Legitimacy of next Progressive Conservative leader already in question


The lackluster race to lead the governing Progressive Conservative Party is finally coming to an end tomorrow. Thanks to the Westminster System, the person selected by the membership of the party will essentially automatically become the Premier of the province of Alberta. Unfortunately due to a series of terrible decisions in setting up the system for the leadership election, we will never be confident of the legitimacy of whomever ends up elected in this mess.

I served on the three person committee that managed the election of Danielle Smith as leader of the Wildrose Party in 2009. I learned many lessons through the course of that race. The hardest lesson for an idealist like me was accepting that even in an internal race there are many people who are eager to stretch and break rules in order to win. While most people have personal principles that would prevent this, sadly many will do whatever they can to try and gain an edge for their team. For example, one of the teams in the Wildrose leadership race literally signed up multiple dead people as members. This was caught and internal discipline was enforced. One day I will go into more full detail about some of the stunts attempted in that race.

Because of the reality that some will try to abuse the system, some checks and balances were built into the system to try and reduce or eliminate abuses.

1. In the Wildrose Party, aside from immediate family members, all members must purchase their own membership.

This one can be tough to manage but with the checks below, one can see how bulk buying of memberships is difficult in a properly run leadership system.

The Prentice team initially denied and then admitted to buying memberships for others. While the practice of buying memberships for others is frowned upon by most, it is not technically wrong in the PC leadership election system. I will explain below why this is a huge problem.

2. In the Wildrose race, after a period of time, the membership lists of all teams were shared for the remainder of the campaign. In the PC race this is not happening.

Leadership races put a huge strain upon the resources of the party. Teams typically hold their membership sales tight until the last minute and then literally dump tens of thousands of them on the party at once to be processed. Just entering these memberships into the system alone is a Herculean task, scrutinizing the veracity of the members effectively is nearly impossible for the party itself. This is where sharing the lists with the teams is critical.

Who better to check the lists of members and how they were signed up than competing leadership teams? You can rest assured that volunteers in the different leadership teams in the Wildrose were dedicated to scrutinizing the new lists of members for discrepancies the moment that they got these lists. This is indeed how some of the small but still egregious abuses of the system came to light in the Wildrose leadership race. It was the knowledge that these lists would be shared that kept some of the unprincipled from abusing the system in any large way. They knew that if there were 50 memberships coming from the same household or if one person was signed up 6 times with slight differences in the spelling of their names that alarm bells would go off so they didn’t even try.

In refusing to share the membership lists among the teams, the PC party has invited abuse and we know it is happening. The only questions are the degree of the abuse and how it may or may not have affected the outcome of the race. We likely will never be able to find out.

3. The Wildrose invited scrutineers to be present for every aspect of the vote counting. Now to be fair, one unprincipled team actually took advantage of that for their own benefit and I will indeed write in detail about that down the road. Either way, for the most part having representatives from leadership teams present helps prevent counting abuses and such. As with the membership lists, nobody is better to police the rules in these regards than the teams themselves. The PCs are not allowing such scrutiny which is very distressing.

4. The PCs are using a telephone/internet voting system.

There are countless essays and articles about why these systems are terrible and ripe for abuse. I will let the reader google that should they want more information as my posting is getting lengthy enough.

Aside from cracking the system itself, the phone/internet system of voting also allows anonymity in voting which makes abuse terribly easy.

Let’s say for example I was an unprincipled supporter of one of the campaigns and I had deep pockets for some reason. Let’s say I have access to voters lists from elections Alberta. I could theoretically sign up hundreds or possibly thousands of people for memberships without their knowledge. All I would have to change would be the email address to send the PIN for voting to which is an option in the system. The party’s only check is that the name and address matches the electors list. With the members list reaching the party at the last minute, no physical mail would reach the unknowing new member until the race was over. Communications would come through the email address. With online voting and over the course of a couple days, one person alone could vote countless times and how would they be caught? Scrutineers wont catch it as the party is not allowing them.

