Coward to the end. Sandra Jansen cuts and runs.

In what really wasn’t a surprise move the most opportunistic member of the Alberta Legislature put out a short statement, deleted her twitter account and ran away from Alberta politics. The bottom line is that Sandra Jansen had burned every possible political bridge in Alberta with her crass opportunism and rather than face a pending electoral loss with dignity, she chose to toss her party and constituents under the bus as she chooses not to run mere weeks before a potential election call.

It wasn’t all that long ago that Sandra Jansen was in the headlines claiming she would fight to keep that seat for the NDP until the bitter end.

The reason that Jansen’s apparent willingness to run again made headlines was that few people expected her to show the strength of character to run in what was sure to be a tough race to say the least. Clearly the critics were right as Jansen pulled the escape hatch without warning.

When the going gets tough, Sandra gets going indeed. Jansen waited until the very last day before the deadline to run for the leadership of the PC party before dropping out. The reality was that she was actually still scrambling to get her nomination signatures in order to enter the race and it became abundantly clear that she didn’t have nearly enough support to make a respectable bid for the leadership of the party much less win it.

Rather than bow out with dignity, Sandra claimed she had been bullied out. Not surprising from her of course as Jansen has long had a pattern of playing victim when things don’t go her way.

I don’t doubt for a second that some nasty things had been sent to her and said about her on social media. Like it or not, that is simply a factor in public life whether one likes it or not and she knew that.

Sandra Jansen does indeed draw more vitriol and ire from political opponents than most MLAs do. That is because she invites it. Sanda Jansen has always been one of the most vocal attack dogs on social media and has a habit of claiming to be the victim when the shit inevitably es flying back at her. That only draws more vitriol of course.

When not claiming victimhood, Jansen is also well known for hiding from her legislative duties when she finds herself in trouble. We saw this when Jansen did a disappearing act after having insulted every tradesperson in Alberta with her dismissive, elitist statements about electricians. She is rather cowardly when she gets herself into the soup.

While Jansen tried to rebrand herself as an advocate for gay rights, we can’t forget that she was the MLA who tabled Bill 10 on behalf of the Progressive Conservative Party in 2014. That bill was designed to undercut a Liberal private members bill which would have entrenched gay straight alliances. Bill 10 was so odious in its intent and content and Jansen blew her own bill so badly that it had to be pulled from the legislature and re-written for the next sitting. Jim Prentice had to essentially take over the job for Jansen as can be seen below while she stands meekly aside. It was a low point in that administration.

I don’t think Jansen is anti-gay by any means. I don’t think she really supported that bill and I doubt that she had much to do with the writing of it.

What Jansen’s being willing to table Bill 10 demonstrated in spades though was that pure self-serving opportunism which has always been the prime driver in Jansen’s career. It got her into the spotlight that she loved and kept her in cabinet potential. Being on the front bench was far more important to Jansen than personal principle ever was.

That utter lack of principle was on full display yet again as a petulant Sandra Jansen crossed the floor to Notley’s NDP. Sandra wanted back in cabinet at all costs and truth be told, if the Social Credit Party had won the election Jansen would have crossed to them, donned a crucifix and led pro-life rallies in hopes of endearing herself to the party leadership.

My biggest beef with Jansen is that utter lack of principles. I am still an idealist to a degree. I respect people who stay consistent to their beliefs even if those beliefs are not ones that I share. Socialists dedicated to the NDP at least have an ideal albeit a flawed one. Jansen had no ideals aside from charting her own personal course. Pragmatism is essential at times and people change views but flipping from PC to NDP was based solely on opportunism.

I guess it is fitting that in going out that Jansen screws her own supporters the most. Volunteers were lining up to help Jansen get re-elected. Donors coughed up funds to Jansen’s constituency. The NDP dedicated all sorts of resources to Jansen’s constituency along will giving her profile at all major announcements.

In the end, it didn’t matter how many people put their necks on the line for Jansen. When it was clear that her chances of winning the election were slim, Sandra abandoned them. Sandra is in it for Sandra and she just couldn’t see the benefit of putting in all that work only to no longer be in government.

I am looking forward to many positive changes in the Alberta Government in 2019. One of those changes came early in that one of the worst politicians to have graced the Alberta Legislature in some time has decided to leave earlier rather than later.

Goodbye Sandra Jansen. You won’t be missed but you will be remembered.

Don’t sweat the nuts on the internet.

Back when I started in the oilfield I was struck by how many oddballs I encountered and worked with. Strange views, strange habits and just general weirdness seemed to infect every person I met on an extended field program.

For my first few years in the field I wondered: “Does my industry attract lunatics or does it take normal people and turn them into lunatics?”

In time I figured it out. Both of my questions were wrong. The true answer is that everybody is damned weird. The difference was that when you worked in my part of the field, you would have the pleasure of literally spending 24 hours per day with people for months at a time. At the start of the 1990s it wasn’t unmon to be stuffed into a 10×12 foot camp room with the same person you worked with during the day for months. The only way to get to know a stranger more intimately in a condensed period of time would be to be incarcerated with them.

