Notley NDP working to reduce housing options in Alberta.

I guess it shouldn’t be too surprising to see the NDP targeting landlords with their latest legislation. Landlords represent everything socialists despise. Landlords have worked hard, acquired property and are trying to become more prosperous through using the property that they own.

Property. Work. Profit. All evil in the eyes of the hard left accidental government of Alberta.

Like socialism itself, rent controls are a proven failure that leftists try over and over and over again with invariably negative outcomes. The only reason that the Notley NDP isn’t going down the rent control road right now is that there is a surplus of rental property available in our moribund economy and rents are dropping naturally. Since rent control isn’t on the table right now, the next best thing for socialists is regulation.

The Notley NDP plans to table legislation making it illegal for property owners to have adult only rental properties. Landlords will be forced to rent to families and you can rest assured that undesirable tenants will use the threat of age discrimination in order to force their way into rental properties that they normally would never have qualified for.

Who cares about property rights? How dare the owner of a property get to choose who may actually reside within that property? Those monsters!

Our legislation is already so tenant heavy in the allocation of rights that literal absurdities are happening.

In Cardston, a man is squatting in a shed rent free on a driveway of a home. It is his ex-girlfriend who had the lease and this bum hasn’t paid a dime. Despite this, the landlord can’t evict this parasite and has to go through a drawn out court action at great expense. It is outright insane and this sort of story is happening to varying degrees on rental properties throughout the province. 

These regulations will have the same inevitable effect that rent controls do. They will lead to a reduction in available rental properties as it becomes increasingly unviable to invest in these kinds of properties. As landlords flee the rental market and development of rental properties slump, a rental crunch ensues. Then renters find themselves more screwed than ever as rents skyrocket (that supply & demand concept that continues to elude the left).

The next response from leftist governments when private enterprise flees a market is predictable as well. The government will take on the role of providing housing.

Government housing around the world is invariably shitty. If you want bureaucratically run slums, this is the way to do it. Ghettos are created while the productive flee ever more deeply into the suburbs. Thankfully, our accidental government wont be in power long enough to get to that end but it will take some doing to undo this damage and this assault on property owners.

Plenty of landlords willingly rent to families. Some, however choose not do. They should be allowed to. It is their own damned property after all. Supply and demand will ensure that enough housing is available for all demographics in the long run if government will keep its meddling hands out of the market. Alas, that is contrary to the nature of the Notley NDP and the damage will be done.

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Alberta Party caucus will be growing soon.

Today some unexpected news hit Alberta.

NDP MLA Karen Mcpherson has suddenly announced that she will be leaving the NDP and will be sitting as an independent.

I am going to do some speculation that Mcpherson along with a few others will be joining Greg Clark and the Alberta Party caucus within a year.

The Alberta Party has been working the Alberta electoral scene for years but really has not been able to make much progress aside from some concentrated support in Calgary Elbow. They have been standing for nothing by trying to stand for everything by constantly claiming to stand for the “center” and it really hasn’t gotten them anywhere.

A wise move by the Alberta Party right now would be to solicit and gain as many sitting MLAs as possible in hopes of gaining some prominence before the next general election in Alberta.

While a collection of discontented back bench MLAs is not exactly an ideal caucus, it would bring a great deal more exposure and resources into the nascent movement. Every MLA brings more research budget, more question period time and more of their own following into a party that can’t electorally break double digits outside of Calgary Elbow.

To directly cross the floor into a party without a cool down period is often very heavily frowned upon. It smacks of opportunism or sour grapes and those types of floor crossers are often not elected again.

If a floor crosser wants to avoid the fate of looking self-serving, what they will do is sit for at least one legislative session as an independent. They will then claim to have consulted with their constituents and will claim that their constituents want them to sit with <insert party here>.

Mcpherson’s comments are very telling in her posting. 

In two sentences one can see how she is already positioning herself for a jump to the Alberta Party down the road:

We are missing the middle where we have more in common with each other than we are different.

In other words, already using the ad nauseam Alberta Party claim of being centrist.

I’ll be taking time to talk with my constituents about the way forward; I have the utmost respect and concern for them and I want to hear their views on the best way forward.

As expected, laying the ground work to be able to claim that her future move to the Alberta Party will be at the orders of her constituents.

Since announcing his departure from the UCP caucus, failed leadership candidate Richard Starke has been very active in attending constituency events in Vermilion-Lloydminster and documenting those actions on his facebook page.

There is utterly nothing wrong with that. This is what an MLA should be doing whether independent or with a party.

This activity is not the activity of a man who doesn’t plan to run again. Again, nothing wrong with that.