The provincial Liberals, Alberta Party and federal NDP all did remote voting in their last races. The turnout for all of those races were dismal so what is the reason to go with this terrible system?

As I type this we are hearing all sorts of reports about how the system is getting overloaded and people cant get their votes in. Odd in mid-day on a weekday. One would think most prospective voters would be working.

The voting system is turning out to be a gong-show of a disaster and the voting has only been going on for a few hours now.

In light of the huge exploits I have demonstrated above, how could anybody really be sure that whoever wins the race has done so fairly? The PC party is already reeling from years of scandals and have lost the trust of many Albertans. What they needed was a leader elected to refresh the party and get off to a principled start. This is impossible now as we will never be able to be sure if that leader was legitimately elected.

Opportunity lost again.


As much as they can get away with.

 Well, this is what an ingrained sense of entitlement gets us. Calgary’s city council is expensing every little thing that they may get away with. These Aldermen make almost $100,000 per year yet they still feel compelled to try to stick as many expenses as possible on the backs of the taxpayers no matter how petty. Keep in mind that these Aldermen are already provided with $145,385 annually to cover travel, business expenses and assistants.

 Here are some of the petty expenses and the sad excuses the aldermen made for them.

Ald. Andre Chabot expensed $79 for a golf lesson. He said:

“It’s not something I expect to do on a regular basis, but I’m not a golfer, right? When I do get a chance to go out and golf with folks, I don’t want to look too foolish”

 Trust me Chabot, you are looking extremely foolish. Who in their right mind would consider golf lessons to be legitimate expenses to ding taxpayers with?

$4,014 was billed to the taxpayers by aldermen for drycleaning. Excuses below:

Alderman Gord Lowe who billed $655 for drycleaning: “In my perspective, it’s allowed because we do have a public appearance, a public presence, and we have to maintain it.”

 Sorry Lowe, laundry is an expense that everybody has public presence or not.

 Alderman Ric McIver who billed $450 for drycleaning: “In a city of a million people, I’m not sure people want their representatives looking shabby

 Oh BS Ric. In a 7-11 of perhaps a 12 people they do not want their representatives looking shabby, thus they assure that their employees wash their clothing. I really expected better from you.

 Downtown Calgary has thousands and thousands of employees who are expected to be well dressed for their jobs and that requires drycleaning at times. The employees pay that expense themselves and understood that when taking on the employment.

 Extreme leftist Alderman Brian Pincott jumps into the mix of course. He got more creative in his personal expensing to the taxpayers than the others. Pincott expensed $87 to get a passport for example.

 Pincott sniveled: “I have, on a point of principle, not travelled to the United States and I never before had a passport in my life. If it weren’t for this job, I would never travel to the United States.”

 Kiss my ass Pincott. I don’t care about your weird socialist points of principle. People pay for their own damned passports. It does speak volumes about your ideology however in that you hold the American people in such contempt yet have never even been there. That is right up with religious leaders condemning movies that they have not watched.

Pincott spent $76.19 on One Yellow Rabbit’s High Performance Rodeo, a popular local theatre production. I am afraid that I don’t even have any sad excuse to quote out of Pincott on this one. Pincott feels that the taxpayer should pay to keep him entertained. Repugnant.

Pincott is not alone however. Linda-Fox-Mellway expensed $347.62 so her kids could go see Metallica. Fox-Mellway did repay that one. She claims that it was a mistaken credit card. I claim that she likely simply had it disallowed. It really is not that difficult to tell one credit card from another. Fox-Mellway also expensed $207 to have a shirt alteration done. She has since vowed to pay that back. Funny how their tune changes when they are caught.

 Joe Ceci expensed $156.03 to go to Theater Calgary which he paid back after his fingers were spotted in the taxpayer cookie-jar.

 Golf tournaments are a large part of the expenses of council apparently. Stevenson, Jones, Joe Connelly, Chabot and McIver all hit the taxpayer to attend tournaments. These Aldermen are not attending these tournaments in order to promote the city, they are attending in order to promote themselves. One would expect that these guys would know the difference.