When working in the normal 9-5 world you never really got to know just how weird your co-workers were. You didn’t see what they did on the weekends. You didn’t see what their bedtime rituals were or what odd things they did with themselves in the mornings. These people seemed perfectly normal and you lived in blissful ignorance of their weekend hobby of slathering themselves with tomato sauce while playing twister with fellow unicycle enthusiasts.

As with the oilfield which brought the oddness of people into sharper notice to co-workers, the internet has given lunatics a new platform to spread noise and let the world know just how crazy they are.

Twenty years ago you didn’t have to look far to find a self styled political expert who would work themselves into a lather until they said utterly inappropriate or even threatening things. You just had to go to the local bar. Every bar has one or even a number of chronics who will expound at drunken length about what is wrong with the world and how to fix it.

These drunken philosophers would be ignored by patrons and any slurred calls for hanging politicians or calling public figures offensive names would not be taken seriously. Eventually these folks would pass out, be carried home and would repeat the cycle in a day or so.

What is different today is that these annoying and offensive though usually harmless nuts have a whole new platform to use in order to spread their rambling. The internet has given the fools who couldn’t gather more than three people at a time to listen to their inane ramblings a tool where they can annoy and offend potentially thousands at a time. Even better, nutcases with foresight can create anonymous accounts so that they never have to face the consequences of anything they may say.

A glance at Facebook or Twitter is all one needs to see just how many of these keyboard cowboys are out there and how vocal they are. A glance at your own settings shows you how easy it is to block and mute these people as well.

Quit playing victim if you see something offensive online. Just block it for crying out loud.

As for actual threats, yes they are never acceptable and should never be totally dismissed. How many internet threats have actually ever translated into a real confrontation though? The reality is that the number of peckerheads to type out online threats who will actually leave the safety of their own basements in order to act upon them is miniscule.

Politicians do love using internet vitriol as an excuse to get out of things however. Career victim, Sandra Jansen is a great example. When it became abundantly clear that she couldn’t even meet the bar to enter the leadership race for the PC Party much less win it, she used internet vitriol and bullying as an excuse to drop out of the race. I don’t doubt that some abhorrent things were said about her and even sent to her. I don’t condone that kind of idiocy but really, it isn’t that tough to ignore and block it. Like it or not, enduring some of that is part of the job. People were just as bad 30 years ago but they rarely took time to put a pen to paper to send their thoughts out.

Shannon Phillips used the threat of fictional threats in order to get out of public consultation meetings that she didn’t want to hold. She lied repeatedly about RCMP involvement only to greatly embarrass herself. Supporters have since been screen capping online tweets of apparent threats in order to try and justify the cowardly cancellation of meetings. If any of those threats were of merit, we can rest assured that the RCMP will follow through and investigate these things. They don’t have time to track down every dolt who drank too many JagerBombs and tweeted out something stupid while seated on the toilet and the RCMP know these are not credible safety risks. All the same, increase security a bit and carry on. Mean tweets are not enough reason to cancel important meetings.

The internet is a wild west of mentary and information. There is some witty stuff, some deep stuff, some weird stuff and unfortunately some threatening and offensive stuff. The people who put that stuff out there have always been with us. They are among those co-workers who you work with 9-5 and that neighbor who you see watering his lawn. They are odd and annoying but present no real danger to you. The internet has exposed just how rude and disturbed some thinking is but it hasn’t created any more of it.

The world is no worse or dangerous than it ever was so click that mute button and get on with your life. It is much more respectable than playing victim.

Duncan Kinney & Progress Alberta’s letter of apology and retraction.

Duncan Kinney runs the group “Progress Alberta” which is essentially a PAC with a mandate to attack all things conservative. He has run it very aggressively and it appears that he has finally crossed the line and gotten himself into some legal soup.

Kinney issued a letter of apology and retraction to Dr. Neil Webber and the Webber Academy on Christmas eve. It has the hallmarks of a legal obligation and it looks good on him.

All the same, we need not let this apology languish lost on twitter with such temporary and narrow reach.

That is why I am publishing it here so that folks can reference this apology in perpetuity.

Mr. Kinney would be well served to read it now and then before considering spreading mistruths about others online in the future.

Tone deaf!

Albertans have finally had enough and they are pushing back. We are no longer passively sitting back and taking it while politicians on all levels throughout the nation use our prime industry as a convenient whipping boy for political virtue signalling. Due to years of lobbying by foreign funded activists followed by utter inaction on the part of the federal government, Alberta has found itself under a virtual pipeline embargo. Our economy is crippled while Trudeau actually increased equalization payments to Quebec. Meanwhile the Premier of Quebec boldly states that he will not allow any new  pipelines through Quebec & Trudeau sits back and lets Quebec have this veto. 

