Sometimes, smaller is better.

I live in the community of Priddis Alberta. It is a small bedroom community about 10 km West of the Calgary city limits just south of the Tsuu T’ina native reserve.

We are a region more than a town. Over about 20 square kilometers there are about 2000 people in various small subdivisions, acreages and farms. There is a hamlet in the middle of it all where we have a community center, a small mall with a gas station, and a number of small businesses such as the pub and business center.

Pictured below is the Priddis curling team playing a game on Fish Creek in 1895. The rink was soon built nearby along with the community center. Winter activity has long been important here.

Aside from the community center, the true hub of the community is the modest but popular outdoor skating rink. It has been there in one form or another for well over one hundred years now.

Multiple generations have learned to skate here as it is very popular with families during the day and hockey players at night. It is a gathering place where community members can meet and establish a relationship as a true community rather than simply being a loose collection of residences.

At night after closing the pub, I often walk past the rink on the way home and see a number of young folks from the Tsuu T’ina reserve out playing informal shinny with other locals. Our communities unfortunately rarely interact directly but the rink does provide a place (aside from my pub) where people from both communities can interact and have a good time.

As a growing community we have many young families here. Our local “Priddis Panthers” hockey needed to be divided into nine teams.

The rink is funded by donors and maintained by volunteers. Whenever weather permits, volunteers are out in the wee hours flooding the ice and in summer they are repairing and painting the boards. It is a fun community activity just keeping the rink up to shape.

All that said, resources are always tight and the weather is our biggest enemy. Below I have taken a picture of the rink just today. Two weeks of warm weather have melted the ice down to the pavement and until we get some cold nights to re-flood, we will go without a functional rink.

A small Zamboni would add many many precious weeks of rink time to our community as a much thicker layer of ice can be built and maintained in much less time. Refrigeration systems can aid as well. A small used Zamboni can be found for anywhere from $20,000-$40,000. I don’t know what refrigeration costs but I suspect it is dear. We are always fundraising and may get these things eventually.

OK. I know you are thinking: “So what? Canada has hundreds of communities in the same boat.”

Well, that is my point. Outdoor rinks are a true Canadian tradition from coast to coast and there are hundreds of them. Most if all of them are always in need of more funding to keep as functional as possible. They provide healthy activity that bonds communities. What better place could there be for funding from our Canada 150 celebrations?

The Trudeau Liberals decided to spend $5.6 million dollars for a temporary rink on Parliament Hill that will last perhaps 8 weeks at tops. The public will have to book in advance to use the rink and will be barraged with a pile of rules for time and allowed activity. It should be noted that the Rideau Canal is right there and has provided public skating for over a century as well.

The reason to ignore Canadian communities while spending millions on this temporary rink is obvious. It is pure political vanity.

Justin Trudeau can never get enough opportunities to take selfies, show off his socks and do publicity stunts (as opposed to trying to run our nation).

We can rest assured that Pierre Jr. will do a grand ribbon cutting with his hair styled perfectly along with an entourage of photographers to ensure that every angle is covered. They can’t have the grimy backdrop of some small town! They must have the Parliament buildings in the background as they worship Canada’s child-king.

Ohh the “impulsive” follies will be beautiful to behold as Canada’s tax funded personal paparazzi catch Justin helping children learn to skate just after kissing their mom’s cheeks with just the right angle from the sun. Justin will surely take a gleeful tumble or two on the ice which will just happen to be perfectly photographed just as his little faux-kayak turnover was.

The cameras will make love to Justin and he will surely climax for them in return. Let’s hope it is discrete but who knows what lengths Trudeau will go to to try and distract from Morneau’s mess?

A rink that will only last a few weeks is well worth $5.6 million for such a public relations bliss as our Prime Minister is determined to be our most vain leader in history (following daddy’s footsteps closely).

If the Liberals really wanted to leave a Canada 150 legacy that was appreciated, they could have given grants of $50,000 to 112 small town rinks in Canada. They could have randomly drawn from applicants. Hell, I am sure that the rinks would all be happy to put up a plaque with a picture of and thanking Trudeau for the grant. A small price to pay and we know damn well that volunteers would make that $50,000 stretch infinitely farther than the fools in Ottawa did. The benefits would be felt for generations.

Alas, Trudeau will always think bigger is better.

If that was not the case, then why not stop giving Bombardier billions and instead give out thousands of $100,000 business startup grants? Hell, if only 10% of the startups survived we would still see more benefit and employment than we get in pissing it into Bombardier only to have them come back begging for more every year.

Yes, smaller is better indeed. Unless you are of old stock money and vanity such as those members of Canadian aristocracy such as Morneau and Trudeau. In that case, the spending can never be big enough.

Look in the mirror for the root of the division Nenshi.

 I was not a fan of Mayor Bronconnier by any means. One thing I did have to respect with Bronco though was his ability to lead council and keep a semblance of order within city hall. Leadership means getting people to work together and Bronconnier had that knack even if I think he tended to lead them to foolish decisions. The Mayor indeed is simply one vote in a council of many. The Mayor though is responsible for setting the tone of council and ensuring that discussion is reasoned and productive. It is a tough job and a vital one. A person has to be both a team player and a leader.

 Mayor Nenshi is quickly proving himself incapable of leading or playing with the team. While profoundly skilled at cutting ribbons and taking part in CBC specials, Nenshi has been an utter failure when it comes to keeping a degree of unity within Calgary City Council. The public spats and venom have been outstanding and I can’t even imagine what the tension is like behind closed doors.

Nenshi’s own swollen head is his biggest enemy. Nenshi’s excessive vanity is not simply a matter of opinion. He hardly tries to hide it when he literally declares himself the most popular politician in all of Canada.  

 Life has been something of a love-in for Nenshi since becoming Mayor. He was elected in a wave of almost reverential support by hipsters who still fawn over his every move. The CBC and Toronto latte-lapping crowd don’t even try to disguise their fawning over our Mayor. I guess it should not be shocking that it has gotten to Mr. Nenshi’s head more than a little.

 While enjoying the political rock-star lifestyle however, Mayor Nenshi has clearly been neglecting his job of actually running the city of Calgary. Is it surprising that council is running amuk when the mayor is up late at every possible social event where a camera may be available or is speaking to adoring crowds at CBC functions in Toronto rather than dealing with the grind of city management?

 Now Nenshi has recognized that our council is currently a mess. I guess that is a step in the right direction. Rather than looking to the top however, Nenshi has determined that our city councilors must have some mental health shortcomings and has contracted a psychologist to facilitate a meeting to try and work things out. I mean, a person must be crazy to dare disagree with King Nenshi right?

 In the same article linked above there are a couple quotes from Nenshi that tell the whole story as to why council is falling apart under Nenshi.

Mayor Nenshi in response to this issue:

 ” I would find it extraordinary if any member of council did not want to attend a meeting on how council can work together better.  But if members of council are interested in a dysfunctional group that is not working well together, it is absolutely their prerogative.”

 Good lord. One does not need to be a psychologist to see the problem here. You can almost hear Nenshi’s trademark condescending, grade one schoolteacher tone in the above statement.

 These are elected officials that you continue to talk down to like that Nenshi not little kids. If they appear to be acting like kids, it is due to them having lost respect for the one who is supposed to give them direction. Quit blaming council for your own shortcomings Nenshi and you may get somewhere in leading them.

 If Nenshi doesn’t have a serious change in attitude soon, we will see much more council division in the next year and a half. Perhaps the psychologist will recognize this and point it out as the Mayor certainly can’t see this.