Monday, March 30, 2009

Back from Las Vegas...In need of my own stimulus package!

Just got back from Las Vegas after a week of "Vacation" there....whew. If the economy is hurting in the USA, then you would not tell from the crowds I encountered. Most of the Casino's were packed, the restaurants full and the shows had decent crowds. Not sure where all the cash is coming from, but it looked pretty busy to me. I sure helped my friends to the south by leaving th em with a hefty chunk of change, but that's how it goes!

I caught some interesting stories when I was there...

  • MGM Grand is a partnering with Dubai World to develop a massive property in the heart of the strip called City Centre. The project is to be completed later this year, at a cost of nearly $9Billion USD. The project is being called the largest private construction in the world. Bad News though.... looks like the cost overruns and credit crisis will threaten this project, and force MGM into potential bankruptcy. This will have an negative impact on all of Las Vegas... See the story here.
  • Another laugh.... Legislators in Nevada are considering adding a $5 prostitution tax.... Pretty creative!
  • Nevada recently added an $8tax to the cost of a carton of Cigarettes, and they are looking at adding another $10/carton right away. So much for cheap smokes in the USA! ( This works out to nearly $7USD per 20 Cigarettes...pretty close to Alberta prices.

Its always nice to get away....but as always, I am glad to be home!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Mike Duffy Calgary Reception April 14, 2009

I thought I would share the details of this upcoming event as it may be of interest. I think it will be an great event as Senator Mike Duffy is always entertaining and it will be a rare opportunity to see him speak in Calgary.

Details can be found on the attachment here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Calgary's Socialist Housing Plan- HOME OWNERSHIP FOR ALL ( Marxsville by the bow?)

At first I was amazed that I actually thought something good was being proposed by Calgary mayor Dave Bronconnier this week, when he announced he was studying a plan to build housing for low income Calgarians on various vacant school sites across Calgary. But as I read on, I realized that this was not necessarily an initiative to combat homelessness at all.

The mayor talks of building up to 1000 home units as an "entry" into home ownership for Calgary's essential workers ( Firefighters, Police, Teachers, EMS etc..). This plan will allow people to PAY BASED ON THIER INCOME, noting that THEY WOULD OWN THIER UNIT. Basing the model on similar programs being run in California like this one, Bronco figures that this is a great idea.

Wait a minute.... he later goes on to say that these units will help end homelessness as it will help people move "up the property ladder from subsidized units into their own homes". I am this a plan to help middle income earners buy homes that are out of their price range? Or is this a plan to address the needs of the thousands of low-middle income Calgarians who cannot find affordable places to RENT? Either way...something does not click here...

This city cannot even get a plan to help get the chronic homeless out of the shelters, but think that they can magically cure everything by getting everyone to own their own home? To be blunt, Home Ownership is not for everyone and it is not also a god-given right either. ( I do believe that having a roof over your head is a basic human right, but owning that roof is another story.)

On a personal level, I grew up under very, very modest means and support the idea of subsidized rental housing, but why should my taxes be used to support HOME OWNERSHIP to people who cannot afford to own a home? I bought my 1st home in 2000 (at the age of 23), and everyone thought I was crazy to do such a thing. There were no Tax Dollars to support me or the thousands of other Calgarians who were buying their first homes. We can look no further to the US Housing crisis to see the damage caused by people who bought homes that they could not afford.

I know its premature, but I can already envision the names of these new neighborhoods....

Marxville by the Bow... Che's Villas..... Chavez Chalets... Stalin Heights... Layton's Landing?

As with most of Bronco's Socialist Ideals, the details are always lacking. I am curious to see who will be funding this and how it will be run? In the meantime, lets hope he plans on kicking back some of the property taxes that he collected from young Calgarians who bought their homes "when they were just starting out."


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Finally! A Provincial plan to end homelessness.

I was pleased to see that Alberta has taken a leadership position by finally issuing Canada's first provincial plan on strategies to end homelessness. Better yet, it appears that the plan follows the goals/strategies previously set out by other municipal organizations, including Calgary's 10 year plan. This should allow for a more efficient use of resources and prevent different agenda's ( eg. The Mustard Seed vs. Calgary Drop in Centre) and visions from really working together to solve the issue.

The study estimates that the cost of this plan will be around $3.3 Billion dollars over 10 years! I was shocked at that figure, but when you look at the real cost of DOING NOTHING....the costs to taxpayers are significantly higher. Check out the projections on the chart at the bottom of the above link. Wow.) The Red Tory in me supports this initiative 100%. This problem cannot be addressed without the support of the Provincial government and I applaud them for finally taking an official position on this.

