The dangerous remnants of “occupy” Calgary.

I guess it could be arguable as to when “occupy” Calgary lost all credibility. For some such as myself, it was the moment that a legitimate march ended on October 15 and turned into an encampment of squatters in Olympic Plaza and St. Patrick’s Island. For some it was within a few days as it was clear that there really was no distinct goal or message to be had in the squatting and that the time was being wasted.

Clearly a large turning point for even some of the most staunch supporters of “occupy” Calgary was when a group of extremists from the Olympic Plaza squatters actually went out of their way to interfere with a legitimate effort to find long-term housing for the truly and chronically homeless who were encamped at St. Patricks Island.

The incident linked above proved very clearly that the organizers and hardcores in the Calgary “occupy” movement could not care less about the truly disadvantaged. For these people to try to purposely interfere with efforts to aid the homeless so that they could keep some homeless folks in their camp for good optics was nothing less than repugnant. Resolutions soon followed in the Olympic Plaza camp to stop feeding homeless and to stop letting them use their tents. The “occupiers” love using the homeless for talking points and for optics but they really don’t care much for associating with them.

Things continued to degenerate with the Calgary “occupy” movement as more and more incidents drove moderate and rational people away from the squatter encampment. Calgarians were disgusted to find that these people had been defecating in our park and had defaced Canadian flags leading up to Remembrance day.

The dwindling support for and increasing extremes within the movement became very evident a couple weeks ago when a much-touted, union backed rally could not even draw 50 people. Rather than listen to the handful of speakers, many occupiers chose instead to attack a man in a chicken suit who was counterprotesting.

Things continued to heat up as there were less and less occupiers and more and more people confronting the squatters and demanding that they leave our park. Scenes such as the two videos below illustrate the clear frustration on the part of citizens and the incoherent nature of the squatters.

Why is it that the only remaining squatters are increasingly nutty while we still see a fair degree of apparent support on social media?

Well, unfortunately there is a crowd of champagne socialists who while sitting comfortably in suburban homes they are vocally supporting and enabling some disadvantaged and troubled people squatting dangerously in a park. These hypocrites would not dare actually go sleep in a tent themselves. They are much more content drinking fine wine and drawing their battle lines on twitter and in facebook groups. These people will pop downtown now and then with some cookies to perk up their pawns and ensure that they stay on display.

This used to be very evident as we saw the somewhat moderate debating with the extreme on their organizational Facebook page (almost no actual squatters participating in in the facebook group). Slowly but surely the moderate thinkers were pushed away and the once open group has not become closed as these people recognize that their increasingly extreme ideas are costing them a loss in what little remaining public support may be out there.

Unfortunately the remnants of the squatters fall pretty much into two groups now. There are a few chronic, career protesters down there. These are the same kooks we see being teargassed and arrested at pretty much any event where more than a few people can be gathered. While insane and often violent, these people are often fairly bright and can take care of themselves so I am not too worried about them.

The next group are a bunch of predominantly young displaced people. I have met a few of them. They appear to have social and communicative challenges often and are truly not far from real homelessness. Some of these kids have substance abuse problems and others have more subtle but distinct challenges. These kids don’t really look at this as a movement and often can’t enunciate even why they are a part of it. They really don’t understand. These are kids who are displaced and have found what appears to be a welcoming social group. Unfortunately these kids are being terribly used by the remnants of the “occupy” movement.

The problem with the kids listed above is that things are becoming very very dangerous in Olympic Plaza. These young people are not well capable of taking care of themselves and have not been prone to making good long term decisions. That is what does make them ideal for padding the dwindling “occupy” movement but it does not make it ideal for these people to safely function in very adverse weather conditions.

Yesterday I went down to the squatter camp in Olympic Plaza for a visit. There I met one of the victims of a fire that happened a few days ago. He is pictured below.


Those are not typical white gloves this young fellow is wearing. Those are gauze and they are covering the terrible burns on this kid’s hands. His legs are burned as well and the wounds were already seeping through the bandages. The pain must be terrible and I have heard that the person who rescued this guy from the tent was pretty badly burned as well.

I never caught the kid’s name I am afraid. He politely approached me and began to awkwardly explain how he was confident that the candle in his tent had been put out and that he felt that somebody had broken into his tent, lit a second candle that had caused the fire and had left an incriminating lighter behind. I think the kid really believed that was the circumstance.

What was more disturbing than the terrible burns that this young man had gotten was the clear reality that this kid had some serious challenges. What those are I wont begin to guess but I can confidently say this kid needs assistance to get by and that a winter tent camp is a terrible environment for him to be in. Not only did this kid get horribly burned while desperately trying to stay warm on a winter night, he has come back for more. Treating burns is a long, painful and critical process. This kid (I sure wish I had caught his name) is at terrible risk for infection and these wounds may indeed become much worse. The tent camp is littered with garbage and feces and is far from a sterile environment. Environment aside, those bandages will need regular changing and his wounds need treating. I seriously doubt that will happen while squatting.

