Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Bits and Bites...

Not really sure where this one's going as I sit down to write, Nation, so don't mind the free-form blogging.

It occurs to me that I haven't been writing that much lately. I don't know whether I'm becoming desensitized, and therefore am less-often inspired to write, or whether I just haven't been moved to write as late because, frankly, I haven't felt I had anything to say about a particular issue that hadn't already been said by someone else, likely better than I could have. It's always been my most sincere hope that, through this medium, I could contribute to the conversation rather than just adding to the noise. Being the 431st person to blog about the headline of that day's paper doesn't strike me as the kind of "citizen journalism" of which I want to be a part.

I've noticed an increasing trend in the blogosphere for bloggers to attack their own. This "outing" of bloggers, or "exposing them", hearkens back to the "flame-wars" of the bad-old days of BBS systems and chat-boards, and stems from the same basic human deficiency: insecurity. Whether it's campaign politics, marketing or blogging, the simple reality is that attacking the other guy is something you do only when you're not comfortable selling yourself on your own merits. In this fickle world of internet journalism and new media, it is the readers who are going to decide who is a credible voice and who isn't. To go out of your way to attack the motives of other bloggers - or, for that matter, their grammar, intelligence, socio-economic standing, age, level of experience, lack of journalistic pedigree, their use of a nom de plume, or anything ELSE - doesn't make you more credible, in this one man's opinion. It makes you less credible.

The Alberta Government Caucus will be dealing with the public smoking issue in the next few days. As reported by Ken Chapman previously on his blog, there is some uncertainty on how things will go, however as a non-smoker I can tell you I'm hoping for a province-wide smoking ban sooner, rather than later.
Now, the Libertarian crowd will immediately jump on this and say "How can you call yourself a conservative? Government has no place legislating against habits and behaviours that hurt no one!" The irony is that many of these same "Libertarians" would likely support a ban on gay sex, if such a thing was possible and enforceable.
Let me ask you this, Nation: If a man gets into his car after having had 5 shots of Tequila in 30 minutes, on an empty stomach, and tries to drive the 5 blocks to his house, is he going to get pulled over? Of course he is - provided there are police nearby. WHY? He was just enjoying himself. He didn't hurt anybody. He PROBABLY wouldn't have hit anyone on the way home. And the people who are on the road at that time of night on a Friday KNOW they're sharing the road with drunks (1 in 3, they say), but they make the informed choice to drive anyway. So aren't they taking an informed risk? What right does the evil government have to pull Mr. Cuervo over, harass him, take his license away, and deny him his Charter Right to enjoy his Friday night?

If you actually agree with that example, I truly feel sorry for you.

Bottom line here, kids: Smoking causes cancer. Being AROUND cigarette smoke causes cancer, moreso for the people NOT doing the smoking than for the people who do. That's not opinion, or "anti-smoking lobby" rhetoric (who's bankrolling this vast anti-smoking conspiracy, by the way? "Big Chewing Gum"?), it's science. YOU have the right to smoke yourself into an early grave, just as you have the right to drink until your liver crawls out of your body and tries to smother you in your sleep. Your right to smoke, though, much like your right to drink, ends the second that your behaviour puts MY life in jeopardy. "If you don't want to be subjected to second-hand smoke in public spaces, stay out of those spaces" makes about as much sense if you turn it around for our drinking analogy, and say "If you don't want to share the road with drunk drivers, stay off the road on Friday nights". It's preposterous for the drinking argument, and no less so for the smoking argument.

You can drink next to me at a bar without me getting drunk. You can eat next to me at a restaurant without me getting fat(ter). Those activities, of and by themselves, harm no one but YOU, and so should be allowed. But if you smoke next to me, I AM going to breathe those fumes, and that could make me very sick, or very dead, because of something YOU did in a public space. Therefore, you need to smoke in a PRIVATE space.

