Use it or lose it. Canada may lose Arctic sovereignty.

There is no doubt about it. The earth is warming. It has been doing so since the last Ice Age. What had once been an impenetrable sheet of year round ice is now turning into a passable but seasonal ocean route from the Pacific ocean to the Atlantic ocean thanks to warmer temperatures and modern technology.

The Northwest Passage can reduce shipping distances by as much as 7000 kilometers and the route is being more viable every year. This of course has drawn the economic interest of pretty much every large, developed nation on earth from China to the United States.

We have laughed about the ongoing game between Canada and Denmark as they “battle” over Hans Island in the Arctic through the exchanging of flags, but this sport is going to bee very serious and soon. Countries want to do much more than place flags to assert domination and sovereignty in the Arctic and Canada had best start preparing for this or expect to lose it.

When the inevitable international clash happens and Canada goes before international tribunals to try and assert Arctic sovereignty, two major questions will be asked. Can Canada even get to the high Arctic and is Canada doing anything with it?

I spent four winters working in the Arctic, predominantly in the Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk regions on the Beaufort Sea. That skunk hat came in damned handy in the brutal weather up there.

While warming is increasing access, make no mistake about it. The Arctic remains a brutal and unforgiving environment. Accessing, developing and surviving up there is a tough endeavor.

We would haul out camps in summer which would be anchored and then frozen into the sea ice for the winter. Starting in November or so we would build the ice road to the camp from North of Inuvik through the Mackenzie channels. If all went well, we would fire up the generators and move into the camp in January and could work on oil exploration until mid April.

The “Arctic Star” camp below was my winter home for many a long, dark Arctic night. The food was great but the sense of imprisonment was acute at times.

Whether at Bar C or somewhere on the Star, we always ended up lending some room to government scientists and such who needed access to the Beaufort for studies and such. While oil panies could e up with the means to get to those remote locations, government generally couldn’t. The sharing of the resources that way was a nice promise.

In order to get even farther into the high Arctic, nuclear powered vessels are required. Canada unfortunately doesn’t have them. Russia, China and the USA do however and you can rest assured that they have been creeping around up there for decades. Canada can’t even get to the locations where these subs operate, much less police them. We bought rickety antique diesel submarines that killed our sailors just trying to cross the Atlantic. We sure as hell can’t try to send them to the Arctic.

If Canada wants to claim sovereignty in the Arctic we need to be able to get up there. Nuclear subs aren’t on the drawing board but they are essential. Seriously, how on earth could we claim parts of the earth that many other countries can access but we cant?

Energy panies will no longer provide access to even the lower Arctic islands any more. In typical Canadian fashion, we pissed around since the 1970s over getting a pipeline built to the Mackenzie Delta. Despite billions spent in exploration and thousands of wells drilled, not a drop of oil has been taken from Canada’s Arctic due to a lack of pipeline. With decades of dithering, the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline project was finally shelved after energy panies gave up. It had just bee too expensive and ridiculous a proposition.

That leads on to the “use it” part of the equation when determining Arctic sovereignty.

How can Canada make a case of ownership and control of the Arctic when not only can we not get to it, but we have no plans to settle or develop it?

Like most isolated munities, the Delta towns have some very serious socioeconomic challenges to say the least. While money doesn’t solve everything, it sure as hell helps. Inuvik, Aklavik and Tuktoyaktuk were actually doing relatively well due to energy exploration up there when pared to Arctic munities without any natural resource development. People were learning trades and energy panies were contributing some great infrastructure to the munities.

A road to the South was supposed to e with the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline which would have reduced the cost of living the the Arctic dramatically for Delta munities along with providing reasonable access to larger centers. Tourism would flourish and those towns could bee shipping centers along with energy capitals. Things were looking good.

Alas, we destroyed all that potential. Those munities now languish as government dependents. Like other isolated munities with little to no local economy to speak of, substance abuse and other social ills have begun to bee acute. What else is there to do? What is there to look forward to?

There is essentially another Alberta worth of oil and gas sitting in the Canadian Arctic. We are fools for refusing to develop it and we can rest assured that if we don’t, some other country will do so. How could we stop them? What would our claim be? We don’t appear ready to develop it and we can’t even get to it?

Time is running out. If we don’t act we will lose control of the Arctic. I suspect that China and Russia won’t treat it with the respect that we do when they move in and start shipping and developing.

It will be tough for other nations to claim rights up there if we have flourishing coastal munities accessing and developing the resources. It will be much easier to claim sovereignty over the passage if Inuvik is a well utilized shipping port.

Despite claims from extreme environments, the reality is that demand for fossil fuels will continue to grow for decades and its use will continue to happen for generations. Let’s embrace reality for a change and develop these resources while we can. Otherwise, we will see new flags flying over the Arctic and we won’t be able to do a damn thing about it.

This is what we are dealing with.

The amount of ignorance across Canada among the citizens with regards to the conventional energy industry and how it impacts them can be staggering at times. What can we expect when foreign funded environmental groups and public figures have been on an organized “anti-tar sands” campaign for over a decade? The effort to shut in Alberta’s oil has been ing from many fronts and keeping Canadians misinformed about their dependence on that oil has been a key part of that campaign.

I had an exchange on twitter the other day with Denny Morrison. Mr. Morrison made quite a name for himself as a Canadian speed skater over the last decade and was an Olympic medalist. He is a very talented athlete. Alas, now that he has retired from petitive skating it appears that he is trying to find a sense of purpose through online anti-oil advocacy and he isn’t very good at it.

