Ideology is the real issue.

Naheed Nenshi and peacock

April was an exceptional month of faux-outrage, hyperbole and a fabricated political controversy spurred on by none other than His Worship Mayor Naheed Nenshi himself. A grainy recording of a speech by a Cal Wenzel (founder of Shane Homes) in front of 150 attendees of an industry meeting (hardly a hidden conspiratorial group) was released to the media some months after the fact. In the secret recording, it was revealed that Wenzel did not like the direction that some members of council were going in and was encouraging others to use legal political means to try and facilitate the election of council members who have a more favorable outlook on the home development industry. There really was utterly nothing wrong with this and special interest groups have been participating in elections since the very beginning of elections.

This whole episode was really a non-issue until Mayor Nenshi spotted and took advantage of the opportunity to try and create local outrage against a well respected and established business in Calgary in hopes of polarizing the electorate in His Worship’s own favor. If nothing else, Nenshi has proven himself to be a canny political player if not a principled one. Nenshi even puffed up and scheduled a press conference where he reported that utterly nothing had changed aside from his remaining outraged that people in Calgary may hold a view differing from His. It was a striking spectacle indeed to watch our Mayor create such a fuss over so little.

An ongoing irritation over the course of this conceived dustup was the abuse of the word “partisan”. The Manning Institute was dragged into the whole affair as Wenzel had spoken of developers and homebuilders contributing to the institute to aid in the training of candidates. The manufactured indignation was repellent as “partisanship” was decried by our Mayor and his legion of hipsters supporting him on social media.

To begin with, there are no parties in civic politics in Alberta. While the word can be used in broad definitions, it really is not appropriate when speaking of Calgary civic candidates or interest groups. What we have happening in Calgary civic politics is a clash of ideologies which while more subtle, is far more concerning than partisanship will ever be.

To begin with, partisanship is not all that bad a thing and naturally evolves in every democracy whether people like it or not. While parties are usually founded and and run based on ideologies, the parties and party supporters themselves are often pragmatic and capable of changing their policies and ideologies when needed in order to represent the wishes of the electorate. Another advantage of parties is that the policies are usually documented and open as well as the formulation process of them.

The Alberta Party was built by Chima Nkemdirim (Naheed Nenshi’s Chief of Staff) to be a post-partisan party. What that contradiction meant was that the party would mask all forms of coherent policy through fluffy, broad and feelgood platitudes in hopes of masking the left-wing ideology of it’s supporters. It was recognized that Albertans soundly reject hard left wing policies at the polls so this consensus style party was created to try and slide their ideology past the electorate. With Nenshi’s unexpected win as Calgary’s Mayor, the Alberta Party lost the leader expected to take them to the 2012 election and Nkemdirim fled along with Nenshi into City Hall. By masking their partisanship and in having no real leadership, the Alberta Party fizzled to a dismal 1.3% finish in the 2012 Alberta provincial election. The voters were not fooled. Real partisanship has a role and the electorate demands it.

Part of why Nenshi has been decrying a non-existent partisanship within the Manning Insitute has been to mask the hypocrisy in his being a founder of and supported by CivicCamp which is an ideological special interest group that is trying to influence the Calgarian civil political government exactly as the Manning Institute is. Both groups are exactly the same in their basic nature, the only difference is a wide gap in the ideologies.

The Manning Institute is at least honest in their ideology. They say outright that they want to encourage and facilitate conservative policy in municipal politics. There is utterly nothing wrong with that.

CivicCamp on the other hand is very disingenuous in their goals. While they spit out the term “partisan” as a pejorative and try to paint themselves as being a democratic service in municipal politics, they are very clearly ideologically driven with some pretty distinct goals. CivicCamp takes strong and direct stands on policy initiatives such as the ideologically extreme PlanIt document which was spawned from the outright insane ImagineCalgary pap. If you are going to take direct policy stands as a group, you have moved well out of the public service role and right into ideologically driven advocacy. Again there is nothing wrong with this but CivicCamp should be more honest about what they are. Reading through the site quickly indicates the hard-left lean of the group.

CivicCamp carefully tries to avoid mention of the names of the people involved with them as well. One can hide the policies of the group but it is hard to hide the intent when the names of the founders can be seen. Just as the name Manning makes it clear that the Manning Institute is a conservative leaning group, the heavy involvement of occupy Calgary organizer and extreme left-wing activist Grant Neufeld in CivicCamp gives a strong indication of just how far out there the group’s ideology really is. Calling Neufeld a left-wing extremist is hardly an exaggeration when you consider that the guy wants to actually ban air-travel and compared people who use flight to travel to murderers. The hyperpartisan Green candidate for Calgary Centre (Chris Turner) is heavily involved with CivicCamp which is rather telling of the group’s nature as well.

Naheed Nenshi and his followers are ideologues and the clash that is happening in Calgary is ideological rather than partisan despite Nenshi’s attempts to deflect from that. There is an ideology that is heavily stuck on environmentalism, big intrusive government and massive increases of city density and it is pretty clear that Nenshi and some other council members are strong adherents to this ideology. This is not shadowy conspiracy, it is right in the open if people want to look at it. Nenshi helped build ImagineCalgary and the agenda is more than clear in that document. Hiring density zealots such as Rollin Stanley is among the least of the things Nenshi wants to do. Look at how fervently he wants broad municipal powers granted in a City Charter and to increase the taxation reach of the city. Nenshi needs these things if he hopes to meet the goals in ImagineCalgary.

Ideologues are inflexible and linear in the pursuit of their goals. They do not care about collateral damage on the way to what they see as an end and will stop at little to get there. Ideologues tend to be thin skinned when it comes to any critique of their agenda as was seen in Nenshi’s now legendary tantrum with a local developer.

Like it or not, we need parties and the partisanship that comes along with them. We need ideals and idealists too to set goals and broad agendas. Let’s call things what they are though and not try to hide agendas.

The only thing more troubling than an ideologue is one who is trying to hide their nature. Deflecting and pointing at the ideology of others while hypocritically pursuing one’s own ideology is hardly productive.

Among the buzzwords that have been so overused such as “vibrant” and “sustainable”  is the word “transparency”. Despite that word being used so much by our Mayor, we have more in-camera council meetings than ever and the top man seems to be anything but transparent in his ideology. That is unfortunate as the ideology is what it really is all about in the end.

 

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Appeasement no more!

It seems lately that we can hardly make it a week without seeing some illegal protesters costing taxpayers and workers untold dollars due to the growing Canadian cowardice in handling them. This week, we are watching the ongoing illegal blockade of a road to a DeBeers mine in Northern Ontario by some members of the grossly dysfunctional and likely totally corrupted Attawapiskat native band.  

Never mind that the road being blockaded does not even enter the Attawapiskat reserve. Never mind that DeBeers has hired hundreds of members of the Attawapiskat reserve over the years. Never mind the many many millions of dollars that DeBeers has paid to Attawapiskat in good faith to operate 90 kilometers away from the reserve. Never mind the free housing DeBeers donated to the reserve (which they trashed). A handful of natives feel that they have not extorted enough from a legitimate enterprise and dammit they are determined to block a road to the mine until they get more money for having drawn oxygen within extortion range of the enterprise!

