Friday, November 25, 2011

Vlog Post: My Thoughts On The PPP Canada City of Calgary Recreation Funding Decision

  Disappointed.  That was my initial reaction when I heard the news that PPP Canada had announced that the City of Calgary's application for the funding of some much needed recreation centres in Calgary would not be approved.  As a member of the South East Calgary Recreation Society ( SECRS) for the past few years, I have seen firsthand how hard this committee has worked with the City of Calgary to try and address the recreation facility deficits in our city.

  As a parent, I am fully aware of the lack of recreation facilities in our area. And as a volunteer and community association president, I am committed to finding a solution to address these issues. 

 Here are some of my thoughts on this... ( Note:  these are my personal opinions and do not represent any organization that I am involved with.)

  While disappointed with the outcome, I am prepared to move on a continue to work with the City to find some alternative funding options.  I urge all Calgarians who care about this issue to do the same,

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Why I'm Supporting Ric McIver in the Calgary Hays PC Nomination

  As a longtime follower of provincial politics and a resident of Calgary Hays, I am excited about the upcoming nomination contest to see who will be the next PC candidate for our area.  Party nomination campaigns are an important example where local residents can really be part of the grassroots democratic process and have their say on who their party candidate will be in the next election.

 Due to the provincial electoral boundary changes, Calgary Hays will be split into two separate riding's once the writ is dropped for the next provincial election.  The "new" Calgary Hays riding will consist of the following neighborhoods: Douglasdale, Douglasglen, Quarry Park, McKenzie Towne and Mckenzie Lake.   Due to the fact that this is a new electoral boundary, the PCAA will be holding a candidate nomination contest to determine who will be the next representative for the PC party in the provincial election.

 I have been on the Calgary Hays PCAA board since 2008 and these nomination battles are always tough on the organization, but necessary for transparency and democracy.  It is hard to see a group of people split on who they would like to support, but that is a necessary part of the democratic process.

Declared Candidates

Art Johnston

 Art Johnston has been the MLA for this area since 2004. 

 Earlier this spring, Art decided to run for the nomination of the other newly created riding of Calgary Southeast, but narrowly lost that contest to newcomer Rick Fraser.  ( See post here... )

Ric McIver

Ric had represented this area as the City of Calgary Ward 12 Alderman for nine years.  He is a longtime member and volunteer for the PCAA.

Here are some of my thoughts on the nomination race and why I am supporting Ric McIver.....

The nomination vote will take place at the Deerfoot Inn on Monday, December 5, 2011 from 4-8PM.

To be eligible to vote, you must be:

  • A Canadian citizen, at least 16 Years of age of older.
  • Ordinarily a resident of Calgary Hays. (Douglasdale, Douglasglen, Quarry Park, McKenzie Towne and McKenzie Lake.)
  • A valid member of the PCAA.  ( 2011 Memberships are available at the door.)
  • Be sure to bring two pieces of ID, to confirm residence in the area.
If you would like to volunteer with Ric or buy a membership to support him, please contact Ric here.

Best of luck to all of the candidates!  This will be an interesting race to watch.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Alberta Blue Committee Launches! Six Questions For Ken Boessenkool

  A few weeks ago, the media was reporting that a group of young, engaged Alberta conservatives were forming the Alberta Blue Committee to open discussions about uniting the "right of centre" political views.  As a PCAA member with a large number of friends that have migrated to the Wildrose Party, I will admit that this concept intrigued me.  Today, the Alberta Blue Committee has officially launched.

I had the chance to ask founding member Ken Boessenkool some questions about this group, which he has answered below.

  Can you give me some background on the creation of “Blue Committee” concept?

We started thinking about it earlier this year when a number of concerned conservatives with friends on both sides of the PC – Wildrose divide wondered how to continue to contribute to the debate. Many of us had felt that the province had been drifting for some time, and what was needed, beyond new leadership (which was underway for the PCs and was the desire of the Wildrose)was someone to have a conversation about uniting the right in Alberta.

The other motivation for me was that I was part of the Reform Party in the early1990s when we pushed Humpty Dumpty off the wall, and was also part of the Harper team that put him back together and ultimately won a majority government in 2011. While the Reform Party played a critical role in Canada, in my view it took much too long to pull things back together.

