Is a boom really so bad?

Few things get me worked up faster than hearing people whining about the challenges that come with a robust economy. During the last boom, the complaints from the spoiled hit a fever pitch as people yelped about everything from long restaurant lines to the increased cost of living. Many people actually called for the government to intervene and purposely slow Alberta’s economy. The Alberta economy hit the toilet well enough on it’s own in late 2007, can you imagine how bad it would have been had government already worked to slow it down prior to that? Governments make enough of a damn mess when they mess with an economy trying to speed it up, it is nothing short of idiocy to ask a government to slow an economy down.

Things in Alberta are finally getting back to where they should be and the usual suspects are crawling out of the woodwork complaining about the challenges. From higher rents to traffic backups to infrastructure shortcomings, the complaints are ramping up. Despite these being real symptoms of a strong and growing economy, these problems pale in comparison to the challenges that come with a dead or dying economy.

With my cell phone camera I set out in Stuebenville Ohio to try to demonstrate just what a slow economy looks like as it is clear that many of our myopic complainers in Alberta have utterly no idea what they are wishing for.

The demands for increased entitlements, infrastructure, healthcare, art and larger government in general are extremely damned expensive. If the economy is stunted, rest assured we will get no increases to the aforementioned things though that seems lost on the anti-business crowd.

I do apologize for the shaky video and any vertigo experienced in watching the bumpy ride. I did have to do the tour while in the vehicle as it truly is not safe to be walking about filming things in this city. It is my first venture into video ranting and I find typing easier than speaking.

I guess BC is getting tired of the prosperity.


While it still is a year away and we certainly saw the collective worthlessness of pollster’s projections in the recent Alberta election, the current polled trends in BC are disturbing. It appears that like a beaten wife who keeps returning to her abuser, BC wants to again embrace the governance of the party that castrated their economy for nearly a decade. It looks like the BC NDP is polling at about 50% right now.

 There are few reliable constants in the world but one that can be relied upon is the economic disaster that comes with a provincial NDP government. Bob Rae proved that the largest and most robust provincial economy in Canada could be brought to it’s knees with his catastrophic term as the Premier of Ontario. Saskatchewan lagged the nation in economic growth and activity under an NDP government as the province lost most of it’s youth in an exodus to Alberta seeking jobs. Manitoba is determined to remain a dependent little brother in confederation and under the inept guidance of their NDP government they are achieving that goal in spades.

 I remember very well working on oil exploration projects in the North where I literally would survey the perimeter of our program right on top of the BC/Alberta border. We would not venture an inch on to the BC side as our costs would explode and it simply was not worth it for our clients to pursue data there. Fort Saint John and Dawson Creek were in dire straits as the BC NDP government regulated and taxed the economy to the point where BC became a have-not province within Canada.

 Along with the consistency of NDP governments destroying economies is the consistent rebound for the economy when the socialists are finally tossed out. Saskatchewan is now a fast growing economic powerhouse in Canada thanks to the rational guidance of the Sask Party government. BC has been booming for over 10 years as the Liberal government undid much of the economic neutering caused by the previous NDP government. Ontario’s economy exploded under the Conservative government that replaced Rae’s grossly inept NDP. The pattern is clear and constant.

Despite such stark and repeated examples of the damage that NDP government’s cause, a large segment of Canadians simply refuse to accept this reality. Like a crack addict who knows the pipe is killing him yet can’t resist putting it back in his mouth again, provinces seem prone to repeated self-destructive behaviour in electing socialist governments.

 Please, please, please BC wake up! If you are tired of the Liberals than by all means pursue an alternative. Going back to the NDP however is simply an example of the cure being worth the disease. I do hope that this trend changes as I would hate to see our provincial neighbors dropped back into the economic toilet again.

 Alberta and Saskatchewan can’t keep up with subsidizing Quebec alone.


Remember Greece.

Well the inevitable has happened. Many countries in the European Union are going broke due to decades of trying to tax, borrow and spend their way into prosperity. Sadly socialism does not die quietly and currently union led riots are tearing Greece apart as delusional citizens feel that protests and a deep sense of entitlement will somehow bring them resources that simply do not exist.

 What part of broke do they not understand? The cupboard is bare and is becoming so in Ireland, Portugal, Italy and many other European states.

We can’t get on too high a horse here in Canada. As we encourage an ever-growing governments on all levels we on a collision course with the same situation as Europe. We just have not progressed deeply enough into the hole of entitlement and debt yet.

As rioters who depended on cradle to grave socialism take to the streets in Athens, please look at the pictures and remember them at the appropriate times.

 When somebody tries to convince you that government debt is not a bad thing, remember Greece!