With this clearly illegal extortion effort happening, what have we seen in response from Canadian authorities? Sadly and predictably pretty much nothing. After weeks of this a Sheriff has been flown out to present the illegal blockaders with a piece of paper which they promptly disposed of. In the meantime, untold dollars are being lost by a legitimate company. Authorities are essentially in collusion with the extortionists in their hopes that DeBeers will simply pay them off before any real law enforcement is required and will hide behind paper and sit on their cowardly hands in hopes that this becomes somebody else’s problem.

Few things make the collective testicles of authorities shrivel faster in all Canadian jurisdictions than having to deal with protesters. The knackers of officials suck totally into their figurative abdomens when it turns out that the protesters are natives.

Years of cowardly appeasement have put segments of people above the law as long as they are claiming to be protesting something. Never mind that there is no Charter right to illegal demonstrations. How many times do we need to cave to parasitic lawyers and waste the court’s time (and our money) to prove this? Does a police officer need to get an injunction for you or me should we say block the door to a 7-11? Of course not.

Despite what should be an almost self-evident reality in the limitations of legal demonstration, authorities use this fictional charter right to dodge doing their job and protesters and extortionists have figured this out quickly.

Let’s look at things from a protester’s point of view for a moment. Greenpeace is huge multinational corporation with tens of millions of dollars to spend annually. Despite that monstrous budget, Greenpeace would rather keep it’s professional fundraisers and protesters employed (not to mention highly paid management) than blow money on expensive advertising campaigns. At an economic summit in Calgary a couple weeks ago, for the price of a poorly made banner and a couple idiots holding it, Greenpeace managed to get free advertising throughout Canadian media as they illegally trespassed and disrupted a legitimate meeting. No charges were laid on the banner holders and they were escorted out at a cost to the local security and loss of the valuable time of legitimate meeting participants and viewers. At that cost, Greenpeace has been virtually invited to act illegally!

Why is it so hard to simply charge these people? Why so tough to issue fines?

Of course when somebody asks that the law be enforced on illegal protesters, some vapid clown will almost inevitably say: “Oh so you want police to just jump on in there and bust some heads!”.  No you figurative wanker! Heads need not be busted and nobody is proposing such.

In the fall of 2011, I set out to demonstrate the double standards of law enforcement when it comes to protesters when our callow authorities refused to remove illegal squatters from Calgary’s Olympic Plaza. As expected, I as a law abiding taxpayer was charged within hours of breaking the very bylaws that the illegal squatters were. Along with demonstrating the legal double standard though, I also (admittedly unintentionally) demonstrated how rationed law enforcement works.

Upon noticing that I was parked in such a way as to violate local bylaws, I was approached by bylaw officers and asked to move. No billyclubs, no teargas and no initial charges. I was simply and politely asked to move. I politely replied that I was not moving as I was exercising my right to express myself and like the squatters around me, I was above the law. The bylaw officers then called the police who arrived and politely asked me to move. I explained my position again and politely told them to pound sand. After much headscratching and many phone calls, the Calgary police decided to charge me with bylaw violation and to tow my truck. I was told of this and asked to leave my truck so that it may be towed. I asked what would happen if I refused to leave my truck. I was told that I would be forcefully removed and charged with criminal obstruction. At this point I decided I had made my point and left my truck voluntarily. Below one can see the collection of fines I acquired as my truck was towed away. Well worth a few bucks to make the point though.

tickets

 

Now was that all so hard? Did they have to beat my head? Did it cause a riot? There is utterly no reason that the same process can’t be used on other illegal activities.

As the “Idle No More” thing fell apart, their demonstrators felt they would hold one more earth shattering “day of action” last January. Roads from four directions were to be choked in Calgary during rush hour as masses of demonstrators illegally marched down them.

The reality was quite pathetic. Rather than thousands, the protesters numbered at best in the dozens. Police took the event very seriously (as they should) and had as many officers (if not more) on the ground as there were protesters along with a helicopter. Now with the dismal turnout, the protesters essentially narrowed their scope to coming from one direction rather than four and came up Macleod Trail.

As they numbered only in a few dozen, these demonstrators could very easily have simply walked along the sidewalk and made their point. Alas no, Calgary Police “negotiated” with them and not only allowed the illegal and un-permitted disruption of traffic in Calgary but facilitated it by blocking cars as can be seen below.

cowards

How much did it cost to appease this handful of directionless malcontents? How hard would it have been to simply tell them to stay on the damn sidewalk? This mess was brought about because cowardly authorities had let a handful of them block a bridge in the city only weeks earlier. Appeasement only leads to more lawbreaking.

The collective temper tantrum of Quebec students cost us $90,000,000 as taxpayers as authorities hid and kept trying to negotiate and appease this group of spoiled brats for months. The “occupy” joke caused likely millions of dollars in damages to parks across the country when combined along with millions in law enforcement costs.

Aside from the monetary costs, lets look at the resources. Personally, I would rather see police officers chasing down pedophiles or drunk drivers rather than babysitting screaming hipsters and whining natives. Our law enforcement resources are finite. When we dedicate time and people to these protesters, we lose law enforcement in other areas.

The tantrums and protests are getting more frequent and more destructive as while most of the participants are indeed idiots, they do understand that they can reap havoc with impunity in Canada. When will we hit a breaking point here? When will citizens staple some figurative cajones upon their elected officials and demand that our laws be enforced? I do think it will happen eventually, but can’t happen soon enough.

Appeasement is a policy of cowardice and failure. It has to stop.

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A real issue, the wrong approach.

While loafing around the house shaking off jet lag, I saw some tweets rambling about an issue developing on 17th ave SW in Calgary between a foodie group and Alderman John Mar on an empty property lot. I was of course compelled to jump in the jeep to pop down and have a look for myself.

Below is the one picture that I took from the protestor’s facebook page; “Potatoes for the PEOPLE”  The rest of the pictures in this posting are my own. The “No Trespassing” sign appears to have since disappeared or been covered and the presence of that sign is indeed at the crux of this issue.

Now there is indeed a real issue with abandoned lots and buildings in Calgary. Nobody wants to live next to or even near a derelict building or lot. Unmaintained spaces are magnets for crime and drug use and they simply are ugly to look at. Fire hazards, unsavory people and discarded drug paraphernalia all present potential dangers to people in areas with many derelict spaces in them.

A lady named Donna Clarke lives next to an empty lot and she has spearheaded a protest on this. As a resident of Highland Park in Calgary I really can sympathize with Ms. Clarke on this one. Due to parts of my neighborhood being in something of a development limbo (I expand on that a little here), we have a stretch of Center Street North that is loaded with houses in varying states of decay which has led to crime problems in our neighborhood and many new local hazards (it looks like crap too).

Below is a house in disrepair and likely soon to be condemned on Center Street.

Here is a house that has been condemned. It looks like a neighbor has taken advantage of this to park his work trucks. The house though is a firetrap and a magnet for crime. The picture was taken from a pair of empty lots from houses already condemned and torn down by the city.

