Walking wallets.

 That is sadly how the Canadian court system views men. 

 We have seen some insane rulings where men have lived for as little as a few months with a woman who has a child only to find themselves on the hook for child support well into the adulthood of a child that they did not sire. The shaky basis of that is that the man acted in the role of father to the child if even for a short period. In the most notable case of that (I believe it was Saskatchewan) the judge did recognize that the man had not really been acting as a father but since the biological father was incarcerated and unable to pay, the new man was therefore on the hook. Reality in circumstances has no bearing on these rulings. The goal is simply to make sure that some man, any man pays the bills.

 The Canadian courts have hit yet another low now. In two courts in Ontario, it was ruled that Rod Refcio is obligated to support the twin-children of his ex-wife who were sired well after the couple had divorced and by another man!!

 This could be written off as the judgment of one l0ony judge one would think. Sadly, this insane decision has held up in two courts now.

 The judges did realize that if these payments were actually defined as child support that the man may have a defense. Instead they stated that the man had an obligation to his ex-wife’s twins that must be paid through spousal support. The alimony that should have been $180-300 per month has been jacked up to $1500 per month with the rational that she needs the support to raise the children sired from another man.

 I don’t see anywhere why the judges did not pursue support from the actual father of the children. In light of other rulings, it can be pretty safely assumed that the real father simply has no money thus they pursued the next nearest wallet.

 To any divorced man this ruling is terrifying. This literally means we may be on the fiscal hook for any kids that our exes may produce by any man over the course of the rest of her life. This will doubtless apply to common law relationships as well.

 Our courts can’t seem to keep a repeat pedophile behind bars for more than a few days at a time yet they are incredibly effective at drawing money from innocent men who simply bedded the wrong woman at some time.

 Where will this end? How low will the bar required for support be? I fear I may let my dog play with a neighborhood kid for an hour and suddenly be on the hook for support as I had acted as a father to the kid if only for an hour. That sounds insane, but in light of these kinds of court rulings is it really beyond the realm of possibility any more?

 How do these people get on the  bench?

Bound and gagged.

 It must be incredibly frustrating to be a PC MLA with any form of principles these days. I am certain that a few of those MLAs must still hold some conservative values. During provincial campaigns we get to hear PC candidates speaking for themselves for a little while and they certainly can talk the talk. Upon reaching their comfortable seats in the legislature however, these apparent conservatives suddenly go dead silent. Nary a word is uttered without the approval of Ed Stelmach and his crew of spinners and handlers on the Executive Council.

 This frustration clearly is felt by some on the civil service as well. Chief Electoral Officer Lorne Gibson had principles. Gibson worked tirelessly to draft well over 100 recommendations that would improve the electoral process in Alberta. For daring to question the government in power, Lorne Gibson was fired. Doubtless the next appointed Chief Electoral Officer will know his/her place and will never dare show signs of initiative unless ordered to do so by the Stelmach government.

 Auditor General Fred Dunn is tasked with watching government activity on the behalf of Albertans. For daring to question the Stelmach government however, Dunn was told in no uncertain terms to butt out.Dunn’s contract will be up in a year or so and we can doubtless look forward to a Stelmach lackey assuming the position.

 Lindsay Blackett approached his role in cabinet seriously and ambitiously. Being a first term MLA, clearly Blackett did not fully understand that he is not to take on initiatives in his portfolio unless ordered to do so from above.

 Blackett recognized the terrible flaw in Alberta’s Human Rights legislation that has allowed our commissions to be abused and used as tools to stifle contrary debate and free speech. With gusto Blackett announced last February that he will be tabling legislation to reform Alberta’s legislation and the clause that stifles free-speech will be removed. Blackett’s words were quite strong at the time as seen below:

“People have the right to say what they believe and Albertans strongly believe in that right,” says Lindsay.

“We’ve got to try and find what was the purpose of the human rights commission to start with back in 1972.”

“For me, it’s back to the future and the simplicity of what the human rights commissions is supposed to be. It was originally just intended to provide protection against discrimination on grounds of race, colour, creed, religion and so on with respect to employment, accommodation and access to services. That’s it.”

“It wasn’t about hurt feelings. The reason a lot of human rights commissions are disrespected across the country is because they’ve forgotten that.

