Just call it what it is; a tax hike!

So there I lay ignominiously on the doctor’s table. My legs were splayed and  I was shaved in a spot I never anticipated ever having a razor near. The doctor noted that I was rather tense and uncomfortable from the nature and feeling of the steps of the procedure that had already been performed. In an effort to comfort me he said: “OK, you are going to feel a little pressure.”.

“A little pressure” I thought. “That can’t be so bad.”. I busied myself in the intense study of the ceiling tiles as the doctor took out a new instrument of torture, inserted it into my new incision, hooked onto part of my reproductive circuitry and proceeded to draw out what felt to be my very soul from a small cut in my scrotum!!!

That was “a little pressure”???? I never want to find out what he means when he says something will be painful.

Now that day I learned two lessons. One was never to get a vasectomy at a walk-in clinic (little risk of that now). The other lesson was that no matter how one tries to sugarcoat or understate something uncomfortable, it does not change the reality.

Politicians love trying to change terms in hopes of selling things to the electorate that they don’t actually want. The overpriced “Peace Bridge” is a wonderful example. As the public ire grew over the expenditure of scarce infrastructure dollars on a grossly overpriced bridge that we didn’t need, city council scrambled for a way to brand this grotesque waste of tax dollars. They decided to name the bridge after something that nobody could oppose: “Peace”. The new name did not change the reality in the end however.

The most gross and disingenuous example of this is the promotion of what tax-increase proponents are calling a “penny tax”. Mayor Nenshi and other tax-and-spend types in Calgary City Hall have been outright salivating at the prospect of gaining a pile of new taxation powers through a new municipal charter. Despite provincial officials telling him “no” in no uncertain terms, Mayor Nenshi continues to chirp and try to sell the benefits of his being able to tax us in new ways so he can fund more vanity projects and bike lanes.

Let’s call the “penny tax” what it is: A 20% INCREASE IN THE GST!

Sounds a little different in that light doesn’t it? Instead of thinking in terms of pennies, think of it this way, do you want to spend hundreds more per year on your total expenditures in an increased consumption tax?

The tax-and-spend gang does not want to stop simply by raising your GST by the way, that is just the tax that they are cloaking in terms such as “penny tax. Below are a few other ways Nenshi and company are hoping to tax us all more in a municipal charter.

Tourism levies:. Tax increase leading to decreased tourism

Green fees on fuel: Tax increase leading to increase in fuel costs for all and all products that need transport.

Increased motor vehicle registration fees: Tax increase on drivers.

Nenshi does have a keen nose for the political winds. The city is proposing a nearly 6% property tax hike this year and eventually Calgarian homeowners will hit their tipping point with constant tax increases that go well beyond the rate of inflation. Spending control is not a consideration for Calgary’s City Hall under Nenshi so in order to cloak their mass spending they want to spread the mass tax increases through a myriad of means where they can mask the name and nature of the tax increase.

Being forced to raise money through property taxes forces municipalities to be much more up-front in their taxation of citizens. Lets keep it that way. If Nenshi is convinced that we need a mass increase in spending and that Calgarians want it, then he should raise property taxes by 15% and run on that. It is much more honest than trying to hide the gouge in some BS “penny tax”.

Be green and save Calgary money! Throw your glass in the garbage!

 

Yesterday while listening to the Rutherford show, I was reminded of one of our many examples of Calgary City Hall putting the cart before the horse in their pursuit of high density city where people ride bikes to work and recycle damn near everything. What I am on about today is glass.

While the city of Calgary is asking us to spend time and water washing and separating our glass products so that they can be put into our blue bins for recycling, they really have utterly no idea what to do with the glass once they get it. Glass is really a generally unrealistic product to recycle at this time. It is hard to work with and clean and there is no cost effective use for the end product. Glass is relatively cheap to produce new and used glass is simply too impure and expensive to try and form into new glass products.

While Calgarians have been diligently washing their old jam jars and setting them aside in their blue bins, unfortunately all they have been doing is participating in one of our more expensive and egregious forms of greenwashing.

Calgary’s sorted, cleaned, crushed and transported glass has been sitting in a 10,000 tonne mountain at the Spyhill landfill!.

It is one thing to make a recycled product, it is a whole other ballpark to create a demand for it.

The energy, water and labor involved in recycling our glass in Calgary brings us a near useless end product at a cost of $29 per tonne which now is languishing at the dump. A good make work project I guess but I would rather that labor had been dedicated to patching potholes.