Joe Connelly’s statement on billing tournaments to taxpayers: “It’s an allowable expense and I don’t feel like I have to defend it”

 Ahh that brings back memories of  Dingwall saying he was entitled to his entitlements. Yes you do have to defend it you dolt!!! It is not your money to spend! Just because it is allowable does not mean that it is right.

Connelly spent $383.25 for tickets to see Jordan’s Queen Noor, who spoke in April 2008 about global issues and the conflicts between East and West. Well, yeah I can see how many issues from Jordan can be used to learn from and better our city.

 Finally my favorite Druh Farrell had to jump into the mix of course. One of her gems was  billing taxpayers $89.39 for five copies of “Fluoride Deception”, a conspiracy theory book that apparently is better when one gets multiple copies. Druh in her typical arrogance did not even try to defend her using taxpayer money to fund her reading budget.

 Alderman Ray Jones is in charge of determining what can be expensed and what can’t be. He would not specify, but he has declined many expenses. I can’t imagine how stupid these ones must have been.

 Yes, these are not huge dollar numbers. The principle is critical however. These people are tasked with managing a city of over a million people and billions of dollars. The regard that our aldermen show for our money is reflected in what they expense to us and sadly and predictably they hold us and our funds in low regard.

 These little expenses are only what we can see. Much spending is hidden and mired in the caverns of city hall. The need for a municipal auditor general is more acute than ever and I hope Stelmach gets around to doing that soon. A private members Bill went before our legislature last winter calling for such an auditor. The bill has now been referred to a standing committee.  

 Calgary desperately needs an independent audit before the next municipal election.

A glimmer of common sense in City Hall.

Just about every glimmer of common sense that we have seen in City Hall has come from Ald. Ric McIver so it is not that surprising that he is the lone voice speaking out against Druh Farrell’s idiotic notion of closing a major roadway in order to expand walking/biking space in an area that already has multiple walking/biking paths in place.

 McIver is pulling no punches and calling this initiative what it is; madness! 

  As predicted, fellow fool on council Brian Pincott has jumped in to support Druh on this tax-funded foray into lunacy. Pincott is the Alderman who proposed the inane notion that called for the city to spend $250,000 per year to retain an official city poet. Supporting idiotic waste of taxdollars is well within Pincott’s realm.

 From radio call-in shows, to commentary in the news to comments online, Calgarians are nearly universally condemning this crazy idea.

 Undaunted by the views of the people who pay her salary, Druh Farrell carries on. This issue has been an excellent display of the respect that Druh Farrell holds for the views of her constituents. She has none. Druh has even proposed that we move on and close downtown streets into Chinatown in the future as well. Wouldn’t the closure of Center street do wonders for traffic in addition to Memorial? Dull Druh has pointed out that traffic can take 16th avenue if they want to avoid the inevitable snarls that will occur on Memorial when we close it for non-existent pedestrian traffic.

 WHAT??? Has Druh ever ventured the 16 blocks North to 16th avenue? That disaster of a roadway has been nearly impassible on weekends since the 1970s.

 Is Druh Farrell truly this bereft of common sense? Are there perhaps a few marbles rattling around loose in her cranium? If that is not the case, we can only assume that Druh’s goal is to end all vehicular traffic in the city. There are all sorts of lunatic environmentalists with similar notions. Most of them have no power to act upon their notions thankfully. Farrell has managed to bypass all public opinion and get this venture in the works.

 Never since the late Darwin Award winner Tooker Gomberg proposed flooding the city streets of Edmonton in winter so that people can skate to work has such idiocy been seen in a city council.


 There have been rumours that Ric McIver is considering a mayoral run. Lets hope that it is true and lets hope that he wins.

 We clearly need to replace twits such as Farrell and Pincott as well and I hope that happens. Having McIver in the mayors chair would do wonders for city hall.