Increasingly desperate, increasingly dangerous.

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

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

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

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

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

This changed with the arrival of the Protest Chicken.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is this what they fought and died for?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

So what will the next excuse be?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Petition time.

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

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

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

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

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

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