White, Discussion

The City of Edmonton is expanding the Whitemud to 6 lanes between 50th and 66th/75th streets.

The major arterial road will be expanded to six lanes between 50th Street and 75th Street, with the addition of a concrete median stretching from 17th Street to 75th Street.

Dedicated auxiliary lanes will be part of the widening, in addition to the six lanes between 50th Street and 75th Street, and will give commuters the option to merge into traffic or exit at the next interchange.

The widening is an effort to accommodate growing traffic along the Whitemud.
If you're not familiar with Edmonton, this designation which is actually one road may confuse you. If you are familiar, it will merely infuriate you.

It's a decent enough improvement, but will do little to impact the second biggest problem in that section of the freeway, which is the bottleneck which is the 99th street and 91st street eastbound access ramps. One of the two 99th street lanes ends under the 97th street flyover while the other continues straight onto 91st street. Unfortunately that forces everybody who doesn't want to go on 91st street into the left lane (which is a whole lot of people) and then pull into the regular freeway traffic. Then, 450 metres later, the right lane of the Whitemud branches into the straightaway lane (that the people who turned off 99th street or 106 street or Gateway but not Calgary Trail for reasons that will hurt your brain are using) and then the turning off lane, for everybody who wants to use 91st street which is the greatest north-south road on the southside [that's damning with faint praise, though. -ed]. As you can imagine, there are now three different groups of traffic using the same lane at three different speed/acceleration profiles:
  1. The people who left 99th street, now accelerating to the proper (ie. 120 km/hr) speed that you would drive on the Whitemud
  2. The people who want to turn onto 91st street, now slowing to a good lane transition speed, like 100 km/hr
  3. The idiots who have been going straight on the Whitemud this entire time, maybe will turn onto 75th or 66th or maybe they won't, haven't figured out that the lane is going to get horribly congested, and therefore slow down to about 65 km/hr because this sort of driver is overly cautious and probably asian
The conflict to these drivers leads to speed differentials, people having to rapidly evacuate and enter lanes they would prefer not to, and ultimately risks of more collisions. The biggest problem, of course, is the asshole pigs who pull people over for exceeding the far-too-low 80 km/hr speed limit. The third biggest problem, close by, is the risk of accidents from people braking as they pass those little pill boxes that often hide the pig running the photo radar van.

I would have definitely fixed that first.

2015 Alberta Election: The best candidate in each riding

As you may know, an Alberta election is underway. Will godless socialists form government and/or opposition? Will Jim Prentice be the PC leader who finally breaks that hallowed "PCs look in trouble at the time of the election call and then handily win a majority" streak? Will voters remember their distaste of Danielle Smith/Alison Redford/Raj Sherman in the ballot box?

Just like during the 2012 provincial election, it's time to run down every single riding in Alberta. For each of the 87 ridings in Alberta, here is my picks for who represents the best choice for a bold and positive vision for Alberta. As always, these are my picks, if yours are different than yours are totally wrong.

Airdrie: Angela Pitt is angry, she says voters are angry, and after yet another Rob Anderson floor crossing they deserve her as their new Wildrose MLA.

Athabasca-Sturgeon-Redwater: Wildrose's Travis Olson is your strong pick for this riding (he has a cool cowboy hat and a hot wife), and it's worth noting that the NDP's Colin Piquette is one of those "Friends of Medicare" so voting in Olson is yet another stick in the heart of that disgusting organization

Banff-Cochrane: Again we see no practical difference between statist NDP'er Cam Westhead and statist PC'er Ron Casey. Your pick here is Scott Wagner, Wildrose.

Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock: His experience on the Western Hog Exchange should be valuable in undoing all the PC graft, so stick with Glenn van Dijken, Wildrose

Battle River-Wainwright: Without Doug Griffiths holding down a solid seat for the Tories, there's a really good chance here for Wildrose's Wes Taylor. Don't let him down!

Bonnyville-Cold Lake: Another no-incumbent race, so push hard and you'll get Scott Cyr as your Wildrose candidate, though it's worth noting that PC'er Craig Copeland is one of the least insane of the PC candidates.

Calgary-Acadia: Hey, you remember Jonathan Denis don't you? Teach him a lesson, and replace him with Wildrose candidate Linda Carlson, who could be your next Health Minister.

Calgary-Bow: Trevor Grover of the Wildrose is definitely your man here, and not just because it opens up for all sorts of fun "near....far..." impromptu gags on the lawn of the Legislature.

Calgary-Buffalo: Wildrose candidate Leah Wamboldt is your choice here. If the Liberals win the riding, by the way, look angrily to the sky and scream "KKHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNNNN! KKHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNNNN!

Calgary-Cross: You'll definitely be cross if you wake up May 6th in this riding and your new MLA isn't either Rick Hanson or Moiz Mahmood. Hell, the Green weenie Peter Meic says he's an auto mechanic and inspired by David Suzuki, so he's lying about something. I think I've met Wildrose's Moiz Mahmood, and something in the back of my brain is tickling me about it. If I could remember what it was I'd strongly suggest one way or the other, but let's give Rick Hanson the slight edge in this one.

Calgary-Currie: Terry DeVries of the Wildrose appears to be an excellent candidate here, one of those rare teachers that actually gets it rather than quoting ATA garbage. As always, Liberal Shelley Wark-Martyn loses points for not taking her husband's name and doing that silly hyphenation thing. She's also from Ontario and worked under Bob Rae, so that's strikes two and three.

Calgary-East: Make sure you're in the right riding here, by the way: there's both an East and a South-East, which just seems lazy. In Calgary-East your man is Wildroser Ali Waissi who worked for the Mustard Seed in Calgary, and also was the 2012 campaign manager for Third Edge of the Sword favourite Ron Leech.

Calgary-Elbow: This is the big one, where Gordon Dirks (the man responsible for Faggot-Familiar Alliances) is going up against the leader of the far-left coward-friendly Alberta Party (Greg Clark). This is a great chance to stab both the Alberta Party and the man who forced sexual deviants into schools in the back, and elect Social Credit candidate Larry Heather. If you need a second choice, Megan Brown would be the third hottest MLA in the Legislature if she gets in.

Calgary-Fish Creek: With former interim Wildrose leader Heather Forsyth stepping down, this is another pretty wide open field. The best pick here is another Social Credit candidate, this time Martin Owen, who beats out Wildrose's Blaine Maller.

Calgary-Foothills: Hey look kids, it's the home riding of Jim Dinning! There's good stuff here from Wildrose candidate Keelan Frey who looks and sounds just like an accountant. Alberta could use one of those.

Calgary-Fort: The PC candidate in this is a former Calgary police officer, and frankly Rick Hanson is enough of those. Kenyan-born Jeevan Mangat is in a book called "Alberta Titans" which I'm very jealous of, but the Wildroser will get my nod anyways.

Calgary-Glenmore: What's the Wildrose equivalent of "win one for the Gipper?" This is where Wildrose got their start with a Paul Hinman 2009 byelection win, but the PCs currently hold the riding. The Wildrose candidate, Chris Kemp-Jackson, is your choice here, a former diplomat who, it's odd to note, befitting his status as the old black guy running for the party, he's presently unemployed. Fun fact: $50 to the first person who can go on YouTube and try speaking this phrase aloud, courtesy Alberta Party candidate Terry Lo:
Corporations must stop riding on the coattails of small business and the middle class. They get the lowest tax rate in Canada but not the small businesses

Calgary-Greenway: This is one of the rare three-horse urban ridings, and probably the weakest candidate options in the province. None of these dregs are any good, but if you don't want to spoil your ballot (feel free to write-in "Feynman and Coulter's Love Child"), then go for Devinder Toor, Wildrose.