When government tries to convince you that a company is too big to fail,

Remember Greece!

If your government buys off public sector unions with unreasonable pension and wage concessions, before you go out to vote in the next election,

Remember Greece!

Before considering supporting a government promising massive spending increases

Remember Greece!

When people try to stunt economic development in the name of fanatical environmentalism and anti-capitalist ideology

 Remember Greece!

Greece has kindly though unintentionally  learned a lesson on our behalf and we would be pretty foolish not to heed it.

Will we look at hard realities now and bring our size and expectations of the state under control or will be go down the inevitable road to bankruptcy?

 It is pretty depressing to see how many Greeks still don’t get it. Tearing your cities to the ground will not make resources appear where they simply don’t exist.

It’s for the children!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

The dangerous remnants of “occupy” Calgary.

I guess it could be arguable as to when “occupy” Calgary lost all credibility. For some such as myself, it was the moment that a legitimate march ended on October 15 and turned into an encampment of squatters in Olympic Plaza and St. Patrick’s Island. For some it was within a few days as it was clear that there really was no distinct goal or message to be had in the squatting and that the time was being wasted.

Clearly a large turning point for even some of the most staunch supporters of “occupy” Calgary was when a group of extremists from the Olympic Plaza squatters actually went out of their way to interfere with a legitimate effort to find long-term housing for the truly and chronically homeless who were encamped at St. Patricks Island.

The incident linked above proved very clearly that the organizers and hardcores in the Calgary “occupy” movement could not care less about the truly disadvantaged. For these people to try to purposely interfere with efforts to aid the homeless so that they could keep some homeless folks in their camp for good optics was nothing less than repugnant. Resolutions soon followed in the Olympic Plaza camp to stop feeding homeless and to stop letting them use their tents. The “occupiers” love using the homeless for talking points and for optics but they really don’t care much for associating with them.

Things continued to degenerate with the Calgary “occupy” movement as more and more incidents drove moderate and rational people away from the squatter encampment. Calgarians were disgusted to find that these people had been defecating in our park and had defaced Canadian flags leading up to Remembrance day.

The dwindling support for and increasing extremes within the movement became very evident a couple weeks ago when a much-touted, union backed rally could not even draw 50 people. Rather than listen to the handful of speakers, many occupiers chose instead to attack a man in a chicken suit who was counterprotesting.

Things continued to heat up as there were less and less occupiers and more and more people confronting the squatters and demanding that they leave our park. Scenes such as the two videos below illustrate the clear frustration on the part of citizens and the incoherent nature of the squatters.

Why is it that the only remaining squatters are increasingly nutty while we still see a fair degree of apparent support on social media?

Well, unfortunately there is a crowd of champagne socialists who while sitting comfortably in suburban homes they are vocally supporting and enabling some disadvantaged and troubled people squatting dangerously in a park. These hypocrites would not dare actually go sleep in a tent themselves. They are much more content drinking fine wine and drawing their battle lines on twitter and in facebook groups. These people will pop downtown now and then with some cookies to perk up their pawns and ensure that they stay on display.

This used to be very evident as we saw the somewhat moderate debating with the extreme on their organizational Facebook page (almost no actual squatters participating in in the facebook group). Slowly but surely the moderate thinkers were pushed away and the once open group has not become closed as these people recognize that their increasingly extreme ideas are costing them a loss in what little remaining public support may be out there.

Unfortunately the remnants of the squatters fall pretty much into two groups now. There are a few chronic, career protesters down there. These are the same kooks we see being teargassed and arrested at pretty much any event where more than a few people can be gathered. While insane and often violent, these people are often fairly bright and can take care of themselves so I am not too worried about them.

The next group are a bunch of predominantly young displaced people. I have met a few of them. They appear to have social and communicative challenges often and are truly not far from real homelessness. Some of these kids have substance abuse problems and others have more subtle but distinct challenges. These kids don’t really look at this as a movement and often can’t enunciate even why they are a part of it. They really don’t understand. These are kids who are displaced and have found what appears to be a welcoming social group. Unfortunately these kids are being terribly used by the remnants of the “occupy” movement.

The problem with the kids listed above is that things are becoming very very dangerous in Olympic Plaza. These young people are not well capable of taking care of themselves and have not been prone to making good long term decisions. That is what does make them ideal for padding the dwindling “occupy” movement but it does not make it ideal for these people to safely function in very adverse weather conditions.

Yesterday I went down to the squatter camp in Olympic Plaza for a visit. There I met one of the victims of a fire that happened a few days ago. He is pictured below.