I am not even sure how it began. Denny had inserted himself into an exchange I was having with Councilor Sean Chu over a bike lane and somehow it devolved into a debate on the evils of the bustion engine. Morrison has since blocked me and deleted most of his tweets from the exchange but I did manage to screen snap a couple gems from him that say so much.

The discussion of high gas prices in BC has been a top issue lately along with speculation of what may happen if Premier Kenney does reduce the flow of oil to BC and the rest of the country with Bill 12.

In response to the potential for increased gas prices, Mr. Morrison sent out the tweet pictured below.

OK, where to begin?

Even if somehow a spike in gas prices didn’t directly effect Denny (it would) and even if 2/3 of Vancouver didn’t drive (untrue), the profound indifference displayed by Mr. Morrison to the impacts that such a fuel hike would have on low ine people who rely on filling their vehicles is striking. With an already high cost of living in the lower mainland, adding a few hundred a month in gasoline bills to a daily muter may just break a family budget. Many folks can’t afford to live in urban Vancouver and they are forced to take a long mute daily from more distant but affordable districts. Denny doesn’t seem to care how they would have to deal with a price spike.

Getting back to Denny’s confusion as to whether or not such a hike in fuel costs would actually impact him, it appears that he doesn’t understand that he will pay for those costs whether he owns a personal vehicle or not.

What Denny & sadly a large segment of the population don’t understand is that high fuel prices impact every part of their cost of living. If you take the bus or taxis, fares will rise. If you live on the island, the already expensive ferry costs will spike. If you eat anything, food costs will rise. They don’t transport food by unicorn and farmers don’t harvest it with nuclear powered tractors. Aside from food, the cost of EVERY consumer product will rise if fuel prices rise. Even if one rides a bicycle, the cost of that will go up. They don’t ship bikes by sailboat and ride them to the store for display and sale. Taxes will rise as well as the cost of running a city or a province will rise. Look at all those gas and diesel powered government vehicles out there.

Denny didn’t stop there of course. Next he made the mon but BS claim that oil is unprofitable.

Denny among many others live under the myth that oil is obsolete and only government subsidies and a conspiracy among corporations keep it alive. This is utter nonsense of course. Oil demand has done nothing but grow for the last century and it is expected to grow for decades further. Other oil jurisdictions are booming from Texas to Kazakhstan. Yes, Alberta has been having a tough go. That is not due to oil being unprofitable though. That is due to Alberta battling environmentalists and activist governments who are actively working to shut the province’s oil sector down and these efforts are being cheered by myopic dingdongs like Denny Morrison.

So if Denny Morrison is a myopic dingdong, why should I care what he thinks?

Well, dingdong or not Mr. Morrison has some public profile and a voice. People follow the words of celebrities and athletes no matter how vapid those words may sometimes be, These words need to be countered as the misinformation that they are spreading is damaging our entire country.

This is why I am looking forward to Jason Kenney’s “war room” which will be set up to defend Alberta’s industries. Legally it is time to strike back. Greenpeace lost a lawsuit for the lies it spread about a forestry pany. It is time that Greenpeace and other extreme foreign funded groups got sued for their misinformation about Alberta’s industries. The passive approach that Notley took has been a failure, it is time to strike back.

While lawsuits and an information campaign will help, it will take some more tangible actions to drive the message home to Canada I fear. Its time for some short term pain for long term gain and that will mean cranking down Alberta’s oil output for a little while to teach the nation a lesson in economic reality.

Look how quickly BC Premier John Horgan panicked when presented with the possibility of an oil squeeze. Despite years of implying that BC neither wanted nor needed Alberta’s oil he went into full damage control mode when Bill 12 was proclaimed by the Kenney government. The basis of BC’s court challenge is laughable in light of the proclamations for so long that they didn’t need Alberta’s oil.

Yes. Paralyzed. Still, until that pinch is actually felt I don’t think enough people will get it.

Turning down the taps will cause a gas price spike in Ontario and Quebec as well. Perhaps their love of the Liberal government’s efforts to throttle Alberta will fade a bit when they realize that they can’t take a family vacation due to the higher costs that $3 or $4 per liter gas would bring. Alberta doesn’t supply a majority of the oil for Eastern Canada but it supplies enough that it would cause a large price spike if the oil was cut back.

In response to this, the economically illiterate typically will bleat “we will just get our oil from somewhere else!”

Well kids it just ain’t that easy.

Supply and demand is a simple economic law but it is always lost on the left.

If a province or nation suddenly approached another supplier and asked for increased shipments of product, guess what will happen? The price of the product will rise. There is no escaping it. That is not theory. It is economic law. The price spike can’t be avoided though I guess the dollars could be sent offshore. That of course would continue to cost Alberta which still remains Canada’s cash cow. Where will those precious social programs go if Alberta doesn’t keep pumping in billions more per year into confederation than it gets out as it has for decades?

Shutting in Alberta’s oil truly is one of the dumbest economic moves that Canada could possibly do yet that is exactly what is happening. Canada is sitting on a treasure of natural resources and is kicking itself in the nuts by working to shut down the production of them. This isn’t helping the environment as Canadian demand isn’t dropping. It just means that dictatorships are getting more of our money to supply us while we idiotically sit on our own pool of oil.

Some in BC yelp “We will just get our oil from Washington!”.

Again kids that won’t work. Much of Washington’s oil es from Alberta so yeah the price will still spike.

There is a fella with a blog who has put out a number of postings that are excellent and well worth reading on this issue. His name is Blair King and his blog is called “A Chemist in Langley”. He breaks down where the oil es from and how supply reductions will impact price. Please read it and share links to this guy when debating folks on this subject. It is gold.