Starke is no fool by any means. He knows that winning a seat as an independent in a general election is next to impossible. One has to conclude then that he is likely  working the ground with future re-election in mind under a new party banner.  That banner will be the Alberta Party.

Rick Fraser recently left the UCP caucus to sit as an independent. He implied that the party had drifted too far from the center as he perceived it under Alison Redford.

Fraser expressly did not rule out joining another party down the road and a quote from his resignation rings rather familiar:

I will take this time to speak with my constituents before I make any further decisions

Why do I get the feeling that Mr. Fraser’s constituents will tell him to join the Alberta Party in a few months?

I suspect that Greg Clark will be working like a busy little bee in this coming legislative session. All of the MLAs will be in the same city and many lunch meetings can be arranged where terms of joining can be discussed.

Outside of Edmonton, most NDP MLAs are pretty well aware that their chances of re-election are pretty slim. The Notley government is an accidental government and with a united conservative alternative on the ballot it is looking pretty clear that the Albertan electorate will be rectifying that error in the next general election.

Calgary NDP MLAs now face the prospect of going down with the electoral ship or perhaps extending their term by jumping in with the rebranded Liberals with the Alberta Party. An opposition seat could be considered better than no seat at all. The Alberta Party is surely working hard to remind these back bench MLAs that there may be an option for them.

Some MLAs simply aren’t all that sharp and will need to cling to some sort of upwardly mobile party in hopes of maintaining their seats. They rode the wave to get a seat in the first place but don’t really have the strength to win it again without some strong party support from a party on its way up. Will these MLAs jump ship?

Where will the weak go?

We know that opportunists such as Sandra Jansen will do damn near anything to retain a spot in the legislature. I think perhaps even the Alberta Party isn’t ready to take on her vitriolic presence but you never know.

Things change fast in politics. I could indeed be barking up the wrong tree here but I strongly suspect that there is an organized move being made by the Alberta Party to try and build a caucus of floor crossers within the next year.

They can’t act too soon or it undercuts the narrative MLAs need to send out that they consulted their constituents. This fall session will provide an opportunity to organize and prepare for an announcement where a number of MLAs join at once in order to make the biggest splash possible when they change their party status.

It is getting clear that the NDP will not be forming the next government in Alberta and MLAs need to start thinking now if they plan to remain in the legislature in the next term. An election may be less than a year and a half away and setting up within a new party is a lot of work. I expect my speculation will be proven true or proven as pure fantasy within six months or so.

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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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BC citizens need a lesson in reality.

LET THE WESTERN IDIOTS FREEZE IN THE DARK!

Just as folks on the left suffer a mental deficit when it comes to understanding even the most simple of economic principles, they are utterly lost when it comes to the realities of energy generation.

The trend this last decade has been to demonize all forms of carbon based fuel (particularly that which comes from Alberta) despite there still being no realistic alternative to carbon based fuel at this time. A replacement for oil, gas and coal may indeed be right around the corner but we still need to survive as a society until that corner is breached.

The majority of myopic fools on BC’s lower mainland enjoy a standard of living among the highest on the entire planet. This standard of living would be utterly impossible without cheap and abundant sources of energy and it appears that citizens don’t get that. BC hipsters sip their gas heated lattes while bitching on social media through their smart phones (corporate made petroleum products) without thinking for even a second how they would live without carbon based fools.

Idiots keep vapidly going on about how electric vehicles will replace all cars any day now and will save us from a carbon dioxide created armageddon. Even if we assume that these vehicles are practical, affordable and readily available (they aren’t) and even if we overlook the heavy metal disaster that 10s of millions of battery laden vehicles would cause, we can’t overlook the reality that these vehicles still need an energy source. The electricity has to come from somewhere kiddies.

Vancouver’s hippy mayor is trying to ban natural gas from the city while the incoming provincial government (created from a hellish coalition of left wing extremists) is so fucking stupid that they are actually planning on cancelling a hydroelectric dam that is already well under construction.

Let me repeat that as it is almost unbelievable: the incoming provincial government (created from a hellish coalition of left wing extremists) is so fucking stupid that they are actually planning on cancelling a hydroelectric dam that is already well under construction. 

Yes. These left wing extremists are so damned ideologically driven that they are going to try to shut down renewable electricity generation while telling us that we all will be moving on to power based on renewable electricity.

Oh, did I mention that it will cost billions to get out of the dam due to all the contracts? I guess its only money.

What will power all these electric cars in this new green wonderland? I can assure you that unicorn farts and the laughter of children won’t cut it. We need generation capacity.