We can’t change the constitution right now. We can’t force BC to stop hindering our energy projects much less Quebec. We can’t make Trudeau understand or care about the gravity of our situation. One thing we can do that we have not been doing before though is to speak up and speak up in numbers. 

Rallies in support of Alberta’s energy industry have been held in different cities throughout the province for months now. Over a thousand people gathered outside of the hotel where Trudeau was speaking when he last visited. While it may not have changed his mind on anything, there is no doubt that he could see that we are here, we are active and we are ing out in defence of our province. 

Yesterday in Grande Prairie over 1500 people came out on a Sunday afternoon to express support for the energy industry while hundreds of trucks led a convoy through the city. It was an impressive display of unity and concern in a Northern munity usually prone to quietly going about their business. 

In pushing back, Albertan’s have had a measurable impact even if the victories are small at times. The Mayor of Whistler BC signed a letter addressed to CNRL which could almost be considered outright extortion. He demanded that CNRL give his town money to pay for the perceived impacts of climate change. It was a ridiculous demand but it was one of hundreds of such initiatives spearheaded by environmental groups over the years who are trying to kill Alberta’s industries in a death by a thousand cuts.?

Instead of quietly taking it like we usually do, Albertans struck back hard and fast. The rage on social and conventional media was palpable. panies began pulling out of an energy conference that had been scheduled for Whistler and CIBC finally cancelled the conference altogether. Within days the mayor of Whistler was backtracking and apologizing. He had been stung and we can be sure that he and many other mayors will never consider taking part in such a stunt again.?

Today a pro energy rally was organized by Cody Battershill with CanadaAction and held outside of Calgary’s city hall. It is estimated that well over 2000 people came out. Not bad for a Monday afternoon.?

A rare demonstration of unity emerged from Calgary’s traditionally dysfunctional city council as they all expressed support for Alberta’s beleaguered energy sector. A number of councilors were scheduled to speak to the crowd along with Mayor Nenshi. Then things went poorly.

After a couple somewhat short, benign speeches were given by councilors, Peter Demong took the podium and gave a short and catastrophic address which infuriated the crowd.?

While spirits had been high with such a great turnout, people are hurting and are sensitive. Clearly Demong didn’t have a clue as he began to lecture the crowd on gender equality and telling us to ensure to go out of our way to support Quebec’s dairy industry by buying their cheese. The exact quote is below as it is almost too obtuse to be believed. 

Demong: “We need to be spreading the word about how this industry is a world leader in gender equality. We should be talking about how to support Quebec’s dairy industry by buying Canadian cheese. ” 

The crowd of course went wild with shouts, jeers and booing. These people are in economic distress because of Canada’s ridiculous regulatory process which is being remodelled to include among other things, gender equity. These are people who just watched Quebec’s leadership callously dismiss Alberta’s needs while greedily accepting billions in equalization from us. Demong really thought that they wanted to buy Quebec’s damned cheese and accept the loaded gender terms that Trudeau mindlessly blathers at us? 

Before being pulled from the microphone, Demong petulantly spat to the crowd: “Wow. Really? And you guys call yourselves Canadians? Wow,”

Yes you jerk!

Most of the people in that crowd call themselves Canadians. It is in calling themselves Canadians that they passively let hundreds of billions of tax dollars leave Alberta to be poured into Quebec for decades. It is in calling themselves Canadians that they are trying desperately to make the needed changes to our nation’s practices in order to preserve their economic well being within Alberta and to maintain national unity. Albertans are clearly the most patient and giving Canadians in the country and they certainly don’t deserve to have their status as Canadians questioned by a myopic twit like you Mr. Demong!

Nenshi quickly took the stage and only managed to make tensions even worse. He spoke shortly before beginning to speak in French. As the crowd erupted into boos again, Nenshi condescendingly chided the crowd on both the rationale for speaking French and on climate change concerns. He made few friends today. 

Such a great rally was organized only to be ruined by the truly tone deaf ruminations of the Mayor and one of his councilors. How could they have possibly thought that their speeches would be well received by this crowd? It was made abundantly clear that they had no understanding of the gathered people or of their concerns. They showed no interest in learning as they hustled back into city hall at the first possible opportunity. 

The Mayor and his councilors could quite easily have gone and mingled with the group as it gathered before the event. They could have chatted with people and gained some clearly much needed insight into the minds of these gathered Albertans. Alas, in their arrogance they assumed they knew it all before taking the podium and demonstrating in spades that they didn’t know much at all. 

The rallies will continue. The events and pushing back against eco-groups and the politicos that support them will continue. I suspect however that we will not be seeing more invitations expended to the ivory tower elites of Calgary city hall in the future as their cloistered and fortable world within the world of municipal government has made them incapable of understanding what is making thousands of Albertans e out to these rallies much less speaking to them.

Albertans will take the reins and take us where we need to go with true populism. After the display we saw today from Calgary’s municipal leadership, we should be thankful that this movement remains grassroots in nature. Reaching out to existing political leadership hasn’t proven fruitful.  