This all happened before temperatures plunged to the -20 that we have now. What will happen next? Will there be more fires? The tents are closely packed and insulated with cardboard. Tragedy can very easily happen. Are they all warm enough? Digits can very easily be lost to frostbite. Hypothermia leading to death can easily occur should somebody overindulge in a substance. It is not like passing out at home.

Things are only going to get worse down there as a Canadian winter moves in. Mayor Nenshi and other city officials should clear the camp if only for safety purposes. They fear to do anything due to apparent poor optics. Personally I would rather deal with poor optics as a politician than to have to live with a kid being disfigured or even worse due to my inaction.

The coldest of them all out there though are the hypocrites who sit in warm houses and enable this. These people who are using troubled kids as pawns for their undefinable cause. It truly is sick.

Mayor Nenshi, clean the squatters out. There is no message and this whole affair is clearly not harmless.

Which Charter of Rights covers Calgary?

Well in this last few days we have seen a great deal of abuse of our Charter whether through using it as an excuse to illegally and dangerously squat in a city park to seeing our Mayor and city officials use the document as a shield to cower behind rather than do their jobs.

If illegally squatting in city parks is a Charter right, how did the cities below manage to evict their squatters?

Occupy protesters’ tents removed by police in London, Ontario.

Halifax police evict occupiers.

Occupy Victoria tent camp dismantled

Occupy Saskatoon protesters evicted from Gabriel Dumont park

Occupy Regina camp torn down by police

All of those cities are bound by the same Charter of Rights and Freedoms as Calgary are they not? Has the Supreme Court intervened on the actions of these cities? Have the cities been sued for Charter abuse?

The reason that those cities could clear out their illegal squatters is that THERE IS NO CHARTER RIGHT TO ILLEGALLY SQUAT IN PARKS!

I (and I am sure many Canadians) am sick and tired of this gross misinterpretation of our Charter being tossed out by cowardly city officials.

Speech is protected by the Charter. Expression is protected by the Charter. If it could be proven by the squatters that they can only express and speak through illegal squatting, then perhaps they would have a case. The onus of proof should be on the squatters and the law should be enforced in the meantime. The bottom line is that speech and expression can be done without squatting illegally in parks.

For Mayor Nensh, Chief Hanson and any other Calgary officials may I suggest that you read the charter and try to find the entrenched right to break laws and squat in parks. Just click on this paragraph.

Section one of the Charter is a section that city officials and squatters alike seem to like skipping over. I will paste it below:

1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

I think laws against illegal squatting in parks are pretty reasonable dont you? There is a reason for this clause and a reason that it is at the beginning. The Charter exists for protection of fundamental rights and freedoms. It was recognized during the drafting though that reasonable limits had to be imposed as this is not a document intended to give license for an anarchistic free for all for every nut who wants to break local laws while claiming to be expressing themselves.

This has gone before the courts before. A group tried to protest through camping on Parliament Hill and they claimed free expression protected their illegal squatting. This went to court twice and both times it was ruled that there is no Charter Right to squat in parks.

The only excuse left for the city of Calgary in this mess is simple cowardice. Mayor Nenshi and others are hoping that the weather will do their job for them. Due to that two people got hurt when a tent caught fire as a squatter tried to heat himself with a candle. There is potential for frostbite, more fires and hypothermia if that shantytown of cardboard and tents is allowed to remain as temperatures plummet. The responsibilty of those events can rest solidily on the laps of Calgary officials who are afraid to enact our common sense laws.

There is no Charter right to ignore fire codes either.

Mayor Nenshi, Chief Hanson and Bylaw Bill Bruce, what will your next excuse for inaction be? The Charter one is a fail.

Lost!!! Please help to try and find Nenshi’s knackers as they appear to have fallen off somewhere.

Well, I guess that Mayor Nenshi and City Hall have decided that yesterday’s action of issuing warning tickets with no fines on them nor names of the people they issued them to was a step too far. Today City Hall cowered in terror yet again in the face of a couple dozen squatters in Olympic Plaza and didn’t even go so far as to issue a single bylaw ticket. The cowardice and inaction of Calgary’s city hall has been almost as embarrassing as the garbage dump that we used to call Olympic Plaza has become.

I have already reported on the damage being done to the park through illegal squatting ($40,000 and counting). I have reported on how the squatters are literally crapping on the ground there (I apologize for the graphic photos but I like to provide proof). I reported on how the occupiers were defacing the Canadian flag in lead up to Remembrance Day.

Now I would like to point out the damage that is being done in the sense that local residents are being disturbed and put out by these belligerent squatters. Many people live right in the area and they are getting tired of looking at a garbage dump in the park. They are tired of being harassed by “occupiers” and they tired of the noise and distraction.

Enough from me on that, the video below depicts a man who was walking home for lunch, tool belt and all (99%er) who felt he finally had to say something. The poor man did find that reasoning with occupy Calgary representatives is an exercise in futility.


