How many times has the Wildrose Party wrongly been declared dead?

Having been a loyal activist/candidate/executive member of the Wildrose Party (previously Alberta Alliance) since 2005, I can’t count the number of times that I have heard commentators declaring the movement dead. The party was declared dead when we lost our sole seat in the 2008 general election. The party was declared dead when it won 17 seats in the 2012 election despite that being an incredible showing for a new party. The party was declared dead when it won no seats in four by-elections in the fall of 2014 despite being a very strong second in one race and being respectable in the others. Countless folks declared the party dead when Danielle Smith tried to destroy it in a still unthinkable act of political treachery in her floor crossing.

hinman

Why isn’t this party dead???? With so many learned pundits and strategists so confidently declaring the Wildrose Party as a dead entity it is astounding that the party has not curled up and gone away isn’t it?

The answer is simple. The Wildrose Party is not dead because it is held up by true grassroots support. Not the pandering bullshit term of “grassroots” that damn near every party tosses out there when campaigning. The Wildrose Party is truly held up by thousands of dedicated members who are keeping the movement together despite the best efforts of opponents of the party both within and outside of it.

To top down parties such as the Progressive Conservatives and the NDP, the very concept of a real grassroots movement is foreign to them. Their lack of recognition of this could very well be their downfall as seen in last night’s by-election in Calgary Foothills.

I have always known that the declarations of the Wildrose Party’s death were misplaced as I have taken part in building that foundation upon which the party rests. I travelled the province to some of those town hall meetings where only 5 people showed up and some would say that was a sign of mortal illness. What happened at those meeting though is that we would interact with and train those 5 people. We set the seed and those folks went out and made it grow. Through little meetings, flyer drops, door knocking and countless phone calls the movement grew constituency by constituency. These are members who feel like they are a part of the party. They feel a sense of ownership as they participated in building the party and it’s policies. These are people that will not be shaken loose in their support no matter what some fools at the senior levels of the party may do.

Danielle Smith and her caucus never really understood who put them in office or if they did, they lost sight of that. When Smith and her band of opportunistic fools crossed the floor, they really thought that the party would crumble behind them. Danielle (and many commentators) thought that she was the party. Smith and the commentators clearly could not have been more wrong. Smith’s treachery didn’t kill the grassroots, it ignited it.

The foundation of the party moved on. We got back to work. we raised funds, we held meetings and we sought a new leader. Never for a second did we think we were dead. We were hurt, and many were dejected but giving up was never a consideration.

Grassroots means that the movement remains in the bad times. I remember on the night of the 4 by election losses being at a gathering of hundreds of supporters. While disappointed, we stayed together for the night and consoled each other. Compare that with Jim Prentice on election night who despite being Premier (up to that point), could not gather more than a dozen or so for his concession tantrum. The PC support was shallow and fickle and it showed.

Local Input~ CALGARY.;  MAY 05, 2015  -- Jim Prentice speaks to a subdued room in the PC headquarters at the Metropolitan Conference Centre in Calgary  Photo Leah Hennel, Calgary Herald  (For City story by Trevor Howell) ORG XMIT: POS2015050523084501

Getting to today, that true grassroots foundation proved it’s power yet again. The by election in Calgary Foothills was critical to the party and province on many levels. Why couldn’t Notley win that seat despite holding the reins of power, having a well known candidate and literally bussing in countless union monkeys to knock on doors for her? Why did 74% of the electorate in Foothills reject the NDP? The reason is that the voters in Foothills are among the most democratically abused in Alberta. They were abandoned by Len Webber when he left to chase the brass ring of a federal seat. They were next abandoned by Jim Prentice who in one of the most cynical temper tantrums in Alberta history quit is job before the votes were even counted. The voters in Foothills wanted to see principles and real grassroots representation. That feeling can’t be transmitted in a mountain of flyers or a bus load of Teamsters. The feeling of grassroots support can only be generated by a candidate surrounded by supporters hitting doors who are genuine grassroots supporters of that movement. The enthusiasm is palpable and the vibe at the door can’t be faked.

prasada

Today the Wildrose Party sits on a foundation that is stronger than ever.

Aside from wrongly declaring the Wildrose Party dead, pundits have also been pushing three other untruths that last night’s by-election out of the water.

Some said that the Wildrose was incapable of winning an urban seat (despite having some in the past). They are clearly dead wrong.

Some said that the Wildrose must merge with the remnants of the PC party in order to win seats. They are clearly dead wrong.