But wait!! In a brainstorm city engineers have found a use for all this glass!! They are going to bury it!

Um, isn’t that what would have happened had we simply put the glass in the garbage in the first place? Tell me again why we are spending all this money, water and energy to clean and sort the stuff?

Yes, the city is going to use the pile of glass as aggregate for roads within the city dump (in other words, burying the glass at the dump). While they do speak of using the glass for other aggregate projects, it really means little as 10,000 tonnes is actually a relatively small volume in the aggregate world. What is not small about 10,000 tonnes of crushed and cleaned glass is the cost.

Gravel which is typically used as road base aggregate can run around $6 per tonne as compared to the $29 per tonne for cleaned crushed glass. This means our mountain of recycled glass is worth about $60,000 but came at a cost of around $290,000. That is an expenditure of $230,000 of taxpayers dollars for actions that used extra water and energy for utterly no use thus making it actually more environmentally damaging than simply tossing the glass in the trash in the first place.

It is very simple to see what is worth recycling. Just look for whatever the private market is willing to pay money for. Metals are well worth recycling thus many businesses that buy scrap metal. Bottles and cans have deposits on them that fund the recycling. Only the cans are really viable on their own. The bottles just make more crushed glass. Some paper products are worth recycling into shingles and such. Plastics are pretty much better in the landfill with the glass.

If we are truly interested in being “green” let’s start to focus on reality with what we are doing then.

Calgary’s (and many other cities) mountain of glass is simply an embarrassment and a testament to people in power who have let their ideals override reality.

 

The dark comedy continues and Calgary taxpayers are the punchline.

 It just goes on and on and on. Yes, this is yet another post on Calgary’s ongoing boondoggle the “peace” bridge. I will not refer to that bridge without putting the word “peace” in quotes because the bridge was never meant to have that name. The “peace” was added by council as public outrage was growing while Calgarians finally began to realize that city council was ripping them off to an estimated tune of $25,000,000 for an ugly pedestrian bridge in a spot where no bride was required. The naming was a crass move to try and tie the bridge into respect for veterans and it took unforgivable gall.

Some members of city council are now calling for a forensic audit now that it has been found that the bridge is going over budget.  Even after cutting $2 million in landscaping costs (that we will still have to pay for eventually), the bridge from hell is still $200,000 over budget. Considering the re-welding of steel and re-pouring of concrete leading to 18 months of delays, I can see the reason for an audit. There is no way that bloody thing is only $200k over budget. I shudder to think how much taxpayers will be raped for when this is all finally over.

 Here is a link to a great timeline put together by Jason Markusoff

Here is another story by Markusoff on the bridge today. He has covered it excellently.

And yet one more today from Jason. The poor guy must see that bridge in his sleep.

Update: The latest story finds evidence that the bridge may come in at closer to $30 million when all is said and done.

 Now enough background and updating on that monument to Calgary City Hall arrogance and waste of tax dollars. What is important is that we as Calgarians finally get up and kick out these freespending fools who use our money for their idiotic vanity projects. Listed below are the remaining Aldermen who supported the “peace” bridge. If they are in your ward, please do all you can in 2013 to put them out of work!!!

Brian Pincott

John Mar

Dale Hodges (went into hiding for the vote and would not comment)

Gord Lowe (went into hiding for the vote and would not comment)

Last but not least by any measure is the prime cheerleader for the bridge:

Druh Farrell

 

 Folks, if nothing else is to be accomplished in the next election, the removal of Druh Farrell from city council will have made the entire election a success for the City of Calgary.  Druh Farrell is the only person who rates their very own category on my blog as the list of follies and foolish leftist things she supports appears to be nearly endless.

 Despite the exhaustion with the issue and clearly growing rage with that wretched bridge, we still see Druh vapidly tweeting and celebrating the anticipated opening of this slap in the face to taxpayers. While most civic politicians will be wisely finding themselves on the other side of the city for the ribbon cutting on the finger-trap, Druh will be grinning ear to ear as she celebrates this boondoggle. She truly sees this mess as some kind of good accomplishment. Even Calatrava won’t come out to the opening. He has cashed his cheque and would not be able to hold back his giggles as he sees what he put over on Calgarians.

 Druh was the inspiration for one of my first youtube videos when she spearheaded idiotically closing Memorial drive on Sundays in August in order to thumb her nose at Calgary drivers. She really has to go.