Calgary-Hawkwood: And now there are six: you'd think a couple of these folks could swing on up to Calgary-Greenway, but I guess not. Anyways, Social Credit leader Len Skowronski gets your nod here as the best candidate, with apologies to Jae Shim who I just finished promoting. Fun fact: Alberta Party candidate Beth Barberree (who's profile brags that she's shacked up with a guy) is a big fan of government regulation, pushing for her own industry to fall under the control of big government.

Calgary-Hays: This is one of the toughest ridings to call. On one hand, we have Ric McIver, the man who ran against Prentice and was the easy pick for best of the three-way race for the PC leadership. Wildrose's candidate is Robert Mailloux, an IT guy who seems strong on the taxpayer front. Meanwhile, the weakest of all the Social Credit candidates is in this riding: Zachary Doyle, a creepy looking guy who says "we believe that the means outweigh the end" which doesn't on its face make any sense. He's also big on increasing the minimum wage. This is basically between Mailloux and McIver, but let's give the nod to the man who could win this riding and possibly be the next PC Leader (if only by default).

Calgary-Klein: The riding named after the former Premier that Red Redford couldn't wait to ship under a bus, this features PC MLA Kyle Fawcett, the man who signed onto Jim Prentice's bizarre misunderstanding of how economic cycles works. Your clear choice in this riding is Jeremy Nixon, the first of two Wildrose Nixons. Bonus: by voting against Green Party candidate Noel Keough, you're firing one of the Fast Forward columnists who deserves to be fired for his disgusting views.

Calgary-Lougheed: Speaking of ridings names after former PC Premiers...I can't wait to tell you about Edmonton-Getty and Calgary-Redford and Calgary-Prentice in 2047...this one features a rare Alberta Liberal in Calgary appearance. The best candidate to chose from here is Wildrose's Mark Mantei.

Calgary-Mackay-Nose Hill: This riding is currently held by PC MLA Neil Brown. Don't be ashamed if you said "who" when you read that, outside of his own mother I'm not sure how many people are aware that he exists. That number may fall by one on May 6th, especially if you pick Kathy Macdonald, the Wildrose candidate and amateur (unranked) tennis player.

Calgary-McCall: This is the riding where far-left activist media under the direction of Mike Morrison objected to Craig Chandler's participation in the campaign for PC candidate Jagdeep Sahota. It's a shame, since the Wildrose candidate is the guy with the best politician name ever, Happy Mann, but just to stick it in the craw of the sodomistic Morrison it's best to go with Sahota here.

Calgary-Mountain View: The riding of lying fake doctor David Swann, your far and away best bet here is Wildrose candidate Terry Wong even when his bio includes bizarre phrases

Calgary-North West: Another riding where a left-wing PC incumbent (Sandra Jansen in this case) can be replaced by a strong conservative alternative with the election of Jeff Callaway, the Wildrose founder and former Party President who was one of the strongest voices in opposition to the Danielle Smith defection plans. In case you were wondering, Alberta Party candidate Christopher Blatch is a sniveling cowardly who thinks that jobs aren't created from wealth production, believes that a 5% trimming is a "massive cut", and when you show him how wrong he is he runs and hides. He's a pathetic little man-baby, I hope he doesn't even get enough votes to get his deposit back.

Calgary-Northern Hills: Another relatively weak riding, but your best choice here is Prasad Panda for the Wildrose Party.

Calgary-Shaw: Another PC floor crosser to punish here: your best candidate is Brad Leishman for the Wildrose. As an aside, if you've ever noticed a bias in the "Army News" newsletter for the Department of National Defense, it's because of the NDP candidate in this riding.

Calgary-South East: The ideal candidate for this riding is Wildrose's Brandon Lunty, who explicitly mentions that taxpayers are the source of government money which is frankly awesome. Meanwhile, the NDP candidate Mirical Macdonald is so boring even the NDP didn't bother filling out her riding profile.

Calgary-Varsity: Your best bet here is Wildrose candidate Sharon Polsky who specializies in privacy and access to information issues.

Calgary-West: Another three-way race, the best option here is Gerard Lucyshyn, the Wildrose candidate who has been involved in managerial consulting, and has experience with both legal and economic matters.

Cardston-Taber-Warner: This is another Wildrose floor-crossing riding. Gary Bikman didn't even secure his nomination, so you aren't so much punishing the PC's Brian Brewin as much as you are rewarding
Grant Hunter when you vote for the Wildrose candidate who has worked as a financial officer for the federal Conservatives.

Chestermere-Rocky View: This riding started off being notorious for the PC candidate, Brian McAllister the floor crosser from Wildrose. It ended up being notorious instead for Jamie Lall, the rejected candidate who maybe or maybe not was a little inappropriate following a bad breakup. While there's certainly nothing wrong with Wildrose's Leela Aheer and she would make a fine MLA, it's worth a jab to the backroom PC boys to elect Jamie Lall just for spite.

Cypress-Medicine Hat: An easy choice here, the man who should have been the Wildrose Leader, your pick is Drew Barnes.

Drayton Valley-Devon: Here you have a chance to stick it to another cowardly Alberta Party candidate, Connie Jensen who thinks the problems in America are solved by Sex Ed (and by running and hiding when somebody questions your insane logic). Your best pick here is Mark Smith, the Wildrose candidate who used to work wtih Preston Manning and Cliff Breitbrueuz.

Drumheller-Stettler: Another easy pick, the far and away best candidate is Rick Strankman, the Wildroser who fought for your civil rights. He's like Alberta's Martin Luthor King, and when he wins, celebrate by eating your wife's pie.

Dunvegan-Central Peace-Notley: In the riding named after the dad of Edmonton's second most offensive politician, what better way to show the socialists how wrong they are by electing the Wildrose candidate, Kelly Hudson.
Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview: The media is painting this as a race between two statists: NDP'er Deron Bilous and PC'er Tony Caterina. While it's tempting to put busty Wildroser Stephani Diacon into the MLA's chair, Tony Caterina, MLA is just a phrase that will piss off all the right people.

Edmonton-Calder: The odds of removing cowardly moron David Eggen, so stupid that he doesn't realize what public healthcare is even though it's his onyly issue, is low, but still worth a try to put Andrew Altimas, Wildrose in the chair.

Edmonton-Castle Downs: This seat is currently held by fag-lover Thomas Lukaszuk, who is a fan of the big lie about the sodomist lifestyle (and also regularly gets assaulted by the elderly). Electing Wildroser Gerrit Roosenboom (what's with all the Wildrose Dutchmen?) sends the statists like Lukaszuk and NDP'er Nicole Goehring the right message.

Edmonton-Centre: There's only one clear answer here, an easy way to send pro-poofter Laurie Blakeman packing. Greg Keating, the man who so offended the media chattering classes that they had to delete any critical mentions of their biased news coverage.

Edmonton-Decore: Your best bet here is Wildrose candidate Dean Miller, a proud "unpolished" politician who bears a passing resemblance to Penn Jillette (ie. he's chubby).

Edmonton-Ellerslie: Another clever politician name in this riding, lovely Jackie Lovely is your best pick for this riding.

Edmonton-Glenora: The best candidate for this riding is Don Koziak, the former mayoral candidate who worked with Envision Edmonton to try and stop Mayor Coward's stupid airport redevelopment plan.

Edmonton-Gold Bar: Again, your best bet is Wildrose candidate Justin James (just ignore that he looks like one of the Hobbits). And again, one of his opponents is a cowardly little shit from the Alberta Party. Memo to Edmonon-Gold Bar voters: ask "Dr." Stasia why she is such a fan of promoting fudge packing in your schools. Then watch her run away, because she can't answer the question.

Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood: Here's your chance to ditch Mason-the-Moron in favour of a real candidate: Wildroser Josh Loeppky.

Edmonton-Manning: Another chance to jettison one of the corruption-attracting PC MLAs, Wildrose candidate Atiq Rehman is your best bet here.

Edmonton-McClung: The obvious nod goes to Steve Thompson, Wildrose.

Edmonton-Meadowlark: The nod here has to go to PC candidate Katherine O'Neill, thanks to Wildrose going for an Edmonton cop (Amber Maze) in this riding. We don't need more corruption, thanks. (If she wins, she would rocket into first place in the hot MLA sweepstakes, though).

Edmonton-Mill Creek: Gene Zwozdesky is still alive? I'd totally forgotten about him. Anyways, you'd better stick with him rather than go with Saqib Raja, the Wildroser who freaked out about "Islamophobia" last month.

Edmonton-Mill Woods: Easy nod here to Wildrose candidate Baljit Sall, especially with Independent candidate Aura Leddy being totally pro-faggot.

Edmonton-Riverview: I can accept you going with independent candidate Glenn Miller, but the best bet is still Wildrose's Ian Crawford.

Edmonton-Rutherford: Even though it involves giving the nod to somebody involved in that dreadful Toastmasters organization, Wildrose candidate Josef Pisa gets the nod here. Hilarious to watch as Alberta Party stalwart Chris LaBossiere blew a small fortune to get a PC nomination so he could be in power, and even if he wins his seat, he loses his gambit.

Edmonton-South West: Another easy pick, Wildrose candidate Cole Kander

Edmonton-Strathcona: This is the best chance to send Rachel Notley to that cafeteria services job she apparently wants, and instead elect PC candidate Shelley Wegner.

Edmonton-Whitemud: The riding of parachuted sleazy former mayor Stephen Mandel, your best bet is independent candidate John Baloun, who was rejected by Wildrose for being too conservative

Fort McMurray-Conklin: An easy pick here, go with Wildrose leader Brian Jean. No matter what you think of him as leader, he's a solid candidate.

Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo: While it's tempted to give the nod to Mike Allen, just to piss off all the feminists mad that he got himself a couple hookers, he did rack of government frequent flyer miles to do so. Insteead, stick with Wildrose's Tany Yao.

Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville: An easy pick here with Wildrose's Joe Gosselin.

Grande Prairie-Smoky: Kurn's home riding, the easy pick here is Wildrose's Todd Loewan.

Grande Prairie-Wapiti: Another easy pick, Laila Goodridge, Wildrose. If successful, she'll be the second best looking MLA in the Legislature.

Highwood: Danielle Smith's old riding, your best bet here is Social Credit candidate Jeremy Fraser.

Innisfail-Sylvan Lake: Another "punish the floor crosser" riding, Kerry Towle should be out, and Wildrose candidate Don MacIntyre should be in.

Lac La Biche-St. Paul-Two Hills: Win one for the Saskipper? Shayne Saskiw, one of the best of the old Wildrose team, has called it quits. Bring in Dave Hanson to continue his legacy.

Lacombe-Ponoka: Another former Wildroser who crossed the floor and then found that his guaranteed nomination was a lie. Ron Orr for the Wildrose gets the easy nod here.

Leduc-Beaumont: Another easy call, select Sharon Smith, Wildrose. (This time, the Alberta Party got the Dutch guy with Bert Hoogewoonink).

Lesser Slave Lake: Another easy call, Wildroser Darryl Boisson gets the nod.

Lethbridge-East: No contest here at all, it's Kent Prestage with Wildrose for your choice.

Lethbridge-West: Wildrose candidate Ron Bain is the best of a weak lot here, but definitely several steps above pro-abortion murderer Shannon Phillips who quotes "Handjob" Jack Layton.

Little Bow: Your best bet here is to go with youth: in this case, that's Caleb van der Weide with Social Credit. Yes, that's another Dutch name. Is that normal?

Livingstone-Macleod: Pat Stier is a rare case, a Wildrose-sponsored coward who doesn't like engaging with the people around him. Evan Berger did a good job as the Agriculture Minister under Ed Stelmach, worth giving him another mandate.

Medicine Hat: This riding made headlines after NDP candidate Jason Soklofske withdrew from the race after being charged with assault while campaigning. That makes him the second most bizarre story in the riding after David Andrew "Robon Hood" Phillips. Ignore both whackjobs, and give the seat to radio DJ Val Olson for the Wildrose.

Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills: An easy choice here, with Wildrose's Nathan Cooper.

Peace River: Best to go with Nathan Steinke of Wildrose.

Red Deer-North: With Mary Jablonksi's retirement, time to bring in the guy with the cool name and the disappointing backstory, Buck Buchanan, Wildrose now but tried for the PC nomination. Make sure you collect his $100,000 just in case. Also, be sure to shun another Alberta Party coward, Krystal Kromm, who demands corporate tax hikes to pay for her lazy AISH freeloading friends.

Red Deer-South: Let's go off-course here a little and suggest independent candidate William Berry.

Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre: Ah, loopy Joe Anglin's old riding. Loopy Joe is still running, of course, but he's no longer polluting the Wildrose gene pool like he was back in 2012. Your ideal candidate here is property-rights proponent Wildrose candidate Jason Nixon, the second Wildrose candidate on our list with connections to Calgary's The Mustard Seed. An odd aside, he already has a son who can vote.

Sherwood Park: It's the battle of the mayors, featuring both Cathy Oleson and Linda Osinchuk. Apparently it's not an election in Alberta unless they're going head-to-head. Neither of them are very good, but since Olesen won the provincial election last time we should give Osinchuk another chance to beat her.

Spruce Grove-St. Albert: The old Doug Horner riding, the best choice here is Wildrose's Jaye Walter.

St. Albert: This is an ABR riding: anybody-but Marie Renaud, the far-left extremist who cheered as faggots were given special rights in schools. Wildrose candidate Shelley Biermanski is a much better choice.

Stony Plain: Liberal pro-fag goofoff Mike Hanlon is running in this riding, which is just another good reason to go for Wildrose candidate Kathy Rondeau.

Strathcona-Sherwood Park: An easy pick here, Wildrose's Rob Johnson.

Strathmore-Brooks: Not even a contest: Wildrose candidate Derek Fildebrandt (formerly of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation) by a country mile.

Vermilion-Lloydminster: Another easy pick with Danny Hozack with the Wildrose Party.

West Yellowhead: Wildrose's Stuart Taylor is by far the best choice here.

Wetaskiwin-Camrose: Bill Rock, the Wildrose candidate is your best option here.

Whitecourt-Ste. Anne: You have a great candidate here with Wildrose candidate John Bos.

So there you have it. 87 ridings, 87 endorsements. I look forward to the morning of May 6th where we will find the Legislature packed with 73 Wildrose, 7 PC, 5 Social Credit, and 4 Independent candidates.


Scandal has erupted over a proposed library being built in the Capilano area.

Construction of a new 1,000-square-metre Capilano library is set to start this year near 67th Street and 99th Avenue, backing on the Fulton ravine.

But Joanne Groot worries the facility will bring noise, traffic and troublemakers into what she says is a peaceful community.

“For environmental purposes, I don’t want anything over there,” Groot says. “It should be kept as a ravine … The green space in this city is dwindling. Why do you put it in front of our houses?”