 

On another pair of empty lots, people are taking advantage of the abandonment by using the sites as impromptu garbage dumps.

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I have taken and posted the above pictures to establish that I am very familiar with this sort of issue and do strongly feel that we need to work as a city to reduce and avoid the buildup of derelict properties in our city. It is a serious issue and it impacts all parts of the city.

Now I will have to give credit to Donna for how she has carefully and cleverly framed her protest about the abandoned lot next to her home. Donna has with volunteers placed and painted used tires throughout the lot and is planting potatoes in these makeshift planters which will theoretically be bound for food banks should they be allowed to reach a stage of harvest. This is clever in that her protest against an empty lot is now tied in with urban art and food issues. I am seeing currently on social media that Alderman John Mar is unfairly being accused of opposing feeding the hungry and supporting the arts due to his asking that the law be enforced on this trespass.

It makes it a lose/lose situation as Mar is being derelict in his duty as a city councilor if he looks the other way on lawbreaking and he is being criticised as a cruel man for doing his job in calling bylaw enforcement and the police to deal with the trespass.

In the background, volunteers can be seen painting the dilapidated and admittedly ugly fence in bright colors.

Now getting back to the first picture and where the real problem is in all this; it is private property that was clearly marked as a “no trespassing’ area.

Whether you like what a neighbor is doing with their property or not, it simply is not acceptable or legal to jump on to their property and change it to suit your own taste. While the brightly colored fence may appear better to most eyes, we can’t presume that the owner wants it that way. Admittedly the owner likely could not care less what color the fence is but that is not the point here; it is neither Donna’s nor anybody else’s for that matter. The fence along with the lot itself is private property meaning that only the owner has the right to determine the colors and utilization of the dirt.

The abandoned lot is an eyesore and again I sympathize with Donna in her disdain for it. She does indeed live right next door. Still this issue is not even close to being so pressing in that it justifies setting aside our very important laws against trespassing and property rights. While it can be frustrating and painfully slow, we must deal with these things legislatively and properly. While it may appear to be a harmless protest, vigilante spud-farming simply can’t happen for a myriad of reasons not the least of which the precedent it would set if allowed to occur on private property.

According to both Donna and Councilor Mar, the city has indeed been working on this issue. Not long ago the lot was occupied by a crack house that was eventually condemned and demolished. Apparently the landowner has been fined as well. The city is not ignoring this lot even if the process appears slow.

When I arrived at the site, Councilor Mar was there and was engaged in discussion with Donna Clarke as pictured below.

Agree or disagree with his approach, Mar is indeed going there in person and engaging. Donna is rational and personable as well. It is not like her and her volunteers are presenting some profound threat to society at large.

Now I am going to go into a bit of a slippery slope argument here and will detail why I think it is particularly justified in this case.

The third person that can be seen in the picture is Tavis Ford. Tavis was one of the more prominent participants in the “Occupy” Calgary protest where squatters set up camp in Olympic Plaza for months. Tavis is a bright and personable activist. It was sort of nice to have a brief chat with him today as opposed to our encounters in an environment that was rather more tense during the “Occupy” thing.

The presence of Tavis is significant in this circumstance. For those familiar with the Calgary “Occupy” group, go here to look at the people involved in this “Potatoes for the people” group.  For those not familiar with the names (I don’t blame you), what we can see listed there are pretty much all of the prominent activists and those who supported them in the Calgary “Occupy” protest last fall. I occasionally have a look into the “occupy” facebook group and it can be seen that the core supporters have been infighting and seeking a new cause to try and reignite what they put together last fall. In other words, these are people with nothing better to do than squat on land illegally and they will not hesitate to do so.

People are saying Councilor Mar acted too fast in calling bylaw enforcement for this trespass. I say we can’t act quickly enough. Rest assured, we are not far at all from having illegal tents popping up on this land and then the nightmare of removing squatters will quickly eclipse the current headache of removing some tires. This is a very very real possibility here.

Donna Clarke pointed out that next to the lot is an abandoned funeral home which has had to be boarded up repeatedly due to people breaking in. I took a picture of what appeared to be bullet holes in the top window of that building which unfortunately did not turn out. I can’t think of what else would make holes that high up on a building. Ms. Clarke told me of a recent stabbing nearby that could be related to the derelict properties. Donna Clarke’s issue is real and it needs to be addressed before things degrade further. I do hope that things change there soon.

That all being said, laws must be respected and enforced. I do hope the lot is cleared out ASAP. Trespassing is not the answer.

Update:

As Chris McMillan (provincial NDP candidate in Calgary Mountainview) has been debating with me claiming nothing was done wrong unless the owner had made a bylaw complaint, I thought I would nip that BS in the bud.

Trespassing is simply illegal. The owner does not need to be presentto prevent it. The property lines need to be clearly defined and signs clearly posted. The property in question is clearly fenced and was posted “No trespassing”

The law can be found here.

It may be noted that under subsection 3 (4) it is illegal to obscure a “no trespassing” sign as well.

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The squatting in Olympic Plaza has finally ended. Nothing was accomplished.

 With nearly two months of illegal squatting in a downtown Calgary park, the “occupy” Calgary squatters have finally packed up and gone home. No message was ever defined much less conveyed to the public at large. The only accomplishments really have been to have Calgary more clearly define the strength of bylaws should the city choose to enforce them.

 Some squatter supporters have been trying to save face and claiming that the activity spurred discussion. Really? Discussion of what? There was never a solid issue and there has never been real discussion. There have been strange demands made by crazy squatters and vague statements. Nothing specific was ever addressed through this exercise and there certainly was nothing that was settled. Serious discussions of issues existed before the squatting and will continue after the squatting. The squatting never aided in any discussion aside from wondering whether there is a Charter right to squat in city parks at expense to taxpayers (it was clearly determined that no such right exists).

Now I put this out to the squatters who now find themselves with even less to do; do you really want to accomplish anything? Do you want to take a path that really does spur discussion and impact decision making? Are there issues that you really want to see seriously discussed by the public and decision makers?

If the answers to any of the above are yes, then please read on while I explain how people can influence discussion and opinion in electoral politics. It allows me to do one of my favorite activities in that I will be tooting my own horn in providing real examples on how small but determined groups can influence politics on every level.

When I was in my 20s, I found myself frustrated with politics in Alberta. Our Prime Minister of the time (Jean Chretien) had won a strong majority in an electoral campaign that blatantly demonized my province and in which he never once even so much as set foot in Alberta. Chretien openly made statements about how he did not like dealing with Westerners and I felt that attitude had been embraced as Ontario and Quebec had given the Liberals of that time a strong mandate. I looked to the existing political vehicles and did not see any party that I felt was standing up for Western Canadian interests in a strong enough manner. Since no such party existed, I formed my own.

The Alberta Independence Party was a soft nationalist party that existed for less than a year overall. We never even managed to get officially registered as a party and we fell in apart for a number of reasons (not the least of which was my inexperience in leading a party). Despite such a short existence, in it’s time the AIP brought about both national and local discussion regarding Alberta’s role within confederation. Heated debates were had in the House of Commons as multiple MPs and Senator elects attended our founding convention. Suddenly Western alienation was a worthwhile discussion in Ottawa.