Alberta is potentially at the early stages of this long journey. And I thought if we set up something early promoting unity, it might not take quite so long to pull things back together if they start to fall apart.

I also wanted to create a home for folks who had a deep respect for both the PCs and the Wildrose. As I like to say, I really don’t want to chose between my good friend Rob Anderson and my good friend Doug Griffiths.

  Is there any precedence for a similar concept/group in Canada?

There was a federal Blue Committee in the late 1990s that operated within the federal PC party. As a group they merged with the Reform Party (along with many Harris and Klein Progressive Conservatives) to create the Canadian Alliance. Before that occurred, they existed to push the federal PC party to the right.

What does the committee membership make up look like?

We are all next generation committed conservatives.

What does the committee hope to achieve?

A single right of centre political alternative is our long run goal. Good right-of-centre policy is our immediate focus.

 What are some of the challenges that this committee will have to overcome?

Some people think we are creating another party – but we want one right-of-centre party, not three.

Some people want us to choose, to fish or cut bait. Many of the folks involved are on one side or the other, but have respect and a long term desire to be united.I think creating a “middle ground” where we can have policy discussions and talk about paths to unity will be beneficial in the long run.

How can people get involved?

People can follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook or join us on the website.

I'll definitely be watching this group with interest as it is something that I am passionate about also.

 For more information, check out their website at

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Thursday, October 6, 2011

More Problems In The Wildrose Nomination Process?

  I had a good chuckle on Twitter over the past few days while watching some Wildrose supporters go bonkers over yet another riding nomination fiasco.  Over the past year, the media has reported that  some angry WRP supporters have taken issue with a few local riding association nominations, including Calgary McCall, Stettler, Little Bow and Cochrane-Banff.  The latest controversy appears to be coming from Calgary Hays Candidate, Dennis Young.

  On Tuesday, the Tweets were fast and furious from Dennis's supporters, crying foul that he was abruptly removed as a qualified candidate, prompting some Wildrose supporters to question the party's nomination process.  Mr. Young ( and campaign worker Craig Chandler) where visibly upset about this development as they felt they had no clear understanding about why this was happening.

 Here is a copy of the letter that Dennis sent to the Wildrose Executive committee, which he posted on Facebook.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mr. Shane Saskiw,
Executive Director, Wildrose Party
408, 919 Centre Street NW
Calgary, Alberta T2E 2P6

Dear Mr. Saskiw,

I was somewhat startled to receive your letter of October 3rd advising me that I was disqualified from the nomination race in Calgary-Hays.

Firstly, there was no reason for the disqualification mentioned in the letter.

Also, I was not advised that my candidacy for the nomination was in question, nor was I given an opportunity to defend myself against whatever accusations may have been brought against me.

Further, I had had my interview with the Local Candidate Nominating Committee roughly six months ago, submitted my paperwork and my nomination fee. If I was going to be disqualified, I would have expected to be informed of it at that time. Since that time I have spent over $30,000, dropped two separate pieces of literature to every home and have door knocked 25% of the constituency resulting in many members for the party that I have yet to hand in. Out of the current members in Calgary-Hays 75% of them were signed up by my campaign. In addition to the memberships sold my team has also received full information including names, address, postal codes, phone numbers and even email addresses from hundreds more who wish to keep in contact.

Since I was not informed in your letter for the reason of my disqualification we contacted former leadership candidate Mark Dyrholm for advice. Mr. Dyrholm contacted Danielle Smith in regards to the situation. After some phone calls, she told us that the problem related to my military career: Specifically when I was a private soldier. I was once put into the stockade for fighting. This, however, stretches credulity: I was not charged under the Criminal Code and do not have a criminal record. In my nomination form I went above and beyond to tell you my entire life story, I guess I should not have been so detailed.

Such incidents amongst soldiers (who truly are fighting men) are foreseen in the National Defence Act, and are specifically not criminal matters. I went on to an exemplary career as a military policeman, which is not permitted in cases of serious mis-behaviour. If this is truly the reason for disqualification as Danielle Smith informed Mr. Dyrholm, I cannot help but wonder if I am not suffering discrimination because of my military background.

