members of the constituency association. Even the largest parties often have trouble filling these roles and it is often pretty easy to get into a formal role within the association. These are great opportunities to get into the nuts and bolts of the local operation and to get a line on party activities an communications.

The prime role of constituency associations is to prepare to win the local seat for the party. This involves fundraising, local promotion and the selection of a local candidate. The foundation for a campaign team in an election will usually come from the constituency association as well. If one wants to get involved in campaigning (one of the more fun roles in politics), the constituency association is the best place to start learning and perhaps seeking a role in the upcoming campaign.

Depending on the party structure, sometimes only delegates can attend the annual general meeting of the main party. These delegates are usually selected by the constituency board and they will be responsible for representing your constituency when policy is proposed at party general meetings and can vote when the party executive is selected at the general meeting. Some parties allow all members to attend the annual general meeting and allow all to vote on these things.

Constituency associations are usually tasked with finding candidates for the coming election and with managing the nomination race for that role. Nomination races can be some of the most divisive and haywire activities within a party. Emotions can run high and factions can break out that can harm the constituency locally or even the party as a whole. When I served terms on the provincial executive with my provincial party, nothing gave me more grey hairs than the efforts to put out fires lit by rough and tumble nomination meetings. I can think of a few provincial constituency associations that are still a mess today due to ugly nomination meetings over six years ago. As with most things though, the more the merrier. If constituency associations have a lot of dedicated, rational and working members, the nomination meetings can be kept civil. It takes a lot of work.

Central party involvement

The degree of involvement with the central party that an individual can have depends on the constitution and bylaws of the party. The party operations are governed by the provincial executive. Caucus is usually somewhat independent of party governance (or should be) but should be guided by the general principles and policies of the party. The leader’s office is often something of an entity in itself as well.

The party executive is made up of a President, a Treasurer, a Secretary and then a number of other director/Vice President roles depending on the party constitution. In some parties these roles are directly elected by the members at an annual general meeting while others select their executive committee through a delegate system. Some parties will allow any member in good standing to run for an executive position while others have a different process to get nominated for those positions. It will take consultation with your local representative and reading the party constitution in order to learn the process.

The party executive oversees the constituency associations and manages the general operations of the party. Fundraising, communications and management of the membership of the party falls under the role of the executive. Setting up for an annual general meeting and the management of the policy proposals comes through the party executive as well. If one aspires to get directly involved with party management, getting a role on the provincial executive is the way to go. It is thankless and often frustrating but those roles are critical and can be exciting at times.

The roles one can take on within a party are myriad and the dedication of time and resources that an individual can put in is nearly infinite. While having a larger active membership can make party management and movement cumbersome and complex at times, it remains a better way to help ensure good policy and governance from that party.

If a person wants to make an impact in the next provincial election beyond casting a vote, joining and participating in a party is the best route to doing that. I know there are independent candidates and other types of groups that work to influence the electorate and they certainly serve a role too. Reality dictates that only organized parties will take power in an election and becoming a member in one of those parties is the important first step in having an influence on them.

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Saint George and the NDP Dragon

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As time passes George Clark (of kudatah fame) has been becoming less and less lucid. His postings increasingly demonstrate a whole plethora of conditions from simple paranoia to a martyr complex to a distressing messiah complex.

While these observations on an individual should usually only be of concern for friends, family and mental health professionals, in George’s case it is a little bit different as he has managed to gather a sizable following of folks nearly as delusional as he is.

In years gone by folks like George wouldn’t get much farther than standing on a street corner wearing a sandwich board while predicting the end of the world or some other sort of conspiracy. In today’s age the internet has given folks like Mr. Clark a much bigger street corner to rave from and it has allowed him to gather a flock of kindred souls.

While the Church of George only appeals to a tiny fraction of Albertans, that still is of concern as this adds up to a few thousand folks who are very angry, paranoid and delusional. As I wrote in a recent posting, George Clark has convinced himself and his following that he has found some odd legal loophole which will allow him to bring the Notley government down through petitioning.

Clark is planning a rally on the steps of the legislature when it opens where he claims he will bring down the government. While everybody rational knows that Clark will never bring down the government, we have to be concerned that he will manage to gather upwards of a couple thousand people on the legislature steps who are not rational. How will these people react when they learn that they have been chasing a myth? Certainly George Clark will claim that the government is corrupt and has robbed them of their hard earned kudetah. Will George and his followers simply throw up their hands and go home? In reading the writings of Clark and his followers I suspect that they wont go that easily and things could possibly go out of control no matter how much Clark keeps talking about his creepy “fight them with LOVE” lines.

Below is a series of screen caps of discussions when Clark and his following discovered that some internet URLs had been purchased by folks who don’t support the kudetah. Yes, these folks don’t even understand the internet and copyright laws at a grade 1 level yet they feel they can overthrow an elected government.

I want to keep documenting these sorts of things in hopes that people glancing at George Clark’s movement can research and see just how nuts this is. I also want it well recorded that this is a fringe group that has no connection to any formal opposition party or rational opposition group as NDP supporters are trying their very hardest to tie people to Clark’s cult.