Provincially, an election was called within weeks of our founding convention as a party. Despite our lack of registration as a party and only a few more than a dozen declared candidates, the throne speech that was held just before the dissolution of the legislature took multiple shots at our small party and set the tone for the beginning of the election. Candidates across the province were questioned on their stances vs federal incursions on provincial jurisdiction. National and provincial news pundits wrote countless pieces on Western alienation, the causes of it and potential solutions for it and alienation was a top coffee shop discussion around the province.

Despite this attention to the issue, as I said the party did not last long after the provincial election. We had made a mark though and had definitively had an impact on discussion and decision making.

My main point here is that in the partisan world, measurable accomplishments can be attained even without being in an electable position.

Now again to the squatters, one thing you do have is a common social group even if your specific goals are tough to define. You can turn something productive from this last couple months through keeping your group and moving into the realm of electoral politics if you choose to. All of the information required for founding a political party can be found at the Elections Alberta website.  I have always found Elections Alberta to be excellent and very helpful in guiding one through the process.

There are some attitudes and ideas that will need to be shed by you if you are going to go this route however. I will list them below.

Public Opinion Matters!

Had the occupy squatter movement gained even a measurable 15% of strong support within the city of Calgary I assure you guys that your encampment would still actually exist as our elected city officials would not dare alienate a group like that. 15% is well within electoral spoiler numbers and no politician wants to go out of their way to cause a bloc of people like that to take their support elsewhere.

 Along with a degree of support, the direction and momentum of the support is important. The Alberta Independence Party at it’s very best was probably only appealing to perhaps 15% in some selected constituencies. That number grew fast however and had potential to get larger. Any MLA who had won their seat with any less than a 20% lead had to at the very least pay attention to us. The best way to undercut us was to embrace at least some of our sentiment. Again, goals were being accomplished. They wanted to ensure that our numbers stopped growing.

 The “occupy” Calgary group clearly saw public support eroding pretty much essentially since it’s inception. Incident after episode caused people almost daily to turn against the movement even had they been sympathetic before. Instead of being concerned with this drop in public support, what we saw mostly from the group was an attitude of “FU, we don’t care what you think.”. Well you should have cared guys. As it became clear that the support trend was going downward, city officials felt more emboldened in taking action to end your demonstration.

 As I demonstrated, you can come from a small minority position in general support yet still have an impact on policies, discussion and decision makers. You will not be able to do so though until you realize and accept that a degree of dedicated public support is essential to your cause.

Find, define and promote a message!

The shotgun approach to issues was a great part of the occupy undoing. Constantly people pointed out that when one asks 10 “occupiers” what the issue is they get 11 answers. That is laughed off and it is often pointed out in an almost arrogant manner that this consensus model is what it is all about and only fools should be asking for or expecting specifics.

 Well kids, you need to get over that concept. Months have been wasted and still nobody knows what you even stood for. You can’t claim that discussion was inspired when you can’t even define the issue.

 Part of why myself and others have been able to so consistently beat the hell out of you guys in discussion is that you have allowed us to frame the entire debate. When you refuse to define yourselves, rest assured somebody will do it on your behalf and as you know, folks like me were not kind in making our definitions.

 Think of it this way kids. You had been squatting for a couple weeks and nobody could figure out what point you were trying to make. I parked my truck there in counterprotest, made the point that a double standard existed in law enforcement and set the entire discussion of the whole thing for the rest of the movement on being about the “right” to squat in a park illegally. One man did that in one afternoon with a plan and a solid message.

 The Alberta Independence Party had what I still think to be a very good and comprehensive policy book. Despite that, the reality was that at best we were only considered an authority on issues of provincial alienation. We accepted and worked with that. Nobody came to us to hear what we thought of healthcare provision, but we found our way into the discussion when we pointed out the federal shortcomings in funding transfers to healthcare (particularly when compared with federal funding for Quebec). We were single issue in many ways but we found ways to apply our views and make ourselves a group worthy of consideration on more diverse views.

 While literally hundreds of issues exist, voters realistically are only closely watching perhaps a half-dozen issues and they base their electoral decisions on those views. Fight it out guys and find your common ground. Identify five solid issues and stake your ground on them. Become experts on those issues and make yourselves the authority on them. Learn to apply those five issues to broader issues as I did with provincial alienation. Then people will come to you and if you do it right, they will stay with you.

You need the media!

Yes the media is often biased. The media can be fickle and they can be nasty. You don’t need to even like the media but you had better damn well learn that they are essential to you if you want to influence public opinion and decision making whether in electoral politics or in any other form of activism. The majority of people on all ends of the political spectrum get their information from the “corporate media” and they base their views on that information. To shun this is nothing shy of idiocy.

 I saw and documented many forms of idiocy from the “occupy” Calgary crowd. One that definitely made the top 5 though was yesterday’s stupid press conference stunt. To get media together for an event and then walk away refusing to comment was petty, pointless and to be blunt just bloody stupid. You don’t have to pursue the media or kiss their butts, but to go out of your way to piss them off is just dumb. Believe it or not, those reporters do have better things to do. What few may have been even a tiny bit sympathetic to you disappeared yesterday morning after that stunt. When you already know that they can be biased, why purposely turn that bias against yourself?

 I led a soft-nationalist party. I was attacked and abused from editorialists from across the country. I was mocked by some and outright attacked by others. The CBC was particularly skilled in their patronizing and belittling coverage of us. I did not let this stop me from doing interviews. I certainly did not lash back. It was pointless.

 As I said, the CBC was terribly rough on me.  I recall doing a Newsworld interview where the host just pummelled me for the entire thing. I felt out right lashed and exhausted after that loaded interview. After the interview, our phone rang off the hook and memberships poured in. Don’t underestimate the public’s ability of seeing through the bias. The interview got our message out to a whole new group of people and we gained support despite the bias.

I remember one Globe and Mail piece that began with “Cory the Kid and his pipsqueak party held a convention in Red Deer last weekend.” After that opening sentence, the editorial began to get rough and patronizing with me. After our founding convention the Globe dedicated three days of editorials explaining to Canada why our party didn’t matter. We never could have bought such advertising. While rarely was there ever a favorable article about us, the support through contributions, volunteers and memberships continued to grow as people got familiar with us.

 I am not of the view of any press being good press. If they are reporting on something idiotic that has been done by you, then you simply will look more the idiot for the coverage. Bias however is not always all that harmful even if it irritates. As long as you are somewhat solid in your message, you can and will withstand the slant.

 Don’t forget, the media needs you too. Put yourself in the shoes of a reporter. You have a deadline and you need something interesting to write about. You need quotes and interviews to make your piece stand out and be unique in presenting information to people. Rest assured, reporters don’t get far by figuratively beating the piss out of everybody they interview. They will not get further quotes and information from people for long with that approach. Set aside the paranoia and address them guys. You need each other.

Get a leader!