Those are not typical white gloves this young fellow is wearing. Those are gauze and they are covering the terrible burns on this kid’s hands. His legs are burned as well and the wounds were already seeping through the bandages. The pain must be terrible and I have heard that the person who rescued this guy from the tent was pretty badly burned as well.

I never caught the kid’s name I am afraid. He politely approached me and began to awkwardly explain how he was confident that the candle in his tent had been put out and that he felt that somebody had broken into his tent, lit a second candle that had caused the fire and had left an incriminating lighter behind. I think the kid really believed that was the circumstance.

What was more disturbing than the terrible burns that this young man had gotten was the clear reality that this kid had some serious challenges. What those are I wont begin to guess but I can confidently say this kid needs assistance to get by and that a winter tent camp is a terrible environment for him to be in. Not only did this kid get horribly burned while desperately trying to stay warm on a winter night, he has come back for more. Treating burns is a long, painful and critical process. This kid (I sure wish I had caught his name) is at terrible risk for infection and these wounds may indeed become much worse. The tent camp is littered with garbage and feces and is far from a sterile environment. Environment aside, those bandages will need regular changing and his wounds need treating. I seriously doubt that will happen while squatting.

This all happened before temperatures plunged to the -20 that we have now. What will happen next? Will there be more fires? The tents are closely packed and insulated with cardboard. Tragedy can very easily happen. Are they all warm enough? Digits can very easily be lost to frostbite. Hypothermia leading to death can easily occur should somebody overindulge in a substance. It is not like passing out at home.

Things are only going to get worse down there as a Canadian winter moves in. Mayor Nenshi and other city officials should clear the camp if only for safety purposes. They fear to do anything due to apparent poor optics. Personally I would rather deal with poor optics as a politician than to have to live with a kid being disfigured or even worse due to my inaction.

The coldest of them all out there though are the hypocrites who sit in warm houses and enable this. These people who are using troubled kids as pawns for their undefinable cause. It truly is sick.

Mayor Nenshi, clean the squatters out. There is no message and this whole affair is clearly not harmless.

Another day in the park.

Well, as we heard yesterday warnings were posted at Olympic Plaza telling our squatters that they had 24 hours to remove tents and unused materials as per city bylaws. My nature dictated that I had to go down there in person to witness and document the event today. While the tents still remain (hopefully not for long), the day was indeed eventful as bylaw officers and police came to the park to provide written warnings to our illegal squatters.

The nasty corporate media (yes tongue in cheek) was there in abundance so there is little reason for me to report on the minutiae of the happenings. Sun News did give me a chance to express some of my thoughts as did other outlets.

What I want to report on is the personal and individual nature of the attitude of the “occupiers” when it comes to myself. Some occupiers actually told me to get the hell out of “their” park. It was an exceedingly funny tweet to see upon arriving home. You see, these “occupiers” shun being covered by any form of media whether formal or alternative as their hypocrisy tends to be exposed pretty quickly. Were I that confused and vapid in my nature, I doubtless would avoid the public spotlight too.

Now, upon arriving at Olympic Plaza I was beset upon by a variety of “occupiers” and exchanges occurred. Again, due to there being literally dozens of cameras and microphones in the area pretty much everything was documented by formal and informal media alike. Tiring of the inane ramblings of our occupiers, I did try to wander the park to get more footage and to see what was happening as warning tickets were being handed out by bylaw and police officers.

As I wandered I was continually tailed and harassed by Occupy Calgary representative James Bullock. For those with better things to remember, James Bullock is the young martyr who was recently ticketed for throwing down a lit cigarette butt in the park. With all the dry and dead grass in the area, people can understand why this offence is taken pretty seriously. Occupy Calgary has already cost taxpayers more than $40,000 through combined damages and enhanced monitoring of the park. I could not imagine what may have happened if a grass fire were to rage through a pile of closely packed nylon tents. James pouted later that he should not have to pay as he could not afford it.

Now as I said, young James continually followed and hounded me throughout the park. His agitation as I ignored him became evident to the point where police officers began following us as it was evident that James may indeed become violent. James kept claiming that he wanted to speak yet got belligerent whenever his speaking may be recorded.

Now to you occupy folks I am going to post a video below. You will now understand why I constantly carry a video camera with me as your representatives have a terrible time sticking to the truth.

Below in his own words is James Bullock, Occupy Calgary representative as I give him time to air his thoughts: I apologize for the poor camera angle. I had to keep my face unobstructed as it is evident that James may have been ready to strike me.

Now how exactly am I supposed to explore dialog and reason with a guy like that?

Note that while occupiers claim that they want dialog that they cover their faces and become belligerent as soon as somebody tries to engage in such.

Now on the official occupy Calgary blog I see statements claiming such pap as my having referred to James as a “retard” among other things.