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First rule of separatism: You have to mean it.

Ever since Pierre Trudeau raped the West with his NEP we have seen Alberta separatism ebb and flow as one federal incursion or another earns the ire of Albertans. Canada’s constitution and geographic layout pretty much ensure regional alienation as federal parties and their leaders work the system to ensure that they maintain that ever critical political support in Central Canada. With Alberta’s relatively low population and large amount of resources, we have always had a large target painted on our back.?

While Albertans bee enraged periodically to the point where separatism begins to rise in the polls, we inevitably will calm down and settle grudgingly back into our role as confederation’s milk cow as soon as a possible escape hatch is presented. 

In the 1980s separatism was being relatively mainstream as Alberta elected a separatist MLA in Olds in a by-election. Doug Christie led the Western Canada Concept into some popular Western support and they were gaining steam.

The showdown between Lougheed and Trudeau led to hope however and popular support for separatism dropped as fast as it had risen. Alberta’s lone elected separatist, Gordon Kesler crossed the floor to the party in power and quickly faded into political history. 

In 1986, Brian Mulroney reawakened separatism in the West as he awarded a lucrative CF-18 maintenance contract to Canadair in Quebec rather than to Bristol Aerospace in Winnipeg despite the western bid clearly being the better deal. It was gross and typical political pandering to Quebec and it infuriated the West again. 

Just as Western separatism was gaining steam again, Preston Manning appeared on the scene with the Reform Party in 1987. The battle cry was “the West wants in!” and Western separatism faded yet again as people put their hopes into a EEE Senate and having a strong regional voice in Parliament. 

After more than a decade of effort, the Reform Party had pretty much gotten nowhere. The initial principles fell by the wayside as Manning moved into Stornoway and MPs en masse chose to take part in the gold plated pension plan that they previously had shunned. The concept of a EEE Senate was proven to be a pipe dream and the party morphed into the Canadian Alliance in order to contest Eastern seats. Our regional voice was lost. 

In the late 1990s oil prices dropped below $10 per barrel. Thanks to high natural gas prices, the effect was not as catastrophic as the 2008 crash or today’s pressures. It did hurt Alberta though and as an oilfield worker at the time I remember quite well seeing our contracts literally being shut down mid progress. Many of us were tossed into unemployment and the response from our federal government was typical. We were told to suck it up and they continued to milk us through over taxation while pouring the money into Quebec through equalization and other transfers along with huge subsidies to panies such as Bombardier. 

While oil did recover by 2000, the political situation did not. Jean Chretien had been in power for quite some time and he did little to hide his disdain for Albertans, even outright stating that he didn’t like dealing with them. In the fall of 2000, a very divisive federal election was held. Alberta was demonized while Quebec was catered to and as usual it worked. Chretien won another majority and Alberta was left yet again without representation while footing the bill. 

We were furious and felt helpless. Separatism began to rise yet again. 

At this time a dashing young separatist entered the scene with the Alberta Independence Party. 

We were something different. Most of our board was 30 or under. I turned 30 while leading the party into the 2001 provincial election. We weren’t mired on social issues. We didn’t care about same sex marriage or religious matters. We simply wanted out. We were political types who had concluded that it was time for Alberta to pull the plug on confederation and that we needed a provincial political party in order to do so. 

We exploded onto the scene as we held a packed founding convention in Red Deer which was attended by a couple MPs and a senator in waiting. We made national headlines as pundits alternated between calling us selfish assholes or a visionary young group. We sold thousands of memberships which was quite a task when one considers that we had no formal party organization and only perhaps 20% of our members had email addresses at that time.

We knew what we wanted but we really didn’t know what the hell we were doing. 

Ralph Klein called the provincial election weeks after our founding convention. While we had gathered a great deal of attention and momentum, we hadn’t organized well enough to get the required petition signatures in order to register as a political party. We entered the election race with 14 independent candidates and while we made a relatively good showing as far as independent candidates go, we didn’t even e close to contention in any seats. 

Our party then fell apart within a year due to infighting and yes, my inexperienced leadership. I just couldn’t hold it together. 

The other thing that killed our support was the “Alberta Agenda” which was a plan released just as our party was formed. This was a plan for incremental provincial autonomy which was hatched by Stephen Harper, Tom Flanagan, Ted Morton, Rainer Knopff, Andrew Crooks and Ken Boessenkool. The plan called for Alberta forming its own pension plan, police force, collecting our own taxes and pursuing more health care autonomy while pushing harder for senate reform. This was packaged into a letter which was sent to Ralph Klein. The letter was later coined as the “firewall letter”. 

Separatism was quelled yet again. I remember the frustration of calling supporters only to hear: “We don’t need the Alberta Independence Party now. We can make change from within with the Alberta Agenda”. 

It should be noted that while the primary author of the Alberta Agenda became our Prime Minister for years and while 17 years have passed, not a single goal of the Alberta Agenda has been achieved.

