Calgary city councillors need to learn what their mandate is


Some members of Calgary city council have been complaining for some time now that they are overworked and that we need more city councillors to help share the burden. As is often the case, I have to call bullshit. If anything, Calgary city councillors have too much time on their hands. How else can we explain the amount of time that they dedicate to myopic pet projects that are way outside of their mandate and jurisdiction as a council?

Brian Pincott wants to ban fire pits and end the odious trend of apparent light pollution as well as banning people from cutting trees on their own property. Those all pale in comparison with the council time wasted trying to ban types of soup from restaurants however. With all those foolish initiatives, can we really believe that poor Brian doesn’t have enough time on his hands?


Druh Farrell came up with the profoundly stupid “Bow River Flow” festival which was nothing more than an excuse to close a main road and poke a stick in the eyes of drivers. It failed terribly after a few seasons and thankfully was tossed in the dustbin.


Diane Colley-Urquhart took on a pointless crusade against e-cigarettes which sadly has now been taken on by Mandel on a provincial level. I wonder if she opposes methadone treatment for addicts too or nicoderm patches?


City council now has a triumvirate of twits wasting council time trying to get rid of payday loan companies as they apparently prey on the poor. Can we assume that liquor stores, tobacconists, used car dealers and rent-to-own outfits will be targeted as well? Lower income people tend to make up a disproportionate portion of the client base of those businesses too.

What have all the idiotic, busybody initiatives above got in common?

None of the above pet projects of our supposedly overworked city councillors land within the mandate of city hall!!!!

Below I will quote directly from the Alberta Municipal Government Act. The act is hundreds of pages long but our esteemed councillors really only need to read one part. It is three simple lines and I will quote them below.

Purposes, Powers and Capacity of Municipalities
Municipal purposes
The purposes of a municipality are
(a) to provide good government,
(b) to provide services, facilities or other things that, in the opinion of council, are necessary or desirable for all or a part of the municipality, and
(c) to develop and maintain safe and viable communities.

There you have it folks. A very direct and simple mandate. Nothing about specifying which soups are legal or not. Nothing about banning things like e-cigarettes or regulating or punishing businesses that may be predominantly serving folks in the lower income bracket of society.

Every month we see at least one or two mind-blowingly foolish pet projects and initiatives from our city council in Calgary. It is galling that this collection of officials can waste so much time and money on these things and then whine about being overworked at the same time.

To Calgary city councillors: read those three lines that describe what your mandate is supposed to be. Follow those instructions! The workload will suddenly be reduced and we will get better government for it.

Sad that council will need to be directed to that act over and over again as they seem to think that they govern some sort of city state with huge, intrusive authority to govern our lifestyle or business choices. If they really want to build such a nanny state, may I suggest that our city council pursue federal seats in parliament as that is where such potential powers lie, not in city hall.

What is with the prohibitionists these days?

What we have been seeing is a trend of incremental prohibitionism. The Progressive Conservative government has been constantly bringing in intrusive business legislation and taxing the hell out of anything they see as sinful. It is clear who the social conservatives are in Alberta and anybody pointing fingers at the Wildrose Party is way off base.

I wrote on Redford’s prohibitionism here.

I covered Redford’s nanny state social engineering here.

Redford has shown that she has embraced a mandate to engineer our actions in what she has determined to be “for our own good”, and she will not hesitate to step on some rights to do it. This has now had the consequence of emboldening others who would like to see big government legislate our personal actions even further.

Police Chief Rick Hanson is speaking out hoping that government raises the drinking age.

5 young Calgarians have died in the last year from illegal ecstasy overdoses and Chief Hanson wants police to chase first year university students who may dare have a beer!

 Get your head out of your ass Hanson. You complain about lack of police resources every budget year yet you want to have officers running around charging 18 year olds for drinking? Your police can’t be that strapped if these are your priorities. Take care of the youth dying from illegal drug use before you come back to us to try and broaden the age of prohibition.

 As I saw pointed out in other comments, 18 year olds can enlist in the army and die for our country. 18 year olds can vote in elections and 18 year olds can work and pay full taxes. 18 year olds can marry. The age of majority is 18. Get over it and let them drink.

Guilty until proven innocent.