The left opposes, oil, gas, coal, hydro, and nuclear forms of electricity generation. That really doesn’t leave much but these idiots really aren’t looking that far ahead.

I think it truly is time to send a real message and give a dose of reality to BC.

ITS TIME TO SHUT OFF THE KINDER MORGAN PIPELINE FOR AWHILE.

Yes, we would have to compensate oil companies for that loss. The savings from teaching our moronic West coast neighbors a lesson would more than make up for the short shipping glut though.

Nearly 90% of Vancouver and the coastal area’s fuel comes through that pipeline. Despite that reality, those dolts are strongly opposing the expansion and upgrading of that line which has been safely serving them for over fifty years.

If BC hates the contents of the Kinder Morgan pipeline, then let’s indulge them. Give them a few weeks of $20 per liter fuel (if they can find it). Let their plants which use petroleum byproducts for manufacturing lay off 1000s of workers for awhile. Let their cost of consumer goods increase 10 fold as shipping comes to a standstill. Let the blackouts begin as a massive surge hits the electrical system as people try to find other means of energy with short notice.

While BC has utterly no constitutional authority to block Alberta’s pipelines, Alberta does have the authority to block outward shipments of energy products. This would require the will of the government which in Alberta right now is unfortunately a bunch of leftist ideologues who accidentally got elected. I don’t expect the Notley Regime to act in such a manner against her leftist bretheren in BC but we can dream can’t we?

If Notley continues to provide only flaccid, verbal opposition to the BC blockade of our resources, we will still need such action in 2019 (or 2020) when Albertans finally kick the socialist NDP to the electoral curb. I surely hope that the next government has the guts to cut BC off for awhile.

Teaching BC what a carbon free world would feel like would be one of the best inter-provincial lessons we have seen in the history of Canada. It would set back the lobbying of eco-kooks by generations as an entire generation learns just how life would be if they listened to the advice of the Greens in full.

Its worth it. Let’s do it for BC.

Let the BC bastards freeze in the dark.

It isn’t from spite guys.

Its inter-provincial tough love.

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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?

d

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.

f

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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The Calgary Foothills by-election is critical for all Albertans.

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People who don’t participate in partisan politics (and even some who do) often don’t know one very important aspect about the New Democratic Party:

Federal and provincial NDP parties are all the same entity!

If a person buys a membership with the Alberta NDP, they automatically become members of the federal NDP. There is no choice in this matter. Just as the NDP likes forced union membership, they like forced party membership. Individual thought and choice don’t fall within the NDP ideology.

This reality has been depressingly evident as Premier Notley has all but vanished from the political scene so that she may aid her boss, Thomas Mulcair in his regionally divisive federal campaign which is modelling Alberta as a bogeyman that must be attacked.

While federal NDP candidates continue to attack Alberta’s core industries, Notley remains in a silent cowardice. It is clear that Notley views the hierarchy of her party as being much more important than the interests of Alberta. We all should be terrified if Mulcair manages to become Prime Minister. Clearly Notley won’t stand up for us in such a situation.

The Foothills by-election will be a critical opportunity for Albertans to send a warning shot at Rachel Notley. In that by-election, we will see if the election of the NDP was a desperate move on the part of the electorate in order to get rid of the corrupted Progressive Conservative government or if Albertans really want to embrace NDP style socialism.

The Wildrose Party is fielding Prasad Panda as a candidate in the by-election versus the parachuted Bob Hawkesworth for the NDP. While Notley has appointed an incompetent Minister of Energy along with a literal anti-energy activist as her Chief of Staff, the Wildrose is providing a voice of experienced reason in Panda who has been a senior manager in the energy sector for decades.

If the voters in Calgary Foothills strongly reject the NDP in this by-election, it will tell Notley to either shape up and defend Alberta despite her federal masters or prepare for electoral defeat in the next general election. Notley is being pulled and pushed from multiple directions as a new Premier. The best direction she could be pushed from would be the electorate and that opportunity looms.

Will Notley learn to put her province before her federal party’ interests? It is hard to say. Chances are much better though that Notley will prioritize Alberta if the voters in Foothills strongly push her to do so. That makes this by-election important for all of Alberta despite it being overshadowed by a federal race.

 

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Just scrubbed some toilets!

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OK. I understand that it is hardly headline worthy when a person scrubs toilets. Millions of folks do it every day. I need to give some background on why this is worthy of writing on.

I am a germaphobe who can think of few tasks more odious than cleaning a heavily used public washroom facility. That being said, my wife and I recently opened a pub and coffee shop in Priddis and while things are going great, we still are on a budget that requires that we do many things ourselves in order to keep staffing costs to a minimum. Among those tasks are janitorial duty which requires my getting down in there and ensuring that our clientele does not have to endure a nasty washroom. My fiscal need outweighs my loathing of such tasks.