Every movement/party needs a leader/spokesperson. I know the “occupy” thing was supposed to be leaderless. Well it showed. Along with a consistent message, you need a consistent voice/face presenting it or it will be forgotten and lost.

One of the reasons that the Alberta Independence Party took off for the period that it did was because they had a dashing and well spoken young man who people could comfortably approach and get statements from. It was tougher to stereotype us as old white Christian men as people often did with Reform when the leader was a twenty-something, outspoken social liberal and agnostic who was of mixed ancestry. No leaderless group can dodge such pidgeonholing without having a leader to counter it.

 People and press need a consistent face representing the movement as much as they need a consistent message. The leader need not be a dynamo or saint. The leader simply needs to be consistent, know the issues and be at least a bit sane (may be tough for the last part).

 Is the goal change? Do you really want to see serious discussion? Do you want to impact decision making? Again I strongly suggest that you take the tips above to heart. A small group can have a large impact if things are done right.

 Even if your goals are simple selfish bragging rights. Lets look at a comparisons of outcomes.

One day I will be able to tell my grandkids that I formed and led a political party that caused national discussion of Alberta’s role within confederation and set the tone for an entire provincial election.

One day our “occupy” Calgary squatters will be able to tell their grandkids that they alienated the entire city of Calgary and will be forever be remembered for pooping in a park.

 Which outcome do you prefer?

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They will not go willingly.

Now and then I see the odd person commenting or tweeting saying that if we simply ignore the “occupy” Calgary squatters that they would go away. Alas were it only that simple.

For one thing, that would set a terrible precedent. A group of people have purposely broken our laws, damaged our public property, disturbed neighbors and displaced other users from what is supposed to be a public space. Are we to allow this every time that a small collection of people wants to hold a public tantrum without a cause? Rest assured they will.

Nenshi and some others were hoping that cold weather would do the job that City officials lack the courage to do. Sadly, despite temperatures plunging a few weeks ago the squatters still remain. Two were injured when a tent caught fire due to a person trying to warm himself with a candle though. We may see a lawsuit out of that yet as the squatters feel that taxpayers are responsible for that fire. Cold weather will not dislodge the squatters.

Not only are the squatters not leaving, they are actually growing in numbers as squatters that were evicted from other cities are actually converging on Calgary. Yes, being the last major city in Canada (almost in all of North America) lacking the balls to evict their illegal squatters has actually led to our becoming a destination. Layabouts and whining entitled bums are coming to Calgary to suckle on the tax-funded teat that Nenshi has so generously provided.

Rather than kick out our squatters like other wise cities have, Calgary has opted to beg and grovel with ongoing negotiations and offers to the squatters hoping that they give Olympic Plaza back to taxpayers. My better half covered that on her fine blog along with many other nuggets of discussion from the squatters.

Considering that the city’s attorney had her ass handed to her in court by a crazy old man and a volunteer fired and hired again non-lawyer, I guess I can see some of the cities fears here. One of the discussions by the squatters that Jane posted on her blog showed the squatters actually confused and wondering what the bar association was. Despite demonstrating utterly no legal knowledge, this group of clowns managed to own the City of Calgary retained lawyer in last Friday’s hearing as the city vainly (so far) sought an injunction to remove the illegal squatters.

I swear City Hall found Lionel Hutz’s sister. I hope that they are not paying much for this “service” at least though that is a faint hope.

The biggest error being made by people who think that the squatters may simply leave on their own is that people are assuming that these squatters are rational in any way. I guess folks can’t be blamed. Many people have better things to do than go down to meet the squatters in person to realize just how disconnected from reality these guys are.

That is part of why I take and post videos of these nuts. People can see just how crazy our squatters are without subjecting themselves to the verbal abuse (and nasty aromas) that I did.

Below is a video of “occupy” Calgary spokesperson Aaron Doncaster as he tries to tell a passerby that the city was criminally responsible for the tent fire that burned two people. If Doncaster’s loony ramblings don’t manage to convince you of his lunacy, check out the skirt he is wearing. Nobody in their right mind would try to wear that skirt with those boots. They clash and it is a crime against fashion at the very least.

Next up is “occupy” Calgary martyr and hero; Sarah Scout. Scout’s infantile behavior is typical of her as I have had the displeasure of encountering her at the squatter camp on a number of occasions. Her disconnect with reality and gross sense of entitlement and victimhood are nothing less than profound.

Police approached Sarah who became immediately belligerent forcing them to arrest her for criminal obstruction. Apparently she had a past warrant as well.

Watch that video. Note the incredibly terrible acting as Sarah tries to force some sort of incident where she could claim police brutality. Only her awful rendition of the national anthem eclipses those rotten acting skills that convinced only her delusional comrades that she is some sort of victim.

The members of the Calgary Police Service deserve a commendation for their patience and gentle treatment of Scout as she resisted.

Now in watching these videos, do you really think that these are the sort of people who simply will go away if ignored? Any rational protestors left weeks ago. These squatters will not be going anywhere until we actually physically have them removed. To try and wait it out simply won’t work and it really is a cowardly approach in an ordered society.

If the videos are not enough, again I strongly recommend that you visit Jane’s blog to see more of what these people have to say in their own words.

You can’t reason with the irrational.

Lets take back our park!! I do hope that the courts rule soon and we get this long overdue action over with.

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SQUAT BE GONE!!

Have you found your park spaces suddenly overrun with squatters?


Can you no longer enjoy lunch in the park without being accosted by hippies, hipsters, bored suburban kids and communists?

Does your dog now hate trips to the park for fear of stepping in the feces left between the tents of un-housebroken squatters?

Are you tired of seeing your very flag disrespected along with public property through vandalism and defacement?

Does your mayor cower in abject terror at the prospect of taking a leadership role and enforcing common city laws?

Well folks, have no fear!!!

SQUAT BE GONE

 IS HERE!!

 

 Fear not weary taxpayer. Just call 1-800-END-POOP to speak with one of our representatives so that we may get to work on ending your infestation as quickly as possible. One of our teams can be at your location within hours and will immediately begin implementing our special patented squatter elimination process.

 We do like to be as humane as possible in our squatter control. We begin using methods of repellant in order to drive away some of the less entrenched squatters.

 Years of careful research have proven that the concept of work in itself can drive many a squatter into the fetal position in terror.

 Carrying signs and application forms, our trained professionals will circle the park repeatedly while trying to engage squatters in impromptu job interviews. This method has been proven to reduce squatters by as much as 25% as many retreat in terror back to their parent’s basements.

At the “occupy” Calgary site, even stubborn squatter James (I don’t work man!) Bullock (in video below) vanished after having been offered a job by Richard Evans as seen on CTV. Jobs horrify squatters every time.

As is evident in any squatter infestation, many squatters decline all forms of personal hygiene thus rendering themselves completely unemployable. This reduces their fear of  gainful employment and makes these ones more difficult to dislodge.

 Thankfully, soap is to squatters as sunlight to vampires. When our cleaning crews arrive, many more squatters will flee. The remainder will smell marginally better at least.