Please Calgary, watch the news on this bridge as it develops and don’t forget it when you go to the polls. We need to stop overlooking this kind of behaviour by our elected officials. It is bad enough that we will have to look at that ugly bridge for decades. We can at least stop having to look at the proponents of it in council chambers if we kick them out.

Realities of reserve housing.

Every new year we see a pile of retrospective “stories of the year” being reprinted and broadcast. The reality is that much of the press is enjoying their holiday season and those “year that was” sort of things make for good filler. One story that is in every compilation of issues this year has been the housing crisis on the Attawapiskat reserve. We can pretty much see that story every year in January, the only thing that really changes is the name of the reserve that has hit crisis levels.

The optics from Attawapiskat were striking. People were living in terrible conditions on a Northern reserve with a long cold winter looming before them. A person would have to be totally heartless to not feel terribly for the conditions that these people are living in and enduring.

When most people see scenes like that, they want to see the situation changed and as soon as possible. Unfortunately people often gravitate towards the the most simplistic of solutions to troubles and assume that government has somehow been shorting our aboriginal communities in support for housing. Our State Broadcaster (the CBC) is always overjoyed to perpetuate that myth.

The reality is that we have been massively increasing support for housing on aboriginal communities through funding and education in management. The harder reality is that little will change on reserves in Canada no matter how much we increase resources directed towards them because the entire concept of the reserve system and the Indian Act is a catastrophic and unworkable failure.

I suspect that many people don’t understand the damage that has been done due to generations of utter dependency and a lack of property ownership in our system of racial segregation through reserves. I took a drive to a nearby reserve the other day to take some pictures and demonstrate the futility of trying to build new housing in perpetuity.

The reserve I toured was a Dene one in Northern Alberta. This reserve is actually in much better shape than many that I have worked on in the North. Much of that is due to relatively easy access, a nearby flourishing energy industry and an large band based oilfield services company. Despite all that though, 70% of the adult population of this reserve is unemployed (the service company primarily employs off-reserve people) and only 18% of adult members possess a high school equivalent diploma despite constantly rebuilt educational facilities. This is no fault of the residents. Nobody can easily be functional in the workforce or educational system when raised in these messed up enclaves of dependency and misery that we call reserves. Simply  working one’s way out of a rut is not really an option for most though the means appear to be right there.

Despite being better than your typical reserve, this one demonstrates the many traits that are common to all isolated reserves. One can see trends of housing types as different contracts are awarded and designs utilized year by year to try and keep up with the insatiable demand. The condition of the houses varies widely depending on the condition of the occupants. There are very very few housed to be found that are more than 20 years old as they simply do not last that long on reserves.

Below are some typical houses on the reserve. Most are of modest size, simple and functional.

 

Now the above pictures are of standard houses on the reserve. Below is the exception that is invariably found on a reserve. The house below is likely that of the Chief or at least one of the Chief’s close friends or relatives. On almost every reserve one can find this disparity in housing provision as like it or not, corruption is rampant and the designation of housing falls directly to the Chief and council. A small group of large and often opulent houses can be found on almost every reserve. This one was not the most striking that I have seen in that regard but the house and yard below clearly surpass that being given to the typical band member.

One can see some of the frustration of band members when they are living with a large family crammed into a modest 700 square foot house while the Chief and friends enjoy large modern homes with nicely landscaped yards. This is one of the things that helps lead to the complete disregard for the condition of their own homes.

As band members do not actually own their own homes and their disposition is at the whim of the Chief and council, there is pretty much little to no incentive to perform any maintenance upon their houses. Why replace a window when you can’t own or sell the place? Why reshingle? Why maintain sewage piping or drainage?

Below it can be seen what happens when windows get broken on reserve housing.

Poly can be used.

 Tuck tape can be used.

  Most commonly boards are used.

 With no work being done to maintain them, houses deteriorate very quickly. With a very harsh Northern climate, this problem is even more acute.

One can always find houses in their final state of disrepair  yet still occupied to demonstrate the housing problems on reserves. The only real variable is where the finger of blame gets pointed.

A very common sight on all reserves are seeing relatively new houses boarded up and abandoned as they have become uninhabitable. Mold and fire are the most common causes. These houses are essentially destroyed from the inside out due to lack of maintenance and respect for the house itself. These are everywhere.