For some reasons that are personal and that I will not expand on, I can say with 100% confidence that I have never called anybody a “retard”. I say so with such confidence simply because I know I never use that term.  The rest of their blather is simple fabrication as well of course.

Were I of a vexatious nature I guess I could howl that I was slandered. To be honest, I am only concerned when people with even a shred of credibility say bad things of me and Occupy Calgary simply has no credibility.

Occupy Calgary supporter Marcus Arseneault appears to have done an absolute terrible and fraudulent forgery of his boss’s email as he unsuccessfully tried to create a scandal claiming he was fired for involvement in occupy Calgary.

I reported on flags being purposely hung upside down by occupy Calgary supporters recently.

Occupy Calgary supporters claimed the flags had simply been blown down by mistake. That lie was blown out of the water when pictures of the defaced flags that were weeks old were presented (Occupy Calgary again has hung the flags upside down again by the way).

What we see here is a pattern of ad hominem attacks against people who report on Occupy Calgary with no substance and that are easily disproved. Can these people and their unfounded and libelous accusations about me be taken seriously this time? Absolutely not.

In my blog postings I provide pictures, video and real quotes from people to add to the integrity of what I write. This is why I attend events in person as well. I like to see and report my views on what I see directly.

As I said before, there were dozens of cameras and microphones around me all day. Astoundingly not a single on recorded my alleged statements to Mr. Bullock.

I will say this now. I was certainly not kind to Mr Bullock when he abrasively kept trying to get in my face. I do say that he is lazy with a deep sense of entitlement and victimhood and he blames the entire world for his own shortcomings. I may have said that directly to him today and I do not regret having said so. I never said the trash that our desperate occupiers are trying to claim however.

Bullock may indeed have some extra challenges in life. If that is the case I hope that he seeks help rather than sitting in a park smoking and whining about his tough lot in life as it clearly is not serving him well. Taxpayers spend millions (rightly) on programs to help the disadvantaged. Squatting in a park is not the way to seek help.

Now tomorrow I will be heading down to the garbage dump in Olympic Plaza that we call “occupy Calgary” and I will directly document the action/inaction that may happen. At least we can be assured that I will remain within the bounds of the truth as opposed to “occupy Calgary” and their supporters.

I do look forward to seeing them dragged from their tents kicking and screaming so that their “movement” can end in as infantile a manner as it began.

I may post some more video and thoughts of today later this evening but for now I am going to kick back with a glass of the fine single-malt that I do love and earned the money to buy. 🙂

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.

Do we want the best or not?

 Year after year, poll after poll we see that health care is considered far and away to be the most important issue to Albertans whether left, right or center. We also see constant stories of shortcomings in our current system. Recently we have literally seen a doughnut shop being used as an ER because a BC hospital was over capacity. People have been literally dying on waiting lists and we are seeing health facilities in dire need of upgrading or repair.

 Two facts are evident here.  One is that health care is paramount in importance to Albertans and that the system is not performing in a satisfactory way. People say that they want the “best”. OK fair enough but how do we determine what is actually the best? Lets look at a few measures.


 Almost invariably when shortcomings are pointed out in the system, defenders of the status-quo (unions) suddenly claim that our system is one of perfection and that we simply are underfunding it.

 Alberta has tripled health care spending in the last decade. Despite that massive increase in expenditure, our waiting lists continue to grow and our infrastructure continues to crumble.  if spending alone were the measure of a successful system, the United States are clearly the most successful health care providers on the planet as they spend more by every measure on health care than any developed nation on the planet.

 Many health systems that can brag better results than Canada spend less in measures of per-capita spending and in percentage of gross domestic product. It is pretty safe to say that this means that we can see better results in health care without spending more money if we are willing to change how we do things.

 It must be kept in mind that the most vocal groups for increased spending are unions and their side lobby groups (Friends of Medicare). Despite what they may claim, unions simply do not have the interests of patients in mind (nor should they, the workers are their mandate). Note that the unions constantly call for “more beds”, not more doctors, more procedures, more drug coverage, more preventative medicine or more diagnostic equipment. The reason for this is simply that more beds translates into more union staff whether nurses, janitorial or even in laundry services. If we got all of the other things, we would need less beds as people would not be languishing in hospitals awaiting treatment as they are now. The unions are simply doing their job in that their interest is nothing more than gaining and maintaining more union workers. That always has to be kept in mind when they call for more spending in health however.

World health spending rates can be found here. Canada is near the top in this at least.

Beds per 10,000

 While beds and the need for them can represent a shortcoming in timely treatment, we certainly do need a measure of them. As Canada is among the world leaders in spending, how do we rank among beds? Not too well I fear.