You don't like it, because it limits where you can smoke. You want what you want, where and when you want it. It's an issue of self-interest, and I get that. But what *I* want is not to get sick. And my right to health supersedes your right to getting your nicotine fix in a public place. Smoke yourself to death - I really don't care. Smoking's not immoral, bad for the soul or for society. It's not a character flaw. It's a habit. Smoke away - I couldn't care less. Smoke until you need a stoma, and then smoke out of that. It's your right - just like masturbation. But you can't do that in public either, can you? Damned meddling government.

It's by-election season, and things are looking very interesting in Calgary Elbow. Talk to a Liberal, and they'll tell you that they've got it all but won at this point. Elbow is going to be an example, as it has been for years, of how the representative democratic system should work. People in Calgary Elbow don't vote for parties, they vote for MLA's. Which, if your MLA happens to cross the floor at some point, makes you a little less likely to want to lynch them. Ralph Klein held onto this riding not because he was the Premier, or because he was a Progressive Conservative, but because the people there simply liked having Ralph as their MLA better than they suspected they would have liked any of his challengers. Therefore, the 2 qualities that will best serve whoever the winning candidate is in this riding are going to be likeability, and professionalism.

Brian Heninger, by all accounts, is a very professional guy. He runs one of Calgary's largest and most successful businesses. You could see him holding a cabinet spot and not making his constituents look like fools. Craig Cheffins, likewise, comes across as someone who knows what he's doing. You could see him sitting in opposition and not jumping up and down, screaming about how his constituents are freezing in the street because the government won't cap rent increases (Calgary Elbow is a rather affluent part of town). Sadly, you can't say the same for George Read, the leader of the Green Party, who is running in Calgary Elbow. The Green movement is a good thing, and Calgary has shown it's more than willing to listen to what they have to say, but to spend time with Read it becomes quite clear that his strengths lie more on the activist side of the spectrum than on the "sitting in governance over the hopes and dreams of Martha and Henry". The Alberta Alliance candidate, Jane Greydanus, is a non-factor. The Alliance captured less than 4% of the vote in Elbow last time around, they won't break 10% this time around. Calgary Elbow just isn't the right kind of riding for the Alliance - the only thing the Alliance has to offer Elbow's voters is a "tough on crime" stance, which the other parties will all adopt as their own (at least, on the hustings), leaving the Alliance with nothing. This isn't to say the Alliance has a bad platform - far from it. In fact, I'd encourage everyone to take a look at the Alliance platform, here - but I don't think that many of these issues resonate with the voters of Calgary Elbow at this point. And the reality is, many still see the Alliance as a protest movement, or too far to the right to trust with Alberta's social infrastructure. Also, let's recall that this is a riding that embraced Ralph Klein, and the Alliance is the same party that in 2004 ran the "I Blame Ralph" campaign. No, this is a 2 horse race. And, since both the PC candidate and the Liberal seem capable of doing the job, the winner on June 12th will be the one who paints himself as the most likeable. If I were a gambling man, and the by-election were held today... I'd bet on a colour change for this riding. But there are still 2 weeks to go, and 2 weeks is a long time to win or lose a close election - ask Mr. "Beer and Popcorn".

My last topic is of a personal nature... as some of you know, there will soon be a "Mrs. Savage". We have been debating the pros and cons of getting married locally versus travelling to an exotic locale and strapping on the ball-and-chain on a beach somewhere. As I know many of my readers are no doubt hopeless romantics (Albertans politics being the most romantic language of all), I was wondering what YOU, the devoted members of the E.S. Nation, had to say on the issue. Feel free to reply here, or email me at amishbuggyracing (at) gmail (dot) com.

Have I given you enough to talk about?

- E.S.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Someone lend me a dollar - I need to buy Ted Morton a clue.

Minister of Sustainable Resource Development, the Honourable Ted Morton, was quoted as being "shocked" by the things he was witnessing this past week-end, as he took a helicopter for a bird's-eye-view of the Indian Graves area (at the invitation of local Reeves). He went on to explain the chaos as a complete surprise, and as an obvious result of wildly successful Area Management Plans in the Ghost-Waiparous and McLean Creek areas to the North. Today, he says that the rowdies have "ruined it for everyone", and that as a result of this week-end's insanity he will be instituting an Area Management Plan for the Indian Graves area, by the Labour Day week-end.