Many may have heard that a pair of squatters got badly burned last night when one of them had a lit candle in his tent. There is a reason that we do not allow squatting in city parks. The parks are not designed for camping and desperate squatters are going to idiotic means such as open flames as they fight dropping temperatures. It was extremely lucky that the fire did not spread through the entire shantytown potentially killing multiple people. The tents are packed closely together on dry wooden pallets and are insulated with cardboard. If left to remain like this, we are almost certain to see a disaster soon.

If not bylaws, how about fire code enforcement for public safety?

Now below we have a squatter hounding a passerby while claiming that the city of Calgary is criminally responsible for last night’s fire because they did not provide free electricity to the illegal squatters.

I say yes and no.

We taxpayers are not obligated to provide free electricity to loafing squatters and are not responsible for the squatters going without.

The Mayor Nenshi and the city are indeed responsible for this in that this unsafe mess should have been cleared from our park months ago. I do hope that Mayor Nenshi locates his reproductive organs before we see either a larger and more disastrous fire, frostbite cases or even overdose deaths like Vancouver occupiers had.

The next little video below is of a couple squatters who hid behind a tree like little cowards and shouted obscenities and threats at me. Their cowardice is second only to that of Nenshi’s in this. These squatters are sad specimens and no message exists aside from entitlement and filthy unsafe living.

Finally we see what Nenshi and the city are truly cowering behind their desks about. A squatter holds a sign and clearly implies that violence will occur if the squatters do not get their petty demands met. This is the depth of squatter dialog and with the handful of extremists (like the one pictured below) remaining in Olympic Plaza a violent and possibly tragic outcome is pretty much assured.


So will the city wait until there are further inguries before enforcing the law? Will they wait for open violence? Will they wait until there is a death?

I tell you what, I fear the consequences of inaction much more than what we may see if the city enforces the law.

Another day in the park.

Well, as we heard yesterday warnings were posted at Olympic Plaza telling our squatters that they had 24 hours to remove tents and unused materials as per city bylaws. My nature dictated that I had to go down there in person to witness and document the event today. While the tents still remain (hopefully not for long), the day was indeed eventful as bylaw officers and police came to the park to provide written warnings to our illegal squatters.

The nasty corporate media (yes tongue in cheek) was there in abundance so there is little reason for me to report on the minutiae of the happenings. Sun News did give me a chance to express some of my thoughts as did other outlets.

What I want to report on is the personal and individual nature of the attitude of the “occupiers” when it comes to myself. Some occupiers actually told me to get the hell out of “their” park. It was an exceedingly funny tweet to see upon arriving home. You see, these “occupiers” shun being covered by any form of media whether formal or alternative as their hypocrisy tends to be exposed pretty quickly. Were I that confused and vapid in my nature, I doubtless would avoid the public spotlight too.

Now, upon arriving at Olympic Plaza I was beset upon by a variety of “occupiers” and exchanges occurred. Again, due to there being literally dozens of cameras and microphones in the area pretty much everything was documented by formal and informal media alike. Tiring of the inane ramblings of our occupiers, I did try to wander the park to get more footage and to see what was happening as warning tickets were being handed out by bylaw and police officers.

As I wandered I was continually tailed and harassed by Occupy Calgary representative James Bullock. For those with better things to remember, James Bullock is the young martyr who was recently ticketed for throwing down a lit cigarette butt in the park. With all the dry and dead grass in the area, people can understand why this offence is taken pretty seriously. Occupy Calgary has already cost taxpayers more than $40,000 through combined damages and enhanced monitoring of the park. I could not imagine what may have happened if a grass fire were to rage through a pile of closely packed nylon tents. James pouted later that he should not have to pay as he could not afford it.

Now as I said, young James continually followed and hounded me throughout the park. His agitation as I ignored him became evident to the point where police officers began following us as it was evident that James may indeed become violent. James kept claiming that he wanted to speak yet got belligerent whenever his speaking may be recorded.

Now to you occupy folks I am going to post a video below. You will now understand why I constantly carry a video camera with me as your representatives have a terrible time sticking to the truth.

Below in his own words is James Bullock, Occupy Calgary representative as I give him time to air his thoughts: I apologize for the poor camera angle. I had to keep my face unobstructed as it is evident that James may have been ready to strike me.

Now how exactly am I supposed to explore dialog and reason with a guy like that?

Note that while occupiers claim that they want dialog that they cover their faces and become belligerent as soon as somebody tries to engage in such.

Now on the official occupy Calgary blog I see statements claiming such pap as my having referred to James as a “retard” among other things.

For some reasons that are personal and that I will not expand on, I can say with 100% confidence that I have never called anybody a “retard”. I say so with such confidence simply because I know I never use that term.  The rest of their blather is simple fabrication as well of course.

Were I of a vexatious nature I guess I could howl that I was slandered. To be honest, I am only concerned when people with even a shred of credibility say bad things of me and Occupy Calgary simply has no credibility.

Occupy Calgary supporter Marcus Arseneault appears to have done an absolute terrible and fraudulent forgery of his boss’s email as he unsuccessfully tried to create a scandal claiming he was fired for involvement in occupy Calgary.

I reported on flags being purposely hung upside down by occupy Calgary supporters recently.