I was in a recent discussion regarding minimum wage and I used the term “toilet scrubbers”. I did not mean that term in a derogatory way by any means. Toilets need to be cleaned and as I have pointed out, I certainly will do it at need.

All the above being said, I sincerely look forward to the day when we develop our business to the point where I can pay somebody else to clean those toilets. I will not pay a lot to a person for that task as while it is challenging to one’s sense of personal cleanliness, it is not what could be called a highly skilled art. Training if required means pointing out where the cleaning items are and asking that the bathroom not be exited until it doesn’t smell poorly any longer and no evidence of previous use can be seen.

By the numbers right now We have employed 14 people, most of whom were previously either unemployed or under-employed.

11 are women
5 are students
4 are single parents
1 AISH recipient

None of them are earning minimum wage. In fact some of them, when you factor in tips have earnings that rival those of journeyman plumbers (particularly on wing night).

We are not employing these people out of altruism. We opened this business to make money for ourselves. I am not demanding a medal for my efforts by any means. I am happy and proud that we could develop and maintain a business that employs all of those people and won’t display false modesty over it.

Now to cut to the chase. As minimum wages rise I will be doing one or more of a couple things. I will be raising prices and I will be reducing hours for staff. Tasks from toilet cleaning to waiting tables will increasingly land on my lap while my staff will enjoy less hours of work with a higher cost of living. This is not theory. This is exactly what is about to happen so who is winning here?

I just needed to get that rant out to those simplistic souls who somehow think that we can legislate everybody into prosperity. It simply doesn’t work.

These foolish “tax the rich!” chants and demands for raising minimum wage will not either help the current minimum wage earners nor hit those apparently evil fat cats who run the world. These ideals only ensure that middle earners like myself scrub more toilets while my staff cut back on their own budgets due to reduced hours while consumers see a higher cost of living.

A strong economy is the only way to increase the general standard of living and constantly attacking free enterprise will not give us that sort of economy.

My rant is now done. I have to go clean by beer lines before opening the pub.

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I guess BC is getting tired of the prosperity.

 

While it still is a year away and we certainly saw the collective worthlessness of pollster’s projections in the recent Alberta election, the current polled trends in BC are disturbing. It appears that like a beaten wife who keeps returning to her abuser, BC wants to again embrace the governance of the party that castrated their economy for nearly a decade. It looks like the BC NDP is polling at about 50% right now.

 There are few reliable constants in the world but one that can be relied upon is the economic disaster that comes with a provincial NDP government. Bob Rae proved that the largest and most robust provincial economy in Canada could be brought to it’s knees with his catastrophic term as the Premier of Ontario. Saskatchewan lagged the nation in economic growth and activity under an NDP government as the province lost most of it’s youth in an exodus to Alberta seeking jobs. Manitoba is determined to remain a dependent little brother in confederation and under the inept guidance of their NDP government they are achieving that goal in spades.

 I remember very well working on oil exploration projects in the North where I literally would survey the perimeter of our program right on top of the BC/Alberta border. We would not venture an inch on to the BC side as our costs would explode and it simply was not worth it for our clients to pursue data there. Fort Saint John and Dawson Creek were in dire straits as the BC NDP government regulated and taxed the economy to the point where BC became a have-not province within Canada.

 Along with the consistency of NDP governments destroying economies is the consistent rebound for the economy when the socialists are finally tossed out. Saskatchewan is now a fast growing economic powerhouse in Canada thanks to the rational guidance of the Sask Party government. BC has been booming for over 10 years as the Liberal government undid much of the economic neutering caused by the previous NDP government. Ontario’s economy exploded under the Conservative government that replaced Rae’s grossly inept NDP. The pattern is clear and constant.

Despite such stark and repeated examples of the damage that NDP government’s cause, a large segment of Canadians simply refuse to accept this reality. Like a crack addict who knows the pipe is killing him yet can’t resist putting it back in his mouth again, provinces seem prone to repeated self-destructive behaviour in electing socialist governments.

 Please, please, please BC wake up! If you are tired of the Liberals than by all means pursue an alternative. Going back to the NDP however is simply an example of the cure being worth the disease. I do hope that this trend changes as I would hate to see our provincial neighbors dropped back into the economic toilet again.

 Alberta and Saskatchewan can’t keep up with subsidizing Quebec alone.

 

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Something is very wrong.