Unfortunately the Blair King’s out there are few and far between while the Denny Morrison’s are all too mon. That’s why its time to turn those taps off for awhile. Until Canadians truly feel the hit in the wallet, they just won’t get it.

Bloated! Mayor Nenshi and his two pension plans.

How many pension plans do you get?

The majority of Canadians have only the Canada Pension Plan and it is incumbent on them to save and invest on their own if they want a fortable retirement.

Roughly 40% of Canadians have a workplace pension plan. Those plans vary in contribution requirements and how much (if any) contribution matching is done by the employer.

Only a tiny tiny fraction of people get to enjoy the massive pension benefits that Calgary city council members get.

On top of the incredibly generous taxpayer funded pension plan, Naheed Nenshi gets a second pension plan on top of that which is 100% taxpayer funded. Not only is Nenshi one of the highest paid mayors in Canada, he appears to be the only one who gets not one but two pensions.

While Naheed Nenshi may be thick in many ways his skin remains paper thin. Particularly when somebody dares question his golden pension plan. In a classic Nenshi temper tantrum he dismissed concerns raised about his pension plan as being “showboating”.

Councilor Jeromy Farkas is the usual target of Nenshi’s ire as Farkas has dared yet again to challenge the pensation cow which is Calgary City council. It is rather difficult to accuse Farkas of “showboating” when he has led by example in declining his own bloated taxpayer backed pension plan which could conceivably be worth over million dollars if he were to stay in office long enough. Jeromy has put his money where his mouth is.

His Worship however is rather well renowned for his showboating ways.

The gravy train is generous for the Mayor and council and Nenshi clearly never likes to pass up on gravy. Look at the chart below to see how much taxpayers kick in on top of the councilor contributions to their pension plan. Working folks can’t dare dream of a pension plan so generous but they get to pay for it with their ever increasing taxes in the city of Calgary.

On average, city councilors put in $1 into their pensions for every $5 that taxpayers do. Pretty sweet. Taxpayers in Calgary paid out $6.1 million in city council pension benefits over 10 years for 15 council members. Bear in mind that Mayor Nenshi likes to constantly remind us that there is utterly no room for spending cuts in city hall.

In making well over $200,000 per year plus many many benefits and a massive city councilor pension plan, lets never forget that Mayor Nenshi is getting a second pension on top of all that which is 100% funded by the taxpayers.

It takes some kind of gall to take such a gross pensation from taxpayers while moners remain mired in a recession and then to dismiss concerns about it as showboating.

Parasites rarely concern themselves with the welfare of their hosts however.

Nenshi and some other councilors try to dodge on this issue by claiming that they are bound to follow the remendations of the volunteer mittee who puts forth remendations on council pensation.

That dodge is nothing less than a big steaming pile of bullshit and it is rather easy to prove it wrong.

There is indeed a volunteer mittee that makes remendations on pensation. City council is under no obligation to follow those remendations however and they can and will reject them at will.

This op-ed by Peter Bowal is well worth the read. He was enraged at 2017 when after putting in countless hours as a mittee volunteer, city council essentially dismissed the remendations of the mittee to reduce pensation for city council. The mittee is essentially a sham and is used to mask a self-serving and overpaid council and he felt rightly rather used.

The mittee that Mr. Bowal chaired did some great research and this graphic from them shows excellently how council and mayoral pensation in Calgary measures up against other cities.

Rather stark graphic for Calgarians to see while they languish with record unemployment and constant city tax increases. No wonder His Worship gets his panties in a knot so quickly when somebody dares illustrate just how badly he and city council are milking taxpayers.

The buck stops with the mayor and city council. Despite their attempts to pretend that the responsibility lies with others, it is clear that they have full authority over their personal pensation both in salary and pensions and they are taking full advantage of that.

The bloat is repugnant when mon people are tightening their belts. It has to stop.

Calling this out is not “showboating” by any means. It is being responsible and principled. Two words concepts utterly lost on Calgary’s Mayor and many council members.

They are laughing their way to the bank.

10:29 p.m.:

Finally some real energy leadership for Alberta

Confidence is everything in the business world. A stable business environment is critical for investment in any industry. Energy projects measure their plans in years and decades rather than months. Careful long term planning and engineering is required if investment is to be mitted to any major project and this sort of planning is nearly impossible when the government in power is erratic and not generally supportive of the industry. Alberta has not held investor confidence in four years now.

The collapse of energy prices certainly impacted energy development in Alberta. This is far from the first downturn however and energy panies tend to plan for the ups and downs of modity pricing. This is why other energy jurisdictions such as Texas or even Kazakhstan are enjoying energy booms today while Alberta still languishes in a recession. Investors felt confident in those other jurisdictions while they shied away from Alberta’s sudden lurch into socialism. Who would invest developing energy in a province that just elected a governing party which traditionally opposes energy development?

I remember well when I began surveying in the oil exploration field how we would literally model projects right up to the BC border in the Chinchaga field in Northern Alberta in the 1990s. Work camps were jammed on the Alberta side and traffic was high. Meanwhile meager development happened on the West side of the border cutline as expenses were simply too high in the NDP managed British Columbia and they were mired in a union push for pipeline contractors.

Meanwhile to the East, Lloydminster excellently demonstrated the damage that NDP management can do to an energy economy. While the main street of Lloydminster is literally the border with Saskatchewan, the majority of new housing and industrial development was on the West side of town. On the eastern half were some government buildings, a few old motels and some houses that predated the NDP. Otherwise development (particularly mercial) stuck to the Alberta side where a more favorable business regime existed.