Ted... where shall we start?

How about at the beginning? Fair enough. You said you were "shocked" by the abuses that were going on. As in, you didn't know such things happened? Ted, you're the Minister of Sustainable Resource Development. Every Forestry Officer in the province of Alberta works for you. In the 5 months since you took office, you never talked to a Forestry Officer in the area? Any one of them, from a sophomore to a 30-year veteran, could have told you that the May Long Week-end in Ghost-Waiparous, McLean Creek and Indian Graves makes the Mad Max movies look tame by comparison. It has every year in memory. This should NOT have been a surprise to you, or to anyone in your department. There are videos on YouTube that glamorize this chaos, set to rock & roll music. There are photos all over the internet. It's your department, Ted... talk to the people in it. BELIEVE me - even if YOU don't know what's going on out in the bush, THEY certainly do.

Next on the list of ridiculous statements was that the problem at Indian Graves was a result of the Area Management Plans in other areas. Really? So the other areas that allow off-roading were tame, had few visitors, and no problems?

  • Indian Graves - no management plan, 5000 mud-bogging quad and monster truck drivers, small tent cities in the bush, drastic contamination of the Bow River watershed (enters the Bow downstream of Calgary), and immeasurable damage to the forest.
  • McLean Creek - has had a management plan for decades, 5000 mud-bogging quad and monster truck drivers, small tent cities in the bush, drastic contamination of the Elbow River watershed (UPSTREAM of Calgary), immeasurable damage to the forest, and 500 tickets issued. Oh, and 20 truckloads of garbage left in the bush (so far), and one man beaten so severely he's still in hospital (although, based on what he did that provoked the others, he ALMOST had it coming).

Yeah, Ted, the Management Plan oughtta take care of the problem. Because the one at McLean Creek is clearly working so well.

Look, I won't pretend to know what the solution here is. Indian Graves is outside of Kananaskis, for what that's worth (there are areas in Kananaskis - almost 50% of it, actually - that, shockingly, allow clear-cutting, oil drilling, quad-ing, and hunting in the same spots, at the same time, as school groups are hiking). Do you outlaw quads in forestry lands? That's punishing everyone for the idiocy of a few. Do you make the affected areas Provincial Parks, which enshrines their protected status in law, and makes quad-ing illegal just in those sensitive areas, or does that just move the problem to somewhere else? Do you spend the money to beef up enforcement, knowing that you're not likely going to stop anyone from being an idiot, you're just more likely going to catch them after the fact, or have another trained first-aider available when they wrap their dirt-bike around a tree?

There are tens of thousands of responsible riders who use these areas every year. They stay on-trail, obey the rules, and pull off their recreational ride to pick up other people's garbage. They are stewards of the land. How do we punish those riders for the actions of these long-weekend morons?

I don't have the solution, Nation. Perhaps some of you do. If so, please let me know - because SOMEBODY has to educate Dr. Morton, before he decides the solution is the same as his solution for Mountain Pine Beetle: "Cut down the trees, and they'll stay away".

I wonder what Peter Lougheed thinks of what his crowning achievement, Kananaskis Country, has become over the past 30 years. Is THIS what he meant when he called it "multiple-use"?

- ES

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Generals and Foot-soldiers

Nation, with the dropping of the writ for 2 by-elections in Alberta next month, I think it especially appropriate that we take a look at the roles that people play in the political process.

Although there are countless ways in which you can be involved in an election, both partisan and non-partisan, it is of the partisan involvement that I wish to speak (since, naturally, most people are in fact partisan - if not at the start of a campaign, then certainly by the end).

I break the main categories of "politically involved persons" into 2 distinct groups: Generals (candidates and campaign insiders), and Foot-soldiers (constituency-level volunteers). Or, if you prefer, "Officers and Sailors".