 Last week while at a local convenience store, I observed a young man demonstrating the telltale signs of being homeless. His hair and beard were overgrown and unkempt and his clothing was filthy. He appeared to be in his 20s and he got in line behind me. The young man was very polite at the counter as he deposited a handful of mixed change in order to purchase a cigar. What was most striking though was that when this man spoke it became quite obvious that this man was suffering from a developmental disability.

 About a month ago I had the opportunity to be taken on a tour of  The Vocational and Rehabilitation Research Institute by a friend. This is a non-profit institute that works in affiliation with the University of Calgary and has been doing so since 1969. This institute works with people with disabilities and helps them in a community support sort of role. The facility boasts a bottle depot and a contract with the Calgary Airport that employs people with disabilities. There are also some great recreational and rehabilitation facilities provided as well as their research facilities.

 I am sure that my description of the facility is doing it terrible justice so I do suggest that people click on the link to it in order to learn more about it. What I was most impressed with was that the people there are dedicated to trying to find rational and successful approaches to helping people with disabilities in our community.

 What I was not impressed with was the condition of the facility itself. While the functional areas were as well maintained as possible by staff with limited resources, entire sections were completely shut down. The building is getting old and they simply can’t afford the maintenance on sections of it. Old dorm rooms are now being used as offices and I saw three desks jammed into what obviously served as an individual dorm rooms for patients. The floors above that level were completely closed as was what used to be a cafeteria.

 Right-of-center people are often referred to as uncaring ogres and individualists to the point of not caring for anybody aside from themselves. In reality, most conservative-minded people live by the principle that we should take care of those who can’t take care of themselves as opposed to those who won’t take care of themselves.

 It should go without question that many people with mental disabilities and disorders fall into that category of not being able to take care of themselves. The degree of need varies from some limited community support to full institutional care.

 So why the hell is this realm of government programming so chronically underfunded?

 Crime and homelessness are constantly issues that people are concerned about. Unfortunately the solution always appears to be blind spending. For a person with a mental disability, affordable housing is not going to be of aid. New expensive downtown public washrooms will not help these people nor will expansion of homeless shelters. What is required are programs suited to helping these people based on the unique challenges that they face.

 Sadly, facilities such as the The Vocational and Rehabilitation Research Institute do not provide for the photo-op ribbon cutting ceremonies that new public toilets and expansions of homeless shelters provide. Such help for people is complicated and not romantic thus gets ignored by politicians.

 Decades ago a misguided initiative of deinstitutionalization took off in general public policy. It was considered inhumane that some people be kept in institutions for life and many people have been tossed in the streets due to this. Many of those people never should have been discharged and many of these people are the ones we see covered in rags under our bridges. The number of beds in mental health facilities in Canada are now a fraction of what they used to be. That statistic is not a victory, it means that thousands of people were put out on the streets that never had the life-skills required in order to make it on their own.

 I am not fond of the NDP. They are far to the other side of the ideological spectrum from myself. Credit must be given to the Alberta NDP today though for their persistence in obtaining and exposing a damning report of the Progressive Conservative’s treatment of mental health needs in Alberta.

 As is all too common with our provincial government, they have acted very strongly to suppress information that they determine to be detrimental to the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta. A report entitled “Beyond Beds…to Balanced Care Mental Health” was commissioned and presented to Alberta Health and Wellness and the Alberta Mental Health Board in 2007 and was approved by the Steering Committee on Mental Health.

 The report then disappeared.

 Alberta Health and Wellness refused an access to information request by the NDP to see the report. Albertans paid for this report, why the hell can’t we see it? It took a leak (somebody, somewhere has a conscience) for the NDP to obtain the report.

 It is easy to see why the Progressive Conservatives wanted to hide that report. The report is very damning of the government and their complete inaction on mental health issues. It shows that Alberta has four times fewer mental health beds than the national average. The national average is too damn low as it is.

 Rather than act on shortcomings, our government works to hide them. The Stelmach government does not care about our most vulnerable in society, they simply want to remain in power.

 While on their decade long spending spree, the PC government has more than doubled provincial spending. While pissing away our tax-dollars to who knows where, the PC government was also starving our mental health programs to the point where Alberta is the shame of the country. How do we spend far more per-capita in Alberta than any other province yet have the least amount of mental health beds? What are the priorities of our government?

 It is past time to do more than pay lip-service to crime and homelessness in Alberta. How much improvement would we see in these areas if we invested in helping people with mental challenges instead of working to hide them? We will never know the answer to that as long as Ed Stelmach remains in power.

 Keep these thoughts in mind every time you see some poor soul dressed in rags while pushing a shopping cart and talking to themselves.

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