Sunday, December 21, 2008

City of Edmonton to pay half the costs for a new McDonald's!

So, imagine this...

Ray Kroc comes to Edmonton, says "you guys really like Big Macs, don't you?"

"Wouldn't it be a shame if the McDonald's weren't here and Edmonton couldn't get Big Macs?"

"Well, we need to build a new McDonald's and since you guys like Big Macs and you want there to be McDonald's here - I think you should give my franchise owner Daryl here some money to build a new McDonald's. Just take some of your tax dollars and pay for half the store so Daryl can make his business successful and overcharge you for Big Macs!"

Sounds ludicrous? Well that's precisely what Gary Bettman is telling us we should do!

Daryl Katz is involved in the hockey business because he loves the game and is a big fan, but more importantly he is involved because he knows that having his name connected with the national game will get more people into his drug stores and sell more cold medicine than any other marketing campaign.

"I looooove the Oilers!! I'm the biggest Oilers fan in Edmonton and Rexall supports the Oilers - I'm going to buy all my kids Diapers at Rexall!" - That's the strategy in a nutshell. And if that doesn't work he could always muse about having to move the team until he gets a government bailout or more people develop their photos at a Rexall family pharmacy.

In actuality I have nothing against Katz and I think he's got his heart in the right place, but let's see the issue for what it is - a ploy to put public money in private pockets.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Something smells worse than the manure

Let me get this straight...

Ralph Klein was a standardbred horse owner. While in power, he along with at times finance minister Shirley McLellan provided repeated bail outs to the industry. The industry embarks on expensive ad campaigns, not promoting the races as entertainment (as Northlands does) but simply promoting the industry as being important to Albertans. Now McLellan is the Chairperson of Horse Racing Alberta, with her hand out?

For some reason, I have little sympathy.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Making Coalition Government Work

Read this great article by Duncan Cameron on

When she was elected NDP member for Edmonton Strathcona in the last election, Linda Duncan probably did not think she would shortly be a cabinet minister. But as the only non-Conservative member from Alberta she is certainly entitled to a cabinet post in the coalition Liberal/NDP government likely to be formed - as early as next week - because Stephen Harper has misunderstood how parliamentary democracy works.
The people elect the parliament, but governments are formed (and undone) by parliament. Winning the largest number of seats only entitled the Conservatives to form a government, and only at the invitation of the Governor General. Losing the confidence of the House of Commons, as the Harper government did when its economic update failed to recognize a worldwide economic slump and the need for stimulus, and promoted restraint instead, opens the door for a coalition government to take power - at the invitation of the Governor General.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Goldring Watch - Episode 2

And now, he speaks. November 26, 14:50:

Mr. Peter Goldring (Edmonton East, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, the motion passed last March by the House specifically called for the government to secure medium-lift helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles to better protect our brave men and women in Afghanistan. Can the Minister of National Defence tell the House when we will
have these helicopters and UAVs in Afghanistan?

Hon. Peter MacKay (Minister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to providing our brave soldiers with the best possible equipment. In fact, we have recently purchased six Chinook helicopters and UAVs in addition to those that were leased, all of which will be operational next year. I am pleased to tell the House that we will also deploy eight specially-equipped utility Griffin helicopters to act as escorts for these Chinooks. Most importantly, this will help reduce the risk to soldiers and civilians from ambushes, landmines and IEDs, all of this saving lives and continuing the important work of Canadian soldiers in theatre.

Not to say that we aren't all concerned about the safety of our soldiers, but... wow, nothing like back bench government members softballs in question period - providing wonderful opportunities for ministers to take up time patting themselves on the back, instead of holding the government to account for their actions. Take a look at what a rookie opposition member does in question period as opposed to our fifth term representative. So, I challenge you Mr. Goldring, how can you bring the concerns of Edmonton East (here or here)to parliament instead of being just 1 of 143.

Harper obligated to gain support

As the prime minister of a minority parliament Stephen Harper has the obligation to obtain support of a majority of MPs for any major financial bills. That is the fundamental principal which makes a parliamentary democracy work. If he does not find friends in one of the three other parties on a piece of legislation then it means the country does not support the legislation. It is now time for Harper to put politics aside and craft legislation that will be supported by a majority of Canadians (as evidenced by the support of a majority of parliamentarians).

Part of the problem here is the completely objectionable conduct of the Liberal MPs at the end of the last parliament. Why would anyone be happy with electing an MP who abstains from voting on a piece of legislation that they believe is bad for the country, without a conflict of interest present. Yet, that is exactly what the Liberal MPs did in the last parliament. Doing so meant Harper was allowed to put through legislation that Canadians did not want, which is exactly what he is continuing to do now. The puppy peed on the carpet and got away with it, so why should we blame him when he continues to pee on the carpet.

The Liberals have no credibility and the Conservatives have contempt for the majority views of parliament and Canada. I cry a little inside.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Goldring Watch - Episode 1

As a resident of Edmonton East, I was dismayed when Conservative Peter Goldring was once again reelected. I believe that the member's views are not actually representative of the needs and concerns of the majority of residents in the riding. As such, I plan to keep a watch on the activities of Mr. Goldring.

So at the end of this first week of the 1st session of the 40th Parliament of Canada, I have searched Hansard for Goldring:
Results: Your search did not match any documents.
Better luck next week.

I will in the not so distant future provide a response to his Journal editorial on vote swapping.

A greater shame for Alberta

Over the past few years with sky high oil prices, the Alberta government has squandered a glorious opportunity.

The government has spent years raking in record surplusses from mediocre royalty rates while oil companies and a small segment of the population prospered immensely. Unfortunately, over this period the government's royalty scheme produced a small fraction of the billions of dollars that Albertans are rightfully due selling out their environment. At the end of this intense growth period, we are looking toward a fiscal crisis and potential recession no further ahead.

Cuts that were made to social services in the early 90s are yet to be restored. Schools, hospitals and roads are in great disrepair and Alberta's savings have grown insignificantly (much of the money added is likely now lost in the mire of tumbling stock markets.) At the same time, we have allowed unfettered growth which came with a boom in population that our infrastructure was not prepared for and was followed with a boom in addiction, crime and prostitution.

If royalties were appropriate, the growth would have been more controlled and the government would have had more money. There would be less strain placed on provincial services and housing while we would have the money to keep pace with the growing needs and we would have still been able to pay off the debt and sock a ton of money away for the rainy day which is upon us.

But most importantly of all, we may have been able to do some really incredible things that governments can only dream of - like ending child poverty. Instead, we have 1 in 10 children in Alberta living in poverty. This is a complete shame for the handlers of our province.

And now, steady Eddie is giving oil companies a choice on how much they pay in order to prevent a slow down.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Federal Election

Wow - its been well over a year. I want to try this again. I want to be more brief this time.

Stephen Harper must have been busy last night. No, not celebrating his victory. He must have been busy creating his economic plan.

Just like when I was in University, Harper left it until the last minute to create his plan for the economic crisis - or as he likes to call it the era of global economic uncertainty. He must have created it last night, or else why wouldn't he release during the campaign?

This makes me sick. Dion talks of having a plan but never talks about the details. Harper talks about taking it easy and not rocking the boat, then releases a six point plan after the election?!?! Shouldn't we be using the campaign to debate the merits of each plan and decide which one we want to carry forward with. But like Kim Campbell said, the election is no time to be discussing serious issues.

The only reason I can come up with why Harper didn't release his plan (because its not too controversial) before the election is because he actually had two plans ready to go.

That's right, one for a minority and one for a majority government.

Now, wouldn't we all like to know what he really wanted to do.