Canada ranks 40th behind such economic powerhouses as Uzbekistan and Palau

 Again beds alone are pretty limited in what they indicate and in what they provide in health services. All the same, if we are going to lead in spending, why are we not leading in such measures as this?


                   One thing that greatly reduces the need for hospital beds is having an adequate number of doctors and specialists treating patients so that they can be back on their feet again. An increased number of doctors helps reduce the load on the system by diagnosing and treating patients earlier while many conditions still remain more easily treatable.

 Canada ranks 58th in doctors per capita behind such nations as Moldova and Uruguay with 2.1 doctors per 1000 people.

 Gaining and maintaining doctors is not a simple task. Increasing the number of doctors we educate at home is good but it is no assurance that we will keep these recent graduates. Many newly trained Canadian doctors are quickly recruited by foreign countries that have more flexible health systems which are much more attractive to doctors than ours with essentially capped salaries and untenable hours of work. Our system hinders us in trying to draw foreign doctors in to Canada as well.

 It only makes sense that we examine comparable countries to our own and that we emulate what has been working with them.

Life Expectancy

 Many other factors come in when it comes to life expectancy. The local health care system has a huge impact on expectancies though.

In the world rankings, Canada is 11th in life expectancy. Not bad. I still like aspiring to the numbers of the 10 nations ahead of us though (all of whom have mixed health care provision systems).

Infant mortality

Infant mortality is a good measure. Certainly we can’t directly compare with third-world nations that are coping with malnutrition, clean water and getting simple vaccinations. In developed nations though, the infant mortality rate can give a good indication of how the pre-natal and birthing care have been. In Canada we rank 23rd. 


Universal care is a value that most Canadians share. Ironically, in our stubborn adherence to our flawed system many desperate Canadians are going to European and Asian nations in order to purchase procedures that they simply can no longer wait for in Canada. The irony is that these people are subsidizing the universal coverage of other nations while we languish with untenable waiting lists in Canada due to a twisted sense of “fairness” and an ingrained fear of “two-tier” care. Our socialized and rationed system is self-defeating in that people of means (or desperation) are still jumping the line and are taking their resources out of the country while they are at it. I wonder how many of these people end up getting treated by Canadian trained doctors in foreign nations? Which nations more truly have universal coverage?

 We as Canadians have had it driven into our heads our whole lives that Canada has the best health system on the planet while every measure possible is contrary to that assertion. We have actually built a system of service provision into our national identity which is sort of disturbing when you think of it.

 If we truly want to get the best health care possible for ourselves, we first have to admit that our system is not the best (in fact it isn’t even close to it). We then need to examine the systems that do rate as the best and emulate them.

 In all of the measures I referred to above, some countries consistently ranked near the top. France, Japan, Sweden and Switzerland all surpass us and only Switzerland spends more. One common element of the countries that are surpassing us is that they have set aside the notions of envy and socialism in order to pursue the best outcomes for patients. All of those countries allow a much greater degree of private provision and management than Canada does and that is no small denominator in why those countries enjoy better care than we do at less cost to all. All of those countries have universal coverage as well.

 When we look at the chronic crisis hitting Canada’s health system despite massive increases in expenditures, it becomes clear that change to Canada’s system is inevitable. What we have to ask ourselves is whether we want to proactively pursue that change now or if we will stubbornly hang on to our broken system until it collapses and change comes in a different way.

 I would prefer to pursue the best system myself.

A 12 Step Program for the Liberal Party of Alberta to attain electoral viability.

 Yes, the Alberta Liberal Party has hit a whole new level in demonstrating their disassociation with political reality and their utter lack of viability as a governing party with their release of a 12 step program for Alberta. While their 12 step release contains a great deal of the usual fluffy statements of limited substance, there are gems in there that really help illustrate what the Alberta Liberals are all about.

 One great idea is the banning of all corporate and union donations. Now on one hand, our Alberta Liberals have been patting themselves on the back for having retired their party debt through laying off their staff and putting on the lackluster performance these last two years that one would expect from a party with no money. There was of course some revenue brought in and dedicated to the party debt. Why, in 2009 alone the Liberal Party of Alberta solicited for and received $115,845 in corporate donations.

 Will the Liberal Party of Alberta lead through example and turn down corporate donations from here on in? Taft certainly is working to eliminate corporate donations to the party with his selective number crunching and attacks on Alberta corporations (employers) but that is not the same as the party itself turning down that money now is it? Alberta’s Liberals feel that the corporations who employ the majority of people in the province should not be able to donate to political parties. OK, fair enough. Show the other political parties how to run without corporate donations then Swann.