Unless the goal was indeed to kill separatism and in that it succeeded in spades. 

What I learned then and have learned since is that Albertans are reluctant separatists. They are furious with our abuse within confederation. They see the futility of change from within. They will speak out in favor of secession and will begin to poll favorably in support of it for a time. When given any possible lifeline however whether through the Reform Party or the Alberta Agenda, Albertans will quickly cling to it. Most folks really don’t want to go. 

I saw this when the Alberta Independence Party held its founding convention. A motion passed to embrace the phrase “separation if necessary, but not necessarily separation”.

We neutered ourselves right out of the gate. This was akin to trying to bluff in poker while showing your opponent your cards. 

I don’t think for a second (nowadays anyway) that we would have succeeded had we stuck to a pure separatist platform. At least though we would have shown we were serious. It means nothing if you don’t really mean it. Myself and our board were ready to go. We were sorely disappointed with the watering down of our goals. It was clear though that while hundreds were willing to pack a hotel in Red Deer on a cold January day to form a separatist party, most of them didn’t really want to separate. 

I think Alberta is in the same place today. Oh I have no doubt that there are many mitted separatists who truly want out of confederation. I believe that this number of true separatist is growing too. Every time Alberta tries and fails to make change from within, we create more lifelong separatists. I just don’t think we are at the tipping point yet. 

Albertans still want a lifeline. They still want to explore every avenue before taking the path to full independence. 

Right now that path lies in holding a referendum on equalization as Kenney has promised. Along with that, we need to pursue and implement the Alberta Agenda. I expect that the federal government will fight and stop most of these efforts. In doing so though, they will create those true separatists who can tip the scale. 

For those who are mitted to secession, I suggest that they form an advocacy group for that cause. Do the research. Put out the numbers. Lay out the path. In such a group you can maintain focus on the end goal. You can reject all efforts to water it down. Pursue Alberta’s independence and mean it. Nothing less will be taken seriously. 

For a party to embrace secessionism would be political suicide and wouldn’t represent nearly enough Albertans. Don’t ask them to. 

Forming a separatist party will e with all the plications and dilution of the message that the Western Canada Concept and the Alberta Independence Party tried to deal with. We don’t have the cultural & linguistic unifiers that Quebec does which lets them keep parties together while purporting to support secession. 

Alberta and perhaps other provinces may indeed eventually secede. They will only do so after every other avenue of change has been explored. Lets start checking those avenues off our list now. 

As for those who want nothing less than secession, get a group going, make that the mandate and stick to it 

Kenney repeats promise to hold a referendum on equalization.

Kenney made the promise to do this over a month ago. It really didn’t gain the traction that I would have expected at that time. It was of course pooh poohed by the usual pundits as they loftily explained that this isn’t how equalization works yadda yadda yadda.?

Our equalization system is indeed plex and it is indeed constitutionally entrenched. Equalization is often mischaracterized as being some sort of system where Alberta literally cuts a cheque directly to the federal government as well which is not the case. Equalization does however give the federal government a mechanism with which they can keep shorting Alberta on return transfer payments from revenues taken from the province and use those dollars to buy Quebec’s love. It is a system of interprovincial economic welfare and it has long stunted the natural development of our nation.?

Despite Alberta languishing in a protracted economic downturn due to the federal government essentially allowing us to have our main industry embargoed by pipeline cancelations and despite Quebec doing rather well economically lately, the federal government still milks Alberta’s economy by billions per year and gives it to Quebec where their premier is still shitting on the prospect of Alberta getting a pipeline to the East.?

It is a gross system of economic theft for political gain and it has to end at some point.?

Listen below to Jason Kenney at the 15 minute mark on this. He is pretty clear on this and I am thrilled to see this kind of political clarity from a leader for a change.?

Kenney understands that an Alberta yes vote to end equalization may still not lead to an end to equalization. Holding such a referendum sure would shine a bright light on the regional disparity and unfairness that our confederation has to offer Alberta right now though.?

While a lot can change in a short time in politics, the good money right now is on Kenney being Alberta’s next Premier while Trudeau unfortunately is later re elected as Canada’s Prime Minister.?

Even if Andrew Scheer miraculously finds the leadership ability to win a federal majority within the next 9 months, he has made it clear with his repugnant capitulation to the dairy cartels that his lips will remain firmly locked on the collective asses of Quebecers,

Whether Alberta is looking at Prime Minister Scheer or Trudeau, it is pretty clear that we are on our own.?

As Kenney mentioned in the interview, there is some precedent that can be applied through the Supreme Court reference on Quebec secession and with the Clarity act.?

Our constitution is not written in stone. Referendums can be a valid tool in working towards constitutional change and we dearly need it.?

Alberta as a province has few tools enabling it to take on the federal government. Referendum however is a powerful one and we should apply this as soon as possible.?

Lets put equalization on the table and start a true national discussion on its merits.?