The anger, disrespect and social challenges lead to having to turn all band services buildings into small fortresses to protect them from vandalism and break ins. This too is common of pretty much all reserves.

All of the buildings have barred windows or heavy rolling shutters along with heavy iron doors. At the least this must be psychologically disturbing to residents.

Getting back to my initial point, the problem on these reserves is not for lack of funding. New houses are being constructed (at great expense in isolated communities) all the time. It is nearly impossible to keep up with the destruction however.

 

We see a great deal of hysteria finger pointing when Canadian reserve conditions come to light. Most Canadians are urban living and have never had opportunity or need to actually spend time on reserves in person. This leaves many people vulnerable to such myths as that of Canada not directing enough resources towards reserve housing. That is why I hope that providing a pictoral posting helps people see a little more and understand just how it is on these reserves.

It is without doubt that there is housing crisis on Canadian reserves. There is no denying that there are countless other social and economic challenges being endured by reserve natives. The question is not whether or not current conditions are acceptable. The question is how to change this.

My conclusion is to work towards a complete end to the reserve system and rescinding the Indian Act. Decades have pretty much proven that this current path is an utter failure that is only causing human suffering at great expense to the rest of the nation.

Some people indeed may have a case to make on fixing the system as it is. I look forward to seeing some more creative solutions.

To claim that not enough resources have been directed to Canadian reserves however is shallow and simply wrong. These are a deeply troubled people and the capacity for them to consume resources is infinite with no visible sign of progress. The entire system must change.

We need to stop looking at the past and trying to somehow use it as an excuse to justify the mess we are enduring presently. The status-quo is serving nobody aside from some chiefs and many overpaid, parasitic bureaucrats and lawyers who make their living in the “Indian industry”. We need to recognize that the status-quo is not sustainable and we need to honestly look at how to work towards a better future.

I hope that more people begin to look more deeply at these issues so that we may begin to make real progress on this. It truly is a shame that we have so many people living like this in a land so blessed with resources.

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 ?
Top of Form
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
Report as Abuse…

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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Budget time!!

Well, lets see. Courts across the country are indeed proving that there is not, never has been and never will be a Charter protected right to squat illegally in a city park under the guise of freedom of expression. Sadly court time had to be wasted in reaffirming this reality as common sense on the part of city officials should have ended all this squatting long ago.

Vancouver, Toronto and Edmonton are all moving and will be getting rid of their illegal squatters soon. Regina, Saskatoon, Victoria, London and Halifax have all evicted the squatters from their park.

Despite all this, Nenshi’s Calgary is still intent on negotiating with what can now only be called extortionists. These guys are clearly breaking the law and are demanding that the city provide them with a long list of freebies in order for them to consider ending their illegal squatting.

The city’s last offer (way too generous as it was) was spit upon by the squatters who said they would like to light it on fire. That offer from the city would have provided the extortionists with the means to hold several public forums and to establish what could be a permanent information booth for them near the plaza.

I am sure that many charities and lobby groups would love to have free hosted public forums and free permanent information booths downtown. Alas, legitimate groups have been playing by acceptable rules of society. Clearly the way to get things is to break the law. Nenshi and the rest of the cowardly officials will then heap offers upon your cause in hopes that you consider becoming law-abiding again.

Now the squatters have been emboldened further (who can blame them?) by the craven attempts of capitulation from the city and they are drafting new demands. Since it is budget time, I would like to itemize these demands so that Nenshi can add them to the budget deliberations as he clearly is not afraid of throwing city tax money at our illegal squatters (on top of the estimated $40,000 in damage that the squatters have already done to our park).

From the mouths of squatters themselves:

1) That the city find a place agreeable to OC where we can hold General Assemblies in safety and warmth.

2) That the city will cover rent for said place.

I guess it should go without saying that the squatters expect us to pay for everything but they made sure to make a specific demand for that to be sure.

Now they hold their GAs daily and have been known to hold them twice per day. Turnout is extremely variable but lets be generous and assume that they will need daily space for as many as 60 people. The Epcor center is right next to the squatters so would be an ideal new warm spot for their general assemblies. Lets be kind on the costs though and just assume that they will hold one meeting per day in that room.

Daily meetings for 60 in meeting room next to Olympic Plaza: $277,400
Of course with regular scheduling that could even be knocked down to a cool $250,000

4) That the city pay to hold sixteen GAs as stated above with time/date/location/format of our choosing. (Maybe even twenty to get us through our winter of discontent with weekly GAs).