If we can set aside $2Billion for carbon capture and storage, surely Alberta can fund this initiative. I think that the days of finding excuses to avoid the issue are over. I just hope the plan does not get lost in the shuffle.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

"Threat Assessment" against Jason Kenney...what is our country coming to?

Earlier this week, I wrote in support about Immigration Minister Jason Kenney's stance on removing taxpayer funding to the Canadian Arab Federation. I was sad to see that the CAF continues to diminish themselves as the saga continues. It has now been reported that the RCMP has made a "threat assessment" against Mr. Kenney and determined that he requires full time security.

Is this what our country has come to? It is a sad day for Canada when a federal cabinet minister requires RCMP protection for standing up against racism and anti-semitism. Knowing the character and will of Mr. Kenney, these threats will not force him to back down. As Canadians, we all have to stand up against these types of threats to ensure that rouge/radical groups cannot spread their hatred in our country. Especially not with our tax dollars.

Not one red cent.

Canadians should speak up and challenge the CAF president, Khaled Moumammar to show true leadership and offer an apology to all Canadians and to resign his position to allow the CAF to appoint someone more professional and moderate.

I find it baffling that the CAF would allow this kind of hate mongering to continue, given their struggles with racism/hatred in the past.

Here is Mr.Kenney's interview. Excellent Work.

Friday, March 13, 2009

When did Calgary become a Socialist city?

Having been born and raised in Calgary ( which is a pretty rare thing in this town) I have seen many changes over the years. Calgary has always been a maverick, free enterprise based, conservative city. That said, I can't seem to grasp when the socialist movement actually took hold here? Perhaps it started with the election of our Mayor, Dave Bronconnier? Surely it has spread with the election of failed NDP candidate Brian Pincott and the new crop of Alderman from 2007. It is being fueled by socialist community groups like Vibrant Communities Calgary. I just hope that it won't last past 2010.
Calgary's latest Socialist intervention happened this week, with he debate over instituting a "Living Wage" Policy for City of Calgary employees and contract workers. The city admits that almost all of their employees make more than the $13.25 amount, so the idea is really pointless to me. Where the Socialists hope to advance is by getting all Temporary and Contact workers included in this living wage scheme, which thankfully got voted down. ( for now.) Once the rest ( Eg. The Common Sense alderman...) of council figured out that the City will have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars more to bump the contract/temporary workers salaries, they backed away.
Like most Socialist ideals, the sugarplums and fairies start to disappear once the economic reality hits them in the face. Sure, I'd like McLeod Trail to be paved with gold bars and perhaps see all of Calgary's water fountains turned into magical money machines that dispense $100 bills, but will it ever happen? ( Not until I a get elected as an NDP backed Alderman apparently.)
Only a Socialist regime would consider $13.25 a LIVING WAGE anyway. Do the math... $14/hour ( Lets round it up and say the Socialist Union gets them even more money!) at 40 hrs/week. Total Monthly take home= $2240.
$2240. Before Taxes.... Before Union/Mafia Dues....
Take out your rent ( No Rent Controls yet in Calgary...but their is plenty of year left.) and how much of this living wage are you expected to live on? I don't know, but it is likely not enough. This is another example of the Socialist Pie in the Sky Math. if they were smart, they would demand more money....but they realize that Socialist Revolution in Calgary takes small incremental steps. ( Also, if their voters get too wealthly, they will move away to other parties...but that is another story.)
I hope that Calgarians start a Revolution of their own in 2010. Out with Bronco, out with NDP Hawkesworth and Pincott. Out with John ( I'll change my spots after I am elected) Mar and the rest of the free spenders. In the mealtime, I hope they shelve their plans for a giant Karl Marx stature for Olympic Plaza.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Twitter Time! Not just an Alberta MLA Issue

I got caught laughing this morning at the news that 6 MLA's had their hands "slapped" by Speaker Ken Kowalski for using their Blackberry's/Iphones during question period recently! I know the Liberal opposition is not that great, but are they really that bored? I think it has more to do with my generation. Having used a Blackberry for over two years, the urge to use them at the wrong time is often overwhelming ( or addicting?) , so I can appreciate where they are coming from. ( Plus, If I had to sit through a 40+ minute debate about weather or not to use a Mushroom logo on the provincial license plate, I would probably lose patience and look to the blackberry for sanity also.)

While the younger MLA's are trying to reach out to their generation on "mypcmla", I think that they can avoid using them during question period.