“We want the commission to be a quasi-judicial body that has some teeth, that has some credibility but doesn’t operate like a kangaroo court.”

Alas, what was considered to be a “kangaroo court” only a few months ago is now perfectly acceptable to Mr. Blackett. Blackett has clearly been taken to a backroom and scolded for showing such initiative. Blackett has now tabled a document with no mention of free speech whatsoever and is hiding behind fluffy statements to justify the complete flip-flop.

 At times one really has to wonder why we bother having a cabinet at all. Clearly the ministers have no independence within their demesnes. Lets drop the dog and pony show and simply have Stelmach’s Executive Council openly run the entire show.

 The debate on the role of Human Rights Commissions in speech issues has been raging from coast to coast in Canada in the last few years as these bodies release increasingly absurd rulings. Respected journalists such as Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn were forced to endure hearings and defend themselves for having published words that some found offensive. If an iconic magazine such as Macleans can be taken on the carpet by tribunals; clearly no form of media is immune. The chilling effect on public debate of issues is frightening.

 The attacks on business supported by loopy human rights tribunals have been insane as well. A Wiccan took an Boston Pizza to task over the playing of rock music, some hecklers at a comedy show who happened to be lesbians have charged a comedian for returning the heckling, a restaurant that legally cannot allow smoking has been charged for not allowing a man to smoke pot on the premises, a worker at McDonalds has won the right not to wash her hands and we have seen a recent case where a man owning an all female spa is being charged for not allowing a man to join.

 The sad history of strange and frightening rulings by Human Rights Commissions is long and growing. Reform is clearly required on every level. If we were to work incrementally however, the protection of freedom of speech must come first. Having a free press and freedom of speech is critical in any democratic society.

 In light of Ed Stelmach’s disdain for the democratic process, I guess it should not be surprising that the protection of free speech for the press and citizens is not a priority for Ed.

 When Blackett initially spoke of protecting speech for Albertans, where was the outcry against such a notion? I saw many applauding Blackett and nobody condemning him. Why the flip/flop? This change could have been passed easily in the legislature.

 With no public opposition to the speech protection yet the Stelmach PCs refuse to give us such protections, we can only assume that Ed Stelmach and his government do not want to protect freedom of speech for Albertans. This is not a case of the government being indifferent to the right, they have purposely deleted the initiative that would have protected that right. Ed Stelmach outright opposes free speech for Albertans.

 Yet another sad day under the leadership of Ed Stelmach. Alberta could have been a beacon leading the way for the country to reform the broken HRCs. Instead our government has limp wristedly dropped the issue altogether.

Calgary city council gerrymandering.

I guess with our current crop of incompetents in city hall, this assault on basic democracy is not surprising at all.

 For those not familiar with the term gerrymandering, you can be forgiven. The word is really not that much in use anymore as most developed democracies have gone out of their way to end that odious practice. The definition is below:



tr.v. ger·ry·man·dered, ger·ry·man·der·ing, ger·ry·man·ders

To divide (a geographic area) into voting districts so as to give unfair advantage to one party in elections.

 It appears to be a trend for elected officials to ignore or fire electoral officers in Alberta.  While Ed Stelmach, fires them for doing their jobs, Calgary city hall simply ignores them.
 It is not enough for Aldermen to vote themselves large wage increases with no accountability, I see that they now want to meddle with the ward boundaries in order to assure themselves wins when we do indeed have a chance to hold them accountable in elections.
 This practice is nothing less than disgusting. As I said, any real democracy will try and keep the determinations of electoral boundaries as impartial and arms-length as possible in order to avoid perceptions of impropriety. In their profound arrogance however, our Aldermen have not only ignored the recommendations of the electoral officer, they have boldly decided to take their deliberations into private discussion!!
 This is pathetic and offensive. If you guys are going to be impartial, why would you fear having the public in on your deliberations? We do indeed employ you do we not?
 The corruption in Calgary’s city hall has hit a new heights.

She’s just a celebrity folks.

 Medicinal quackery knows no bounds. There are people who swear by crystal healing, ear candling, touch therapy, a frightening variety of enemas and herbs that cure everything from the sniffles to brain cancer.