Now, the metaphor isn't without its flaws. One of the most egregious of which is that, given enough time and good service, a soldier will eventually find himself promoted up the chain of command. A campaign volunteer who works the phones exceptionally well is unlikely to find herself as campaign chair the next go-round. However, I think that the similarities outweigh the discrepancies. Consider:

  • No General has ever won a battle by himself, no matter how skilled. It is impossible to win without a dedicated troop of soldiers.
  • Soldiers, as a rule, don't "hang out" with their generals, but still do what they consider to be their duty.
  • Soldiers (at least THESE days) volunteer because they believe in the cause.
  • Generals have access to tools, training and information that soldiers do not.

The list goes on and on. The bottom line, however, is that many people get involved in politics hoping to some day BE a General, and carry the party flag into an election as a candidate, or as a candidate's advisor, insider, etc... but find themselves seemingly trapped underneath a glass ceiling, as a Foot-soldier with little hope for advancement. Which, it bears repeating, is NOT a slight against the vital role that campaign volunteers play - without them, NOBODY can win. You need a Literature Dropper, Door-Knocker, Sign Delivery Person or Phone Bank Volunteer just as badly as you need an Official Agent or Media Liaison, except even MORESO... because you need just one of each of those generals, but need 50 people alone just working the phones for you. The point of the matter is, though, that those campaign volunteers should be there because they WANT to serve in that capacity, not because they wanted to be media advisors, or even candidates, and were told they had nothing to contribute in that role.

Ask yourself: How do you become a candidate for the ruling party? I imagine it's pretty easy to become a candidate for a fringe party, or for a party with little to no chance of winning in a riding - you just put your name in, and there's a decent chance you might even be acclaimed. But to run for the PC Party, in Calgary (as an example)... what schooling do you take for that career aspiration? Political Science? Law?
If you want to be a plumber, you go to trade school and take plumbing courses. What school offers "winning your hotly-contested nomination" courses?
You've got to know the right people, sell a lot of memberships, shake a lot of hands, and possibly grease a few palms along the way. What chance does an interested lay-person, truly interested in making a positive difference for their community, have of winning a nomination against an entrenched General with all the right connections, a war-chest of donations and favours owed to him left and right? Very little... and so, these aspiring Generals, with no recourse, either end up disillusioned with the process altogether and withdraw from aspiration of public service, try to carry the flag for another party (knowing they have little chance of winning against the same entrenched General that drove them from the party nomination in the first place), or end up as Foot-soldiers themselves.

I imagine that parties like the Greens have similar complaints when elections roll around - "What chance do we have running a campaign with a quarter of the volunteers, little to no media exposure, a fraction of the budget, no spot in the debates, and in an area that hasn't elected a non-Tory in decades?". This feeling of hopelessness and disenfranchisement (admittedly, not a word) eventually permeates even the most optimistic of souls, and we lose more and more people who were truly interested in making a difference to the political sidelines, where they will sit and snipe and protest and be generally bitter, but will instead of opposing the policies, will just want to strike back at the system or party that they feel betrayed them.

I have, in Alberta, met many young people who wanted to run for the PC's in a provincial election, or at least play a major inside role in a campaign, to learn "how it was done". Some were dismissed as mere "kids" and told to go man a phone, while some actually ran for the nomination before getting crushed by their 3-term sitting MLA. These youth either disengaged themselves from political life, or ran for other parties (Red Tories for the Liberals and Blue for the Alberta Alliance). I've seen the same in Federal Conservative campaigns over the years.
While this IS a democracy, and the majority rules at the end of the day, this can NOT be good for democracy, or for these Tory parties in particular, that those people MOST inclined to become active in politics are being told that they have the LEAST to offer a campaign. They're being sent the message that they can NEVER be Generals - be it that they earned the wrong degree (What was Premier Klein's degree in again? PoliSci? Law? OH... right...), they lack the necessary experience (or at least the right connections), or that there are already enough Generals in this riding, thank-you very much, here's a hammer and some lawn signs.

Again, I want to make it perfectly clean that Hannibal never won a battle by himself, and Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson didn't sink a single ship at Trafalgar... it was the common soldier or sailor, doing the TRULY hard work, that won the day. But when someone wants to be an Officer in today's military, they know where to go - West Point (U.S.), or the Royal Military College in Canada. What do we tell those who desperately want to lead the charge for parties that assume they have little to offer, for whatever reason? Where do we tell them to go?