One-way 67th Street might become a two-way road, which could increase shortcutting from 98th Avenue, she says.
First off, the concerns about "shortcuts" is, as always, practically insane. Whenever residents get so concerned about "shortcuts" they should ask why the City of Edmonton is always making roads that aren't shortcuts to begin with.

Secondly, bad planning by the city left this quagmire in place to begin with. As you can see from the Google Maps screenshot above, there was formerly a really big piece of land (red circle) that could easily hold an 11,000 square foot library and maybe even some parking. Another piece of empty land (blue circle) sits above the black "X" that designates where the library is planning to be built, presumably at the loss of some trees. The area in the blue circle could easily handle...say...a skate park, without moving a single tree.

Why did I say skate park? Because recently the City of Edmonton built a skate park right smack dab in the middle of that red circle. Here's a street view level showing the skate park, which wasn't there at the time the aerial shot was taken. This is, in other words, a new thing that has gone in there. You would also think they could probably fit a library in that space instead, but I digress. The key point to take away is that the skate park is new. So what do you make, then, of this?
The proposal has been in the works for years.

A larger building was originally slated to go around the corner on 101st Avenue on the site of a demolished fire station.

But architects felt there wasn’t enough room for parking close to the entrance and it would be overshadowed by a nearby apartment, Land says.

“We have been looking for a location. It wasn’t easy to find a site where a library could be built.”

They’re still doing a traffic assessment and transportation surveys, including whether to make the entire street two-way or just as far south as the library, she says.

The ravine location should let patrons enjoy nature all year, and might allow the treed area to be extended, Land says.

“We want the library to celebrate the ravine and the green space,” she says. “We’re looking at having the east wall … made out of windows so people can look into the ravine.”
Wait, the proposal has been in the works for years? So as you have this proposal coming along, you decide to put a skate park in the big area that you could put a library with access from Terrace Road? Why would you do that? I understand you were hopeful for the firehall idea, which I assume from the description and proposed to be the area in the blue circle, but until you were certain couldn't you have waited on that oh-so-critical skateboard park?

Come to think of it, why is the city so gung ho to build a new community bonding facility library along that ravine in the first place? I get that the second floor of Capilano Mall poses problems for the old people who live in the Capilano area, what with the stairs and their bad hips and whats nots. The elevator, they note, breaks down sometimes and makes it hard for those with walkers to get to the library. The space isn't as big as they would like it to be. But, and here's the crazy thing: couldn't the city just lease space on the main floor of the mall? Had they acted on this earlier, maybe they could have avoided Capilano Mall tearing out huge sections of their unused floor space they couldn't lease out because Capilano Mall is slowly dying.

Which is to say, if the City of Edmonton is long-term that interested in having a library in the Capilano area close to where the mall is today, it makes far more sense to remain a tenant of the mall until -- and this day probably isn't that far away -- that another major space opens up in powercentre which Capilano Mall has become. Walmart isn't making a Supercentre there, for example, which is usually a sign they won't stick around for long. In other words, despite the city's concern that is "isn't easy to find a site" to build the library, there will soon be a glut of available space in the area, that meets all the criteria the city is looking for building a new building, and still keeps the residents happy.

Not that we've let them off the hook yet, mind you. The NIMBY-ism in the objections to the library are actually pretty funny, even the ones that have a serious objection behind them.
But Joanne Groot worries the facility will bring noise, traffic and troublemakers into what she says is a peaceful community.
Libraries are quiet! They have those "shhhhhh!" signs and everything.

More importantly, how much traffic do they really think the Capilano Library is going to get? I'd rather object to this based on my tax dollars being thrown into this expensive LEEDS-qualifying library that at the end of the day not many people are going to be using. Who looks at their local branch library and thinks "holy shit this place is generating a lot of traffic". Let's go down the road to Bonnie Doon Mall, where the library is a standalone building. Let's look at a Google Maps view of the parking lot around the library. Cars close to the bottom are actually probably mall parking, possibly even Sears employee parking.

Looks packed, doesn't it?

Jim Richardson, who complains that he won't be able to see deer in the ravine anymore, is worried that the library doesn't have any transit access -- which is odd but not really, EPL says that their LEEDS certification will depend on transit access and in this fight I give residents a slight edge over the city in the credibility of possibly dumb statements. So let's say more parking will occur because of lacklustre transit. Bonnie Doon shows us that's not a problem.

Joanna Groot isn't finished complaining, though. Along with traffic and noise, she says troublemakers will come along. By troublemakers, I assume she means homeless people, and while there has been a very public problem with homeless people nesting at the Stanley Milner Library downtown, that just isn't a problem at the smaller libraries out in the little neighbourhoods. If she doesn't mean homeless people, troublemakers generally aren't found in libraries. Besides, Fargos is already there, as are the low income rental apartments littering the area. If trouble hasn't found Capilano by now, it probably never will.

Groot also complains about the "dwindling green space" in the city, which sounds fair enough except that the Capilano area already has a boatload of green space. It also has not-green space, otherwise known as development, which is also known as where non-homeless people park their keisters at night. The section of Fulton Ravine being impacted here is actually very small, it's already a little pocket between Terrace Road and 101 Avenue. There's another small pocket south of Terrace Road, but then north of 101 Avenue the Fulton Ravine extends all the way to Gretzky Drive, is broken up by 106 Avenue, but then resumes all the way to the river valley. That's a fair bit of green space. On the east side of 50th street past the A&W lies another big patch of green that eventually connects to Tiger Goldstick Park, a massive greenspace between the upgraders and the Gold Bar neighbourhood all the way up to Gold Bar Park and the pedestrian bridge to Rundle. So I don't think a loss of local green space is going to be a problem in the area.

I know that Groot was talking green space in the city overall, not just in the Terrace Heights area. Still, when you're being NIMBY about things, you can't be worried about the green space in the back yards of others.

Lall in proceedings

As you may know, an Alberta election is underway. Will godless socialists form government and/or opposition? Will Jim Prentice be the PC leader who finally breaks that hallowed "PCs look in trouble at the time of the election call and then handily win a majority" streak? Will voters remember their distaste of Danielle Smith/Alison Redford/Raj Sherman in the ballot box?

Way back in March there was a weird scandal where some Edmonton PC candidate hopefuls were pushed out by the party under bizarre circumstances. One of them, former Wildrose candidate Don Martin, tried to go nuclear with what had happened to him. It ended up being a minor footnote.

When far-left media outlet Metro got a hold of some text messages where Jamie Lall was being told by PC executive Kelley Charlebois that he "wasn't wanted" as a candidate in Chestermere. Days earlier Jonathon Denis (the Justice Minister) had been texting Lall warning him that he was being setup, as the PCs hired a private detective to dig into Lall's life.

The story instantly reminded me (and, oddly, very few others) of the Don Martin episode. For one, the PCs cryptically responded with "Lall knows why he was disqualified". Contrast this with the story of Don Martin.
Martin doesn't disclose what that misconduct is: either he doesn't know, which means Charlebois is probably taking action on misconduct that didn't happen; he does know, which means Charlebois is taking action on misconduct that Martin is hoping the PC Party isn't too keen on disclosing publicly; or Don Martin is guilty of misconduct but he doesn't realize that he did it, either a disagreement over what the misconduct is or misconduct done by members of his campaign team without his knowledge.
Somebodyy (we still don't know who) apparently signed a sworn affidavit that says why Don Martin was disqualified (we still don't know what specifically it said).