Take a look at the video above and you will see that this is not just an Alberta issue....pretty funny stuff. If President Obama cant keep your attention, nothing can!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Not one red cent for the Canadian Arab Foundation...Good call Jason Kenney

In a story that has been building for weeks, the Canadian Arab Foundation continues to attack Immigration Minister Jason Kenney over his support for Israel. The CAF president, Khaled Mouammar has stooped as low as calling Mr. Kenney a "professional whore". In response, the Immigration department has done the right thing by removing the CAF's public funding. ( Talk about "biting" the hand that feeds you!)

I support Mr. Kenney's stance on this matter as I cannot agree with tax payer dollars being allocated to groups that promote hate. I would rather see public money being spent to foster awareness and acceptance of minority groups.

A spokesman for Mr.Kenney's office, Alykhan Velji, stated yesterday that " Groups that promote hatred and anti-Semitism don't deserve a single red cent of taxpayer support. End of Story."

End of Story indeed.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Calgary's "Top Dog Catcher" is getting on my nerves!

Hardly a week goes by in Calgary without some random interview ( CFCN loves this guy) with Calgary's top Dog Catcher ( aka Director of Animal & Bylaw Services) "Bylaw Bill" Bruce. This chap is on the news more than the Prime Minister, spouting off his wonderful ideas about snow removal, graffiti, dog and CAT licenses, parking issues etc. etc. etc.

This week, he proposed a $350 fine for repeat offenders that fail to clear the snow from their sidewalks. City hall reduced the fine to $250 , which probably irked our fine Dog Catcher. This finally got me thinking....

  • Why in the world does this guy have so much media presence?
  • Why does a city employee have so much direction in setting public policy?
  • When is our mayor going to show some leadership and come up with some policies on his own? ( Instead of usuing Bylaw Man to eat up the 6pm news?)

Whats next? Will "Bylaw Billy" start reviewing the property tax rates and make recommendations to Bronco on how to reduce them?

If the Dog Catcher and Sidewalk Snowman wants to set public policy and get his ideas passed, he should run for office. The City cannot even keep up with its own snow removal, and fails to respond to its citizens complaints over it. ( Remember this? ) I am at a loss as to how a City employee has become the spokesperson for Mayor Bronconnier and the rest of council.

I still have not seen any " My Dog Loves Bylaw Billy" T-Shirts at the off-leash park I use, so I think that Bylaw Bill's popularity is all in his head. Remember, your job is to supervise the By-law officers, not make the laws. Put down the mike and get back to your desk.....

( I guess I better go shovel my walk in case he reads this....)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Stop me if you've heard this one before...

Yesterday, the Alberta Government released details about their plans for the long awaited Calgary Ring Road. As seen in the picture above, this is an ambitious project that will cost over $1B to complete. The next leg will be the SE portion, which will get started next spring.

The last holdout to the completion of the SW portion of this project, is the deal with the Tsuu Tina Nation. Having grown up and lived next to the reserve for 30 years, ( I now live in the Deep Southeast) I have heard them talk about building this road since I was a kid. Every year, we hear the Mayor, Premier and various other government officials claim that "a deal is near" or " We just have to dot the "T's" and cross the "i's". Well....Calgarians are still waiting! This has been going on since the 1960's and I would be surprised if we ever do get a deal done with the Tsuu Tina.

The Tsuu Tina are an industrious band and appear to be in no rush to sell off this tiny fraction of land. And why would they? They already received their Casino license, which eliminated any bargaining "CHIP" that the province had. I believe that the Casino license was given as a token measure of good faith, given the already saturated Casino market in Calgary. With nothing to lose now, the band can hold out for the best possible price, which is their right.
Even if a deal is completed in the next few months, the final process may take up to 2 years to finalize with the Federal Government. In the meantime, the SE, NE and NW legs will be completed and the people of SW Calgary can look forward to more delays on 14th Street SW and Glenmore Trail.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Another Inconvenient Truth!

This was a great email that I received....pretty much speaks for itself!

Allow me to do the math for you as per the above:

  • Canadian oil sands CO2 emissions are 0.17% of the US coal industry and 0.08% of China's total CO2 emissions.

  • Canada's supposed dirty oil is an insignificant drop in the bucket compared to the American's very dirty coal and to China's very dirty air.

Canadians must recognize that our national pastime has too long been to sever our noses to spite our faces. Oil and gas made up 21% of Canada's exports in 2006 and is at the top of the list of all Canadian exports. Think of it this way, every Canadian across the country (from St. John's to Victoria) must recognize that 21% of each dollar you have in your account or wallet has gotten there because of oil and gas exports from B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

Now, go grab your microscopes and read the Alberta emissions figures above.....