 The Liberal Party of Alberta knows that they will never form government Alberta and it shows in their unrealistic platforms.

 One would think that with nearly 100 years in opposition in Alberta that the Liberals would learn something by now. Stelmach has created the worst provincial government in living memory and brought the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta to record lows in provincial support. Have the Alberta Liberals been able to capitalize on this opportunity? Nope. With their best chance to form government in nearly a century in front of them, Alberta’s Liberal party has found itself in a distant third place in the polls.

 What solution was found to this voter rejection of Alberta’s dwindling Liberals? What profound initiative was going to bring the Liberal Party of Alberta into contention? Which of the Liberal’s 12 step program steps would solve this conundrum?

 In step 8 the Liberals want to financially castrate themselves. In step 10 the Liberals feel that they have found the route to all those hidden Alberta Liberal voters. The Liberal step 10 calls for us to pay people to go out and vote. That’s right, Alberta’s Liberals feel that we should offer $50 tax credits to everybody who goes out and casts a ballot. Of course, the provincial Liberals seem to be ignoring the reality that even if people suddenly felt inspired to cast a ballot due to this initiative; they still probably would not vote for the Alberta Liberals. Tax credits are really only beneficial to the employed. People who support the Alberta Liberal brand of socialism usually don’t suffer from excess income tax as they usually are not bothered by such annoyances as employment. The chronically self-entitled are the domain of the NDP anyway who are not going to be amused by the Liberal concept of banning union donations to political parties.

 With dozens of electoral defeats in Alberta, the best the Liberal Party of Alberta can do is create a lame 12 step program that demands that we pay people to vote.

12 step programs exist and have been used to help correct people who practice compulsive and self-destructive behaviors (primarily addictions) for decades.  Let’s have a look at how the classic 12 step program could be applied to Alberta’s Liberal party.

Step 1We admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable.

 Well, the Liberals have indeed been powerless in Alberta for a long time and Liberals in general have demonstrated that they are addicted to the fruits of the labors of others through taxation. It will be a tough step for Liberals to actually admit this though.

 Hey guys, you have to work the program. Let reality be your guide and admit for a change. Voters appreciate humility and they certainly have no appreciated the Alberta Liberal Party. Give it a crack. You have very little to lose.

 Step 2Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity

 OK, classic 12 step programs get pretty spiritual and that can be a hindrance to participants. In order to deal with this, programs have allowed their participants to define their own “higher power” into one of their own understanding in case the addict may be an agnostic or practice something outside of mainstream faiths.

OK Liberals, listen up! I am going to define the power greater than yourselves to be that of the electorate. You know, those folks who shun you at every election who you then label as fools for their not having voted for you who then loathe you and your Liberal ways even more thus causing you to go deeper into your ivory-tower world thus separating you further from real Albertans thus dropping you in the polls thus…………….. How’s that for a run-on sentence? I think it helps make the point of the self-destructive cycle Alberta’s Liberals are in though.

 For the remainder of the 12 steps I will substitute the word “God” with “the electorate”. In electoral politics voting (the ones who stay home on election day mean nothing) are God as far as political parties are concerned (at least to parties who want to actually get elected one day).

 Come to believe that the electorate can restore you to sanity Liberals!

Step 3Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of the electorate as we understood the electorate.

 OK folks, not all of this should be taken literally.

 You Liberals most certainly should be turning your lives and will over to that of the electorate. This is the key misunderstanding that Alberta Liberals have of the electorate. Albertan voters want to be listened to, not dictated to. The snotty and condescending attitude that Alberta’s Liberal party sends out to the electorate is not exactly endearing. The  academic champagne socialism of the Alberta Liberal party does not sell. Get used to it and get over it.  You either respect democracy or you  don’t. The majority of Albertans do not embrace the Alberta Liberal brand of leftism. Learn this or forever resign yourselves to the opposition benches like the NDP whom you are not very far from at all lately.

 Now back to that “understood the electorate”. Alberta’s Liberals do not understand the electorate at all as they constantly refuse to listen to them. A group of some disaffected Liberals realized part of this and have broken away from the Liberal Party of Alberta to take part in the Alberta Party with their “big listen”. While the listening has been realized, the undemocratic takeover of an existing party has not exactly gotten that bunch off to a good beginning. I am getting the impression that they are claiming to listen but are rather selective so far in what they want to hear. Holding coffee meetings all over the place is indeed dandy, but it will not win seats in the end which really is all that matters if one wants to achieve their goals.

 Do a “big listen” dammit! Shut your Liberal mouths for a minute and listen to the Albertans that you purport to care about. Don’t just listen like the breakaway group though; act on what you hear. Represent those speaking to you and work to get yourselves into a place where you can make the changes that Albertans tell you they want (some call that place the legislature).