Those squatters who have endured the prior two repelling measures are clearly being driven by strong and misplaced idealism. Gilbert Gottfreid will be brought in to repeatedly recite John Galt’s radio speech from Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged in those soothing tones that only Gilbert can produce.

 Some squatters will run screaming from the common sense being recited. A few others may find enlightenment and suddenly seek a productive life. Rand is good that way.

 While the above measures are effective in reducing squatter populations, like crab-lice “occupy” squatters tend to cling and make themselves difficult to remove.

 The remaining squatters will be trapped in as humane a manner as possible with targetted trap sites.

 The hipster trap has proven very effective for the suburban kid crowd and the crazy conspiracy spouting college professor crowd. Trap baits can be changed to suit needs with pot, patchouli and granola until all remaining squatters have been live-trapped.

 With another wash and a spay or a neuter our problem squatters are now readly to be loaded on to our first class transport to ship them to their new home.

 Yes, your squatters will be released to roam free in their natural habitat within North Korea!!

 Kim Jong-il will be more than happy to add all these fine healthy suburban kids to his happy family in the worker’s paradise of North Korea.

 The squatters will finally get to experience that wonderful equitable society that they purport to support and you will regain use of your public space.

WIN! WIN!

Be sure to call soon!

 Our 10th lucky caller gets a free park disinfecting!!

You could die of old age waiting for city action or a court ruling so act now!

No actual squatters were harmed in the making of this blog post. (except maybe some feelings)

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One more down. Now arrest the rest of them will you?

I have to give CPS a giant thumbs up for the professionalism and patience they displayed while arresting this very uncooperative criminal squatter at Olympic Plaza.

We can see what strategy remains to these desperate and dwindling squatters. They have lost all credibility with Calgarians over the last month with their actions from flag defacement to defecation in the park to stealing electricity from Calgarian taxpayers. Now these guys simply hope to get arrested so that they can play victims.

The squatters had better hope that when their much overdue mass-arrest arrives that they are better actors than Ms Scout in the video below as she unconvincingly pretends that she is being harmed while she resists arrest. As is noted in the Herald and seen on the video, the officer could fit a finger within the handcuff and Scout’s claims of bleeding were simply bull.

Kicking, screaming and whining our occupiers shall go. I expect they will be arrested sometime this coming weekend after yet another Canadian judge affirms that there indeed is still no Charter right to squat in a park. They likely will follow Scout’s example through resisting arrest and then falsely claiming brutality. The truth has never really been a goal with the “occupy” Calgary squatters.

Something that really demonstrates the disconnect from reality that the squatters and their few supporters have is the fact that it was squatter supporters who posted this video. They really think this video will earn them sympathy and that it displays police brutality.

Below is a quote from “occupy” Calgary representative Brent Talbot speaking on their facebook group. He implies that Scout was racially profiled and was “brutely” arrested for no reason.

Brent Talbot :
I am calling for a movement of our Occupation to CPS as we just had one of our members racially profiled and brutely removed for sitting quietly and having a conversation. We have had a constant presence of Bylaw and CPS, since we’ve been under media blackout!!

Again total departure from the truth. Sarah Scout had existing warrants for her arrest for some prior offenses. She then gained herself an obstruction charge for refusing to give her name to a peace officer (likely to try and hide from her arrest warrants) and then she topped it off with the charge of resisting arrest which we can see is well justified in the video.

There is no “media blackout” either. There simply has not been much of note to cover aside from there still being squatters polluting and damaging our park. That can only be repeated so many times as we wait for the city to gain the courage to evict them.

It is long overdue that we scrape the remnants of the occupy movement from our park. We can see that these illegal squatters will resist but what other course have they left us all?

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Thieving squatters!!

 

Well the City of Calgary keeps giving them inches and the squatters keep taking miles (as can be expected).

Despite every other major city in Canada having gotten rid of their squatters (with no Charter problems), Calgary officials are still completely terrified to enforce our bylaws.

Well, emboldened by the lawless state that the city has granted them the “occupy” Calgary squatters have now taken to stealing our electricity.

In the discussion from their facebook site below, we can see them happily bragging that they now have hotplates and heat in their little illegal camp in Olympic Plaza.

The squatters destroy the bathroom at Olympic Plaza, the City gives them porta-potties on the taxpayers (though the squatters still poop on the ground).

Now things are getting cool out, so the city is turning a blind eye while the squatters steal electricity from us.

How much was your electric bill last month? Perhaps you should send it to Nenshi and say you are expressing yourself thus are entitled to free power on the taxpayers.

We won’t enforce bylaws. How about criminal laws then? Theft is still a crime is it not?

Just because it is there, it does not mean that one can simply take it. By that logic they can begin to steal and sell park benches and other fixtures simply because they were not fastened down securely enough.

In the discussion below, it can be seen that a couple of them understand that this is wrong. Most appear happy to continue to steal from Calgary taxpayers however and clearly will continue to do so until the law is enforced. That is the nature of their blind entitlement.

It can be seen in this discussion that the squatters had already had one problem when they tried to steal power from Teatro restaurant before.

Is it enough for law enforcement to move in yet Nenshi? Chief Hanson? Do they have to begin stealing from our very houses next?

The transcript below is directly quoted from the Occupy Calgary Facebook organizational site.

Henyk Szydlowski
WE HAVE ELECTRICITY AT THE CAMP!!! HOTPLATES, SPACE HEATERS, (electric)BLANKETS, GLOVES, HOT MEALS ARE STILL BEING ACCEPTED AND APPRECIATED. BRING A PAINTED STONE, FAKE FLOWERS, HOLIDAY LIGHTS, ANYTHING.. LET’S MAKE THE PARK BEAUTIFUL FOR FRIDAY AND SHOW THE PUBLIC WE AREN’T ANIMALS… ? LOVE YOU ALL ?
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LikeUnlike · ·Unfollow PostFollow Post · 4 hours ago near Calgary

8 people like this.

Henyk Szydlowski bump
3 hours ago · LikeUnlike

Rob Green bump?
3 hours ago · LikeUnlike

Mandi Schrader:
How did you get electricity?
3 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 1Loading…

Mark as Spam
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Henyk Szydlowski:
they tuned it on.. for the cristmas lights and decoration.. they are aware that we are using it and haven’t batted an eye lash.
3 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 1Loading…

Rob Green what’s bump?
3 hours ago · LikeUnlike

Mandi Schrader:
Bump means you have no comment but want to push the post higher on the page.
3 hours ago · LikeUnlike

Kym Chi:
Is the christmas tree still there?? Please place notes of wishes and hopes for a better world on it 🙂 ? It will go well with the new christmas theme of the park!
3 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 1Loading…

Christopher Fox McMillan:
In really hope we’re not taking it without paying, cause thats stealing, and one of the things that got us into trouble with Teatro a few weeks back
3 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 3Loading…

Michael Belanger:
If anyone has talked to any city worker on this and has contact info where we could send funds to….not be stealing….I’m all for pitching in some change 🙂
3 hours ago via mobile · LikeUnlike · 2Loading…

Mandi Schrader:
I thought Teatro agreed to provide power?
3 hours ago · LikeUnlike