As can be seen in the picture below, the lopsided development of Lloydminster still exists today as 3/4 of the city resides West of the main street. The impact of local government on development is real and visible.

Rachel Notley had a tough task ahead of her when she formed government four years ago. She had a cabinet to fill and had a caucus with utterly no experience in the energy field. Economically the energy file is far and away the most important file in Alberta and Notley handed the ministry to Margaret McCuaig-Boyd. McCuaig-Boyd held an education degree and had utterly no energy experience. Notley chose her as energy minister simply because she was from Northern Alberta and had a better chance of being able to tell a pump jack from a radio tower than any other member of her caucus. No wonder the industry confidence was so shaken.

With the election of Jason Kenney and the United Conservative Party, the energy industry finally can have some optimism. No longer is there a government dominated by anti-energy activists and we can look forward to a mandate of economic development again rather than ideological moves towards a new economy that simply doesn’t exist yet.

It will take action rather than intent to turn Alberta’s ailing energy around. It looks very much like Kenney is ready to do so.

The passive approach to dealing with the pipeline embargo against Alberta is over. Kenney has openly stated that it is time to go to battle on this file through the courts and whatever other means he has at his disposal. While some are pooh-poohing the adversarial approach to the issue, one has to ask what the hell the appeasement approach got us? Did appointing anti-energy activists to positions within government help? Did playing footsie with Trudeau and Horgan get us :”social license”? It is time for a new approach.

It will be interesting to see Kenney’s “war room” as it develops. We desperately need to get to work in countering the misinformation about our key industry which has been spread by foreign funded activist groups which in turn supported the Notley government. It will take a lot of work to undo that damage. Striking back with legal challenges will show that we aren’t laying down any longer as well. The best defense is a good offense.

When it es to developing investor confidence in our energy sector, the most important move will be to bring petence and experience back to the energy ministry. This is where the nuts and bolts of our industry will truly be managed and where government can make or break future development.

Kenney has a deep pool to draw from for ministers but Prasad Panda clearly stands out as the best candidate for the energy portfolio.

With nearly 30 years of direct experience as an engineer in the oilfield, Panda is more than familiar with the ins and outs of the industry. He will be able to sit down with energy leaders and talk to them one on one. Margaret McCuaig-Boyd pretty much needed a translator when speaking on energy issues. Energy leaders will find it refreshing to say the least to be able to speak to a minister in technical terms without having to try and break down what it all means to them.

Notley’s time in office has also fostered an ugly sub-industry of crony capitalism. This pretty much happens under every socialist regime. While some panies remain true to principles of free enterprise, others eagerly latch on to the party in power and bee subsidy whores. They will utter whatever weasel words the Premier likes as long as they can get some state mandated protection or subsidies. It is rather sad to watch and we saw a number of panies playing in that role in the last few years.

While Panda spent decades working for Suncor, it became quite crystal clear that he is not beholden to them when he publicly called Steve Williams (CEO of Suncor) when Williams began shamelessly spewing out Rachel Notley’s talking points on the carbon tax. Prasad’s loyalty clearly lands in Alberta’s interests rather than those of his former employers and this is important. He will stand up to the special interests who are doubtless already hammering the door down on Kenney in hopes of special treatment from the state.

As with any industry, the energy industry has its share of con artists and bullshitters. Those sorts will be lobbying the ministry for all they are worth as the new government finds its legs. It will be important to have a level headed and experienced energy minister in office during this critical period in order to ensure that no bad deals get cut in the rush of setting up. It will be tough to fool Panda on energy issues and with his resume in the industry he will be immune to being baffled by bullshit.

I have some first hand experience on how Prasad doesn’t take crap. I helped out in past campaigns for him and while we got along for the vast majority of the campaigns, we inevitably butted heads on some issues. In those cases Prasad quite diplomatically but sternly took me aside and made it clear who the boss was. While I certainly didn’t enjoy the dressing downs, I can’t help but respect it. I have no use for pushovers and pushovers have no place in cabinet.

Kenney only gets one shot at building his maiden cabinet and he has many tough choices. In some senses it is almost an embarrassment of riches in that he has so much caucus talent to draw from that it is tough to choose. In energy the choice is pretty clear though. With a lifetime of direct energy experience along with legislative experience as the energy critic, Prasad Panda is the ideal choice for the energy ministry. For four years cabinet picks have been based on notions such as gender balance or political favors rather than ability. Right now and with the critical portfolio of energy, ability and experience must be the only criteria and Prasad has both in spades. I look forward to seeing him guiding the recovery of our energy industry.

But what of the fringe?

On Tuesday Alberta formally turned into a two party state, at least as far as elected seats go. There were 13 parties in the election and all but the NDP and UCP were decimated by the voters.

I have been involved in alternative parties for well over 20 years from when I joined the Alberta Party in the mid 90s, to forming and leading the Alberta Independence Party in 2000, to the Alberta Alliance, to Wildrose and finally ending in the UCP where for the first time in decades I find myself supporting the party in power. The seeds of the Alberta Alliance party did eventually grow into being a large part of today’s UCP but it took over a decade with many ups and downs. Alternative parties can be important and can eventually get into power but it is a tough road.

There are many reasons why people choose to join alternative parties. For some it is single issue matters as with the Marijuana Party or Green Party. For some it is formed around an individual leader. For some it is a preference of being a big fish in a small pond when it es to management and leadership. For others it simply is a disenchantment with all of the major parties and seeking to build an entirely new alternative.