 In other words, turn your will over to the electorate as counseled to in this step.

Step 4Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves

 OK, having not been in power since the turn of the last century you really have few contemporary examples to view for your moral inventory.  Federally though, your Liberal counterparts have held power on many occasions. Whether through Trudeau’s assault on the West or Chretien’s sheer arrogance and the corrupt shenanigans of his cabinet, the Liberal brand has been completely soiled in Alberta. Look within guys and admit this. Be fearless and accept this.

 Morally, what else are you Liberals in this for? Do you respect democracy? Do you want to represent the majority of Albertans or are you seeking a backdoor way to pursue your personal ideals? Most Albertans feel that Liberals are pursuing the latter goal (voters are more perceptive than you Liberals give them credit for).

 Alberta’s Liberals are in desperate need of some soul-searching. An honest practice of step 4 will go a long way towards that.

Step 5Admitted to the electorate, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs

 Now, if you Liberals properly pursued step 4, you will have gotten yourself a list of things that you have done wrong. Rest assured if the list is short, you need to repeat step 4.

 I am going to bring up the name of the person you Liberals consider to be the “Great Satan” of Alberta politics; Ralph Klein. Yes, Klein came from nowhere and snatched the last vague chance you Liberals ever had of forming government under Lawrence Decore from you. Most of you are still stuck in that Decore lala land thinking it will come back for you. Here is one hint on what Decore did that you guys can’t or won’t; Lawrence Decore campaigned from the right-wing.

 Back to Klein, rather than demonizing the man, try to learn from him. Love him or hate him, Klein was unquestionably one of the most successful politicians in the entire history of Alberta. Now here is something important about Ralph Klein that relates to step 5. Listen closely:


Nothing puts off voters in Alberta more than that usual Liberal arrogance. You guys have been wrong for decades and it is undeniable. That is why you are still in distant opposition. Why do you think that if you use the same formula over and over again that something will change?

 People want to see some humility from you clowns. Drop your nose down an inch and look a voter in the eye for a change. You may be amazed with the results.

 Klein made mistakes. Everybody makes mistakes. Klein used to admit that he made mistakes. Do you Liberals remember that? What would happen after Klein admitted to making a mistake? The PC party jumped in the polls!! Think about that.

 Alberta needs to be convinced that the Liberal Party has recognized the nature of it’s wrongs and is legitimately changing it’s ways. Are you guys ready to do that? How much more electoral rejection will it take before you do this? You don’t need to making and admitting to a mistake a minute, but geeze guys you have to be realizing that you need to change some things.

Step 6Were entirely ready to have the electorate remove all these defects of character

 OK guys, this gets back to that listening and acting. Do you have faith in the electorate? Do you want to listen to them and actually represent them? Will you represent the electorate even when it may clash with your personal ideals?

 The electorate will remove your defects of character. They will tell you what they want you to do. You have to be prepared to listen to the electorate in good faith in order for this to work.

Step 7Humbly asked the electorate to remove our shortcomings

OK, I have to admit that the steps get a little repetitive here. The point is important though and is worth repetition.

 You have searched yourself, you have questioned the electorate and you have come to some conclusions. Are you ready to put those conclusions into action?

 Your opportunity is at election time. Is your platform based on the wishes of the electorate or is it built on your flawed and repeatedly rejected Liberal ideals?

 Have you any idea what it is to humbly do anything? I understand that this is another one of those challenges for many Liberals. Be humble and give the voters what they want for a change. You may be astounded by the results.

 Try to cut back on calling Albertans rednecks and decrying the province as some sort of backwards cesspool. I assure you that the voters do hear you when you pull that crap.

Step 8Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all

 Here is one area where your utter electoral failure has made your job easier for you. Having not been able to gain any power, you really have not been able to harm many people.

 Your initiatives and platforms have been an assault on common sense and your supporters chronic talking down to the electorate have been an offense to good taste. You can’t make amends to taste or common sense however.

 How about people who have supported the Liberal Party through fiscal and volunteer support through the years only to watch you guys throw away election after election? These people must feel like season ticket holders to the Maple Leafs.

 At this point, are you willing to make amends?

 Step 9Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others

The best way you can make amends is to follow these steps and actually become a force in the province guys.

 Easier said than done.  If you listen to the electorate, your making of amends will not injure others.

 The collective wisdom of Albertans is more than you Liberals will give them credit for. Try following it for a change.

Step 10Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it

OK, now we are talking. You have reformed yourself, your party is growing in the polls. Hell, lets jump waaaaaay ahead and assume that you have gotten the Liberals into power in Alberta for the first time in nearly 100 years.