Henyk Szydlowski:
?Christopher Fox McMillan, officers of both cps and bylaw have seen us using it and said nothing of the like. As well, 95% of the city’s electricity comes from wind farming south of the city.. and being that we are taxpaying citizens of said city we are well within our rights to use what’s there.. it would be absolutely stupid not too.
3 hours ago · LikeUnlike

Henyk Szydlowski:
Let not turn this into some silly semantic argument.. we are cold hungry, now we have means to cook and stay warm SAFELY!!
3 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 1Loading…

Henyk Szydlowski:
?+ they can’t file ANY new evidence on damages and costs because the matter is already been filed.. so chances are they will simply just say whatever.. they aren’t bothering us at all anymore because they’re sure we’re out on friday.. enjoy the moment.
3 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 3Loading…

Ben Kendrick:
?90% of calgarys electricity come frim oil and gas not wind. Nice idea though.
3 hours ago via mobile · LikeUnlike

Nicole RunningRabbit:
Exactly, Henyk. to finally have some human rights to running water in the bathrooms during park hours, power for heaters & cooking fresh food & keeping surfaces disinfected w/hot water & bleach is a MIRACLE.

Please don’t rain on our parade today.

People @ camp deserve a break.

i Love You, my dear occu-sisters, occu-brothers, occu-lovers & occu-haters. 😉 sick in bed today & i miss You all very much.
3 hours ago via mobile · LikeUnlike · 2Loading…

Henyk Szydlowski:
Thank you Nicole, get well soon..! ?
3 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 1Loading…

Henyk Szydlowski bump
3 hours ago · LikeUnlike

Henyk Szydlowski:
Hey John Johnson, quit being a nay-sayer and let us have this one alright…
3 hours ago · LikeUnlike

John Johnson:
I nay say nay about this.
3 hours ago via mobile · LikeUnlike · 4Loading…

Ben Kendrick:
Hope you can keep the electricity.
2 hours ago via mobile · LikeUnlike

Christopher Fox McMillan:
I am glad we now have access to electricity thats excellent. but when people looking from the outside see us taking electricity which we aren’t paying for when we have the ability to do gives credence to their calls of get the thieving hippies out. It puts truth to their words that we are costing them money, and it feeds into the negative feedback loop that is our critics. I don’t want to give them any more firepower than they already have

Electricity is not free, it takes things to produce (whether it be windmills or dead dinosaur plants), and those things cost money.
2 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 2Loading…

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Chris A Hooymans:
Please do not waste power on Christmas lights.
2 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 3Loading…

MissConny Kavela:
GREAT NEWS!! ?
about an hour ago via mobile · LikeUnlike

Jan Bacon:
agreed, the electricity is *not* free, I will not be party to theft, even from the City. So far Occupy has done nothing illegal, just civil disobedience. I think it will just rub salt into open sores. Beautifying can be done with more coloured ice, flowers, sparkly garlands and cards and notes…etc… coming down (hugs)
about an hour ago · LikeUnlike

Ben Kendrick:
They might bring it up in court.
about an hour ago via mobile · LikeUnlike

Chris A Hooymans:
Surreptitious use to charge phones or to boil some tea would be probably be okay, but setting up a Christmas display might be pushing it somewhat.
45 minutes ago · LikeUnlike

Wendy Pergentile:
I suggest not using it unless you have permission from the City. They may need electricity there at this time, however, they may be setting you all up for more trouble.
28 minutes ago · LikeUnlike
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I am an artist! No handouts required thanks.

Thanks to the occupy movement, a common theme in political discussion lately has been entitlement. The complainers squatting in our city park and the keyboard quarterbacks who support and enable the squatters regularly display an astonishing level of entitlement and an almost complete lack of any sense of personal responsibility for anything. Those two traits often go hand in hand of course.

Few can demonstrate a sense of entitlement better than some elements of Canada’s arts community. The lobbying is endless and it is essentially implied that all forms of art will simply wither and die without massive subsidies from taxpayers.

I contend that the over-subsidization of forms of art actually reduces the quality of the art itself. I blogged on this a few years ago and detailed some of the wonderful productions we have seen with tax-funded art.

To go further, I can demonstrate first hand that art can and does exist without a dime of tax funding.

I spent three winters in Canada’s Arctic working on oil and gas exploration programs. I was always impressed by some of the fine carvings produced by the Inuit and Inuvialuit people up there. One season I decided to try my own hand at carving upon returning home. I already had some means for stonework due to having done some fossil restoration work and  gem cutting so aside from some more specialized rasps and some rough material, my investment was little.

With a great deal of dust, countless failed efforts and many pounds of wasted rock I began to produce some reasonably acceptable sculptures. I generally stuck to wildlife and native themes as they were what I was familiar with and they were what were popular sellers at the outlet in Canmore that began to carry my pieces. Sales were sporadic but carvings did sell for a modest price and I was simply happy to see that some people were willing to spend a few bucks to own some work done by a middling artist like myself.

The last few years have not left me much time for carving. I sold all but the carving pictured below so that is all that I can display here.

I decided one weekend to let go with a large piece of stone and to simply see where it took me. I clearly had something on my mind that weekend but I simply could not put my finger on it. Either way, my imagination produced the freeform abstract piece pictured below. I felt that Jane was my inspiration for this one so instead of selling it like all the others I kept it and gave it to Jane.

Jane muttered something about Freud and gave the carving a spot of prominence in her office.

Now as can be seen, I am not going to be a master sculptor. I sold some carvings and made a few bucks and I am happy with that. There is simply a combination of a lack of demand and a lack of skill on my part to make a living through the carving. I can accept that. Sure I would rather spend my days working on my own schedule and carving what I please. That simply isn’t in the cards for me so I make my living in the energy sector while I enjoy myself carving and making a few extra bucks now and then.

I like to think I am no less an artist than any other. I create for my own enjoyment and I hope that some others enjoy what I have created. Is that not what it is all about? Well, this sort of creation is clearly quite possible without government subsidy.

Now for contrast, let me introduce you to a Calgarian artist named Len Cochrane. There are countless artists in Calgary of course. The reason I am singling out Len here is that Len has been a prominent, belligerent and abrasive supporter of the “occupy” Calgary squatters on social media. Len is one of those who attacks all who question the squatters, yet can’t be bothered to put his own butt on the line and camp down there himself as far as I can tell.

Len also displays that great sense of victimhood, entitlement and bitterness that our local squatters and some of the arts community hold in such a clear manner that I could not find a better example to demonstrate just who is demanding tax funding for arts. Below is a snap from Len’s website where in a couple sentences we pretty much see what it is all about.

OK, in the first part of his FAQ Len advises all starting artists to quit while they are ahead and implies that Canada does not support artists. I am not sure how much support it will take for artists to feel supported but clearly it has not been enough for poor Len here.

According to  Stats Canada, governments on all levels spent a cumulative total of almost $10 billion on culture in 2008-2009. It has only gone up since. Culture covers a broad range of things of course. As the site points out, much of it is in parks and broadcasting. Broadcasting has been used a great deal in the promotion and display of our arts of course particularly through our $1.2 billion per year behemoth called the CBC. Museums, galleries and events are all promoted through the culture department. Rest assured, billions are being spent on the arts.