If a Alberta votes strongly to end equalization and that vote is pletely rejected by the federal government, then perhaps it will be time to hold a second referendum on exactly what the Clarity Act has addressed.?

Confederation is broken right now and nothing less than a national shakeup can possibly fix this.?

Kenney’s promise of a referendum may be exactly what our province and nation needs. I am looking forward to the campaign already.?

Lush Cosmetics wants to shut down Alberta’s energy industry, but they still want our money.

I have to admit, I had never heard of Lush cosmetics until recently. I don’t wear a lot of makeup. 

Lush has been making the news on social media lately as Albertans have noticed that they have been actively campaigning against Alberta’s energy industry for years while still maintaining a number of outlets throughout the province. They want us to spend our oil money on their cosmetics but they want to shut down the source of the money. 

This is typical of so many of the ideologically driven. Leading by example is not a consideration while virtue signalling through the attack of important industries bees a marketing hook. I am sure that the Alberta bashing serves them well in their Oregon and California outlets. It is galling however to think that these jerks are selling their product in our province while using us as a marketing whipping boy in order to sell their makeup elsewhere. 

Hey, their pany is free to take whatever political stance they like. They are also free to set up shop wherever they like. 

Consumers are free to spend their dollars wherever they like. I most strongly suggest as this Christmas season hits that people do not give Lush cosmetics a single nickel and to seek out parable products from panies that do not practice such destructive and insulting hypocrisy. 

A Lush rep responded to an inquiry just the other day and rest assured, they have no interest in backing off in their anti-Alberta stance one bit. 

There are a number of good local alternatives. I will list a few below and I invite any readers to add further links to panies in the ments. 

Lets save Lush Cosmetics from our dirty oil money.


Vote for choice.

Industry associations can provide great services for businesses at times. They can do research, lobbying and marketing on a scale which would be difficult for individual business owners. They can provide networking opportunities between fellow business owners and offer supports for business owners.?

That said, sometimes industry associations do not provide enough value to their members. In that case, the association has to either endeavor to provide a better product to its membership or fall by the wayside. Businesses can vote with their wallets and it is effective.?

I own a pub and café. For my industry, there used to be an association called the Alberta Restaurant and Foodservices Association.?

I say “used to be” because members of the ARFA made a choice 11 years ago to dissolve the association and give any remaining assets to the Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association.?

Clearly the association did not provide enough value to its members. Not enough restaurants felt it was worthwhile in taking part in the association and they left.?

The Hotel and Lodging Association provides little to no value to me and they are cheerleading for initiatives by Nenshi & Notley on their front page. Why on earth would I want to dedicate my scant business dollars to an association that wants to use them to campaign for politicians that I am opposed to in principle??

Thankfully I have a choice.

Cattle producers in Alberta may not have that kind of choice soon.?

Agriculture has some heavy market controls that we are slowly but surely shedding for the benefit of all. The Wheat Board monopoly was finally ended. Supply Management is finally making the news and support for ending it is growing.?

Mandatory contributions to industry associations are fading but the associations are fighting this hard.?

Cattle producers in Alberta take part in what is called a refundable checkoff. For every animal they take to market, they must pay $4.50 towards associations. There is no choice in this but at least for some years now, a portion of these checkoffs has been refundable which allows producers a degree of choice and control in what their associations may or may not be doing on their behalf.?

The Alberta Beef Producers want to remove the refundable option of the checkoff. They want it to be mandatory for every producer in Alberta to pay into their association whether they actually support the actions of that association or not. Performance of the association would no longer matter as they would essentially have a gun to the head of producers. Producers could speak up but could not vote with their wallets as other business people can.?

There is a plebiscite being held right now where producers can vote on whether or not to embrace mandatory association dues. At least producers are getting that choice.?

Like most business people, cattle producers are busy folks. They only have so much time to take to go out and vote.?

It needs to be stressed how important this is.?

Folks who want to reduce individual freedoms in favor of state control are well versed in the frog in water method. They erode our freedoms little by little while most don’t even realize that it is happening.?

Initiatives such as this to erode or eliminate producer choice are dangerous and trend setting. Statists bee ever more emboldened with every victory and we can rest assured that they will not simply stop here if they manage to take away the choice of cattle producers in participating with associations.?

Free association includes the freedom to not associate should one choose not to.?

Cattle producers?can vote at Agriculture Financial Services Corporation offices or by mail until the Nov. 27 deadline.

While I am not a cattle producer, I understand how these things effect us all in the long run and in the broader picture. I ask those who have not already voted to go and cast their vote against removing the refundable nature of their provincial portion of the checkoff.?

The association will still remain and hopefully will do good work. Nothing ensures good work more effectively than giving stakeholders a choice in funding them. Once the choice is gone, we all will lose.?

Hats off to Premier Notley

OK, I am far from a fan of Rachel Notley and the NDP but I do believe in credit where it is due.?