Alternative parties are important. They propose ideas and concepts that mainstream parties may not have the courage to approach. They can pressure mainstream parties by threatening to split votes in key constituencies thus will impact the actions of mainstream parties at times. Alternative parties can act as a pressure relief valve for mainstream parties as activists who insist on pushing to the extremes can be invited to leave and join a fringe party that better suits their goals. Finally, alternative parties can potentially eventually go on to form effective opposition parties or governments.

The electoral doldrums are now approaching for alternative parties. There is no time worse to try to grow your membership and raise funds than right after an election. People are tired of politics and are ready to sit back and watch the new government in action for better or for worse. With a federal election looming, it will be even that much tougher for alternative parties to manage to stay relevant.

I am going to break down all of the alternative parties with my thoughts on where they may go starting from largest to smallest.

There is no doubt that the Alberta Party is the biggest loser ing out of this election. Not only did they lose every one of the seats that they had gained from floor crossings, they lost the one and only elected seat that they had. Greg Clark had far and away been the most popular asset for the party and he was solidly turfed from his Calgary Elbow seat which he had worked so had to win and had done a very good job of representing. Their leader Stephen Mandel didn’t even e close in Edmonton McClung and the rest of their candidates landed in the low single digit levels of support. This was nothing less than a catastrophe for the party.

Since being taken over by disenchanted Green Party folks nearly 10 years ago, the Alberta Party has bee the sad sack of the Alberta electoral scene with a large social media presence and a microscopic electoral one. They have spent nearly a decade pursuing a mythical middle. They felt that if they shouted “centrist” loudly enough that they would pull people from both the left and the right and win elections. So far all they have done is alienate folks from both sides and the polls show it. Like it or not, people tend to land on one side of the spectrum or another to a degree and they have little use for the mushy middle.

The Alberta Party has been plagued by bizarre strategic moves as well. In constantly refusing to run in by-elections they missed chances to build their electoral base and train themselves in campaigning. Worst of all, they let embittered refugees from the defunct Progressive Conservative Party take them over. That new element insanely pushed Greg Clark out of the leadership. This led to months of a leadership race where nobody wanted the job. Stephen Mandel was finally pulled in an placed as the new leader.

Under Mandel’s leadership the party lurched from one mess to another. The worst was when Mandel among others nearly found themselves banned from running in the election due to his not having found time to file a nomination expense report. A task that takes about 20 minutes. This hardly instilled confidence in people that the Alberta Party was ready to govern the province.

They tweeted and shouted from the sidelines and they ran many candidates. Despite this, the Alberta Party simply could not break that elusive double digit barrier and finished at 9% support.

All that said, over 150,000 Albertans voted for the Alberta Party and this can’t be dismissed. There definitely is a degree of demand for what they are proposing out there but they need to get their shit together if they are to have a hope in properly capturing it.

The Alberta Party is going to need to do some deep introspection. They will need a new leader and they need to turf the pack of Redford era weasels that they inherited from the Progressive Conservative Party. They need to quit putting out the fluffy feelgood policy statements that try to appeal to everybody. This party needs to find its ideological niche and to own it. Create a solid base and then draw people to it. More “big listens” or limp “party for everyone” statements will keep them languishing on the fringes.

The Alberta Party is the best placed party to turn itself into a contender in the next general election. Their choices in the next two years will determine if this is to happen.

It took over a century but the Liberal Party of Alberta finally went from being the first governing party in Alberta to a loss of every seat with a dismal 1% support level throughout the province.

Aside from a short resurgence in the 1990s under Lawrence Decore, the Liberal brand in Alberta has struggled since the government of Pierre Trudeau. The National Energy Program of the 1980s essentially turned the Liberal name toxic in Alberta and Trudeau’s witless son Justin is certainly not doing them any favors. Lackluster leadership and a general lack of electoral support has led to a constant decline for the party within Alberta.

David Khan is bright and personable enough, but he wasn’t capable of breathing life into the dying party in the last election. Calgary Mountainview was the last Liberal bastion in Alberta and Khan finished a distant fourth place with 5.6% support.

Hell, even I managed to pull 6.5% when I ran in Mountainview in 2008 and I was working in the Arctic for all but three days of the campaign.

I think we have finally seen the end of the Liberal Party within Alberta. Only the most masochistic of delusional optimists will be ready to take on this clunker and try to turn it viable again.

The demise of the Alberta Liberals will aid the Alberta Party though as they try to create a left of center alternative that Albertans can get behind. The anchor of the pernicious Liberal name will not hamper their efforts.

ing in next with 0.7% support is the latest incarnation of the Alberta Independence Party.

The party under previously unknown David Bjorkman managed to bee registered by running candidates in over 50% of the constituencies in Alberta. While that path to registration has existed for some time, this is the first time that a party has actually taken it successfully in order to bee registered. I tried that method in 2001 and failed.

It says a great deal about the motivation behind the folks that they could pull this off. It is no small task to find 63 people willing and able to get run for the party along with paying the deposits to run and getting the requisite signatures. There is some strong organizational power lurking within that organization.

The candidate diversity was striking as well with a large contingent of aboriginal candidates and the only transgendered candidate to run in this election.

That being said, the party didn’t really set the world on fire with their results. Most of their candidates didn’t break 1% support and I think their best showing was just shy of 2%.

In leading a secessionist party into an election before I learned one simple fact that still stands today. While people will talk big about secession and will respond to polls favorably for secession, when push es to shove at the ballot box Albertans do not want to take that leap. This is not to say that it will never happen but at this time it is clear that we are nowhere close to having a large segment of the population ready to call it quits on confederation.