One would think that our elected officials would understand the profound importance of the process of legal defense when it comes to application of the laws. In a mad rush of misguided nanny state prohibitionism, provincial legislatures have illegalized what is technically legal through lowering alcohol limits below the .08 standard that is set in criminal law. Not only does this move target a category of drivers that statistically do not cause many accidents, this move deprives people of the legal rights of defense that are provided in other criminal matters.

 Due to driving and apparently the possession of money not being entrenched rights within Canada, provincial legislation allows people to be punished through the removal of their drivers licenses and through fines without any form of defence in a proper court. If a person relies on their vehicle for work they may find themselves unemployed. If a person relies on a vehicle to visit family they may find themselves isolated. If a person relies on money to pay the bills, they may face collectors if they can’t afford the fines levied without any means of defence before a judge.

 The simplistic may say: “So what? If it saves one life…….”. Well that is nothing short of idiotic. Following that logic we have to ban motor vehicles altogether as it can be proven that it would save thousands of lives. Again as well, statistics show that the number of accidents caused by people with .05-.079 blood alcohol in their system are virtually insignificant. The vast majority of drunk driving accidents are caused by people who are well over the .08% limit. There really is a good reason why the law sets the limit there.

 Other fools may say, well if we simply don’t drink at all we have nothing to fear. Well for one, drinking is legal and why should we not allow ourselves to responsibly indulge in it simply because our provincial politicians want to bypass legal defence procedures? 

 For another thing, as has been proven a person who is totally sober can have their personal rights completely violated and their lives turned upside down though this method of “trial by roadside”.

 Abused at the side of the road and punished without trial, Margaret MacDonald had to get her blood tested on her own at a local hospital where it was proven that she was not drunk. This did not stop the punishment of course. Ms. MacDonald still had a three month driving suspension and $500 fine with no means to defend herself in court. Even if some time down the road it is determined that MacDonald was innocent, it is not like a driving suspension can be taken back.

 How many other innocent people have been charged and punished but may not have had the foresight to go to a hospital to have an immediate blood test to try and prove their innocence? How many others have been convicted at the roadside but perhaps were given a faulty test or had other circumstances that showed they were indeed sober? Having no legal means to investigate or defend as we do in criminal law it is impossible to tell now.

 Lets not beat around the bush people. These laws are being put into place by neo-prohibitionists who simply do not want to see people drinking in any circumstance and they are not afraid to violate individual rights in their means to end drinking. Stats show there was no need for these laws and common sense says that we need proper means of defense.

Think of it this way, you may be better off being totally plastered and blowing .12% rather than blowing .06% which is legal but punishable. At least the plastered drunkard has a means of defense in court.

The encroachment of personal rights and the bypassing of common sense systems of legal defense is not a small thing. We need to stand up for ourselves and toss out these nanny-staters. If we continue to tolerate their abuse of our rights, there is no end to what they will come up with.

 You could be next.

It’s for the children!!!

Well, Redford has only been in power for a scant few months but it is very clear that she intends to continue and even increase the intrusive nature of our provincial government. Not satisfied with Stelmach’s intrusions on private business through minimum product pricing and strict regulation of sales, Redford went further through utilizing loopholes in our laws so that legal drivers may be punished for having a drink or two despite being well under the legal limit. That pesky legal process and defense thing was neatly sidestepped as Alison’s temperance bill was rammed through the legislature.

Next Allison began the process of increasing taxation on products that she considers to be sinful. It is of course for our own good. We cannot be trusted to make decisions for ourselves so Alison has kindly taken it upon herself to guide our actions and punish us should we stray from the moral course that she has determined for us.

Now Redford has moved into considering intrusive legislation telling us how we may behave around our children while on what we consider to be our own property. I say consider as we really don’t have legislated property rights and the Progressive Conservatives have never failed to take advantage of that Charter shortcoming. Mom Redford want’s to ban smoking in vehicles with children. Once that law is in place it only makes sense to ban smoking in households with children in them. Perhaps monitors will be placed in our homes or a special force will perform snap inspections upon us. As long as that rallying cry of it being for our own good and it being “for the children!!!” is used it is beyond question no?