Again they wanted to ensure that the taxpayers would cover everything. Now when I went down to Olympic Plaza, they advertised a General Assembly every day at 1:00pm and 6:00pm if I recall. Perhaps it has now moved to sporadic or maybe there are different categories. Some are general General Assemblies while others are Uber Big General Assemblies. It really does not need to make sense or have consistency. Nothing else from the squatters has so far.

Due to the above ambiguity, I will raise the Epcor room cost back to the initial estimate that I had reduced for what I thought would be regular scheduling of the room.

5) That the city permit one tent at the plaza, or at a mutually agreed location, as an info booth to disseminate information to the public and to operate during normal park hours.

OK so they want permanent prime space downtown. Well, for a 10×10 vending tent on Steven Avenue it is $520 per month plus GST so that comes to about $6552 per year.

6) That the city provide electricity during normal park hours to ensure adequate lighting in and around the information tent referred to in 5) and provide assistance (CFD, Bylaw) in setting up an adequate and compliant heating system for the information tent referred to in 5). Also, that the city provide security for the information tent during off hours.

Hmm. So they want the tent to remain 24/7, with electric, heat and security. That is essentially a small free-standing business in downtown Calgary. Lets give that a cost of around $200,000 and forgo the earlier vending tent estimate.

7) That the city pay for three evenings rental of the largest rooms at every Community Hall in Calgary for the purpose of holding public forums.

This one is cute. I am afraid that at three days each, they would not be able to get through all of the meetings in one year as there are too many halls in Calgary. Lets just assume one every day all year then. My community hall charges $500 for it’s largest room for a night. It is about an average sized hall. There will be a meeting held at a hall in somewhere in Calgary every day of the year.

Demand for hall rentals: $182,500

8) That the city pay for the rental of all equipment necessary to hold such forums. For example: mic’s, amp’s, speakers, tables, chairs etc. Including internet access for live steaming.

Tables and chairs are usually included with most halls. Sound systems and internet are extra though. Lets just be generous and add $100 per night.

Extras: $36,500

9) That the city pay to advertise all public forums. Including TV, radio, newspapers, community newsletters, etc.

Hmm, I am afraid that gets really pricey. Lets just assume that you get good deals on advertising in all of those mediums for 365 meetings per year with a total being about $2,000 per day.

Advertising on all forms of media: $730,000

10) That the city pay for a CPS presence at each public forum for the duration of the meeting.

Afraid I can’t find a pricing guide for genuine armed police officers. I assure you it will be at least $500 per meeting.

Personal police presence: $182,500

Well at the moment that is all they have come up with so far. Rest assured their greedy little entitled minds will come up with more things that they feel hardworking taxpayers owe them.

Nenshi has made it clear that he is OK with squatters being in our park ad infinitum so this had best be added into Calgary’s city budget.

The cost annually to keep up with he latest extortion demands being made by “occupy” Calgary squatters totals:

$1,608,900!!!

Please include this in the budget deliberations Mayor Nenshi.

Of course you could also grow a set, do your job and kick the damn illegal squatters from our park too.

The above pricing does not account for leap years nor further illegal occupations of parks that will be sure to follow upon capitulation to extortion by the city of Calgary.

It’s bonus season!!

 As we see the economy slip into the tank, as we see layoffs in all sectors, as stress in households grows with decimated retirement portfolios and as we hearthe Stelmach government tell us that they must borrow our grandchildren into debt for lack of room to cut spending, we hear that the Progressive Conservative government of Alberta has handed out $110,000,000 in “achievement” bonuses for senior civil servants in the last 3 years.

 Considering the explosive increases in spending in the last few years, all we can assume is that the rewarded “achievement”  is achieving excellence in creatively pissing away the hard earned tax dollars of Albertans.

 Bonuses can be an effective means of getting better performances from employees. These bonuses only apply to a few thousand of the senior elite in government however. The civil servants working in the trenches don’t see these lucrative perks. Most of this bonus money has gone to deputy ministers who make an average of $250,000 per year and have seen their salaries increase by 61% since 2005.

 Would not those disproportionate raises in the last few years constitute something of a reward for these people already? Apparently not.

 While the government is bound to report the spending on these bonuses in their respective departments, one department is unsurprisingly exempt from disclosure; that is the Alberta Executive Council.