Occupy Calgary supporters claimed the flags had simply been blown down by mistake. That lie was blown out of the water when pictures of the defaced flags that were weeks old were presented (Occupy Calgary again has hung the flags upside down again by the way).

What we see here is a pattern of ad hominem attacks against people who report on Occupy Calgary with no substance and that are easily disproved. Can these people and their unfounded and libelous accusations about me be taken seriously this time? Absolutely not.

In my blog postings I provide pictures, video and real quotes from people to add to the integrity of what I write. This is why I attend events in person as well. I like to see and report my views on what I see directly.

As I said before, there were dozens of cameras and microphones around me all day. Astoundingly not a single on recorded my alleged statements to Mr. Bullock.

I will say this now. I was certainly not kind to Mr Bullock when he abrasively kept trying to get in my face. I do say that he is lazy with a deep sense of entitlement and victimhood and he blames the entire world for his own shortcomings. I may have said that directly to him today and I do not regret having said so. I never said the trash that our desperate occupiers are trying to claim however.

Bullock may indeed have some extra challenges in life. If that is the case I hope that he seeks help rather than sitting in a park smoking and whining about his tough lot in life as it clearly is not serving him well. Taxpayers spend millions (rightly) on programs to help the disadvantaged. Squatting in a park is not the way to seek help.

Now tomorrow I will be heading down to the garbage dump in Olympic Plaza that we call “occupy Calgary” and I will directly document the action/inaction that may happen. At least we can be assured that I will remain within the bounds of the truth as opposed to “occupy Calgary” and their supporters.

I do look forward to seeing them dragged from their tents kicking and screaming so that their “movement” can end in as infantile a manner as it began.

I may post some more video and thoughts of today later this evening but for now I am going to kick back with a glass of the fine single-malt that I do love and earned the money to buy. 🙂

Increasingly desperate, increasingly dangerous.

I had been watching our Calgary “occupiers” and their handful of supporters trumpeting for days on social media about how they had gained the support of hundreds of thousands of union members due to some union heads tossing in an endorsement of our occupiers. A member of CUPE forwarded me an email he had gotten from his union leaders that said as much though he was not terribly impressed that this was what the people he counted on to represent him on the labor front are getting up to with their time and his union dues. The unions would be backing “Occupy Calgary” in a show of solidarity though a huge rally on the steps of our city hall on Saturday at noon.

My curiosity was piqued and the weather was supposed to be nice. I decided to pop down to city hall for the afternoon to witness this apparent and building explosion of support for our illegal squatters in Calgary. To say that the initial impression was anti-climactic would be an understatement.

Pardon the quality of the pictures. I covered the “event” in video and these are screen-caps. Full video is available at the bottom of the page.

What I found was perhaps 40 of the usual “occupy” suspects milling around along with perhaps 12 media members and 6 police officers. The union heads looked awkward and I imagine what they felt was akin to showing up to a very lame party but you can’t leave because you owe the hosts a favor. It appears that the rank and file of the unions clearly could not care less about coming down to show support for the occupiers. I imagine that much of this is due to them having to clean the feces and other assorted messes that the squatters have been dropping in our park.

Doggedly the union folks began giving their stock labor speeches to the minuscule crowd that sadly tried to liven up the disappointment with some subdued cheering and finger twiddling. The disappointment was clearly evident on the faces of the occupiers as with the media that found themselves covering a non-event.

This changed with the arrival of the Protest Chicken.

Counter-protester Richard Evans dressed in a chicken suit to represent Mayor Nenshi and his inaction on the squatters providing a very welcome distraction from the utterly dull and standard union speeches. The chicken was a clear crowd favorite and passers-by gave thumbs up and sought pictures with the chicken.

While common Calgarian’s in the area enjoyed the clear point being made by the chicken, the occupiers quickly became very agitated with sharing their pulpit of free expression with somebody else. This became exceedingly acute when the media (those corporate souls that the occupiers claim they don’t care about) turned their cameras and microphones away from the dry, flaccid union rhetoric and began to film and interview the chicken.

Quickly “occupiers” broke away from listening to the union orators to come and try to aggressively intimidate the counter-chicken. In multiple situations the police had to intervene as the occupiers jostled the chicken dangerously closely to the road and tried to muffle him.

Now this is where things began to move from humorous and into dangerous territory. The “occupiers” began to become very confrontational with police when asked politely to move away from the chicken. The chest-puffing “I dare you” attitude was very evident as squatters hoped to provoke an incident with police. As pictured below one broke away quite quickly to pull a mask over his face and pull his hoodie up in what could only be described as eager anticipation of a violent episode.

Thankfully things calmed quickly due to an excellent and polite police presence and a failure on the part of the anarchists to whip up enough energy to set off a small riot. The nature of the people remaining squatting in our park and their handful of supporters became very clear on Saturday afternoon though.

The “occupy” movement began with much fanfare almost a month ago. A few hundred people peacefully marched through Calgary made their point and went home. A small group of extremists were not satisfied with this legal demonstration however. They began to squat in our park with no goal or end in sight and are becoming increasingly aggressive and damaging. The moderate and the rational have abandoned these remnants in the park. This was very evident when less than 50 people could be gathered on a nice Saturday afternoon in support of these guys.