Some said that the Calgary electorate genuinely wanted an NDP government and that they didn’t select Notley in a desperate protest vote in order to send a message to the corrupted PC party. They are clearly dead wrong.

Now with the Wildrose stronger than ever and in a clear position of being the government in waiting, the next challenge will approach. The opportunists from the dying PC party will be slithering over and trying to entrench themselves with the Wildrose and they must be stopped. There are and were many great folks supporting the PC party but make no mistake, that party was crammed with self-serving weasels who only supported that party with hopes of gaining power and nothing else. Those weasels will be seeking a new home and the Wildrose is poised to be the next government in Alberta. The self-serving will be drawn to the party like flies to shit and if they are not contained, those ever important grassroots will indeed finally be eroded.

I would hope and assume that the tiny but vocal movement encouraging the Wildrose Party to consider merging with the indebted and disgraced Progressive Conservative rump will finally fade away. This bunch was really just based on a handful of suddenly unemployed PC MLAs who were desperately seeking a way to get seats again (see weasel references above).

denis

The Wildrose has utterly no need to embrace the debt and baggage of the PC Party. The worst thing that the Wildrose could gain from the PC party is their cynical power by any means attitude. It would truly bring us full circle into being the party that we were formed to replace.

As the Idiotic 11 discovered after having crossed the floor, the grassroots are not to be messed with. All 11 rightly lost their jobs and are politically finished.

The Wildrose still has a lot of work and some dangerous waters to navigate before getting another crack at a general election. If the grassroots foundation is respected though, it can be relatively smooth sailing. There can be no stronger base for a movement.

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A great medium for political messages.

Just loving how social media is getting political messages out to new audiences in music videos whether through parody as the first couple below demonstrate or even in making economic philosophy palatable and fun as can be seen in the third video (one of my personal favorites).

 

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Government debt is nothing like a personal mortgage!

As the inept and increasingly corrupt Redford government marches Alberta back into debt, apologists are trying to say that government debt it a good thing and is like a mortgage. That statement is utter hogwash and it is tiring.

To begin with a mortgage is taken out by individuals (or families), to purchase what will likely be an appreciating asset. Equity (most likely) will build in the purchase that can be used to borrow against in the future in possible hard times or the home may simply be sold outright later. Barring either of the above, the home and it’s value will eventually be handed down to heirs.

Government capital projects while providing value are not typically transferable and only lead to future maintenance costs as opposed to appreciating in future value. Can we use a hospital as collateral in a future loan? Can we sell an overpass if we need extra cash? Increasing long-term value makes incurring debt for a home purchase a good idea. That growing value simply does not exist in government capital projects.

A mortgage is usually a once in a lifetime debt. People may move from home to home while building equity and transferring the mortgage but a person will generally only have one mortgage at any one time and the goal will be to pay it off. When government begins borrowing in good times as Redford plans to do now, it is akin to taking out a new mortgage every year. No appreciating asset is being purchased and debt simply keeps growing and growing. There is no equity offsetting the loan.

While a personal mortgage will eventually end, capital expenditures never will. There will always be more roads needed and hospitals demanded. Will future generations not need such expenditures too? They will have to pay for that infrastructure while paying debt off along with interest. Is this principled or fair?

We hear the dwindling Progressive Conservative supporters trying to paint things as if it is some sort of zero-sum game with idiotic questions such as: “Don’t you want schools, hospitals and roads?”. Of course we do and we will still have all of those damned things without borrowing to get them.

People keep speaking of an infrastructure deficit. By who’s measure is there a deficit? Is there ever enough hospitals? Will roads ever be wide enough? Will kids have enough schools close to home? Will there be enough libraries? The demand for spending is truly infinite. The capacity to spend is finite though and we have to draw a line somewhere.

If we need to borrow while the government is receiving record revenues as it is now, it is clear that there is no way that this administration will stop borrowing down the road no matter what energy prices do. We will borrow and borrow and borrow until an inevitable fiscal collapse that our children and grandchildren will have to endure.

All around the developed world we are seeing governments collapsing under their own debt. Most of Europe is in fiscal shambles and the USA is soon to either hit the wall or have some terribly heavy austerity measures come into place as their government debt overwhelms them. Why on earth do we want to continue to keep digging ourselves into that unsustainable hole when such clear examples of the futility of that path are in front of us?

We are lucky in Alberta to have the means for some of the best infrastructure and development in the entire world. For us to threaten this with such a gross addiction to spending and lazy government is almost obscene.