The Executive Council is made up of the Premier and cabinet ministers.

Well Ed, how many perks have you lined your own and the cabinet’s pockets with bonuses? I guess those 30% raises last fall were not enough. Sadly as Albertans we are not allowed to find out these numbers.

 Keep these kinds of things in mind in a couple weeks as the government releases a deficit budget and claims they have no way to avoid budgeting on our collective credit cards.

This is Canada’s culture?

Well it looks like Prime Minister Harper has raised the ire of Canada’s “art” community by announcing a modest cut in their funding. The yowling and howling from the other parties is unsurprising.

Justin Trudeau roared in with this statement: “This is yet another example that the fact that Mr. Harper simply does not understand Canadians and does not trust Canadians in the choices they make.”

Uhh Justin, by letting more art stand on it’s own rather than being subsidized, Canadians actually have more choice. Consumers of art would determine what is worthy and what is not. It really is not that confusing. It is the “arts” crowd that does not trust the judgement of Canadians and insists on having tax dollars fund their work rather than letting Canadians judge the merit of it.

Jack Layton crowed: “We say the arts are at the core of the economy!!”

 Really Jack? Arts must rival oil exports, auto exports, wheat and such eh? Why, I can hardly go a day without reading about the frothing international demand of Canadian art. If indeed the arts were the core of our economy, why the hell are all these artists always looking for handouts then?

There are many great Canadian artists from writers to painters. There always will be great Canadian artists with or without taxpayer funding.

The artists who are most annoyed with cuts to arts funding are the ones that produce shit that they damn well know would never sell on the open market.

Oooops. Did I say shit? It is rare that I use expletives in my postings, but in this case it is a good segue into highlighting some of Canada’s great subsidized “art” works.

A few years back, a tax funded art gallery in Ottawa hosted a five week exhibition of; Scatalogue: 30 years of crap in contemporary art.

This was no misnomer. The display was truly focused on poop and included such profound displays as soiled underwear and shrink wrapped turds.

Good heavens!!??? How many priceless works have I flushed down the toilet without even considering the potential artistic value in it?

I have been creating and sadly wasting what could have been yet another integral part of Canada’s cultural fabric (according to Justin Trudeau) and I never even knew it.

 There is already a well established online gallery where fecal artists may display their works and critique each other’s creations. It is called ratemypoo.com (not for the weak of stomach). Scatophiles and connoisseurs of crap may view dung to their heart’s delight with nary a dollar of my money spent.

 Going down the list we come to the Canadian icon that was hosted by our tax-funded national gallery in Ottawa; The Meat Dress.


Renowned artist Jana Sterbak conceived of this brilliant concept.

Recipe for wasting Canadian tax dollars:

Ingredients:

50 pounds of flank steaks,  salt,  mannequin, tax funded art gallery.

 Salt meat and allow to air dry. Hang from mannequin and display in federal gallery for months while periodically replacing meat due to decomposition. Soak taxpayers heavily and justify it with pithy justifications such as: “It emphasizes the contrast between vanity and bodily decay.”

 How deep!!! This little number was displayed for months at our expense and has even ranking being listed at Snopes(a site dedicated to urban legends).  The reason this mess of meat was worthy of Snopes is that most people could not believe that somebody could be so profoundly stupid as to pay for such a thing.

 An irony in this is that the “arts” community is usually front and center in howling about how we must feed the underprivileged. I am sure that a few of the hungry would have appreciated a few hundred pounds of steaks but alas, it is much more important to contribute it to the building of that fabric of Canadian culture.

 Of course, not all of our contributers to Canadian culture need to be Canadian. How can we forget Israel Moras AKA the Mexican Masturbator?

 This Mexican received Canadian funding to wheel a cart full of test tubes filled with his own ejaculate around my home town of Banff. I tried to find an image to go with this one but my efforts were not only futile, but stomach wrenching. I strongly suggest that you never type “mexican masturbator” into a google image search! (unless you are in to that sort of thing)

Another non-Canadian but recipient of Canadian arts funding is legendary porn actress Nina Hartley. While googling Hartley does produce images more appealing to my eye, I found few that were appropriate for posting here given her career history.

 Bubbles Galore received $55,000 of our tax dollars for it’s production from the Canada council. This porn (and it most definitely is a porn) was considered “art” as it portrayed lesbians. Straight porn is degrading to women of course and must be stamped out.