If we're the parties in question, we tell them to go away, and let the Generals do the planning. It's the equivalent of "go sit at the kiddies' table, the grown-ups are talking about important things". That doesn't bode well for those parties... recall that a young German soldier, upset at his lack of promotion in WWI, went on to make himself a General through another avenue.

If you were the PC's, you'd hate to see one of these aspiring Generals who truly want to help your party and make a difference be pushed away to another party, and become the next Peter Lougheed. Because then that would make the PC's the Social Credit party of the 21st century - all but extinct.

- ES

Monday, May 14, 2007

What's in a "Witch Hunt"?

Nation, as most of you know by now, a low-level employee with Environment Canada leaked copies of the federal government's environment strategy to multiple news outlets ahead of their actual release date. He was arrested for this, although it was later determined that charges wouldn't stick due to lack of evidence.

He now has come out and decried the government's "heavy-handed" tactics as a "witch hunt".

Let's just review the term, shall we?

A "witch hunt" is what you call it when the government needs a scape goat, finds someone who DIDN'T do anything wrong but belongs to a certain group you can blame, and sacrifices the "offender" on the altar of "accountability".

The employee in question (whose 15 minutes are CLEARLY over, so I am avoiding using his name) allegedly leaked sensitive documents, in flagrant violation of the Oath he took as a condition of employment. That, boys and girls, isn't a witch hunt - it's a termination, with cause. If you PROMISE your boss you won't do something, as a condition of employment, and then you go ahead and do it - you lied. You're fired. If you lie on your resume, and the boss finds out after hiring you - you lied. You're fired. This man took an oath, likely very similar to the one *I* took before entering the Public Service of Alberta, and then did something contrary to that oath - he lied. He's fired.

Not a witch hunt, sir. A firing with cause. Whether you think the government is immoral, or spin-doctoring, or committing heinous acts against future generations, is irrelevant. If you promise not to do something, and then you do it, there are consequences. If you wanted to make a statement, you should have quit your job. To use the access that job gave you to steal and then distribute sensitive materials... that is contrary to your oath. You lied. You're fired. That's not a witch-hunt - that's called accountability. It's something civilization expects from those who want to be a part of it. If you want pointers on responsible and accountable protest of government policy, go watch "Gandhi". Take notes.

- ES

Monday, May 7, 2007

AGM Wrap-up

Well, Nation... the 2007 PC Alberta AGM has come and gone. Depending on which newspaper you read, or which blog, it was either a triumph for the "backroom and backwoods" boys, a proving ground for the "deep split between North and South", an exercise in the party membership taking back power from the executive, a success for Ed Stelmach, a miserable failure for Ed Stelmach, an invigorating sign of the party's youth movement, or a sign of the party's impending demise because of its inability to attract members under the age of 55.

As a first-time convention attendee, I was lucky to have made contact with some "Handlers" before the event, to show me the ropes and keep my course true. They were absolute god-sends, and did their best to keep me out of trouble (they were MOSTLY successful). My gratitude to you knows no bounds.

It occurs to me, though, that the entire experience may have been quite intimidating to a first-time attendee, unsure of what was going on. I'd encourage the party to consider setting up a table for first-timers, to help them get acclimated... where to get your voting ballots, the seemingly arcane format of debate (when shouting "Question" in the middle of someone's statement can mean "Ask One!", "I Have One!", or "Let's Vote!"). Moving and seconding, the party's constitution (apparently, you either already knew it, or were expected to know it, by the letter before arriving). At several workshops, the importance of bringing in new membership was accentuated. To ease those new members into AGMs would go a long way. As I said, I had people to hold my hand, and it would ease the confusion significantly if everyone had access to similar help.

The make-up of the convention was, to my eye, about 60% above the age of 50, 30% in the 30s and 40s, and 10% under 30. Others may disagree, but that's certainly how it seemed in most of the sessions and meetings I attended, excepting the one on Youth Involvement which, as you'd imagine, was packed with young people, including young Ken Chapman, whom I've mentioned before as a whipper-snapper to watch. :) The reality is, 40 years from now most of the people at this AGM will not be voting. If the party is to survive, it needs to make itself available and accessible to young people. Selling conservatism and conservative values to young people who are by their nature disinclined to embrace them is a HARD sell, so rather than trying to "convert" youth, or change how they think, the focus should be on organizing and finding the young people who ALREADY think that way. Young Mr. Chapman, on his blog, touches more fully on this point.