Unlike with Don Martin, though, the PCs were quick to get it out in the media swarm that they had a really really really really good reason for disqualifying Lall. Apparently Lall had been the subject of a restraining order in 2007, though even after this came out Lall said he was unaware of the reason behind the PC decision to disallow him. It paints a fairly damning picture of Lall, at the very least they gave a reason to disqualify him, though it's important to note that having a restraining order filed against you doesn't always mean you're actually guilty of misconduct (though the Letterman case is a U.S. one, restraining orders by their nature require action before accusations can be proven).

It's hard to say if Lall was told the reasons or not, but again the contrast is interesting. Both Don Martin and Jamie Lall were disqualified, both are publicly stating they don't know why, the party alluded to misconduct that wasn't detailed out, but only in the case of Lall was there an external piece of information (the restraining order, which the PCs claim Lall tried to cover up) for the CBC to latch onto. Lall was being warned by no less than the Justice Minister (one who, it's worth noting, is no longer Justice Minister and has his own domestic squabbles now before the courts) that it was all just a setup, a way of forcing Lall out and parachuting the party's ideal candidate (former Wildrose MLA Brian McAllister) in. That matches fairly well with the "there is no misconduct" scenario with Don Martin, where it's just a Kelley Charbois inspired witch hunt.

While we still don't know why the PCs disallowed Martin (or confirmed why they disallowed Lall) there's certainly enough evidence at this point to say that the party's nomination process in broken. Perhaps instead of directing the attention of private detectives to the personal backstories of candidate hopefuls, Jim Prentice would have been advised instead to have them look at the PC party executives and how they run nomination battles.

In fact, considering how the PCs are sitting in the polls, Prentice must really really really regret calling this election now. There's some uncertainty what role the big guy himself has played in this whole sordid affair, but surely he must have known or at least heard the stories about the PCs having a less-than-stellar record with their open candidate selection process. Sure sure, that same process put him in the chair, and I don't think the PCs executives weren't elated to have Prentice be "the guy", but the sheer margin of his win over McIver and Lukaszuk made it clear that it wasn't a mistake making him leader. Just imagine an alternative universe where, instead of violating the fixed election law, Prentice instead dedicates himself in the summer of 2015 of putting his house in order and cleaning up the party nomination process. Think about the PR boosts he could get throughout the rest of the year building up to the next election when he declares all ridings open, stops first to cleanse the top executives, gets tough on those who tried to arrange to get "their" people put in place through shady dealings, and then has some high profile firings as he does to the Alberta PCs what Sarah Palin did to the Alaska Republicans.

Instead, Prentice looks to do what even Stelmach and Redford couldn't: obliterate the Alberta PCs through a thousand cuts of shady dealings, from Don Martin to Jamie Lall.



You first.

And when I say you first, I mean you pay your taxes. And you pay mine. Yes, you personally. In fact, I want your provincial taxes doubled. Tripled. 90% of your income. Every single day I want you to wake up, go to work, and labour away as a slave to Jim Prentice. He owns your body, the creativity and hard work that you put into your job every day.

Don't scoff. This is exactly your idea. You want to raise my taxes. You want more of my time and effort to be stolen away by the provincial government in order to fund things that you think should exist. Your sick worldview requires this belief, that money earned by free peoples exchanging their labours -- be it mental or physical -- actually belongs to "society" (in theory) or the guy elected to be head of government this week (in practice). In other words, you think that my working life actually belongs to Prentice, and it's up to you (through him) how much of it I get to keep.

I reject that utterly, along with your ridiculous attempt to justify your tax increases by trying to define some "other" who you think should pay because you don't want to pay it yourself. You want "the rich" or "corporations" to pay it.

Besides the fact that "the rich" or "corporations" are the exact same groups who -- when being told by inferior louts that they need to "pay more" -- tend to instead spend slightly less than the tax bill you send them to figure out how to get out of paying any in the first place, "the rich" or "corporations" don't deserve to pay any more than they already do. In fact, they deserve to pay far far far less.

Your plan won't work.

You do realize that your tax rate hikes don't result in an actual tax revenue hike, don't you? Remember, Burger King reincorporated as a Canadian company last year in order to escape a punitive corporate tax regime. They're the same company, doing the same thing in the same market, but they just duck out on sending Uncle Sam (or Uncle Jim, or the Queen Rachel you pro-tax idiots desire) the cash. They'll do the exact same thing if you dare spike their taxes out of your petty jealousy. They may use differing schemes, some more visible than others, but the results will show up on the balance sheet. Tax cuts increase revenue while tax hikes reduce it. Which means that the money you think Prentice or Notley are going to raise to pay for social services isn't coming. Instead, they'll have to hike the taxes on people who are easier to collect from: namely, you. As Mark Steyn said, eventually you run out of rich people to stick the bill to. That comes sooner than you think.

So once there's no money, the only thing left is your pathetic jealousy. You just want to stick "the rich" and "corporations" with a higher tax bill because they're more successful than you and you want to punish them for it. That's your own failures manifesting themselves. Don't blame Enbridge and Stantec for them. Definitely don't punish them, their stockholders, their customers, their employees, and the economic system that rewards them for it. And that's the real reason that I'm anxious for you, yes you, to pay more personally long before taxes for the rest of us get raised. It strikes to the lie at the very notion of "fairness" you apply by thinking that "progressive" tax rates are a positive. They aren't.

Only a flat tax is fair

We've covered this before, of course, but only a flat tax is a fair tax system. You should be working x% of your day for the government, the same x% as anybody making more than you or less than you or the same as you or working an extra half hour a day or whatever and what have you. By demanding that somebody else not you work extra for the government while you get off scot-free is sickening. You're the first to talk about "paying your fair share" so why makes 10% of your hour of work so more fair than the 10% of his hour of work? Both of you spend the same proportion of your working lives under the government heel. That fact: that you're so keen for some nebulous "other" to have to work harder for less just so that you can feel like a big man and feel like you're getting what's "owed" to you by some guy who you probably never met and has absolutely nothing to do with you. That's what makes you intrinsically unfair. You don't believe in fairness. You never have, so stop lying to yourself and stop lying to the rest of us when you claim that taking the money that other people have worked for while you get to keep yours is in any way "fair". The previous flat tax wasn't fully fair either: there was a personal exemption that shouldn't have been there. If you make $5 an hour (and no there shouldn't be a minimum wage but that's a story for another day), then you should have to give up $0.50 to the great sucking maw of the government. If you want to keep more of that $5, do what the rest of us are doing: demand significant tax cuts so you can keep the fifty cents that you worked for and Rachel Notley didn't.

You want free services

It's especially important that you, the idiot who wants to raise my taxes, should suffer the pains of losing all your money to taxes first because you always followup with saying how you love the idea of it paying for more services. If you like these services so much, then pay for them. Pay what you want me to pay, plus what you'd pay. Because I sure as shit don't want to pay for this pathetic bucket of second rate socialist services. If they're so wonderful that total strangers you've never met should be blasted with a ridiculous bill every April, then set a positive example and pay up. Of course, if these services were as great as you're claiming, we shouldn't even need taxes to pay for them. Let's make them strictly a user-pay system. Even if you decide to block any privatization of, say, healthcare, the status quo is surely so often that you'd love the chance to pay the bargain basement rates they surely are charging. You, uh, do know how much specific medical procedures and events are billed to the government, right? Wait, you don't? Then how are you going around claiming how great they are, and how you're convinced more tax dollars are the missing link to make them any good? (Okay, while we're at it how are you reconciling the "it's a great investment we need more of" and "the system is broken and desperately needing extra money"?)