 Look at the recognition that Canada has gained from this great tax investment however. Bubbles Galore won the best film award at the International Festival of Trash Cinema! A big white tear of pride is running down my leg in knowing that part of my income went to the funding of this Canadian masterpiece.

 How about our recent tossing of $9,000 to a proud lesbian single mother who feels that displaying of a breast milk bar is of artistic merit? Yes the entitled “lactation station” will provide samples of real breast milk for visitors.

 “Artist” Jess Dobkin states the milk will be provided from six different women. For health and safety reasons the milk will be pasteurized.

Well I guess if it is pasteurized……..  Bleah. Nope can’t get around it this is pretty gross.

I can see some tourist draw from this though. There is a subculture of fetishists who are into infantilism and want to revert to their babyhood. These fellas have a tough time finding genuine wet-nurses for grown men and doubtless jumped at the chance to get on this wagon.

Of course, are these the kind of tourists that we want?

infantilism

 I guess when these fellows are finished feeding, they will go on to view our “Scatalogue” display.

 There are many other examples out there but this posting is getting rather long. I will finish with displaying one of Canada’s most famous wastes of money. American “artist” Barnett Newman sold Canada his painting “Voice of Fire” (pictured below) for $1.8 million dollars.

voice

 Is that not an incredible piece? Imagine how many sleepless nights the artist endured in conceiving this one? “Should I do the red on the outside or the inside? Narrow stripes or broad ones?”

 The arts community often likes to pooh pooh critics by implying that the public at large is simply too obtuse to see the profound inference of the production. Uhhh, how much can really be read into a couple of stripes? I must be incredibly dense.

 Come on!! I have seen children’s finger paintings with more artistic merit than that piece of trash.

 I will give Newman credit as a businessman and a con-artist. He did manage to find somebody stupid enough to pay almost $2 million for a couple stripes. Unfortunately his mark was the Canadian taxpayer.

 The above examples are inevitably the outcome when money is blindly thrown at art. Contrary to what leftists think, tax-dollars are a finite resource and we really have better things to spend them on.

 Art will endure with or without tax-funding. Most of the greatest works in history had no government funding and likely most of our future best works will have been created without it.

 To reduce funding for the arts is not censorship by the way despite the yelping of some. These “artists” are more than welcome to produce all the tasteless crap they like. Nobody is stopping them. How much money does one need in order to shrink-wrap a turd anyway?

 If indeed this reduction impacts Canadian culture, what will the impact be? Will we lose our recognition of celebrating feces, public breast milk samplings and masturbation?

 You know what, I am willing to take that chance.

Toronto stores had better stock up on pop-tarts.

 Currently the reward for morbidly obese welfare recipients in Toronto is a paltry $20 per month. That paltry number can hardly get blob a small loaded pizza. To address this outrage, a review has proposed that the allowance for obese welfare folks be raised to $51 per month. That will get those overweight recipients at least a couple nights at an all you can eat buffet.

 To qualify for this little extra allowance, a person has to have a body mass index of >40 though the government is considering lowering that bar to >30. As it is at 40 (really damn big) there are currently 31,000 fat folks on welfare who qualify for the pork chop bonus. That means that taxpayers will be spending just a hair less than $1.6 million per month to subsidize the waistlines of fat welfare folks.

 Now in the usual logic of those who insist on pandering to and enabling the irresponsible, it is expected that this extra allowance tacked on to the welfare ticket will be dedicated to purchases of low-fat milk and whole-grain products. Come off it people, these people are grossly fat and not even responsible enough to maintain a job, do you really think that they are going to waddle down to the nearest organic market or gym?

 If anything, the morbidly obese should have their meal allowances cut. Clearly they can live with a little less food intake. These people insist on being wards of the state thus I say the state is obligated to cut these people’s diets for their own good. If the obese welfare crowd wants to maintain their excessive girths, they can do what most of the country does; get a job and buy your own fattening food.  When we read of those who have grown to such a point that they are bedridden, we can’t help but wonder; who is feeding these people? Well, in the case of Toronto welfare recipients it is the Ontario taxpayer.

 With the slippery slope of the naive bureaucrats who like to piss away hard-earned tax-dollars on bleeding heart projects, I don’t doubt that taxpayers will soon be on the hook for welfare recipients overweight pets soon too.

 The creative capacity of socialists who want to waste the money you work hard for is infinite.