I will start with a snap from George’s own tantrum when he discovered that the rules of the internets don’t always work in his favor. The domain wasn’t “stolen” as he never owned it. Notley doesn’t him anything, much less an apology. He doesn’t even understand how domains are purchased and retained, he sure as hell doesn’t have the capacity to find out who bought it (the WHOIS is anonymous). It gave George an opportunity to try and play victim some more though of course.

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Now, on to the reactions from George Clark’s followers.

In this post, loons speculate that it may be Rachel Notley’s husband and go on about how union members should be fired if they are found to be behind it. You cant sue them or bring charges against them but rage on. Delusional as always. I suspect that the government is less than scared of George Clark. Anybody with a few bucks on a credit card can purchase domains. No government conspiracy required.

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Here, some of Clark’s followers think the destination of the URL is not due to a purchase of a domain but is due to malware or hacking.

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In this posting, George’s crew goes on about how the world is controlled by Soros and the Rockefellers who are apparently behind this domain purchase. Another feels that this should be investigated by the FBI. I hate to break it to her, but we are still in Canada. No FBI here.  Soros probably owns the FBI anyway. There was a conspiracy theorist speaking on how reporting the legal purchase of a domain to the police was pointless as the government controls all the cops anyway.

b

Here George Clark demonstrates that he is as ignorant of communications and trademark laws as he is with electoral ones. I wonder how many lawyers are going to have to try and explain this to him and his followers?

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There are all sorts of other ravings on George’s thread but the one below is the most telling. When frustrated by a dose of reality, Clark’s followers invariably start wandering down the path of speculation of what would happen if they simply chose to ignore laws. I fear that these answers would come pretty quickly to these folks if they decide they are above the laws created by a legally elected government. I just hope nobody gets harmed if and when they try it.

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Sadly, the passage of time only seems to be making these folks even more paranoid and delusional. They are distracting from real efforts to improve our current government and to replace the current government in the next general election (the only way they can and will be replaced).

These people are few and these people are nuts. They need to be watched though and I strongly suggest that anybody rational who has crossed paths with them should disassociate themselves as soon as possible. If and when things hit the fan on the steps of the legislature on opening day with George’s gang, the crap is going to spread far and wide and nobody wants to get smeared in that.

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You didn’t build that farm!

It has been a sad spectacle watching Notley’s NDP floundering around wondering just what the hell happened this week as the province has exploded in protests against their ham handed attempt to ram Bill 6 through the legislature with essentially no consultation with farmers.

Airdrie NDP candidate Chris Noble demonstrated the profound, arrogant ignorance of the Notley regime when it comes to agriculture in the posting below.

Nobel

Homesteaders crossed the planet with scant belongings and preparation in order to settle those 1/4 section parcels. Many of those homesteaders died of starvation and disease as they broke their backs for an entire generation to try and turn barren land into the productive agricultural land that it is today. Trees were cut by hand and rocks were picked by hand in hopes of scraping a crop from the land before long winters settled in. These people languished in literal sod huts for years while they tried to survive in Alberta only a century ago.

To have an asshole such as Chris Noble dismiss that entire history and go on his repugnant tirade about what he feels the current land is worth is nothing less than repulsive. One can see his gross attitude in looking at all land as actually being the government’s and that people using it should consider it to be a gift to big government. He feels that farmers owe a debt of gratitude to big government and should not hesitate to embrace legislation that could put their entire living and lifestyle at risk. Chris should read up on how collectivism works in agriculture. While socialism fails in most settings, the failure is most profound and proven on farms.

Shortly after the screen shot of Noble’s idiocy began sweeping through twitter, his facebook page was suddenly and predictably pulled down and closed as somebody wiser than Chris likely made a frantic phone call to him.

Make no mistake though. Chris Noble reflects the view of most NDP members on agriculture.

Listening to interviews with NDP cabinet ministers in the last two days as they try to figure out just where the hell they went wrong (they remain clueless), it is almost frightening hearing how little they know about agriculture or even their own bill. The ministers cant even answer simple questions about their own legislation yet they are determined to ram it through.

The NDP sees farmers as just one more evil corporate entity to be regulated to the point of eventual unionization. Farmers represent everything the NDP despises. These people are individualists who don’t want government running their lives. These people won’t vote NDP thus the NDP doesn’t really care if they offend farmers or not (though they underestimated the degree of pushback).

Well, those folks on that “free” land built this province. Many urban folks understand this as they or their parents had initially come from farms. Notley and her gang of fools had better realize this and soon if they are going to have a hope in hell of gaining a second term in power.

I don’t hold out much hope though as the New Democratic Party of Alberta’s display of utter ignorance of our agricultural producers is nothing less than shocking and despite this backlash, Notley was promising just this morning from her trip to Paris that she was going to force Bill 6 through the legislature this fall.

There should be at least an apology made by or on behalf of Noble for his repugnant statements. I won’t hold my breath though. The NDP still don’t get it.

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