I therefore wish to appeal the disqualification, on the grounds I have listed above. I look forward to being able to defend myself to the Committee.

Looking forward to your prompt response.

Dennis Young

Committee To Elect Dennis Young – 87012, #160 – 11520, 24th Street SE, Calgary, Alberta

Earlier this week, Dennis had a tweet confirming that he had sold over 500 Wildrose memberships, which is an amazing figure if true.  I live in Calgary Hays and I am shocked that his team has been able to sell this many memberships in the riding.  In the above letter, he also states that he has dropped two pieces of lit to every house ( I have not received one....) which is amazingly expensive.  I also found it funny to see that the literature is the standard carbon copy wording that the Chandler team fact, they even missed removing Mark Dryholm's name from the copy/paste campaign materials! ( h/t @waptopstory)

While I believe that there are two sides to every story, I have a hard time imagining that any party would remove a candidate without a justifiable cause.  It just seems to point out the growing pains that the Wildrose is having in attracting quality candidates in their fledgling party.  I will keep watching to see how this one plays out with interest.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Goodbye Old Friend....RIP Jason Hatton

  I know that I am usually ranting on here about civic or political issues, but I got some bad news yesterday that really shook me for a loop.  I was devastated to hear that an old friend of mine had passed away on the weekend after losing a battle with alcoholism at the age of 34. 

 I first met Jason in grade 9 at Woodman Jr. High in 1992 and I remember it like it was yesterday.  Jason had recently moved from Toronto and was instantly became a good friend.  He had a quiet charisma back then and I recall everyone being drawn to his personality.  We were pretty close for the next 10 years, literally talking or hanging out every day. Sadly as my life circumstances changed, we grew apart. 

  Jason always had a quirky personality and you either "got him" or you didn't.  We shared the same interests and had hours of laughs doing our favorite SCTV bits.  I had the good fortune to reconnect with him over the past few months on facebook & chatted a bit on the phone, and we picked right up where we left off....laughing about the old Woodbine days. 

  Sadly, Jason's could not shake his inner deamons and alcohol eventually took his life.  I know he had fallen on some really hard times over the past few years, but Jason was always keen at keeping his emotions to himself.  While I know that his family supported him and did everything that they could for him, I cant help help but feel sorry for this man.  I know its likely a classic case of "survivor's guilt", but I just hate myself for not taking the time over the past few months to go see him in person. It is sad to think that he was suffering in silence and while I know that there is nothing any of his friends could have done, I just wish I had known how bad his personal situation was. 

 I know in this busy world its easy to just focus on your own life, but this tragedy really makes me think about what's important.  I'm so sorry that Jason had to suffer in silence and I would urge everyone in memory of Jason, to take some extra time with your family or make that call to an old friend.

 I had a good laugh ( and cry) listening to the chorus of this song thinking about Jason last night...  ( Warning... this song will likely make you cry.) 

 My heart goes out to Jason's two daughters and his family, especially his wonderful mother Irene.

  I hope Jason is practicing his best SCTV "Five Neat Guys" songs right now....see you when I see you man.  RIP Jason. 

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Is Calgary's Proposed "Penny Tax" A Pound Foolish?

  There has been a heated debate in Calgary this week over a group of local business leaders recommendation to add a 1% "Penny Tax" to the GST.  These business leaders ( a group called Transformation Calgary) models this proposal on a similar scheme used in Oklahoma City and suggest that the $350 million raised by this tax every year could be put towards a set of specific projects and be in force for a specific period of time. 

  While I understand that the City of Calgary only has a finite amount of resources to pay for services and local projects, I am always concerned when "new" taxes are proposed.  This "penny tax" sounds like an insignificant amount, but it will likely cost the average Calgarian hundreds of dollars a year in additional taxes.

 I also question how the city will be able to fairly designate this tax money to specific projects?  While I personally support addressing the lack of recreation facilities in Calgary, I am not as sold on building extravagant art facilities that will not be used by the majority of Calgarians.  How will the city determine what projects get on this list and how do you appease everyones interests?  Simply, I think this is an impossible task and will just create a new set of headaches and bellyaching, no matter what projects are included.