You're a hypocrite

Look, I think we know full well why you don't want to voluntarily send more of your money to the provincial government. You've got this wacky opinion that you deserve to spend your money the way you want. But you're only apply this to you, and that makes you a hypocrite. It's no different than you wanting the speed limit on Highway 2 to be dropped to 75 km/hr when you're cruising around doing a buck-twenty. You're sucking back cigs in a public park and grumbling that we need a smoking ban. You think it's great that money flows from the productive members of society employed by the private sector and to the unproductive leeches of society employed by or otherwise provided for by the public sector. But not if it's your money...then you'd really like to keep it. Better to raise "corporate" taxes or "taxes on the rich". Anybody other than you.

You should suffer

I reject that utterly. You want tax hikes, you can pay for it. If you don't do it voluntarily, don't be surprised to find me in your garage making off with things of value. Or if you wake up and I've kidnapped you and put you into slave labour. I'm just raising your taxes. You did it to me, you have no possible objection when I do it do you. For wanting tax hikes, you've shown yourself to be a sick individual who deserves no less fate. You should be in chains and on your knees, broken and beaten and worked like a rented mule until you die, with every cent of value from your labours extracted for the good of people who didn't have to suffer like you have.

That's what taxes are. If you don't like that idea, welcome to the first step in becoming an independent self-reliant citizen. If you do, put your home address in the comments. We're coming for you either way, we may be lenient if you help us out.

Recommended additional reading: Steve Landsburg, Stephen Moore, and the The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board.

Post #2400, Baby!

We just keep on rolling in 2015. 2300 posts was just a couple months back and already it's time to celebrate post 2400.

Just like last time we'll do the Third Edge Sword feature I dubbed "pathetic sniveling chickenshit liberal of the month". Like Karen on that one Corner Gas episode, it's a couple months later and I still haven't improved on the first draft, despite the fact that March went by without highlighting a liberal chickenshit.

Our pathetic sniveling liberal chickenshit for this round is Laurie.

Laurie likes Boondock Saints (that movie where Willem Dafoe is a fudge packer), interacting with fellow sniveling liberal coward Donovan Workun (the guy who doesn't like ideological opponents speaking out against shitty plays, probably a good career move for an improv guy), and crying when she hears Broadway actresses do something emotional.

Oh yeah, and incredibly stupid politics.

After all, nobody who supports the NDP and desperately seeks Nenshi recognition for it should be complaining about high taxes. Jim Prentice raised taxes by quite a bit. Rachel Notley wants them to skyrocket. So this pathetic liberal coward, naturally, attacks the lack of PC corporate tax hikes (which the NDP would also skyrocket) by complaining about the individual tax hikes the NDP totally supported raising. She also thinks that Alberta's public servants, highest paid in the country and administering what was once the smallest government are "strapped".

And, of course, like all cowards, when a better person than her who actually knows something about anything speaks up, she reacts with fear rather than a personal desire to improve herself.

Rachel Notley should be in the kitchen (if she wants school lunches so badly)

As you may know, an Alberta election is underway. Will godless socialists form government and/or opposition? Will Jim Prentice be the PC leader who finally breaks that hallowed "PCs look in trouble at the time of the election call and then handily win a majority" streak? Will voters remember their distaste of Danielle Smith/Alison Redford/Raj Sherman in the ballot box?

A few days after releasing her $80 million dollar long-term-care policy, far-left Rachel Notley's NDP party released her education "policy": school lunches and more tax increases.
The NDP will stop the PCs’ cuts to education and ensure that our schools can meet the needs of our growing province. Our plan focuses on reducing class sizes, cutting school fees by half, and creating a school lunch program to help deliver a nutritious meal to 22,000 students in the first year.
The school lunch program is by far the most insane part of this schools plan, so let's leave it for last and instead start with the meat and potatoes [oh God, you made that joke in the first 150 words, this is going to be a long day. -ed].

How much is tax money is Rachel Notley trying to waste with this plan?

The "details of our plan" open with a single line that will cost every Albertan $40/yr right then and there.
New Democrats will reverse the PCs’ cut to school boards this year, which amount to $104 million
So that's $104 million right there. Annually. But hey, it's only $104 million, right, and it's a resurrection of money already cut, right? Wrong. In reality, the NDP have declared the $104 million not spent on hypothetical "enrollment increases" as a "cut". The impression (that the Prentice PCs have saved Albertans $104M) is totally false. Prentice didn't increase the budget by the amount the NDP wanted. So why stop at $104 million? By not increasing the funding by $2.6 trillion, Rachel Notley is planning a $2.599896 trillion dollar cut to Alberta Education.

Of course, when the NDP say "$104 million", even ignoring the (lying) definition they are putting forward of cuts, they actually mean way more than $104M. (Remember, they were only 100% wrong in their cost projections about healthcare)
New Democrats will also take steps to target funding to class size reduction initiatives, and reduce the trend of increasing class sizes in Alberta’s schools.
In other words, the NDP are planning on hiring more teachers. Every time you see "class sizes" discussed, remember that for the left this is code for hiring more lazy unionized teachers, who then vote NDP because teachers are mostly far-left losers who couldn't succeed in the real world. It's a make-work racket for the left, and its by coaching this phrase in patent nonsense (class sizes have little to no impact on the quality of the education students receive, and reducing class sizes is by far the most expensive and least effective way of improving student outcomes) that the NDP hopes to overrule good sense and make people think to themselves "this totally self-serving policy at my expense must be a good idea!"

You keep thinking that, and your tax dollars fly out the door. Education costs the Alberta Government a ridiculously insane $8.9 billion dollars annually. Think about that. $8.9 billion, huge amounts of it being wasted on unionized teachers, and all that the Notley campaign can think is this isn't nearly enough. Rather than find some ways of reducing that dollar amount, or at the very least finding more efficient ways to allocate it (as the Wildrose Party's recent education announcement is akin to), all Notley can think of is increasing the funding even further. Teachers alone already count for 60% of the cost of educating children in Alberta...before a single brick is laid for a school, a janitor employed, a photo of Her Majesty hung on the wall, just by having that unionized money pit standing at the front of your class. Useless tits like Joe Bower employ "progressive" educational nonsense while your children fail to learn the most basic of sums and lessons. And the NDP want to do more of that. For comparison, salaries make up only 50% of the cost of education in the United States, and only 22% the cost of goods manufacturing. Even reducing the teacher expenses down to 50% is a direct savings of roughly three quarters of a billion dollars. That's how much could be saved just bringing teacher costs to a more sane level, without instituting a single reform that makes it easier to replace sub-par teachers like Bower with ones who leave your kids able to read write and do sums at the end of the day. The NDP, like the Wildrose, is talking about eliminating school fees, in this case $45 million worth (to tack onto the extra billion or whatever their "more teachers" plan is going to cost).

Oh, but stop blaming the teachers, I can hear you say. It's not their fault. The poor students are oh so hungry. Which brings us to the silliest and most wasteful and unnecessary and immoral aspect of the Notley educational plan: school lunches.

School lunches are an incredibly dumb idea. You don't have to take my word for it, either. Here's the immortal Adam Carolla:

There are, according to the NDP, 22,000 kids in Alberta whose parents are so incredibly stupid that they don't know their children need food. They try to coach it in the language of poverty, so that you don't notice how ridiculously dumb it is.
New Democrats will phase-in a school lunch program that will provide lunches to children most in need, reduce child hunger, and help students focus on learning. In the first year, we will aim to provide lunches to 22,000 children with an investment of $20 million.
That's $20 dollars wasted on school lunches. Do we have to do this? Of course not. It's not the job of the state to feed children whose parents are too stupid to know that children are supposed to eat food. I know, I know, it's a radical and revolutionary way of looking at things, but bear with me.