Public support is in the toilet for these squatters due to episodes of flag defacement, public defecation, $40,000 and growing in damage to the park and a completely incomprehensible message. These few remaining squatters realize all of this and they are becoming desperate. This is what makes this small motley collection potentially dangerous. These guys want a violent incident. These people want to be in a tussle with the police and they want to damage our city.

Sadly that anarchistic attitude exists everywhere and it can take very little to set it off as we saw in the Vancouver riots last spring. These anarchists and layabouts in our park want their own little Vancouver and as long as Mayor Nenshi and his council continue to embolden this group through appeasement I suspect they will get their wish.

Quit trying to peel this bandaid off slowly Nenshi. It is not aiding things and the squatters are getting bolder by the day. Show leadership like other cities and get these squatters out of our park before somebody gets hurt or even dies as has happened in many other “occupy” sites. These squatters will only continue to up the ante as long as you let them. They don’t have the numbers to cause another Vancouver riot of course but a small extreme group can do some terrible damage if allowed to.

The law is on our side. We need a city with the stones to enforce it.

The video below has something of a tongue in cheek approach to things. Don’t let that underestimate the potential seriousness of this issue.

This blogger has been excellent in documenting the increasing violence and damage being done as these desperate camps decline.

Is this what they fought and died for?

Tomorrow as we all know is Remembrance Day. As a nation most of us are profoundly grateful for the sacrifices that were made by our soldiers in multiple wars protecting the freedoms and rights that we enjoy today. Canada is one of the most envied nations on the entire planet. Few countries enjoy the freedoms and the general prosperity that we enjoy as a result of these freedoms. All of these benefits are directly due to the sacrifices and actions of those who went before us and setting aside a day of recognition, appreciation and respect for those people is the least we can do.

Unfortunately we also have a small portion of our population who insist on abusing our general freedoms. Some people feel that the freedoms that we enjoy also entitle them to a childish anarchy where public space can be damaged and some of the most profound actions and motions of disrespect can be taken out. In visiting the “occupy” Calgary site yesterday, I noticed that they have purposely strung a line of our Canadian flags upside down in I guess what they consider an observance of Remembrance Day. Thousands of Canadians fought and died under the flags and symbols of our nation and now a group of ragtag squatters are going out of their way to demean our very flag under the guise of freedom of expression.

Did our soldiers fight and die so that a group of entitled kids can do this to our flag? Absolutely not.

There may not be a law against hanging our flag upside down but there are city bylaws against hanging things from our poles in the park. Part of the estimated $40,000 in damage that the squatters have done to our park is due to the poles down there having to be repainted as the squatters have been taping items illegally to them.

Section one of our Charter of Rights calls for reasonable application of our rights. Our expression, speech and assembly can’t be impeded by local laws. Local laws against camping in parks and damaging light-poles do not interfere with Charter rights. Police in London Ontario evicted the squatters from their park and the charter was of no hindrance.

The squatters have proven that they will insist on becoming more offensive and will push farther and farther in their abuse of our collective rights as they even bring their protest into our city hall council chambers. Council hid in a closed door meeting until the protest was over rather than demand order be maintained by the way.

I looked at the ground in the area and it is devastated. This Olympic Plaza was never designed to be used as a campground and it is showing. The ground has been impacted into virtual concrete and the grass worn right to the dirt as people are forced to walk small pathways between tents. In spring entire sections of the park will have to be dug out and sod will have to be set. This will cost thousands and portions of the park will again be out of service while this happens. Yes, the squatters are denying that the damages are as high as the city estimates. Keep in mind, damage estimates made by irresponsible, unemployed layabouts are not prone to accuracy. People who actually pay for things in life generally have a better grasp of the cost of things.

These squatters will continue to push. They have repeatedly demonstrated that they have utterly no respect for the collective property of others nor respect for the limits on our freedoms. The city in their appeasement of the squatters provided portable bathrooms. Unfortunately whether it was too far to walk or perhaps it is another purposeful demonstration of disrespect, squatters have chosen simply to defecate next to their own tents repeatedly as pictured below.

In this game of chicken, what will the squatters do next as they dare our cowardly Mayor and City Council to apply our laws? Will the squatters combine their protests and actually defecate on our flag in their misguided, offensive and illegal demonstration for attention? Little will surprise me as these kids in the park become emboldened further every time they see our Mayor and Council quivering in fear and hiding from the issue.

Tomorrow we will all observe the sacrifices made in the protection of our freedoms. Keep in mind that our freedoms are forever threatened as we see people mock them and take advantage of them. We need to maintain the order and collective freedoms that our forefathers fought for. They did not fight and die for an anarchistic free for all as we see in our city park.

If you have not already, call 311 and demand that these disgusting and offensive squatters be cleaned from our park before even more damage has been done. There is no Charter right to squat in parks.