Now it is indeed beyond question that smoking in enclosed spaces with kids can’t be good for them. The question though is how far should government go in directing our actions? How intrusive will government get? How many more decisions will be taken from parents as Redford determines that it may be bad for kids?

Second hand smoke is far from the leading cause of health issues for children. If government is really serious about coming into our households and raising our kids, they had better look at some of the real issues.

Overweight children leading sedentary lives have a great assortment of health challenges. Type II diabetes is getting diagnosed at earlier and earlier ages due to childhood obesity. Further issues of heart problems and injuries often come with very overweight kids.

Now having proven that obesity causes harm to children, Alison may feel fully justified in interfering with our lives and decisions for the sake of the children. Where shall she begin? The Progressive Conservatives love finding new ways to tax people and business. A “fat tax” has been proposed many times before by nanny statists. I am sure Redford would love to tax us all for daring to eat what she considers to be unhealthy foods.

Perhaps a minimum age can be applied for fast food establishments. Maybe we can ban pizza delivery from households with children in them. Perhaps Alison’s personal cigarette inspection force can check refrigerators while they storm our houses in case we have fattening food hidden within them. We can fine people who dare keep a wayward chocolate bar or can of ravioli instead of broccoli and carrots.

Of course, healthy eating is only half of the equation. Kids need excersise as well. Now here we hit a conundrum. You see, play and sports are leading causes of injury among kids. Redford can’t simply allow kids to run amok skinning knees and breaking bones. While helmet wearing is enforced, bikes still cause thousands of injuries to children every year. Bike riding must simply be banned until adulthood when Nenshi can take over and force these healthy new adults to bike to work in winter in his new green utopia.

Baseball, football, hockey, skiing, horseback riding, tennis, track and field, basketball, soccer, ringette, lacrosse, roller blading, tobogganing, tag, duck duck duck goose and countless other childhood activities cause inevitable injury. These activities must be halted.

Nerf balls will be issued to all households as the sole sporting good.


Physical education in schools will consist of closely monitored yoga. Schools will provide great opportunity for further monitoring of children though lunchbag inspections and weight monitoring. Alison’s recent purchase of the Alberta Teachers union will greatly facilitate these changes.


Household accidents are a leading cause of childhood death/injuries. Houses with children will need to be inspected to ensure all electrical outlets are blocked. All cars will be equipped with backup alarms and cameras (at owner expense of course). Dangerous cleaning items can’t simply be regulated, they must be banned!! People can clean with water and sand. We can’t risk bleach! Remember, it’s for the children!!!

Safety tips will be mandated and worn on shirts by parents (at owner expense of course).  Those darned kids won’t be running with scissors again any time soon if Mom Redford has her way!


Why stop at childhood though? Injuries among adults are costing health dollars too. Mandated padded safety suits shall be worn at all times!


While all of the above sounds unrealistic, it is a reflection of the trend that the Redford government is following. Personal rights are being violated in the name of the patronizing attitude of government regulating our behavior “for our own good”. These trends do not stop nor do they become more rational as time passes. Regulations continue to grow (as well as punishments) as nanny statists find more and more ways to try and control all of our actions. Anybody who has worked on an oil project where the safety guys have run amok can understand this. The controllers can cripple all activity with no regard for outcomes.

I am not saying that it is good to smoke around kids nor is it good to let them lay around eating cheeseburgers until they bloat. What I am saying though is that it is not the governments job to determine these things for us nor is it government’s role to regulate and guide of our personal choices through means of punishment and force. It is clear that Redford does not trust us to make our own choices in life and she is more than willing to take on the role of nanny for us all.

If we allow the simplistic justification of child protection with every new intrusion in our lives and choices by government, then all of the above examples I set are not beyond reality whatsoever. Government control is an incremental thing and the frog in water analogy works very well when it comes to the controlling actions of nanny statists.

Alberta has long been a province known for compassionate individualism and laissez faire practices. We have allowed government to erode those principles and Redford is proving herself to be the greatest threat to our personal freedoms of them all.

Soon (we don’t know for sure when due to Redford lying about electoral reform) we will have a provincial election. This will be an important one as if we give Redford a strong mandate we will be assuring ourselves of rampant and intrusive government growth for at least four years. We need to work hard to ensure she does not get that chance.