As Carolla notes in his rant above, when politicians like Notley try claiming it's for poverty, they are lying. Even Notley isn't dense enough to actually believe that parents can't afford to feed children. Haul your keister down to WalMart or Superstore or Costco and check for yourself. Carolla has a weird aversion to oatmeal that I can't say I get, but I don't, and I can tell you right now for $5 at Walmart you can get not one, but two kilograms of oatmeal. That's a lot of oatmeal. Milk is a little more expensive per serving, but as Carolla notes you can just splash some milk on, if you really want to go frugal on the final tally. There realistically aren't any parents who can't afford food. For Pete's sake, the "obesity crisis" is blamed on, among other things, food being too abundantly cheap. The poor aren't starving to death (quite the opposite, in fact). The "poverty" ruse is just that, a ruse. Pay it no further attention.

So why the school lunch obsession on the far left in general and the Alberta NDP in particular? One reason is that it's another carrot to dangle in front of your face. School lunches aren't necessary for the needy, even a dumb bird doesn't shit in it's own nest [except pigeons -ed], but they are awfully convenient for the lazy. And pandering to lazy people who want something "for free" is something that the NDP have been doing since their party was formed. It's basically all they know. The thing about school lunch programs and other such nonsense is it doesn't stop once the foot is in the door, it grows and grows. Carolla mentions that in the video above. What started in LA as a small program has grown and metamorphosed into an unstoppable behemoth that you can't even speak out against. That would be the Notley future here. More and more lazy parents would demand their child be added to this program. Hey, making sandwiches in the morning feels like work. Making sure somebody else has to pay the bill to feed your kid and do the work for you? That sounds like soccer Mom paradise.

Unfortunately what it means for Notley and her ilk is closer to the glorious socialist workers paradise. Carolla mentions that too: it's an indoctrination system to get kids thinking that the government is the source of all solutions, that the Mother State is the provider of nourishment, and that if there's an issue it's only a few hundred million of taxpayer dollars here and there to solve it. It's a horrible vision of the future, but it's what the left believe in. Every time you agree to put one of their ridiculous signs on your lawn, you're buying into this backwards notion of what parenting is. Parenting is not crying to the NDP or the provincial government every time you wish something would happen, or that some program would need to be enacted. For a fraction of the $40 million dollars of taxpayers money (again, we're taking the NDP claim and doubling it, as recent experience taught us we must) that would be wasted on this "school lunch" program, NDP supporters could form a registered charity (or piggyback a campaign on an existing charity) dedicated to providing money for the tiny minority of parents who can't afford to buy 2kg of oatmeal for $5 at Walmart.

That solution, sadly, involves individual initiative, individual responsibility, a sense of legitimate caring for others (not this false caring that hiking other people's taxes to inefficiently redistribute to trendy identity groups signifies), and self-reliance. All of which are not values the Alberta NDP has, and they never will. It's why they are so alien to the actual beliefs of Albertans as opposed to an invading horde of immigrants (unsurprisingly, of the first six candidates on the Alberta NDP website, only two of them are born in Alberta).

Education spending in Alberta is far too high. We've seen the calibre of teachers that are being paid an average six-figure salary to "teach" kids, and it ain't pretty. We certainly don't need giant increases in education spending (quite the opposite, a 30% cut shouldn't be unrealistic), and we absolutely don't need more second-rate union-controlled teachers coming in and making exorbitant salaries just to provide the NDP with another reliable voting source funded by the beleaguered Alberta taxpayer. Furthermore, we absolutely don't need a school lunch program to provide food for kids with lazy parents.

Feeding children is the parent's job. It's not Rachel Notley's job, it's not your job, and it's not my job. I absolutely reject the notion that a single dime taken from me destined for the provincial coffers should be allocated to deadbeat parents who can't get their fat asses off the couch long enough to throw some peanut butter and jam in between two slices of bread. Some on the right have argued that lazy teachers (ie. almost all of them) are using "hungry kids" as a convenient scapegoat to cover up the flaws in their own second-rate union-endorsed teaching methods, and that for the low-low-cost involved (they ignore that it will inevitably metastasize into something even more grotesque than it currently is) in providing school lunches for "the needy" we can head that attitude off at the pass and start holding teachers accountable for the failures they spit out of the school system year after year. I just don't think that holds water, though. There will always be another scapegoat, another outrage, another problem for the Social Justice Warrior to latch onto and demand another multi-million dollar program to rectify. Next the school lunch program won't be "inclusive" enough for the gluten sensitive or some other nonsense like that. Just look at the giant sucking maw of waste that the Americans are facing because First Lady Monkey has decided that the phrase "Nanny State" sounded pretty good and imposed hipster standards on school lunch programs already in place (even ones that were revenue-neutral and required students to actually buy the lunch). That's Phase 7 of the school lunch program? Phase 5? Phase 8? It's somewhere after Phase 1, which is the Notley plan. The easiest phase to reject and stop, by the way.

On May 5th you can send a clear message. You can let these "progressive" busybodies know that if they touch your wallet, they feel steel pressing up against their chest. You can vote against the NDP culture of entitlement, the culture of lazy teachers and lazy parents propped up by the tax dollars of hardworking citizens. You can vote against the insane schemes of the Taker Class, and put a Wildrose Government in charge. Voting day is coming up quick. Remember, #anybodyexceptsocialists



As you may know, an Alberta election is underway. Will godless socialists form government and/or opposition? Will Jim Prentice be the PC leader who finally breaks that hallowed "PCs look in trouble at the time of the election call and then handily win a majority" streak? Will voters remember their distaste of Danielle Smith/Alison Redford/Raj Sherman in the ballot box?

And is Wildrose trying to lose?

That's the topic that a few of us were discussing around beers over the weekend, and it's a fair enough question. Wildrose is at or near the top of the polls, the PCs are floundering and there's a real chance that Wildrose can lure in potential PC voters who realize the party is headed off a cliff and that the goddamned Notley socialists could slip in and ruin the province.

So all they need is a strong, competant but not flashy, optimistic and issue-driven campaign.

So where is it?

Quick, name a couple of Wildrose policies. Okay, the no tax hikes is one (and it's a huge one), but is there anything else? Oh something about ending school fees. Okay, good, good. Anything else? Anything? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?
Ben Stein would challenge Manning for the title of best Premier in Alberta history, if we draft him

Wildrose's website is fairly good at covering the issues, including the Wildrose 5 Priorities (don't feel too ashamed if you can't name them all) and they have a fairly extensive 20-page policy plan. That's great, and for the wired crowd it's a good document to see that Wildrose is serious about being a sensible and responsible government.