Yes I think terrified is the word that best suits Mayor Nenshi and  Calgary City council right now. For weeks, now a small collection of squatters has been displacing legitimate park use in Calgary Olympic Plaza and have done an estimated $40,000 in damage to the park so far. Our city has enabled the squatters with the provision of portable toilets yet the squatters still defecate right next to their own tents as pictured below. Even dogs generally try to keep their eliminations away from their sleeping spots. This is unfortunately typical of the class and respect shown by these baseless squatters towards the people of Calgary.


I do apologize for the grotesque picture above but it has to be driven home what these people are doing to our public property and the general respect that they have for us all. These things will only get worse as we continue to appease these people.

Last Sunday I definitively proved that Nenshi’s assertions that bylaw enforcement and the physical removal of people from our park based on bylaw infractions were untrue when I was charged with a bylaw infraction and removed for doing just what the “occupy” squatters are doing (aside from the feces thing).

Yesterday Calgary City council went behind closed doors for hours trying to figure out how to get the squatters from our park. Having lost their dodge based on charter issues and bylaw enforcement, council was in a spot. Our emboldened squatters took advantage of this time to hold protests right inside council chambers as pictured below. Still council was too cowardly to have this handful of rabble removed from their very chambers.


When it was assured that the occupiers were finished in council chambers, our city council came back from their closed door meeting in dealing with occupiers.

With much fanfare and many fluffy statements, it was determined that city council had chosen to implement a plan to consider issuing warnings that may lead to enforcement of city bylaws at an indeterminate date.

The lack of leadership from our elected city officials has been appalling on this issue. The “occupiers” continue to push the envelope and even took over council chambers while council cowered in an incamera meeting. Maybe the next step will be defecation within council chambers. The “occupiers” appear to be determined to find out just what the limit is and our city council is determined to do nothing about it.

The occupation in Calgary’s park is an unsanitary and unsightly embarrasment. The behaviour of Mayor Nenshi and the yellow council has been an embarassment as well.

There will be a demonstration at noon at city hall tomorrow demanding the equal application of bylaws in Calgary. It took half an hour for the city of Calgary to bring the full force of the law against me on a bylaw infraction yet in almost a month the city is too cowardly to ticket a single tenter. I will be at the demonstration tomorrow and I encourage others to pop by. I expect council members will remain consistent in their cowardice and will remain hidden for the demonstration. 😉

So what will the next excuse be?

Yesterday I drove down to Olympic Plaza to make a point and I made that point in spades. Mayor Nenshi claimed that the squatters in Olympic Plaza could not be charged under our city bylaws because they were protected by the Charter of Rights and they were expressing themselves. Nenshi also said that the city does not have the authority to move and arrest people simply based on bylaw infractions. I proved both of those statements utterly wrong in short order.

I did my research. I made sure to park my vehicle in a safe spot where there would be no damage to the park and even put a pan underneath as the truck leaks the odd drop of transmission fluid and I did not want to stain the pavement. I did make sure that I was breaking a bylaw under the same act as those tenting in the park.

I screwed a few signs to the box-liner of my truck with some random and purposely inane demands. I wanted my parallel to the “occupiers” to be as complete as possible. Many have been scratching their heads over the ever changing and increasingly bizarre laundry list of demands being made by the occupiers. It was pretty clear that for a person to be considered as expressing themselves in order to qualify for this apparent Charter protection that a rational goal or demand is not really required. I had my demands and it is not the place of law enforcement to consider whether these were valid demands or not.

Within half an hour bylaw enforcement officers confronted me and demanded that I leave the park. I politely refused to and said that I was exercising my charter right of expression. The officers took my drivers license and registration and went back to their vehicle. They returned to warn me again that I would be charged for a bylaw infraction if I remained. Again I refused to move. They returned to their truck for some period of time then where doubtless many phone calls were made.

Next a couple officers from the Calgary Police Service approached me. They repeated their request that I leave or be charged with bylaw violation. I again refused to leave and stated that I was excersizing my charter right of expression. This pattern continued in a repetitive way for some time as an increasing number of police and bylaw vehicles appeared on the site.

The police finally approached me after this had gone on for perhaps a couple hours to let me know that a towtruck was on the way and that I would have to leave my vehicle in order for it to be towed. I asked the officer to clearly tell me what would happen if I refused to leave my vehicle. He made it very clear that I would be forcibly removed and arrested if I did not leave my truck.

At this point I decided to leave my truck. I had made my point and saw no need to further force the hand of the police nor increase the number of fines that I was getting.

Again to summarize. The Charter of Rights does not prevent the city from enforcing bylaws in Olympic Plaza against protesters. The city of Calgary does have the means and authority to have protesters arrested and removed by force from Olympic Plaza.

Some have been trying to claim that my removal was due to safety reasons and such. That simply is not true or I would have been fined for such. I was fined for incorrectly parking in a park. Some may claim that the reason for the law against that sort of parking is based on safety. Well to that I counter that the law against tenting in the city parks has some basis in safety as well.

A fellow blogger who attended the event did a great summary on his blog and took an excellent photo to make a point.