There was certainly a feeling, both from the "experienced" membership and the younger members, of dissatisfaction with the executive of the party. The election of 3 new faces to the party executive may help create an impetus for change, and at least temporarily whet the appetite of those seeking to flex their democratic muscle more fully. A story that remains untold, at least in all its gory details, is the near-total implosion of the party's youth wing. Whether or not there should even BE a youth wing for the party is certainly a debate that can, and should, take place. But the more I hear about the dysfunctional nature of that wing's board, the easier it is to see WHY the larger party executive would be dismissive of the youth membership, at least tacitly if not openly. An inability to keep an organization of a few hundred functioning would, quite naturally, lead to doubts about the ability of youth to contribute effectively to an organization exponentially larger. The party's youth MUST get their house in order, and must not be shy about asking for the help of those in the Party, regardless of age, who can offer the advice that only comes with experience and past mistakes made.

Premier Stelmach's speeches, though not the type that would get you to pick up a rifle and defend the province from the Huns, were certainly better than those we heard during the leadership race. He is GROWING into the job, getting more at ease with the demands of the media, and getting better in front of a microphone. He even made a few jokes that, while not the type to make you shoot scotch out of your nose, were good enough to elicit a few honest belly-laughs. You get a feeling of decency from the man, and decency plays well in Alberta. I even had the chance to meet a couple offspring of the Premier, and they were both quality individuals who seemed more embarrassed by their name than emboldened by it. It speaks well to Ed's qualities as a father, and as a man, that his children should be as humble as they are considering the position their father holds.

There will be many postings in the near future based in part on observations made at this AGM. Among the ones to look especially forward to are "Politics versus Policy", and "Footsoldiers and Generals".

Thanks for sticking with me, Nation. Movement on podcasting, video, and schwag is forthcoming.

- ES

p.s. Anonymous - as we discussed, I'm curious to see if we actually spoke. :)

Saturday, May 5, 2007

AGM Update #3

New morning, same old policy talk... although, certainly the donuts are of near-Krispy Kreme quality, so there's something to be said for early Saturday morning policy talk. :)

A motion passed a few minutes ago compels the PC Party to suggest to the government that a study into the viability of Nuclear power being used in the oil-sands be commisioned. It is VERY important to note that this resolution does NOT in any way suggest that Nuclear energy be used - only that the possibility be studied, and consultations with experts in the field should take place. The resolution, as it is worded (as was adopted) clearly supports the idea that if the study suggests that Nuclear is NOT the way to go, that the Party is just fine with that finding... better the Nuclear Scientists making that call than the collective membership of the PC Party. Insert your own joke here.

On my way to listen to arguments about "communications strategy" from a room where maybe 15 of the hundreds of occupants will know how to check e-mail. Should be entertaining.

- ES

Friday, May 4, 2007

AGM Update #2

Well, after an hour of AGM debate that can be called "exuberant", the executive of the PC Association of Alberta was reminded, quite overwhelmingly, that the membership as a whole of the party is the final authority on all things party-related. Interesting concept, that the party membership be in charge of the party - and also, it would seem, a quite unexpected reminder, as far as the Executive's reaction can be gagued. With an overwhelming majority, the executive board's decision to increase the membership fee for the Association from $5 to $10 was shot down.

Whether or not this is wise remains to be seen... but the more pressing reality is that the party membership itself is feeling the blood flow once again, and flexing its muscle when it sees what it considers to be autocratic, top-down rule. In essense, a response to "arrogant presumption" (more on that in a later post).