Rachel Notley has used mon sense and potentially put the brakes on what could have been one of the worst backroom screwings of taxpayers in Alberta history when she put the condition of a plebiscite on provincial funding for the 2026 bid.?

Hasn’t it seemed odd that despite years being spent on the Olympic file and millions of dollars spent, that the bid seems as if it was cobbled together on short notice??That is because it was!

Nenshi and a small gang of the city’s elites have had the 2026 Olympics in their sights for years. What a grand party they planned to have. Dozens of six figure salary positions can be created for friends while cocktail parties are held, ribbons are cut and trips are expensed to the taxpayers all in the name of working on the Olympic games.?

That grand self-serving dream came to a sudden grinding halt when the Notley government announced that they wouldn’t give Nenshi a penny for the Olympics without seeing an affirmative vote in a plebiscite in Calgary.?

Nenshi’s tantrum when this came down is rumored to be legendary. Hours were spent in secret city hall meetings hidden from taxpayer scrutiny where he alternated between raving and browbeating in hopes of finding a way to bypass taxpayer approval on what would have been his grandest personal vanity project to date.?

It was all to no avail. The taxpayers were going to have their say and Nenshi couldn’t stop it.?

Nenshi and gang had suddenly gone from arrogant and confident on their project to arrogant and desperate (the arrogance never goes away). How on earth would they cobble a plausible bid together in short order when they had done little aside from popping champagne corks in the confidence that they had pulled their project off. It was now time to scramble.?

Bidco was slapped together as a private organization funded with public dollars in order to maintain the ideal of secrecy that Nenshi embraces. Mary Moran was pulled from her file with Calgary Economic Development (an ineffective and expensive arm of city hall) and given a nearly $300,000 salary along with bonuses for a successful bid (the bonuses were removed quickly as the scandal began to break). Millions taxpayer’s dollars were poured into Bidco with no control aside from a mandate to get the Olympic games at any cost.?

The edy errors has continued for months as Bidco screwed up essentially every part of building a viable bid. What can you expect? These people were appointed as Olympic cheerleaders. They are Olympic salespeople. They clearly have utterly no real fiscal sense or organizational skill.?

At the last possible minute, the collection of clowns released a grotesque bid plan of sorts in a desperate effort to stave off a shutdown of the bid by city council. While the majority of council wanted to stop this train wreck from proceeding, Nenshi had managed to browbeat enough members into supporting the bid and breathing a little more life into this underfunded, poorly planned monster.?

Now the decision is exactly where Nenshi never wanted it to be. The choice is in the hands of Calgarian taxpayers who will be voting this Tuesday.?

It has been stomach turning watching all city resources being directed to selling this bid to taxpayers. We will never know exactly what Bidco spent on what as Nenshi and gang purposely made it into a secret organization. I do hope that there is some sort of public audit of this after all is said and done though as I expect there are still a number of scandals hiding in there.?

Will Calgarians see through this sales job? Will they reject being force fed on an Olympic bid with their own dollars??

We will find out in a few days.?

One thing we can say with confidence though is that this bid would have been rammed down the throats of taxpayers with utterly no consultation if Notley had not forced the Olympic gang to go directly to the taxpayers on it.?

For that, if possibly nothing else I thank you Premier Notley.?

Now get out there and vote NO on Tuesday folks.?

Lies, damn lies & Bidco

Mary Moran

Calgary has been exploring an Olympic bid now for a number of years. Millions have been spent only to have nothing aside from a skeleton of a plan along with some hopes and dreams to show for it.?

As the bid deadline approached. the city of Calgary spawned Bidco out of desperation in hopes of ramming through a bid plan that taxpayers may possibly accept. We have to thank Rachel Notley for putting a plebiscite condition on provincial funding or we can be assured that Nenshi and the usual elites would simply have pushed the bid through with little to no real discussion among Calgarians,?

Bidco was a farce from day one. The organization was purposely formed as a private but tax funded entity. The only reason for this was to ensure that they never have to disclose how they are spending funds through freedom of information requests. According to Mary Moran (head of Bidco), upwards of $10-$12 million has been spent in pursuit of the games to date. She can’t even give us a number better than a ballpark. These fiscal skills are reflected in the bid cobbled together last week. We don’t know how those funds were spent or in who’s pockets they went. ?

Mary Moran used to lead Calgary Economic Development which is essentially a city hall agency. In her years there she has spent millions only to lead Calgary’s once thriving downtown to a shameful 27% vacancy rate. Chasing Amazon with chalk drawings on sidewalks didn’t do the trick but it was a hallmark CED sort of initiative.?

While most people in the private sector would be fired for such a lacklustre performance on such an important and expensive file, Moran was instead given leave to head Bidco for a salary of nearly $300,000 per year.?

The first Bidco scandal erupted within days when it was revealed that Moran would be getting bonuses for a successful bid on top of her already generous salary. Bidco quickly backtracked and removed the bonus provisions (as far as we know, we cant FOIP them). The damage was done right from the start though. It was clear that Bidco was anything but an impartial organization with the interests of Calgarians in mind. This was an group that was tasked to win the games at all costs and it sure shows today.?