  Personally, I believe that the City has a hard time managing the budget that they have now and I am a little hard pressed to accept sending more taxes to city hall.  I think that if this proposal where to be accepted by Calgarians by a plebiscite vote in 2013, they city will become accustomed to receiving these tax dollars and this cycle will continue on forever.  ( We should note that the 1917 Income Tax act was implemented as a "short term measure" to help fund the war effort.....)  Looking at the Oklahoma City MAPS Tax, you will see that city council has come back to the citizens three times now to fund additional projects.  It just shows that once you implement a tax, it is almost impossible for the government receiving it to let go of that revenue, even if this "penny tax" is only intended for a specific period of time.

I had the chance to be a guest on the CBC Calgary Eyeopener's "Unconventional Panel" this week to talk about this tax.  Here is a link to that show if you are interested.

While I am intrigued by the idea in principal, there are too many unanswered questions at this time.  Perhaps we need to look at a voluntary lottery or consider specific user fees that can raise the funds required for these projects, as the money will be directy raised by those who support the cause.   I think we should look at the spending of our city administration before we request more tax dollars from hard working Calgarians..

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Gian-Carlo Carra Vs. The Ramsay Community Association

 I was a little dismayed when I read about Ward 9 Alderman Gian-Carlo Carra's announcement that he would no longer be dealing with the Ramsay Community Association board, following a "breakdown in communication" with the volunteer association.  Mr. Carra had confirmed in a hand delivered letter to Ramsay residents that he will no longer deal with the current board executive and will instead work with the citizens directly. ( A copy of the letter can be found here..)
 As a community association president myself, I found myself wondering what could have led to such a disasterous stand off to occur in the first place?   Alderman Carra has confirmed to me on Twitter and on the CBC Eyeopener this morning that his position has nothing to do with "development"  yet the letter mentions his dismay at the boards NIMBY-ism and that he is not interested in a "coup", but the letter urges people to come to the AGM to sign up for a Carra led "Ramsey Design Initiative".  While I do not believe for a minute that the conflict has to do with Carr's newsletter being rejected due to its length, but if you read the letter it is clear that there is likely more at play here than meets the eye.

  I personally think that Gian-Carlo is one of the most intelligent Alderman at City Hall ( and really, who doesn't dig his accent!) but his letter really concerns me.  While he confirms his support for community associations, he states that he is working with the Mayors office on a new policy outlining the role that community associations play in the "governance of our neighborhoods".  If you read between the lines, perhaps some people in council hate when volunteer citizens restrict their own personal development views.

  While I believe that all community associations should be well governed, I would hope that their intent is always to be a "voice" for the residents when it comes to civic matters.  These are volunteer organizations made up of passionate, dedicated community members.  For Mr.Carra to blindly shove them aside is upsetting as it diminishes the roles that these groups play in our city.  Based on the comments that Mr. Carra made, I am sure that the both he and the Mayor's office relishes the day when CA's are relegated to bake sales and BBQ's.  This way, they will not have to listen to their citizens concerns ( via those "pesky CA's" regarding development when they do not fit their own personal agenda's. 

  I will be watching to see what comes of this story as I think there is way more to this than either side is letting on.  I hope that they can come to some sort of adult resolution soon.


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Friday, September 23, 2011

Alberta PC Leadership Race Vlog..Round Two!

  What a crazy week in the Alberta PC Leadership Race!  In my Vlog post below, I just wanted to share my thoughts on the weeks events and highlighted some of the internal issues that seem to dog my party during this race. 

 While I am disappointed that some of the more conservative candidates did not make the second ballot,  I have made my mind up on who I am supporting in the next round. 

While I am sure that my comments about the Alison Redford supporter's Twitter Blitzkrieg this week will anger some of them, I believe that I am free to speak my mind.  I know its a crazy concept to have a differing view, but I think that is a healthy thing to have.

Regardless of where you stand on the ramaining candidates, I would hope that everyone gets out and votes on October 1!
Best of luck to all of the remaining candidates!

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

2011 YWCA Walk a Mile In Her Shoes Event! Pink Is The New Black!

  The 2011 YWCA Walk a Mile In Her Shoes event was a huge success!  Men from across Calgary strapped on some high heels yesterday to help raise some money and awareness for domestic violence in our city.  The event raised an amazing $287,000 yesterday and it was fun to be able to participate again this year. 