I think the Alberta Independence Party is here to stay. If they put the same energy and organizational talent into the next couple years that they did in the months leading up to this election, I expect that they will start pulling some better numbers in some choice constituencies. They won’t be in contention for winning the province but they could very well play a spoiler in some seats.

If Justin Trudeau gets re-elected we can expect to see growth in the AIP as well. As we saw in the 1980s a secessionist can even win a seat in a by-election if the anger is strong enough. The anger cools quickly however.

I expect that Kenney will take a stronger stance in steps towards independence if we get such an adversarial relationship with Ottawa in the future which will defuse the efforts of the AIP.

Another hindrance for a secessionist party is that they are bound to be single issue no matter how hard they may work to develop policy. People want to vote for a government rather than an issue. Secession belongs in the land of advocacy and referendums rather than parties. The AIP can and likely will fill that advocacy role now that they are registered and can raise funds.

Next we have Derek Fildebrandt’s Freedom Conservative Party at 0.5%,

I say “Derek Fildebrandt’s” party because in reality the party simply was all about him.

I like Derek. He is bright, ambitious and has a talent for bringing issues to the forefront. That made it all the more disappointing when he managed to crater his political career with so many errors of his own making.

The Alberta First Party was languishing as an unknown registered entity with a soft-separatist stance. Getting a sitting MLA if even for a short time was a coup for the small organization and it is easy to manage something of that size. This was a big fish in a small pond scenario.

Despite Fildebrandt’s initial claims that they would not run candidates in constituencies where there was a risk of vote splitting in favor of the NDP, FCP candidates began springing up in some very vulnerable constituencies. This cut deeply into the credibility of this nascent party and took away one of the major defenses for having another right of center party in the electoral list.

It became clear that the party was dominated by members who found themselves disenchanted with the UCP for any number of reasons. While spite can certainly motivate some folks, it doesn’t draw electoral support.

The strongest showing the FCP got was 7.7% in Chestemere Strathmore where Derek was handily beaten by Leela Aheer.

I just don’t see this party going anywhere aside from being a rump on the right wing sidelines. If the UCP drifts too far left as the PCs had 10 years ago, the FCP may be revived by a personable leader and pressure the UCP from the right as the Wildrose Party had. For now I expect they will flounder.

As for Derek, I really hope he finds his path. Perhaps with a few years of time out from electoral politics he can e back with some credibility. He certainly has the potential and he is young enough.

Next is the Green Party of Alberta. To put it simply, they are left leaning and single issue despite their constant claims to be centrist and deeper.

They will always be on the scene and will always pull a small number of votes from their core supporters. If they have any impact at all, it will be to be a spoiler in some constituencies by pulling votes from the NDP.

They finished with 0.4% which is about as good as they can expect in Alberta.

Next at 0.3% is the Alberta Advantage Party under Marilyn Burns.

Burns suffers from a chronic oppositional disorder and simply likes leaving parties in order to attack them. Burns started with the Alberta Alliance, stomped away to the Wildrose group, stomped off to the wilderness and then formed her own little party.

Spite doesn’t sell and while the party remains as a registered entity, it won’t go anywhere as it stands now. Like the FCP it may morph into a viable right of center opposition party but it will need some major changes before that happens. Until then they are a non-factor being led by somebody incapable of working with others.

munism is a vile ideology responsible for hundreds of millions of deaths around the world.

Despite that, we still have a small group of extremists openly supporting munism and they have been led by Naomi Rankin in Alberta for some years.

The munists have a registered party and managed to pull 277 votes from either ignorant extremist assholes or folks who accidentally put an X in the wrong box.

They will always be around and they will thankfully go nowhere.

Perhaps now that Anne McGrath is unemployed she will go back to her overt munist roots and take the leadership of the party. In that case these scumbags may find 400 votes throughout the province.

The Reform Party of Alberta is registered and hanging in the wings.

This rump was built by Randy Thorsteinson. Randy is like Marilyn Burns only he has the fiscal means and organizational skills to keep going. Randy went from Social Credit to Alberta Alliance to forming this party. His pattern is consistent. If he can’t lead the parade, he will stomp away and form his own. This party isn’t going anywhere.

The Pro-life Alberta Political association is what the remnants of the Social Credit Party turned itself into.

Not much needs to be said about these guys. As can be seen, they are single issue and going nowhere though they will act as a partisan filter in drawing the hysteric pro-lifers to them and getting them out of serious parties.

The Wildrose and PC parties are still registered but are essentially dead in the water.

A lot can happen in four years. Some of these parties may blossom and some may die. New parties may appear on the scene.

While they hang in the fringes, these parties play a role and can’t be fully dismissed. It is too bad that they didn’t at least get a few seats to add some diversity of voices in the legislature. Time will tell if this two party system will last or not.

Look for the union label.

Vivian Krause has brilliantly laid out how Rachel Notley is beholden to anti-Alberta energy groups in this article. It is a must read. The piece really lays out why despite Notley’s claims of being pro-pipeline, that nothing actually gets done.

Notley and the NDP do not have the interests of Albertans in mind as they govern. The NDP are dominated by extreme anti-energy ideologues and they exist to serve the needs of organized labour.

The depth of big union dominance within the NDP really needs to be laid out and understood by voters as it is sometimes forgotten. How on earth can we expect the NDP to negotiate union contracts in good faith on behalf of Albertans?

We can’t.

Let’s just begin with looking at the number of NDP candidates and MLAs who are in leading roles within unions.

Aside from leadership roles within unions, many other candidates are union members and mostly within the public sector. .

There is of course utterly nothing wrong with belonging to a union. Union leaders and members have every right to run for public office. The problem is in having a governing party that is dominated and overwhelmed with union influence.