On the private level a similar level is directed at Canadian arts. Many large corporations sponsor countless events and venues. The squatters may note that they are camped next to the Epcor center for performing arts. Large corporations commission and purchase millions in art every year too. Then there are the millions and millions of dollars spent by individual Canadians purchasing everything from $10 handmade keychains to seven figure paintings and everything in between.

So how much would it take before poor Len feels that the arts are supported in Canada? $15 billion? $20 billion?

Is it really a case that the arts are not supported in Canada or is it simply a case that Len’s art has not seen any direct support?

From what can be gathered from the website, it looks like Len has been a victim of the police and health services due to an apparent basement tattoo parlour. Of course Len feels he has done nothing wrong and claims that police and health services corruption are what got him. It was all a conspiracy to shut him down.

There are reasons for health regulations Len. Tattooing involves piercing people’s flesh repeatedly with a needle. If somebody is going to charge for that service, yes I expect a degree of regulation to be involved. Were you claiming the revenues from that operation by the way? One wouldn’t like to think that you were withholding income taxes that should go towards other starving artists.

Every self-styled starving artist has a story to tell and excuses to be made. Art like everything else requires dedication and hard work for success in most cases. That is the true hurdle that holds back many of these entitled artists.

The world does not owe us a living in whatever endeavor that we choose. So you want to make a living painting? Good for you. I hope it all works out. In the meantime instead of whining and blaming the world for your woes how about getting a job and paying your own way until your art blossoms?

I met an unlikely sort of fellow last year who was pumping gas at a Medicine Hat gas station. He was an interesting little fellow and was always practicing on his well-worn violin when cars were not about. He had travelled the year before to Montreal where he met some other kindred souls. They formed a group, all chipped in and had a CD pressed with some of their music. A local artist designed a very funky jacket for it too. He sold me a copy for $15 and then went on to the next gas customer. The music was interesting but not to my taste. All the same, I have no regrets on that small purchase. That fellow was overjoyed with the sale of the CD. I could tell that his joy was not so much for the $15, but simply that somebody would listen to what he and his friends produced.

That man is an artist and I have nothing but respect for him. Instead of sitting, begging and making excuses he went out and had his product produced. He works to pay his bills and works to spread his art at the same time. He is a true artist in every sense.

To the other artists who do nothing but complain and expect success handed to them I say the same thing that I always do when I encounter them: “No thank you. I don’t want fries with that.”

 

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Entitled!

There are so many adjectives that help describe our “occupy” Calgary squatters from bitter to lazy to unwashed. Entitled really does encapsulate their attitude most effectively though (envious is a close second).

What has me going this time is a series of comments that have been submitted by a visitor to my blog over the last week or so. I do indeed moderate the comments on this blog and with good reason. Hardly a day goes by where somebody does not try to place an obscenity laced tirade in the comment section of one of the postings. Other postings can be prone to being libelous and others simply don’t make sense. I have not, do not, and will not allow that crap on my blog.

What is outstanding recently though is that one persistent “occupy” Calgary supporter wrote a very long and detailed piece in my comment section last week. The diatribe had to be at least a couple thousand words and went everywhere from some semi-coherent arguments in favor of the squatters residing in Olympic Plaza to some oddball conspiracy theories about corporations. It was clear though that this person had taken their time to lay out their case to present on my site. Unfortunately this fool prefaced the piece with two paragraphs that were intent on questioning my mental well-being and the size of my genitalia.

To confirm by the way, yes I am a little crazy and I am not exceptionally endowed in the reproductive sense.  These questions were clearly on top of the mind of my commenter.

Either way, I deleted the comment out of hand. I do allow contrary opinion in the comments area but really have little time for the personal insults. Since then though I have had almost daily comments from this person demanding that I post their comment. This person has become increasingly agitated claiming that I have violated their free speech and that I absolutely must post their opinion in my comments. I was told that it is unfair that I only allow my own view and that I should be less biased.

I was content to enjoy the daily ravings while envisioning this squatter supporter sitting in Mom’s basement furiously and indignantly typing as I continued to ignore the daily demands. I swear I could almost hear the tortured keyboard crying for mercy as it was beaten by fat entitled fingers.

The last comment crossed a line however and I have been forced to address the commenter. In the last comment it was mentioned that I and my site have gained a degree of profile from the whole “occupy” thing and I have a “social obligation” to allow counterpoints to my postings on this site.

Well alas, that comment caused me to let out a snorting laugh which in turn led to a mouthful of Balvenie Doublewood evacuating from my nostrils.

Two terrible crimes happened here. One: my poor nostrils were burned terribly. Two: some fine single-malt was outright wasted. Both are unforgivable crimes.

Now lets get some things straight. I owe no “social obligation” to anybody on this site. The only thing I owe on this site are the payments for hosting and domain registration. I own this place lock, stock and barrel and can post (or not post) whatever the hell I want and I will continue to do so.

The squatters and their supporters continually and mistakenly ramble on with their misguided interpretations of our rights. One right the squatters continually overlook is that of private property! Look up on your screen dear squatters and read the domain URL. It is indeed http://www.corymorgan.com The domain is not http://www.FreeForAllOpinions.com or http://www.PointCounterPoint.com It is simply named after myself as this is the sandbox where I have staked my opinionated ground.

I am under no obligation to be unbiased and I am under no obligation to be nice. I don’t recall ever having claimed to be either of those things anyway.

Your speech dear squatter is not being hindered by my refusal to post your comments. You are free to speak and say whatever you like. You just can’t do it here.

Our squatters and their supporters need to quit trying to take our Charter rights as blind absolutes to the point on infringing on the rights and comfort of others. We see that here as my property rights are ignored and we see it in Olympic Plaza as park users are displaced and taxpayers foot the bill for a collection of fools squatting in tents.

If you squatters want a voice here is what  you need to do. Quit sitting and whining in the park. Go out and join the rest of our Liberal Arts graduates in the barista trade. With a few weeks and a few hundred smiley faces drawn in lattes, you should have more than enough money to buy your own domain and write whatever you like upon it. Perhaps http://www.TheWorldOwesMeSomething.com or http://www.DirectFromMomsBasement.com or something of the sort. Rest assured, you will not get an unhindered soapbox at http://www.corymorgan.com

Thousands of people have been coming here and reading my reflections on my visits to the “occupy” Calgary squatter site on numerous occasions. I appreciate and am flattered that so many people find what I write worth reading (even if not all agree with it). Lets be clear though, the readers owe me nothing and I owe them nothing.

The “occupy” crowd still appears to be stumped as to why public support for them has completely evaporated. I think more than a month of hearing “I want” and “I demand” and “you owe me” from a bunch of layabouts has pretty much done it in. Get off your butts and do something guys and perhaps you will earn a grain of that respect that you think you deserve.

Until then I will continue to expose the hypocrisy and idiocy of the “occupy” Calgary movement. I will call it like I see it and I make no apologies.

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