  I was fortunate enough to raise $1950 for this event and I am so thankful for everyone's support.  As mentioned in a previous post, most of my donations where obtained from social media contacts ( Twitter and Facebook) along with some of my co-workers.  I was also humbled by the fact that so many politicians from all political stripes ( including Wildrose candidates and even party leader Danielle Smith) donated to this loyal PC party hack. 

I promised that I would share some pictures and video of the event, so here you go....

I have to admit that my calves are killing me today!  I really have no idea how women could possibly walk in these shoes all day long.

Thanks again to everyone for their support of this amazing organization.

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Alberta PC Leadership Race Vlog Post

  With only two days left in the Alberta PC Leadership Race, I have finally decided to do a post!  Here is a quick ramble about my thoughts on the race.....

This weekend should finally bring some excitement to this race!  I am interested to see who will move on to the top three.


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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

New Webcam! Vlog Posts To Follow...

  Well, I finally got with the times and purchased a webcam!  I plan on doing some vlog posts once i figure this camera out!   I hope to have some fun with this format, so bear with me as I learn how to do this.

  If there are any topics or vlog posts you would like to see, be sure to send me an email or comment.


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Friday, September 9, 2011

YWCA Walk A Mile In Her Shoes 2011! High Heel Time!

 Its that time of year again!  I was fortunate enough to be able to participate in the YWCA of Calgary's Walk A Mile In Her Shoes event last year and I am excited to be able to take part again in 2011.  This fun event helps raise money and awareness for domestic violence in Calgary and it really is a fun event.

 I have been overwhelmed by the support I have received for this walk and would like to thank everyone that has donated and helped spread the word!  Amazingly, most of my donations have come from Twitter and Facebook, which goes to show the power that social media has these days.  I am also surprised by the response from local politicians of all political stripes that have stepped up and donated to this great cause.  My donor list really is a broad reflection of all political parties and I am humbled by their generosity!

 The event takes place on Monday, September 19 2011 at 12pm at Olympic Plaza.  If you had a chance to see this event last year, it really is quite a scene!  Watching hundreds of men strap on these high heels and try to negotiate the course is really quite funny to watch. 

  I would love to raise as much money as I can for this great cause and appreciate any donations we can raise for the YWCA.  If you want to donate, please head over to

I'll be sure to post some pictures and videos once the event is over!



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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hey Dr. Raj Sherman....Stop Calling My House!

  Do you know what annoys this blogger more than telemarketers?  Unsolicited phone calls from Alberta Liberal Party leadership candidates.  I have received three automated calls from Dr. Raj Sherman in the past few weeks, and it is really starting to get on my nerves.

  The call is awkward at best, with Dr. Sherman stuttering about being your leadership choice, yadda yadda yadda.  He then prompts you to push button 3 to register as a supporter ( which I wonder if the ALP is using towards their inflated "supporter" numbers.) and goes on and on about how you don't have to really support the party or buy a membership ( to paraphrase) in the party.  The only thing missing is a promise that your support will be kept strictly confidential and hey, "no one will ever know." ( Promise the doctor! ) It is simply disgusting.  The call is poorly done at best and very annoying.

 What makes me laugh is the fact he really is barking up the wrong tree.  Either he is using poor PCAA membership lists or a piss poor predictive dialer.  I would never vote Liberal, so his computer simply has it all wrong! 

If random calls from controversial doctors are your thing, then you will likely enjoy the call.  I think Raj is probably a nice enough guy and all, but from now on, this cowboy will be watching the call display from now on. 

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Monday, July 11, 2011

MP Jason Kenney"s Stampede Breakfast

   Yahoo! I hope that everyone is enjoying Stampede 2011!  I thought I would share an invite to Calgary SE MP Jason Kenney's Stampede Breakfast.  This is going to be a great event and will become a fun annual Stampede tradition. 

In addition to some amazing Stampede Breakfast fare, there will be live music and activities for kids! 

I hope to see you all there!


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Thursday, July 7, 2011

My First Pair of Cowboy Boots!