 Hey, if people feel better trying such methods to cure disease and they want to pay for it themselves; go to town. I only become annoyed when the “alternative medicine” crowd does two things; ask for public funding for unproven therapies, and encourage people to eschew the use of conventional medicine for real conditions.

 A common thread for those who are locked in the world of witch-doctory is an irrational distrust of scientifically proven medicine and an almost evangelical compulsion to try and spread the word on their chosen conspiracy theories.

 The anti-vaccination group is one of the most kooky and dangerous out there. I say kooky as the evidence of the benefits of vaccination is rather overwhelming. How many people have we seen suffering from smallpox lately? Where did the polio epidemic go? What has happened to general life expectancies since inoculation became a broad practice? These people drift into the realm of dangerous when they lobby against such a clearly beneficial practice and they truly do put our children at risk with their odd notions.

 Most of the anti-vaccination nuts simply roam the internet spamming discussion forums with baseless links and youtube videos that they feel proves that the medicinal community is trying to kill us all with vaccinations. These cranks are easily dismissed as their case holds no merit. Unfortunately, now and then a celebrity jumps into the mix and gives a degree of perceived credibility to the baseless claims against things such as vaccination. Jenny McCarthy has been working hard on this one.

jenny mccarthy

 As we can see in the picture above, Jenny is well qualified for the role of being a former Playboy bunny as she is. McCarthy’s nude modelling hardly qualifies her as a medical expert however.

 It is a sad reflection on society that celebrity status often holds such weight with public opinion. The army of researchers and physicians who constantly demonstrate the scientifically proven benefits of vaccination are ignored by some as they take the medical council of a person who has only proven to be qualified to flash her boobs in a widely circulated magazine. Wake up people!!

 In Time magazine this month, Jenny spouted the profanity laced wisdom below:

I do believe sadly it’s going to take some diseases coming back to realize that we need to change and develop vaccines that are safe. If the vaccine companies are not listening to us, it’s their f___ing fault that the diseases are comingback. They’re making a product that’s s___. If you give us a safe vaccine, we’ll use it. It shouldn’t be polio versus autism.


 How profound. Never mind that the link to autism caused by vaccination has been repeatedly and completely debunked. Unfortunately Time magazine has a wider circulation than medical journals and McCarthy is easier on the eye than a pale researcher who is pointing out scientific fact.

 Jenny McCarthy would rather see massive outbreaks of diseases that kill children than accept the proven fact that there is no link between vaccination and autism.

 McCarthy’s crusade against science, common sense and fact has been going on for a couple years now. A website calculating the sickness and death potentially caused by Jenny’s vapid actions has been formed. I hope the count does not grow much more.

 Most people can rationally dismiss the kinds of claims that Jenny is making. Unfortunately, those few who have been listening to nuts like Jenny are not only putting their children at risk, they are putting all children at risk. Vaccination needs to be in broad use in order for it to be most effective. We can look forward to outbreaks of diseases that we had previously thought conquered if enough people listen to the pap McCarthy is spewing and the price will be dear.

 Keep in mind, many celebrities have fallen for and are promoting Scientology as well. That religion was created by a science fiction writer for crying out loud.

 Mass exposure does not mean instant credibility. I wish more people could understand that. Vaccinate your kids.

Alberta government considers Chief Electoral Officer insignificant.

I see no other way to interpret this news story.

 Most will remember, the Progressive Conservative government fired our Chief Electoral Officer (Lorne Gibson) a few months ago for his daring to make suggestions to improve elections in Alberta.

 Well we still need to find a new person for that role but it appears that Alberta’s Corporate Human Resources’ executive search branch (quite a mouthful) does not have time to try and recruit for what they view as such a petty position.

“To manage our level of resources and high work demands, we are currently limiting our search services to meet the needs of Alberta government departments and significant agencies, boards and commissions.”  -branch executive director Alayne Stewart


 Yes, somehow our bloated and over funded civil service can’t find time to try and seek a Chief Electoral Officer. The position is considered too insignificant. The disdain that the PC’s hold for the democratic process becomes more evident all the time.

 The government can afford to spend millions developing an idiotic logo that could have been made in five minutes using paint, but we can’t afford to have the HR department place a classified ad and do a couple interviews I guess.