One of the shots shows the sign in the park that very clearly states that habitation and camping within the park is against the city bylaws. There is even a graphic depiction of a tent with a line through it in case a person may be unable to read or not speak English.  Another shot shows the tents illegally surrounding one of those signs.

Another item of note down there is that the squatters are settling in even more deeply for the winter. A larger structure has been added to their collection of tents and things such as wooden pallets are being piled up. This simply means more damage will be added to the already estimated $40,000 and I see a great deal more safety issues here as the sqatters either freeze body parts off or burn things to stay warm.

This farce has gone on long enough. Calgary city hall has allowed itself to be bullied by a collection of squatters and their bluff for non-enforcement has been called.

Do we have two sets of laws in Calgary? If the City of Calgary continues to refuse to enforce the laws on these squatters while they did not hesitate to charge myself I think that the answer is pretty clear.


Petition time.

Just yesterday Mayor Nenshi outright told “occupiers” that camping in Olympic Plaza is illegal. While it is good to see that Mayor Nenshi has acknowledged that the activity of these squatters is breaking our laws, it appears that there still is no will on the part of city hall to enforce our laws. Can we get out of compliance with city bylaws simply by claiming that we are expressing ourselves for some vague cause? I don’t think so.

Here is a court ruling from 1994. People tried to camp on Parliament Hill in order to protest and claimed it was protected by the charter. It was ruled that camping in parks is not a Charter protected form of expression twice.

We can all rest assured that the City of Calgary will enforce the law if we do not clear the snow from our sidewalks, park illegally or ride the train without paying. Why is an exception being made for a small group of squatters who have caused thousands of dollars in damage to Olympic Plaza while disrupting legitimately booked events?

Mayor Nenshi and city hall are hoping that our Calgary weather will do their job for them. This is a cowardly approach to their responsibility as guardians of our public property and we as citizens need to speak up when our elected officials shy away from their jobs. Even if a cold snap disperses the “occupiers”, how can we be assured that somebody will not simply set up camp again when the weather breaks? Some of these “occupiers” are on the extreme end of things and may stay out there in any weather. Could we be legally on the hook if an “occupier” gets frostbite or worse while camping in our park?

We need to speak up. Call 311 to register a complaint with city hall. Please register your support on the petition linked below as well. We can have our park cleaned up if we speak up and make our elected officials address this ongoing issue.

Petition requesting equal enforcement of civic bylaws in the city of Calgary.


Reality calling.

I don’t quite celebrate the erosion over even outright loss of naive ideals that comes about through life experience. We need those starry goals and ideals when young in order to keep ourselves optimistic and pursuing outcomes even if they may be impossible in reality. Growing past the unreasonable ideals is a part of growing up as well and it is an important one. We do see people who never managed to outgrow their ideals on occasion. They usually are sporting thin, greying braids and a buckskin jacket with a tie-dye shirt underneath. The rest of the folks of that idealistic generation learned through life experiences that one has to compromise to “the man” to a degree and pursue the less savory but very important things in life such as a career and independently sustainable lifestyle.

Some years ago I listened to a radio documentary on CBC where some former residents of a 70s commune outside of Edmonton related their stories of their time pursuing the ideal hippy lifestyle. None sounded regretful and most looked back at it as a growing experience for themselves. They all were utterly confident in the futility of the socialist communal lifestyle as well. Nothing drives those lessons home better than trying to live the idealistic dream. As with countless other communes in the 60s/70s this one fell apart within a couple years. Tensions grew quickly as it was soon discovered that a small portion of the folks were doing the majority of the work while a larger portion sat around smoking weed. The free-love concept was wonderful until somebody actually saw somebody of romantic interest literally enjoying the sexual embrace of another in front of them. Resentment grew, people came and went and the whole thing faded away. The reality is that human nature does not allow for any true communal living no matter how pretty the ideal sounds.

The only communes that are or have had much success and staying power have had a unifying factor keeping in the people together and motivated. That is most often religion as with Israeli kibbutzs or even Hutterite colonies. A vague notion of inequity and socialism has never been enough of a unifying power to keep other communes together.

A generation later and we see the same sort of doe-eyed pursuit of impossible ideals in our “occupy” movement. The ideas of consensus and the talking points are the same. Unfortunately for them, there has been utterly no unifying factor in this disparate gathering of the discontented. There is anti-capitalist mutterings, vague general inequity ramblings, statements about homelessness the environment, currency systems, electoral systems and on and on and on and on. There is no war such as Vietnam to pull these guys together nor any common religious link. There are no social inequities such as there were for black people in the USA in the 60s and there is no dictatorship as the folks in Arab Spring dealt with.

Due to this lack of a cohesive cause and lack of any real identifiable general hardship in Canada, the “occupy” movement simply has not taken off in Calgary. Very few Calgarians are supportive of the campers in Olympic Plaza and outright opposition is growing to the squatting as we see estimates of the damages to the park rise and we hear of more legitimate events and groups being compromised due to the squatters in the park.

What this has left is pretty much a small group of the hardcore of their movement. These are likely the folks we will see still sporting braids in a couple decades as they simply will never let their ideals go no matter how inane or impossible they may be.