  As a born and raised Calgarian, I am ashamed to admit that I have never owned a pair of cowboy boots.   ( Well, that's not entirely true, I did have a pair of cool boots back in 1981 when I was four years old but I doubt that counts!)  And as a fiercely proud Calgarian, I have always wanted a pair, especially as the Calgary Stampede approaches each year.  Over the past few years, I have often taken a timid look at the boot selection at some of those "stampede" shops along Macleod Trail but never felt comfortable buying a pair.  I found boot shopping quite intimidating as I had no clue what to look for and what type/brand of boot offered good quality at a reasonable deal.  This year, I knew I had to get some.

  Not knowing where to start, I reached out of Twitter for advice!  I had a ton of responses with some helpful hints on brands, comfort tips and what price range to look for.  Surprisingly, the most positive response was from Lammless Western Wear, which has been a Calgary retail icon since I was a kid.  They offered to spend some time with me to show me all of my choices and help me find the right pair of boots.  I took them up on their offer a few weeks ago and had a blast looking!  The ladies there were so helpful and showed me probably 10 different styles of boots ( who knew there were so many options?) and I probably tried on 15 pairs.  They also explained exactly what to look for in sizing and comfort and explained the differences between the various styles. 

  While I liked the look of the Ostrich and Alligator boots, I think that they were a little to flashy for this Cranston Cowboy!  I was so impressed with the service and information that they provided that I purchased a pair of Ariat Boots, which many people on Twitter recommended also.  Here is a shot of these awesome boots.

  I was also worried about my first pair of boots being so uncomfortable that I would not be able to enjoy them, but I am amazed at how comfortable this pair actually is.  In fact, they are more comfortable than my dress shoes.  I have worn them about 10 times in the past three weeks ( not a hint of a blister) and would probably sleep with them on if Becky would allow me!

OK, so it took 30 years for me to get my first real pair of boots but at least its done!  Now I cant wait to take in a ton of Stampede functions over the next ten days. 


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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Calgary's Photo Radar Cash Cow

  I had the opportunity to appear on the CBC Calgary Eyeopener yesterday as a guest on the "Unconventional Panel" to chat about Photo Radar and the infamous Red Light/Speed on Green Camera's in our city.  This was somewhat of a hot topic in Calgary due to the Calgary Herald's story that the Calgary Police Service had issued close to $40,000,000 in traffic tickets last year!

 In my opinion, the Calgary Police Service is sending a mixed message about the use of these camera's.  They claim that they are all about promoting "safety" on our roads, but I think that the main reason for using this technology is to raise operating capital.  If the real interest is in safety, I would prefer to see the fine revenue put into a special fund dedicated to education and enhancing road safety.

  I also believe that photo radar tickets do not have the same deterrent effect as receiving a ticket in person from a police officer.  Receiving a fine in the mail does little to correct your behaviour, other than to just piss you off.   Having your time impacted on the side of the road, followed by stern lecture from a police officer ( and a real ticket that can affect your insurance rates) probably will go further in correcting your driving behavior!

I am sure everyone has an opinion on this issue, but I still think that these camera's are simply a cash cow for the CPS.

  Here is the link to the CBC Radio panel from yesterday!

Drive Safe!


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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Rob Anderson's Bill 36 Youtube Video Fiasco

 Sometimes things I see on Twitter really make laugh, sometimes they make me shake my head in disbelief.  I caught wind of the Youtube video below following Twitter exchange yesterday between Airdrie-Chestermere MLA, Rob Anderson and political strategist Stephen Carter.  In this 2009 video, Mr. Anderson repeatedly praises the beauty of Bill 36- The Alberta Land Stewardship Act. This would probably not be such a big deal, except for the small fact that he has been one of the most vocal critics of this legislation since his departure to the WAP. 

 The fact that Mr.Anderson is always so quick to blast his former colleagues ( see his latest letter to the Calgary Herald here...) while deflecting any responsibility for his past beliefs and actions is quite humorous.  Sure, we can change our minds now and then, but given that he was such a cheerleader for this bill in the video makes it really quite funny to watch!

Not sure how he explains this one to landowners in Alberta?  ( And I doubt the PC Caucus was hiding off camera, forcing him to make the speech against his will!) 


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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Calgary MLA Art Johnson Loses PC Nomination Battle In Calgary Southeast

   I am sure many people will be surprised to hear the news today that longtime Calgary Hays MLA Art Johnston has lost the nomination vote to run as the Alberta PC candidate for the newly created riding of Calgary Southeast in the next provincial election, to Rick Fraser. 