There is no way that Notley’s NDP government will be able to bring spending under control when they are so beholden to public sector unions. They will cave to every union demand when “negotiating” contracts and the expenditures will continue to grow. The conflict of interest is just too much.

The NDP constitution forces a massive labor presence in the makeup of the provincial council. The party will always be controlled by big labor and will serve the interests of big labor above all other needs. The Alberta Federation of Labor and it’s 67 affiliates all have reserved places on the board of the NDP.

Excerpt from the Alberta NDP Constitution

Article VII – Provincial Council

7.01 The Provincial Council shall consist of:  

(a) the Provincial Executive;  

(b) two (2) members to be elected from the Party Caucus in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta;

(c) one (1) member elected by those members of the Party caucus in the House of mons representing Alberta Electoral Districts. 

(d) three (3) members elected from each provincial Constituency Association, who shall not be a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta;

(e) one (1) member elected from each Federal Electoral District Association within the Province of Alberta.   

(f) the members of the Federal Council residing in Alberta;  

(g) five (5) members from each caucus of the Party;   

(h) two (2) members of the Alberta Federation of Labour; and  

(i) one (1) member from each of the affiliates in Alberta.

The ties to big labor and associated PACs and third party advertisers are far too pervasive for the NDP to ever govern independently of the demands from unions.

Notley’s NDP simply can’t serve the interests of Albertans while in government. Union needs and demands from foreign groups such as the Rockefeller Foundation will always guide the path of the Alberta New Democratic party.

We have a chance to turn the tide this Tuesday. Let’s hope Albertans remove the NDP from power so we may begin on the path to balancing the budget and opening Alberta for business again.

If Notley’s NDP gets another four years in power, our great grandchildren will be paying the debt accumulated due to the oilfield shutdown and money being funneled into big labor.

plaint to Alberta Election missioner.

The advertising during this election campaign has been overwhelming. TV, Radio, social media, billboards, newspapers… It doesn’t matter where we look we see political advertising. While this is hardly shocking during an election, it is surprising seeing the volume of advertising when it is considered that all of the parties are bound by a maximum of $2 million in expenditures during this election. While that sounds like a lot at a glance, it really doesn’t go far when a party is reaching out to an entire province. There are countless other non advertising expenses There are only two parties that have that kind of funding as well.

So where are all these ads ing from?

Third party advertisers. When you put a cap on the spending bottle, people simply find other ways to spend. Again this is not surprising. These advertisers are listed here.

Third parties should indeed have the right to promote their interests during elections. Due to the cap on party spending however, some heavy regulation is required. Are these third parties actual interest groups or are they simply acting as direct arms of parties in order to bypass the spending maximums? It is pretty difficult to distinguish, particularly with the NDP and their intertwined relationship with organized labor.

I was shocked to find that the Alberta New Democratic Party actually is bound within their own constitution to have two members of the Alberta Federation of Labor on their provincial board along with one of each of the Alberta affiliates (there are 67 affiliates). That leaves the NDP provincial board utterly dominated by labor affiliates many of whom are registered as third party advertisers. The Treasurer of the NDP serves in senior positions within several registered third party advertisers. How on earth are these acting as separate entities within this election without collusion?

Other relationships are evident as well. Unfortunately the Alberta NDP is very secretive and they hide who is actually serving on their provincial board. In light of all this intertwining with third party advertisers however, one can see why they are keeping the list to themselves.

This has led me to feel that we need the Electoral missioner to look into this. They have the means and authority to take a closer look at just who is controlling the party and what their relationships with third party advertisers are. Collusion to bypass spending limits could be a very serious offense.

The plaint I sent is below. I do hope they find time to investigate soon.

I will be posting more on the relationships of the Alberta NDP with outside parties in the next couple days.

Continue reading

A vote for Rachel Notley is a vote for Jagmeet Singh

The New Democratic Party is not like any other party in Canada and that is worth noting when people are considering a vote in a provincial election. While many federal and provincial parties share a name and general principles, those parties are pletely separate entities in reality. This is a critical distinction when it es to provincial/federal negotiations on issues. The federal Liberal Party of Canada is not formally associated with the Liberal Party of Alberta for example. Provincial NDP parties however are all simply branches of the central federal party.

While the NDP constitution refers to provincial wings as being autonomous parties, this is simply not true when it is considered that membership in the federal party is mandatory if one wants to be a member in a provincial party.

If a person likes the policies, leadership and platform of their provincial Liberal party but does not want to support the federal party they simply can choose not to buy a membership in the federal party. That applies with every party in Canada aside from the NDP. Centralized leadership is a tenet of socialism and they will never truly support any forms of regional autonomy.

This does help to explain a lot of Rachel Notley’s rather lackluster support for Alberta’s energy sector. Oh sure, Notley has talked a fantastic game but when push es to shove she has acplished utterly nothing in the protection of Alberta’s key industry aside from increasing direct government involvement in the production of energy products and the financing of these ventures. Increased government control of the energy sector is important as it would help facilitate the shutdown of the industry as per NDP goals outlined in the LEAP Manifesto.

The LEAP Manifesto is an extreme socialist document that essentially calls for the shutdown of Alberta’s energy industries within the next decade. The manifesto was created by key NDP players in Canada and has been embraced by the federal NDP at a general meeting. Despite the loud denials on Notley’s part, that manifesto is part of what forms the basis of her party’s goals. This is because when push es to shove with principles and policies, the provincial wings of the federal NDP are constitutionally forced to be subservient to their federal masters.