 I expect that it will take time to find a lackey to fill the role to the standards of our provincial government. The person must know their place and never dare question the wishes of Special Ed lest they be fired.

 If the role of supervising the electoral process in our province is insignificant, just what the hell is significant?

 The government certainly doesn’t underfund their PR department (though that department can’t tell which continent Alberta is on).

 I guess the priorities of the government are simply to spend a fortune telling us how good they are and to cash-starve the one mechanism we have to say otherwise; elections.


“I’m not ready to turn this city over to the cynics,” Druh Farrell

 Well it is getting near a couple of weeks of editorials, letters to the editor callers on radio and television reporters asking people on the street all speaking about Druh Farrell’s bizarre plan to close parts of one of Calgary’s busiest streets for pedestrians this summer. The voices have been almost universal in condemnation of this exercise in tax-funded idiocy.

 Druh has now dismissed all concerned residents as myopic cynics. Clearly those knuckle-dragging Calgarians do not know what is good for them. Druh has taken it upon herself to drag us kicking and screaming into a new green and cosmopolitan city whether we like it or not.

 Well Druh, there are other terms besides “cynics” for these people. How about voters? Perhaps taxpayers? Why not citizens? Perhaps “the people paying Druh Farrell’s bloated salary”?

 Druh, if you truly want to subject the city to something this profoundly stupid, why not hold your horses for a little over a year and campaign based on this? Why don’t you go door to door for a month and explain to people why you want to congest traffic at great expense for a pedestrian route that nobody wants or needs? Oh yeah, it is much for the same reason that our city council makes sure to give themselves a large raise as a first order of business after an election rather than before one. Were folks like Druh Farrell to campaign and advertise their real motives they would never get elected.

 While the news media and other folks on city council can’t seem to find these mysterious supporters of the inane Memorial Drive closure plan, Druh claims to be finding all sorts of supporters.

“I’ve been getting really positive responses, with people saying it’s a sweet little event with virtually no downside,” said Farrell.

 Virtually no downside??? Do you even watch the news Druh? Do you read the paper? Have you actually spoken to some people on the streets? The downsides of your addled plan have been laid out at length in every form of media for weeks now.

 Perhaps you find yourself to be above those cro-magnon media outlets. You can sense the chi of the electorate and smell support for this plan.

 Well let me help you out Druh, click on this sentence and you will be able to find a plethora of downsides to your venture into tax-funded insanity.

 Try and find all those supporters there Druh.

 Another Herald editorialist has weighed in today as well.

 Council has been bypassed with this plan. While Druh seems to feel some sort of overwhelming support for her idea, she feared to vett it with the scrutiny of public discussion by our elected officials. Instead Druh sought and received backdoor approval.

 It is looking likely that this loopy venture will be happening no matter how many Calgarians express their lack of support for it. Stewie and I will be popping down there with the good old video camera to document what will surely be a traffic disaster with nary a pedestrian in sight. Really, who the hell is going to walk on blistering pavement in August when two treed pathways along a river are right next to them?

 I know you wont campaign on your actions in the next election Druh, but rest assured others will. I look forward to distributing the video of the outcome of your idiotic plan as far and wide as possible in your ward.

The race is on.

Today Paul Hinman announced his intention to step down from the leadership of the Wildrose Alliance Party at the upcoming  party AGM to be held on June 6th.

paul hinman

 It is ironic that one of Paul’s greatest acts of leadership has been his stepping back from the role of leader to open the position of party leader to other contenders.

 That is not to say that Paul has not been a great leader so far. While Paul did lose his seat in the legislature by less than 50 votes in the last election, Paul has brought the party forward into a whole new level of viability on the electoral spectrum in the last few years. Paul’s evolution as a leader has been striking, his speaking skills have improved greatly and he is much more engaging than he had been when he initially won the leadership of the party. (again, not that Paul was all that bad to begin with) With Paul stepping aside now, it is clear that he still retains his deep respect for democracy and an interest in the stake of the party that comes above his own interests.

 I am looking forward to this coming leadership race. We will see some new faces presenting some fresh perspectives and this can only lead to further growth within the party. I really hope that Paul decides to run again as he clearly has a great deal to offer to the Wildrose Alliance Party. As far as I am concerned, Paul is the leader to beat. Should Paul run and win or run and lose, our party will be much stronger for this democratic exercise.