  As a member of the Calgary Hays/Calgary Southeast Board of Directors, I had the opportunity to volunteer at last nights nomination vote to see who would become the PC candidate for the newly created riding of Calgary SE.   This riding was created during the last electoral boundary commission due to the explosive growth in population in the deep south corridor.  It essentially split the existing Calgary Hays riding into two, and includes the neighborhoods of Silverado, Chaparral, Walden, Cranston, Auburn Bay, Mahogany, Copperfield and New Brighton. 

  Current Hays MLA Art Johnston had decided to run in this part of the split riding and faced a last minute challenge to the nomination by Mr. Fraser.  For months, Rick had declared his intentions to run in the existing Calgary Hays riding in the next election and has been actively selling memberships and even pulled a major coup and took control of the Hays board at this springs AGM, ousting the long time riding association president.  Many where shocked to learn that Rick then decided to instead run against Art for the Calgary SE nomination. 

While it is rare for sitting MLA's to be challenged for a nomination, it is even rarer to see a sitting MLA lose his position as the party candidate in the next election.  Due to the short time frame, both parties had worked extremely hard in securing new memberships ( I hear that over 350 new memberships where sold this week between the two candidates)  and urging party members to come out and vote.  The race was extremely close, with Rick Fraser edging Art by a vote of 78 to 74

That's democracy.....

 Before the vote, Art had jokingly said to me that "I'm not ready to put out on any Ice Floes..." and I believe he still has a lot of work he wants to accomplish in the legislature.  I am not sure what the future holds for Art, but I think he should be commended for the work he has done in Calgary Hays, especially in securing new schools for our area.

 While I congratulate Rick on his nomination victory,  I was a little discouraged to learn of his association with the PGIB ( and its often polarizing founder, Craig Chandler.) following the meeting,  as Rick always spoke to me about his desire for change and transparency.   Many people will recall that Chandler was disqualified as a PC candidate in 2007 due to some comments made by the by a group also founded by him. I have gotten to know Rick over the past two years and I cannot imagine what these two would have in common at all.

Interesting times...

Rick's website can be found at


I have been getting a lot of emails and a few comments requesting proof of the PGIB affiliation. Please click the link below for a copy of the lit.

I certaintly hope that Rick posts a followup confirming his association with PGIB and their founders, as it may become a small distraction going forward.


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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mayor Naheed Nenshi's Calgary Stampeder Game Face!

  When I first saw this ad on a giant billboard on Blackfoot Trail last week, I had to do a double take!  I thought "was that Mayor Naheed Nenshi in the ad for the Calgary Stampeders?"  I tried looking online for a copy of the ad without luck,  but soon found it in the Calgary Herald.

Personally, I think that this is a really cool ad.  I cannot imagine many political figures being able to pull this off the way he did.  Can you imagine Al Duerr or Bronco trying to be as cool as this?  Me neither.

The fact that Mayor Nenshi allows himself to be shown in a humorous light impresses me.

Go Stamps Go!

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Monday, March 7, 2011

Questions About The University of Calgary Students Union Secondary Suite Poll

  Like many Calgarians, I was really surprised when I read through the University of Calgary Secondary Suite poll this week.  In this poll, commissioned by the U of C Students Union, the results claim that 79% of Calgarians support the legalization of secondary suites across the city.  When I first saw the results, my initial thought was that the favorable result seemed rather high, based on the polarizing nature of this important issue.

 These results got me thinking quite a bit about this poll.  I understand that this is an important issue, and affordable housing is a serious issue to university students, but I found myself wondering why the students union was so interested in this issue.  I also found it amazing that they would spend a reported $40,000 for this poll as it seems like a lot of money for a student group to authorize.  I cannot imagine the student body being thrilled that the SU was paying for a poll that affected all Calgarians, not just students that attend the university.

 While many people question the 79% approval rate for the legalization of secondary suites, I am also hearing lots of discussion about the source of the poll.  While I believe the intent is honorable, the optics of the poll being slightly biased must be discussed. 