As can be seen in the constitutional statement below, while provincial parties are called “autonomous” this is chained down by the very hard reality that they have to match the principles of their federal superiors. “Principles” is a pretty broad term. In having embraced the LEAP Manifesto though, the federal party has made their principle in working to shut down Alberta’s energy industry crystal clear.

The second statement makes it clear that the federal party has the authority and ability to remove party status from any of their provincial wings should they choose to. While this has yet to have happened in Canada, the constitutional clause makes it pretty clear who is the boss when it es to provincial and federal wings of the NDP.

Notley can talk a good game when speaking of protecting Alberta’s energy sector but she can’t really act. This is why Notley drafted legislation to cut off the flow of oil to BC but never actually used it. All she can do is bluff. If Notley acted overtly against her BC rade Horgan, the federal boss would be forced to intervene in the fight. As Horgan is the Premier acting in closest faith to the LEAP Manifesto it is pretty easy to see what side he would take in such a dispute.

The NDP has many many flaws. One of their greatest ones is their forced adherence to central leadership while trying to operate in a country with diverse regional needs.

This should be remembered when choosing who to vote for this spring. While you may indeed trust and like Rachel Notley to lead Alberta, a vote for her will actually be a vote for Singh. Can we trust him to look out for Alberta’s interest or Notley to stand up to him when she needs to?

Progressive Conservative riding projections for 2008 election

In digging through some old emails looking for something else, I happened across a document that I had long forgotten about. I was on the board of the Wildrose Party at that time and ran for them in the 2008 election. Somebody leaked a Progressive Conservative riding projection document along with ments to us in late 2007.

There is nothing earth shattering within the documents. It really is of interest primarily to political wonks who were active at that time. It is neat looking back to see how the party in power looked at those constituencies at that time as the ments are somewhat candid though hardly scandalous.

I have no idea who the author was or who leaked it to us way back then. Since the PC Party no longer exists and not a single PC MLA within the document is still in office, I see little harm in sharing this now.

It is striking how the legislature has had an almost 100% turnover in the last 11 years.

I don’t have the time but will likely drill down later to see how accurate the predictions were. At a glance they looked to be mostly accurate though some of the ridings hadn’t even finished their nominations yet.

Happy reading.

Everybody benefits from corporate tax cuts.

I do love the above quote from Hayek and use it often. The goal of this post is not to try and reason with socialists. They are as lost cause as far as economic understanding goes. I do want to clarify just who benefits from healthy profitable corporations though as myths and misinformation on that subject are par for the course from defenders of big government. Non wonky people (the majority) don’t really put much thought into where corporate profits go and how they may benefit them. They are too busy working and paying taxes.


While we constantly hear of them and see them in the news, those corporate barons who rake in billions are actually pretty few and far between in the scheme of things.There are not many of them out there and contrary to popular belief they don’t hoard their cash and swim in money bins. They tend to re-invest their profits which of course keeps economic activity pumping.

While they may not know it or like to admit it, union members are some of the biggest beneficiaries of corporate profits

The Ontario Teachers Pension Plan has fantastic growth and is worth a staggering $189.5 billion dollars!

I say good for them.

What has made that plan value grow like that over the last 27 years though? I hate to break it to folks but the majority of growth es from corporate investments and profits.

In other words, raising taxes on corporations will simply take a bite out of the pension plans of teachers. Yes those corporate fat cat types will pay a as well but as noted before, they are in a small minority.

Corporate profits are what makes RRSPs and mutual funds grow as well. If you have any sort of private plan, you are a corporate shareholder and those taxes will reduce your return.

You will pay taxes yet again on those funds when you convert them by the way. How many times and how much tax do you want to pay on your retirement?

But what about folks who don’t have private or union plans? What about people who are counting on the Canada Pension Plan?

Well, the CPP is of course as dependent on corporate growth as much as any plan is. To increase corporate taxes is to take a bite out of the return on investment for every person in Canada who contributes to the CPP.

Yes kids, the fund is worth $356 billion and that makes you a corporate shareholder. I guess if you never want to see the fund grow faster than inflation you could support higher corporate taxes but that really won’t make anything easier on yourself.

Not every dollar earned by a corporation goes back out to shareholders of course. Billions of dollars in corporate profit are re-invested which employs millions of people and generates billions more in taxes in the long run. Every dollar taken out of corporate profit through taxes however is another dollar that won’t contribute to economic growth.

Corporations are indeed bound by the goal of making a profit. They are impersonal and make decisions based on what will best serve the corporation. That means that the higher that a jurisdiction raises corporate taxes, the higher that chance that corporations will leave that jurisdiction in search of lower taxes. It isn’t personal, its math.

Calgary’s downtown is in a crisis with nearly 30% vacancy in downtown office buildings. If we want to bring investors and tenants back, one of the best things we can do is cut corporate taxes. We need to make ourselves more attractive to invest in and unfortunately with the triple whammy of high tax leadership from Nenshi, Notley and Trudeau, Calgary has bee one of the worst places for businesses to invest in all of North America.

We can turn that empty office space into an opportunity but in order to do so we must cut taxes. Corporate taxes are among the easiest taxes to cut and we will get the most return in economic stimulus for doing so. We have to start getting rid of our high tax leadership in Alberta first of course. It is looking likely that Notley will be leaving office soon and then we can work on changing the other two levels of government.

Assuming that Jason Kenney bees Alberta’s next Premier and that he keeps his promise of corporate tax cuts, don’t fall for the simplistic and inflammatory lines about the money lining the pockets of millionaires. Those tax cuts will help the line of each and every person in Alberta including you. Those cuts will help keep you employed today and keep you fortable in retirement in the future. Celebrate them.