What has been interesting to see though is that some of them are learning some lessons. These are hard lessons but they are important ones. In the larger (and arguably much more legitimate) protest in New York, the ideals abounded to begin with. The poor souls displaced by capitalism could find sanctuary in a nice big communal campground near Wall Street where volunteer chefs could feed them organic free range beans and lentils or whatever. Unfortunately, before long it was determined that many who were eating the food were not underprivileged. Many mouths were simply those of freeloaders. The Chefs of Occupy Wall Street have now begun to refuse to cook for the freeloaders. The ideals are waning.

On a local level we can see that these lessons are happening to a degree with our Calgarian Occupy crowd. I thank Lonnie Taylor for tweeting some of the resolutions from yesterday’s occupy Calgary meeting. I honestly would like to attend one of these things but am caught working in Eastern Pennsylvania for a few more days. Should we be unfortunate enough to still have people squatting in our park when I get back, I will be sure to pop by for a visit.

Now apparently a fellow named “Paul” has taken it upon himself to enforce security around the encampment. An unfortunate reality is that when one shuns conventional forms of security such as our city police, we will either have anarchy grow or people will take things into their own hands. When people take things into their own hands they often are not as fair, controlled, predictable or restrained as proper law enforcement officers despite the often collective loathing of occupiers of “The man’s” police force. Many people drawn to these encampments have some serious issues and a degree of control is simply needed. There was a bizarre incident with the occupy camp in Toronto for example where a fellow was sneaking into tents in order to sniff women’s feet.

Now apparently the occupiers have resolved to no longer provide tents and food to those who have not been a part of the movement. How membership in this movement is to be determined may be dicey. I thought that the movement was directly tied into the occupation in itself so wouldn’t simply being present mean one is part of the “movement”. Does one have to tweet about their involvement to be included? Is there a formal means of membership?

Look I understand why the occupiers are having to make these tough decisions. Some have tried to cloak this movement into being a thing about homelessness. Many felt that if misunderstood homeless people were simply invited into their commune and shown love that these people will act in control and will happily participate with the occupation. Reality is unfortunately dealing a hard slap in the face to naive idealism here.

Yes, homelessness is a problem in Calgary. There are homeless people in every city in the planet. We have had homeless people since the first human fabricated a shelter and we will have homeless people until an asteroid or something ends life on earth. I am not dismissing homelessness by any means nor do I think for a second that we should stop efforts to reduce it. I am just saying that if we really want to deal with chronic homelessness we need to work within the bounds of reality.

The reality is that the majority of the homeless people encountered on the streets of Calgary are suffering either from addiction or mental health issues. These people have had an extremely rough time and are not able (or often even willing) to try and integrate with society in a settled home. These people can be volatile and even dangerous at times. A deeply addicted person will not hesitate to steal from or lie to other people if they think it may lead to their next fix.

Certainly some people simply have a bad chain of events or decisions and they find themselves homeless for a time. These people are the ones most likely to take advantage of the programs and housing we have available and these people are likely to climb out of their rut with some help. These people are not the chronically homeless and these are not the ones we see moving into the “occupy” camps.

I suspect that the occupiers are learning that the aforementioned people do not belong in a communal tent camp. Simply welcoming these people with open arms and good intent has and will backfire. Complex counselling and treatment by professionals is required for these people. We certainly can discuss whether society is providing enough of these services to these people. Personally I think it is a gross embarrassment that we have followed a foolish and idealistic trend of deinstitutionalization of people with mental impairment which has led to many unfortunate souls being either on the streets or in the correctional system. I am digressing however.

What I am getting at is the point that no matter how good the intentions may be, the occupy Calgary is doing absolutely nothing for the homeless.  The group is not raising awareness of the issue because the group is spreading dozens of messages in a shotgun approach to all that they see as the ills of our society. In light of the recent meeting resolutions thing many of the remaining “occupiers” are realizing this.

What the rest of the “occupiers” need to realize now is that their little campout is really doing utterly nothing for whatever cause they may be claiming to represent. Camping in a park is simply wasting time and pissing off your fellow man who is paying the bill.

Retain your ideals guys. Go out and fight the inequities. We have all sorts of groups whether charitable, government, religious or even political that work to ease all sorts of problems in our city and country.  All of these groups happily welcome contributions whether through volunteering or fiscally and all can claim at least some degree of measurable success.

Yes it is a lot of work to take part in these groups though. It can be tiring and thankless. It is not nearly as easy as squatting in a park for a campout.

Are the occupiers truly interested in making real changes or are they simply kids camping?

Personally I think the productive have already moved beyond this group. How many are really there now? 20? 30? It is time for the rest of them to move on to better things.

I do hope that the city gets around to enforcing our bylaws and kicking the occupiers from our park before they do more damage. I am happy to see these guys learning life lessons. I am tired of seeing this learning experience happening on the backs of the taxpayers as our park continues to get damaged and other citizens have their rights to use the park displaced.

Reality is often hard but is always much more productive than blind ideology.