  • This link ( from the SU meeting minutes here) the VP External clearly states  that " if the initial poll data appears negative, then there is the possibility of stopping the poll prior to completion, which will mean a substantial savings."

  • Many people online have also questioned why the polling firm, Zinc Communications was chosen, given the close ties between Mayor Nenshi and Zinc's president, Brian F. Singh.  In the following link, Mr. Singh is touted as a pollster and strategist for the Nenshi campaign.  Mr. Singh is a well respected Calgarian and I assume that many people have no issue with the SU choosing Zinc, but the question is worth discussing. 
The poll was not taken across all wards ( as they targeted riding's where the alderman was opposed or undecided) and I think that this leaves out a large percentage of Calgarians.

Regardless of where you stand on the Calgary secondary suite issue, I think its important that you question all sources of information ( including this hack blog) especially when looking at polling results. Especially when the results are used to try and sway the public.

Update:  Shortly after this post went live, I had a brief Twitter conversartion with Brian Singh from Zinc regarding the details of the poll.  While he understood that I was not questioning his integrity or ethics, as the post was written with the intent of getting people to talk about the poll and its source, he did correct me on a few points.

  • The online component of the poll ( 900 responses) were from all 14 wards.  ( It appears that the phone survey was only done in the disputed wards as noted above.)
  • Zinc won the contract from the SU through a bid process. ( Brian confirmed they won as Zinc had the best methodology and price.)
Once again Twitter has proven to be a valuable source of real time information.  The intent of this post was to get people talking about the issue and at the very least, it has been sucessful on that front.  This is what blogging is all about.

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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Has MLA Raj Sherman Jumped The Shark This Time?

  As I read my copy of the Calgary Herald this morning, I sat in shock and disbelief at the story outlining independent MLA Raj Sherman's accusations about a full scale government cover up regarding patient deaths in Alberta hospitals. 

According to Mr. Sherman, he alleged that he has received information that the province has paid millions of dollars to Alberta doctors in an attempt to cover up cancer patient deaths.  He goes so far as to claim that the government actually has two sets of accounting books, one that is public and a separate one containing the payout information to local doctors.  This story seems absolutely outrageous, as I find it hard to believe that a full fledged mafia style conspiracy of this magnitude could possible be kept quiet for so long.  The possibility that hundreds of doctors and medical professionals could possibly take "hush money" to cover up medial information is mind boggling. 

 I would love to see what concrete proof Mr. Sherman has on this matter and if he will actually bring it forward to share with Albertans. I find it highly unprofessional to make these kind of allegations without proof, especially while hiding behind a thin veil of MLA privilege.  This smacks of a weak attempt to stay in the media spotlight he appears to crave lately and it really is a classic case of  "Jumping the Shark", and I find it highly offensive.

 I actually felt sorry for this man in the fall when it appeared that the PC government was attacking his mental state and credibility.  After this latest episode, I think that I will reserve final judgement pending what Mr. Sherman brings forward as solid proof of his accusations.  Seeing as he did not share this with the media at the time, I doubt that he has any.

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Social Media and the Calgary Secondary Suite Issue

   After a few months of heated debate over the secondary suite issue, Calgary City Council will once again face this issue on March 7, 2011.  No matter what side of the issue you are on, many Calgarians are passionate about this issue and how it will affect their communities.  The issue really is one of the most polarizing debates that I have seen in a long time.

 Without getting into the issue directly, I found it fascinating that many Calgarians are using Social Media to share their views on the issue.  A quick Twitter search under #yycsuite or #suiteyyc shows an amazing level of engagement on this issue by average Calgarians who may not otherwise be as vocal on civic issues.  It would appear that Mayor Nenshi's plea asking for constituents to let their Aldermen know where they stand on the issue has had some effect.  Many groups are quite active on social media sharing their views and engaging some of the Aldermen into the debate online.

 Here is an interesting link from Alderman Diane: ( Secondary Suites Survey)

Will the Twitter debate actually sway the way that certain Alderman vote?  I doubt it, but I love the fact that citizens can actually let their representatives know how we feel as individuals on certain issues.  I think that smart politicians can use social media to get a sense of where people stand and use this information along with town hall/community meetings to fully engage Calgarians going forward.

Here is a link to a quick interview I did on this issue for the CBC Calgary Eyeopener.

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