It is pretty well known that the comment sections of most newspapers have quickly become cesspools of vapid and belligerent ramblings from people on all sides of the political spectrum who like to hide behind the veil of anonymity. This has been sad as with this wonderful age of communication it would be good to see more real discussion from average folks on news issues. What many newspapers have been doing to address this lately is switching to a facebook commentary format (have to get around to doing that on this site). While not perfect, this at least takes away most of the wall of anonymity hiding the keyboard cowards out there and has fostered some decent discussion and counterpoints to stories.
Unions despise WestJet as the company has consistently remained profitable in a sea of airlines that chronically lose money. WestJet has never made bones about the fact that it is the lack of unions that is the paramount reason that the company has been such a grand success for both it’s shareholders and employees. In the usual union manner, the unions would rather try to break in and drag WestJet down to the level of the other airlines than try to improve things at the already unionized airlines that are bleeding terribly. Socialism is indeed the equal distribution of poverty.
The internet provides us with a barrage of information. Sifting through this mass of information to find out what is true, what is exaggerated and what is outright BS can be a fulltime job. With true exchanges of views without anonymity we are seeing a great new tool in helping us find out what is really happening out there.
In light of the utter destruction of Detroit thanks to both public and private sector unions over the last few decades, getting to the truth of the costs of unionization in the modern world is more important than ever these days.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Well I see that CUPE Ontario has ,voted to boycott anything Israel in a fine political stand. Their wingnut leader Sid Ryan stated that Ontario should ban Israeli professors who refuse to condemn the state of Israel. As CUPE is very involved with Ontario universities, this is no small threat.
Is this what it has come to? Unions will now dictate what university professors are allowed to say and think?
Before the inevitable apologists try to lowball the bigoted actions of CUPE, keep in mind that this is one of the largest unions in Canada. This is not simply the stance of their leader. Hundreds of delegates voted for this Israeli boycott representing over 200,000 Ontario members.
I understand that the left has embraced anti-semitism lately and somehow view the millions and millions of Muslims who surround Israel and call for Israel’s annihilation are somehow underdogs who need protection. I understand that leftists view Israel’s being a democracy that allows freedom of speech, religion etc as abhorrent. I understand that the left has decided to be sympathetic to dictatorial Islamic states that suppress basic human rights for those who are gay, female or non-muslim.
I don’t understand why we tolerate our civil-service unions embracing and promoting that sickening leftist view on the world. Are these unions or political activist groups?
To those who still feel that those obsolete institutions that we call unions still have a place in Canada may I offer some advice? The public is tiring of this activist and divisive bullshit. Unions are becoming increasingly irrelevant and you can rest assure that actions such as CUPE’s and the postal unions are wearing very thin on the Canadian public. I suggest that union members who value their organized state encourage their leadership to get back to representing employees as they are supposed to.
I was disgusted a couple summers ago when I attended a “peace protest” against Israel. I saw people waving Hezbollah flags and chanting death to the Jews. Mixed among those “peace protesters” were the flags and banners of a variety of unions.
Unions will never win my heart. I already see them as a lost and dying cause in Canada and look forward to their end.
Be assured union folks, your actions are bringing an increasing amount of Canadians to my point of view.