Something is very wrong.

 Last week while at a local convenience store, I observed a young man demonstrating the telltale signs of being homeless. His hair and beard were overgrown and unkempt and his clothing was filthy. He appeared to be in his 20s and he got in line behind me. The young man was very polite at the counter as he deposited a handful of mixed change in order to purchase a cigar. What was most striking though was that when this man spoke it became quite obvious that this man was suffering from a developmental disability.

 About a month ago I had the opportunity to be taken on a tour of  The Vocational and Rehabilitation Research Institute by a friend. This is a non-profit institute that works in affiliation with the University of Calgary and has been doing so since 1969. This institute works with people with disabilities and helps them in a community support sort of role. The facility boasts a bottle depot and a contract with the Calgary Airport that employs people with disabilities. There are also some great recreational and rehabilitation facilities provided as well as their research facilities.

 I am sure that my description of the facility is doing it terrible justice so I do suggest that people click on the link to it in order to learn more about it. What I was most impressed with was that the people there are dedicated to trying to find rational and successful approaches to helping people with disabilities in our community.

 What I was not impressed with was the condition of the facility itself. While the functional areas were as well maintained as possible by staff with limited resources, entire sections were completely shut down. The building is getting old and they simply can’t afford the maintenance on sections of it. Old dorm rooms are now being used as offices and I saw three desks jammed into what obviously served as an individual dorm rooms for patients. The floors above that level were completely closed as was what used to be a cafeteria.

 Right-of-center people are often referred to as uncaring ogres and individualists to the point of not caring for anybody aside from themselves. In reality, most conservative-minded people live by the principle that we should take care of those who can’t take care of themselves as opposed to those who won’t take care of themselves.

 It should go without question that many people with mental disabilities and disorders fall into that category of not being able to take care of themselves. The degree of need varies from some limited community support to full institutional care.

 So why the hell is this realm of government programming so chronically underfunded?

 Crime and homelessness are constantly issues that people are concerned about. Unfortunately the solution always appears to be blind spending. For a person with a mental disability, affordable housing is not going to be of aid. New expensive downtown public washrooms will not help these people nor will expansion of homeless shelters. What is required are programs suited to helping these people based on the unique challenges that they face.

 Sadly, facilities such as the The Vocational and Rehabilitation Research Institute do not provide for the photo-op ribbon cutting ceremonies that new public toilets and expansions of homeless shelters provide. Such help for people is complicated and not romantic thus gets ignored by politicians.

 Decades ago a misguided initiative of deinstitutionalization took off in general public policy. It was considered inhumane that some people be kept in institutions for life and many people have been tossed in the streets due to this. Many of those people never should have been discharged and many of these people are the ones we see covered in rags under our bridges. The number of beds in mental health facilities in Canada are now a fraction of what they used to be. That statistic is not a victory, it means that thousands of people were put out on the streets that never had the life-skills required in order to make it on their own.

 I am not fond of the NDP. They are far to the other side of the ideological spectrum from myself. Credit must be given to the Alberta NDP today though for their persistence in obtaining and exposing a damning report of the Progressive Conservative’s treatment of mental health needs in Alberta.

 As is all too common with our provincial government, they have acted very strongly to suppress information that they determine to be detrimental to the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta. A report entitled “Beyond Beds…to Balanced Care Mental Health” was commissioned and presented to Alberta Health and Wellness and the Alberta Mental Health Board in 2007 and was approved by the Steering Committee on Mental Health.

 The report then disappeared.

 Alberta Health and Wellness refused an access to information request by the NDP to see the report. Albertans paid for this report, why the hell can’t we see it? It took a leak (somebody, somewhere has a conscience) for the NDP to obtain the report.

 It is easy to see why the Progressive Conservatives wanted to hide that report. The report is very damning of the government and their complete inaction on mental health issues. It shows that Alberta has four times fewer mental health beds than the national average. The national average is too damn low as it is.

 Rather than act on shortcomings, our government works to hide them. The Stelmach government does not care about our most vulnerable in society, they simply want to remain in power.