The excuses and rationalizations will be coming hard and heavy as the 2013 budget looms and Redford presents Albertans with a massive budgetary deficit. To be sure, the mortgage comparison with government borrowing is simply bunk. Be sure to remind Redford’s small social media army of that as they ramp up their unprincipled rhetoric in the next few months.

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It’s for the children!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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Redford is continuing with the PC prohibitionist mandate.

One constant since the begining of the bumbling Stelmach administration has been a steady attack on liquor consumption from the provincial government. Almost anually the Progressive Conservatives would announce a new policy or tax modelled to socially engineer Albertans to reduce their enjoyment of a drink now and then. Perhaps it was an effort to distance themselves from the prior Klein administration that was led by a man known to imbibe now and then. The bottom line though is that it is an intrusive form of governance that does not fit with the Albertan laissez faire approach to most things.

One of the first things Stelmach did was mandate a pile of ridiculous regulations on business establishments forcing them to adopt minimum drink prices and even determined the volume of liquor a person was allowed to purchase in a bar at certain hours. The Progressive Conservatives had taken to micromanaging private business going as far as telling them what they must charge and how much of their product they are allowed to sell at a time. Mao would have been proud.

This brought about an end to drink specials and the time honored tradition of happy hour.

The next thing Stelmach did was the usual shallow tactic in trying to prohibit something; he announced a massive tax increase on liquor.

In Ed’s usual bumbling manner though, he totally failed in reading public opinion in Alberta. In the typical PC flip/flop he recinded the tax increases shortly after bringing them in due to a public backlash as people tired of his anti-booze crusade interfering in their good times. I remember well talking to a tired store owner trying to keep up with his pricing as the government tried to figure out what to tell private business what to charge customers. Along with the prohibitionism, Redford has mastered the PC flip/flop as well in her broken promises to set fixed election dates and to hold a judicial inquiry into our healthcare system but I digress.

As we all know, Stelmach’s inept management of the province led to his resignation last January. The election of Alison Redford led some people to hope for some change but it is becoming rather clear that we still have the same old free spending, nanny state that we had before. The only thing that has changed is the face at the front with perhaps a little more leftward spin. The social conservatism is still obviously alive and well.

Despite clear evidence that people with only .05-.079% blood alcohol are not causing any undue or extra accidents on Alberta roads, the Redford government still insisted on ramrodding Bill 26 through the legislature and onto Albertans. Using what essentially can be called a legal loophole, the provincial government has found a way to punish people heavily for a non-crime while leaving them with none of the process of defense that criminal law provides. It is almost reminicent of the Human Rights Commissions.

Why would the Progressive Conservatives go so far out of their way to antagonize Alberta businesses and citizens with a law that serves no visible purpose? Clearly we are no safer due to Bill 26. What we will see however is a reduction of drinking even one or two wines with meals as many people will fear the new punishments brought about by government against responsible drinkers. Others who do enjoy a drink with their meal will often simply stay home which of course will come at great cost to our restaurant industry. The goal of the government is simply to attack drinking whether it is done responsibly or not. This people is simply prohibition by stealth and harrassment.

Redford now wants to continue where Stelmach failed and is planning to bring in heavy taxes on liquor again. Not sure if we are at the point of flip or flop. What we do have is blatant social engineering however. Government plans to punish you further through taxation for daring to decide to enjoy a drink.

In Redford’s own words the other day on how her government will make choices on your behalf and will manage your life and decisions:

“Albertans are really sensible. They want to be healthy, they want to be safe and they want government to take some leadership and say: ‘You know what, we’re going to make some choices and these choices are going to be conducive to building a safer and a healthier community where we’re able to make sure we have good programs in place and everyone in society can thrive.’”

I have to call bullshit Alison. If you really thought Albertans were responsible, then you would not be trying to micromanage our personal decisions would you? We don’t need you to make choices on our behalf!

While dedicated, the ladies of the temperance movements soon discovered that lips that didn’t touch liquor were exceedingly unlikely to touch theirs.

I would have thought that people such as Alison Redford would have gained a great appreciation of the concept of beer goggles in her post-secondary educational years. I guess it just led to further bitterness.

It is ironic that Redford is considered a crusader for liberals when her government is clearly so dedicated to socially conservative efforts in social engineering.

Leave us our booze at least Alison so that we may drink away the pains of your inept government as you tax, borrow and spend away the inheritances of our grandchildren.

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