Bidco lurched along from scandal, to bungle to leak for months. While millions were being spent, we seemed to be making utterly no progress towards a reasonable Olympic bid. With no deal struck while the plebiscite approached and with members of city council preparing to shut this disaster down, Bidco cobbled together a bid proposal literally on the 11th hour in order to drag this whole mess out.?

To call the proposed bid a train wreck would be generous. It was clearly hashed together with little thought or skill and the gaps and holes are numerous in the plan.?

Let’s be frank. The Calgary 2026 Olympic bid proposal is built on pure bullshit. Its hard to tell where to begin on this mess.?

Lets start with the expectation that an insurance pany will provide them with $200 million in cost overrun coverage. This notion is utterly bizarre. The average games have a 156% cost overrun. Tokyo has managed to blow their games cost from a projected $7 billion to $25 billion and it is still growing. As Bidco has proven themselves incapable of organizing a ping pong match much less an Olympic games, they hardly instill confidence.

What pany on earth would provide that coverage? Maybe with a $200 million dollar deductible. Unless an insurer can be shown to be providing this coverage, it has to be assumed that this $200 million portion of the current bid is simply bullshit.?

Lets have a look at venues. Canmore is proposed as the location for many of the Nordic events but it has not been secured. When asked of what will happen if Canmore falls through, Scott Hutcheson from Bidco simply said we will go somewhere else. That is fine and dandy but it will blow yet another hole in their shoestring budget.?

While Bidco is claiming that the ski jumping will be held in Whistler, it has been revealed that Bidco hasn’t even contacted the BC government on this, much less cut a deal. It will take tens of millions to build new jumps if a deal isn’t struck and when it is considered that Bidco is too inept to even contact potential hosts, I am not terribly confident that they will be able to secure an arrangement.?

Bidco has not secured a location for the curling events either. That means we can have no idea what the costs may be from renting, to building to renovating. It is a giant question mark and it again blows up their little budget.?

Speaking of the budget, part of the creative accounting used in order to make a minimal Olympic bid was to designate some $150 million that was already earmarked for development and improvement in Victoria Park as being Olympic funding. That helps make their numbers jive but doesn’t actually put a single dime into Olympic venues. This again leaves their budget in tatters. It was a band aid at best, outright book cooking at worst.?

The Olympic bid budget is acting under the assumption that the NHL would be participating in the games. With the addition of the NHL, ad revenues will grow dramatically along with higher demand for ticket sales. Unfortunately the NHL has not found it worth risking their players in the Olympics and they refused to participate in the last winter games. There is hardly any guarantee that they will participate in the 2026 games. To budget based on the participation of the NHL is utterly deceptive.?

Security is another distressingly laughable part of the Bidco “budget”. The initial proposal was already absurdly low at $610 million when it is considered that Vancouver spent nearly $1 billion on security years ago. With games presumably held at venues from Calgary to Canmore to Whistler it is impossible to believe that the security will cost less at all much less 40% so.?

But wait!!!

It gets better!!?

The luminaries at Bidco managed to shave well over $100 million in security costs from that initial $610 million estimate!

Either the games will be poorly secured or the budget will be blown. Likely both.?

In desperation Bidco has been coaxing former athletes among others to claim on social media that for every $1 spent by Calgary, Calgarians will be ten back in return!?

This 10x multiplier was immediately called out as the utter, fabricated bullshit that it is by economists and other learned folks but it still hasn’t stopped Bidco from trying to spread it. They are truly desperate.?

Would you believe somebody ing to your door selling investments on that basis? Bidco thinks you will. Strangely no other cities are rushing out to take advantage of this great deal.?

As of this writing, there are 11 days remaining before the plebiscite. While all recent polls show an utter lack of support among Calgarians for this broken bid, this can not be taken for granted.?

The appointed elite who stand to get great six figure jobs on the Olympic cocktail circuit are desperate and they are spending millions of tax dollars trying to sell their personal gravy train to Calgarians. Those in opposition to this fiasco don’t have such resources.?

The voting security is based on the honor system as apparently the City of Calgary is incapable of managing? a voter list (but they think they can manage the games). That means that people can vote multiple times and there is no way to track it.?

Many Olympic proponents have proven themselves willing to outright lie in order to get their games. I wouldn’t put voter fraud beyond many of them.?

That means that people have to make the time to get out and vote on this! Once by the way. I am reaching out to honest people.?

These games are a disaster in the making which will lead to generations in debt for what is in reality a two week party where half of the events are outside of city limits.?

Vote NO to 2026. Put this piece of trash in the dumpster where it belongs.?

Maybe things will be better for the 2030 bid. The city of Calgary and IOC both need heavy flushes before then. Until then though, this bizarre proposed bid packed with bullshit must be rejected.?