 While on their decade long spending spree, the PC government has more than doubled provincial spending. While pissing away our tax-dollars to who knows where, the PC government was also starving our mental health programs to the point where Alberta is the shame of the country. How do we spend far more per-capita in Alberta than any other province yet have the least amount of mental health beds? What are the priorities of our government?

 It is past time to do more than pay lip-service to crime and homelessness in Alberta. How much improvement would we see in these areas if we invested in helping people with mental challenges instead of working to hide them? We will never know the answer to that as long as Ed Stelmach remains in power.

 Keep these thoughts in mind every time you see some poor soul dressed in rags while pushing a shopping cart and talking to themselves.

The Daily Druh.

 Yes, another posting on Druh Farrell’s crazy plan to close lanes on a major city artery to service a need that apparently nobody has.

 The blowback from this initiative of idiocy continues and another fine editorial has popped up today.

Druh’s main-artery clogging brain cramp


You gotta give it to Ald. Druh Farrell. 

And not in a good way.

Calgary’s theatre of the absurd has a zany new farce on its hands courtesy of one of its main players.

In case you missed it, and it’s hard to believe this nugget of nonsense would slip by on a relatively slow news week, Farrell is asking the city to shut down two lanes of Memorial Dr. between 10 St. and 3 St. N.W., on Sundays in August.

Not for more road improvements, mind you.

Nope, we’ve got enough detours and lane closures because of construction already.

Ah, but there are other ways to make you go crazy.

This time it’s so Calgarians can mingle and frolic on a main east-west route through the city.


 The article continues here.

 Druh is still bravely marching forward in the face of overwhelming public opposition to this nonsensical notion. Druh says that residents want this (despite residents saying otherwise). Druh says traffic is light on Memorial Drive and on 16th avenue where traffic will be forced to reroute.

 It being a lazy Sunday afternoon, I decided to pick up the video camera and head to the area in question. Perhaps there was hidden mass parking that I never knew of. Maybe I would find some hidden beauty in the asphalt that would draw people from the river path and onto the street. It is possible that my memory of Memorial Drive being a rather busy street was mistaken.

Below is what I found:

 Come on Druh, wake up and smell the patchouli. Swallow the rest of your granola and a little of your pride. Back off and try to find the remnants of your sanity for the rest of your term as Alderman.

Still no sign of Druh backing down.

 I see that the editorialists at the Herald recognize how inane Druh Farrell’s plan is to close a major street in our city when there is utterly no demand from residents for such an idiotic venture.

Farrell’s memorable folly on Memorial

Memorial Drive ain’t broke, so there’s no need to fix it for four Sundays in August.

Yet, Ald. Druh Farrell presses on with a plan–which does not require the rest of council’s approval– to close off to traffic two riverside lanes of Memorial Drive between 10th Street N. W. and the Calgary Curling Club, near the bridge to Prince’s Island Park.

Farrell envisions creating a promenade for joggers, walkers and bikers from 9a.m. to 1 p. m. on those Sundays, even though there is already a spacious path for these folks which runs parallel with Memorial Drive along the riverbank.

Despite Farrell’s claim that the path “is pretty busy on a Sunday,”there is absolutely no need to duplicate it by closing a section of the roadway and snarling traffic which has no better place to which to detour.



 The word folly does apply well to this plan as do madness, stupidity and arrogance.

 The arrogance part fits Druh well. Farrell found a way to get such a plan in place with no discussion in city council and continues to push forward when it has become starkly clear that this plan is a waste of time and money that has no public support. Farrell clearly has absolutely no respect for the people who pay the taxes to support her lavish raises and really does not care what Calgarians want or think.

 I know that I keep on about this and you know what? I am going to continue hammering on this until Druh Farrell listens to the damn electorate and backs off on this thing. She has struck a few nerves with me on this issue. One thing I hate is ill-conceived environmental ideas that actually lead to more pollution. Another thing I despise is the blatant wasting of tax dollars (aside from the money wasted on Druh’ssalary, it will not be cheap to have city employees doing these lane closures). What I truly loathe however is this blatant display of indifference and disrespect towards the will of the electorate.

 I see that my blog rates rather highly when somebody googles Druh Farrell. Good! When the next municipal election comes, I want people who are researching the candidates to see and realize just who the idiot is who is asking them to entrust her with the management of their hard earned tax dollars.