 Sorry guys, the work is not done. These steps are an ongoing process. Were your prior steps a means to an end or did you truly reform yourself? If you simply pretend to work the earlier steps, rest assured the electorate will continue to see through you so you will not get into power and this step is moot.

 There is always a risk that you will get into power and fall back into your old Liberal ways. I guess if you want a single term before sinking into another century of electoral obscurity you could disregard this step.

Step 11Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with the electorate as we understood the electorate, praying only for knowledge of the electorate’s will for us and the power to carry that out

Consult your higher power (the electorate) at all times whether in or out of power.

 Your own best thinking has failed you. What have you got to lose in asking voters what they want for a change?

 Prayer and meditation are not really required for this. Polling, townhall meetings and doorknocking will suffice.

 Only the electorate can grant your wishes. That can’t be stressed enough to you guys thus the repetition.

Step 12Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs

 Here is the good news guys. Once you are truly reformed, you can spread the good word country wide. Liberals languish in an electoral wasteland in many provinces within Canada. If you guys could learn to win in Alberta, you could help Liberals in Canada win in any jurisdiction.

 Congratulations on completing your 12 steps.

 Of course, I am somewhat skeptical of the capability of Alberta’s Liberals in reforming themselves so I will stick to supporting the Wildrose Alliance Party who’s willingness to listen to and represent Albertans is reflected in current polls.

Of course there is room for cuts.

 I wonder what the Stelmach deficit will really total by the end of the fiscal year? At the rate that it is escalating, it is looking likely that we will be $10 billion in the red by the time the year is finished. Iris and Ed’s fiscal predictions have proven to be utterly worthless and off the mark by as much as $15 billion in a one year period. It is frightening to think of what these clowns will do to our province with a few more years to mismanage us.

 The voices of the status-quo apologists are dwindling as most people with any degree of fiscal common sense have migrated to the Wildrose Alliance Party. These people have learned that to try and repair the tired old Progressive Conservative machine is a lost cause.

 Still, there are a dogged few who try to make excuses for the freespending ways of the Stelmach government. It is sad to see them smugly state to critics “Well, where would you cut?” as if that is some sort of knockout blow dealt to critical comment. A better question is; where to begin?

 Virtually every department has had massive increases in expenditures despite Albertans seeing little indication of benefits from this spending. The reason to put it simply is that the spending has been directionless and money is being outright pissed away. Bureaucrats are raking in millions in bonuses from Ed Stelmach while displaying gross incompetence in the spending of hard-earned Albertan tax dollars. What incentive is there for these parasites to improve performance? Firing is one of the best things these people can think of happening to them considering the multi-million dollar golden handshakes that Ed likes to give to senior civil servants.

 Special Ed and others have trumpeted that we are in the midst of an infrastructure deficit. This is a sidelong (and rather sad) way to try and blame our fiscal shortcomings on the previous administration.

 Lets assume that this infrastructure is indeed critical. Does that mean that we can’t cut the spending on it? NO!

 A regular reader of this blog (an rare breed indeed) passed on a couple stories to me that really help demonstrate the efficiency being displayed in the construction of Alberta infrastructure. The contrast is striking and I don’t doubt that hundreds of other projects can be compared similarly.

 Wal-Mart announced a few months ago that they will be constructing a giant store in Calgary’s Southeast. The store will be 185,000 square feet and will be the largest of it’s kind in Calgary. The projected cost of this project is about $11 million dollars.

 Now recently, the province of Alberta and the city of Calgary proudly cut the ribbon on the opening of a new police station in the Ramsey district. The station is 36,000 square feet and cost $19 million to build.

 Now I do understand that there are different needs between these types of facilities but come on, look at that spread in costs. I don’t doubt that Wal-Mart will be installing top of the line security that will rival the police station along with administrative space. I am sure that there are many things that the retail facility will need that the police station would not.

 I see that Canadian Tire is building a store along with a Work Warehouse and other shops in Canmore Alberta. That project is projected to come in at around $11 million dollars. This is in one of the most expensive property areas with the most expensive labor in the province.

 There is plenty of room for cost-efficiency folks and we need not eschew much infrastructure in order to save money. The first step would be to investigate and find out why government funded projects cost twice or more  as much to construct as comparable ones in the private sector. Such an investigation would mean that senior civil servants, unions and contractors with a government relationship and sense of entitlement would likely get their backs up. Alas, our current government will never have the courage to take this on.

 We have all sorts of room for spending cuts people. What other departments are wasting money? Who else is bleeding the taxpayer?  We need people in the legislature with the knackers to ask these questions and demand answers.

 ht to Max for the heads up.