Listening to Premier Stelmach speak (he ended just minutes ago), one gets the impression that this man certainly knows that the role of this party as Government is not only a priviledge, but a responsibility. I certainly hope that the body politic of the party recognizes this as well, because as recent events in both the recent Federal Election (especially in Ontario and Quebec) and the provincial election in Quebec show, the presumption of the "right to govern unopposed" is being shown the door. The concept of protest vote is back in vogue, and in its heartland of Alberta, the Tories must tread carefully to avoid becoming the new SoCreds. Premier Stelmach, as I said, seems to realize this. As for the rest of the party - only time will tell. But, as one of the lesser known Feregni Rules of Acquisition states: "Expand or Die". In this instance, the expansion must also add evolution, as a failure to evolve in response to a changing world surely results in a bad ending.

- ES

AGM Report #1

Nation, the ES has Landed!

Arrived at the Alberta PC AGM about 30 minutes ago, and almost immediately had an unconfirmed Anders sighting.

Aside from a sudden urge to take a long, hot shower, nothing to report for now. Lots of politicking on party-specific matters - vote me for Regional V.P., etc. Not paying much attention, as I'm sticking to my opinion that party politics will be the death of democracy as we know it.

More to come later.

- ES

Thursday, May 3, 2007

AGM Housekeeping

Nation, I will, as previously mentioned, be in Edmonton this week-end for the PC AGM - I'll be blogging from the event as opportunity permits.

Anyone who's wanting to hook up for a bevy and a discussion who is ATTENDING the AGM with me this week-end, contact me at amishbuggyracing (at) gmail (dot) com, and I'll get you my cell number in advance of the event since, as I mentioned in a comment a few days ago, I won't exactly be wearing a button that identifies me as "The Enlightened Savage". :)

On a personal note, I've very much looking forward to this week-end. The chance to meet many of my fellow Bloggers, and readers, face-to-face will be wonderful. Likewise, as a bit of a policy wonk, I look forward to the chance to help shape it in some small way. Thirdly, I have little doubt that my upcoming piece on "Political Groupies" will be reinforced by the sub-culture I see there. And lastly, and perhaps most of all, I look forward to seeing the bloggers checking out everyone with Calgary I.D. who walks by with a computer, cell-phone or PDA, wondering which of them is the fabled Enlightened Savage. ;)

- ES

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

A Question of Priorities

Normally I'd be loathe to link to anything done by MotherCorp - but this one really gets my head spinning.

Nation - it does the heart good to know that our country is in such marvellous shape that the people whom we elect and pay to run it are spending their time on issues like this one. I'll admit I may not have been paying the closest attention in the past few days, getting ready for my sojourn to the Alberta PC AGM this week-end, so apparently I missed all of the hoopla surrounding the following announcements:

  • Cure for AIDS/HIV
  • Elimination of all poverty
  • Canada destroyed the Taliban, AND found bin Laden
  • Senate reform
  • Electoral reform
  • The entire health care system was fixed
  • Pharmacare for all
  • DENTAL care for all
  • The filling of every pot-hole in the nation
  • The eradication of all crime, everywhere in the country
  • Government scientists find a cure for Cancer
  • The entire nation is switching to Electric Cars
  • Canada will meet its emission reduction targets next week
  • All 10 Provinces signed the Constitution
  • Someone stuck a sock in Dany Williams' pie-hole
  • The RCMP found a new commissioner
  • A funding formula was announced that ALL the provinces were happy with
  • All women make the same as all men, in every business across the country, for the same work
  • 8 million new child-care spaces opened across the country
  • Every pending school, hospital, freeway overpass, dam, highway, transit station and medicentre in Canada was built
  • Homelessness was wiped out
  • Racial tension and gang warfare were eradicated
  • The problem with immigrant qualification for skilled jobs was sorted out
  • Income tax and the GST were both eliminated
  • We met our historical commitments to the First Nations, and solved the issues facing their own communities

... so now that all of that has been dealt with, the people whom WE PAY to get all that stuff done can turn to "who should be the Captain of Canada's hockey team?"

... Sorry, what's that?

... You're KIDDING me...

... NONE of it?

All right... well, it's good to see that our MP's have their priorities in order, then... because clearly, the "Shane Doan Question" MUST be more important than anything ELSE on my list... isn't it?

Isn't it?


- ES