Those priorities, all under the umbrella phrase of "Standing Up", are:

  1. Balanced Budgets and a Savings Plan
  2. Patient-Centred Health Care and Seniors Care
  3. World-Class Education
  4. Democracy and Accountability in Alberta
  5. Rural Alberta
Of course, the wired (and non-wired) crowd have to find the damned thing first, and Wildrose certainly hasn't been pushing people to read it. Mentioning it in the Leaders Debate was good, that's important. But first, give people an idea what's in it so they aren't starting out cold. Details about the plan? Yes, that's a 20 page document that people can download and read at their leisure. But first Wildrose needs to push into the conversation what they believe, what they will do, and why people should want them to do it. That just hasn't been happening in the Wildrose campaign to date. There should be a series of radio and TV ads that express what Wildrose will do. Ideally, these should allude to but not mention the other parties, and highlight how these will make Alberta better. Brian Jean isn't the most energetic speaker, but he's surely capable of acting interested enough for quick soundbytes like
Hi, I'm Brian Jean, and a Wildrose government will roll back the pay increase for your elected representatives, publicly disclose the travel expenses for government officials, and make it easier for watchdogs and the press to obtain Freedom of Information requests that will hold us accountable to you, the people. Ending the Entitlement Culture and improving accountability in our government will happen with your vote on May 5th for a Wildrose government.
I timed that out and it hovers around the 26-27 second mark, long enough for a 30 second TV spot that gives an example not at all related to taxes which tells the public what Wildrose will do, hints at the famous scandals, and gives people an optimistic reason to think Wildrose is different. That's one spot. Brian Jean could do most or all of them, or introduce other members of the Wildrose team. Mark Smith (Drayton Valley-Devon) could talk about the Wildrose education priorities. Linda Carlson (Calgary-Acadia) could speak to the healthcare plan, and one of the young photogenic candidates like Megan Brown (Calgary-Elbow), Joe Byram (Edmonton-Centre, or Jae Shim (Calgary-Hawkwood) could be given the chance to speak about Wildrose plans like a budget that transparently and easily lays out what the government is collecting and spending every year, cap severance agreements for publicly funded executives, set hard targets for reducing regulatory compliance costs for small business, implement MLA recall legislation, reform all-party committees, and an open tender process so government contracts go to the best recipient rather than friends of the governing party. Such campaigns can be pushed into the digital world too: YouTube, Google ads, etc. There can be a lot more variety in the radio versions, but if Wildrose has 5 priorities then there should be five different TV ads, even if they "cheat" by not focusing entirely on the rural priorities but combining it with property rights and construction of infrastructure. Wildrose has pro-parent policies in schools, pro-patient policies in healthcare, and pro-citizen policies in administration. So talk about these! Make sure that when the casual low-info voter thinks about Wildrose that you've put a variety of ideas in your head. Even if they may not necessarily agree with the policies they will at least know about them. How many of these potential NDP voters who have genericly decided to support the party could name or, if pressed, admit to agreeing with them? Not a lot, I'd wager. Meanwhile, Wildrose is practically escaping their memory. Wildrose is still blessed with a pretty substantial war chest, it's time to actually spend it. It's possible, I suppose, that Wildrose is sitting on the money hoping for a late-campaign blitz of the airwaves. All the emails I'm getting asking for donations to "get the message out" would tend to support that. However, if you fall too far behind you then have to fight to play catchup. Surely putting Wildrose in voters heads now right now! has more value than saving up the war chest for a late-campaign push when you may be too far behind already. Wildrose supporters are making their own hashtags to warn why Wildrose is better than the NDP. They have to, it seems the party itself is slow to make it. Which leads me to where we came in: is Wildrose trying to lose? Okay, I don't mean it that way, I'll rephrase it the way somebody asked it to me: is Wildrose scared of winning? I don't see why they should be: yes they had to cobble the election together on short notice and maybe don't have candidates as strong to form the next government as they would wish. But one of the ideal advantages of being a small-government conservative is that once you accept that government is an evil of questionable necessity then the important thing is for those governing you to accept this. A competent or even skilled administrator who is expert at doing a whole bunch of destructive things is far less desirable than a competent or even unskilled administrator who is generically okay at doing a small number of things designed to be destructive. Not meaning to look at Notley's campaign too enviously, but she has shitty candidates too but manages to soldier on. And she's going to need uber-competent savants who can oversee the biggest government takeover of the economy in Alberta Government history.

Which segues right back to the top of the pile: early in the campaign we asked if Brian Jean was the right Wildrose leader, and it's fair to revisit that. His tendency to stick to the "no taxes" mantra along with his lack of personal charisma certainly makes it a tough one. But he is the leader Wildrose is stuck with [it could be worse, Wildrose could be stuck with a bland doctor who likes to lie about medicine! -ed] and he'll be the one that has to lead what's left of this election charge. Nobody's necessarily expecting him to go full on Churchill all of a sudden (though he did get credit for a great radio interview yesterday morning), but please know the difference between staying-on-message and staying-on-tunnel-vision-message. Wildrose has a lot more to offer than just holding the line on taxes, and while it's definitely the big wedge to drive between Wildrose and every other party, property rights are another one. Frame it the way it's meant to be framed: a human rights issue. No, in fact, it's the human rights issue. Wildrose thinks that your house and your car and your paycheque all belong to you, and Prentice and Notley (this may, if necessary, be the exception where Wildrose can attack the other two primary contenders) think it belongs to them and they have decided that you cannot be permitted to keep even what little you were keeping before. Wildrose doesn't believe RCMP should be allowed to become the Provincial Government's gun control arm, Wildrose doesn't believe that landowners should be an afterthought in major infrastructure projects (this is, don't forget, an issue for city dwellers looking at LRT-hungry governments in their path), and Wildrose doesn't believe in government managing shared water rights on behalf of the loudest and most well-off lobbyist. Wildrose believes schools and hospitals need to remain as accountable to the people as the Legislature.

Unfortunately, due the lack of an ad campaign, the Dancing With the Stars watching potential voter doesn't really know much about Wildrose outside of what they pick of via osmosis by an extremely biased and hostile liberal media. To combat this, Wildrose needs to be visible, they need to be positive, they need to stop talking about what others have done or will do and instead focus on what they will do. Allude to the scandals, even mention the other leaders when you need to differentiate...but differentiate. Put Wildrose policies out there and dare the public to be on your side.

If late in the campaign you feel the need to lure in PC voters by suggesting that they should abandon Prentice due to the NDP's rise, you first need to build a strong base of support. The debate over the merits of that move are better discussed on May 3rd. For now, the media blitz needs to start hitting the casual non-voter, and it needs to talk policy. That's how Wildrose can win.

The only question will be if that's what they're after.


I wouldn't necessarily say that, if anything they could actually be better under Prentice. At the very least, it's less clear this came with tacit approval by the boss, which totally was the case under Red Redford.

I'd be more likely to say that in the post-Redford era, victims of this sort of sleaze aren't as willing to stay quiet about it. Back when Premier Mom was running the show, there was still a fear that if you were a victim of this sort of deal it would be better to stay quiet and wait it out, hoping that you'd be rewarded with loyalty for your silence. Now that the Premiership itself isn't an immunity to being booted out for bad behaviour and unethical practices, and especially with the very real prospect that the comfortable PC majority won't be around next time to even reward your loyalty, it gives the afflicted a better chance at landing on their feet if they do decide to spill the beans.


The story of Shernell Pierre, Devon Hugh Saunders, and Third Edge of the Sword

I hadn't been keeping up with the case, but earlier this month the murder trial of Devon Hugh Saunders got underway.

Regular readers of this blog might find the name ringing a few bells. A good part of that is that, for no particular good reason, information about this case kept reaching my ears long before they became public.

If you aren't familiar with the case, it happened back when Last Link on the Left was covering every Edmonton homicide (the site stopped such coverage in 2012, the year after Edmonton's whopping 47 homicides led the country), and the Last Link on the Left page dedicated to the murder provides an excellent roundup of the case. You might even find some familiar "face" as you progress, along with screenshots of a blog design even I'd forgotten.

Shernell Sharon Pierre, a 26 year old Caribbean immigrant, was working at the Misery-cordia hospital in west Edmonton. She had been in a relationship with a married man, and later left him for another. After her shift at the hospital the evening of March 12, 2008, she left the premises and wasn't seen again until 11:23pm when her car was discovered burning up with her inside of it, on the side of 170th Street just south of 87th Avenue at West Edmonton Mall. The only thing recovered was her bible. Her purse was found a few blocks further west.

Two days later, Shernell Pierre was identified by police as the victim, and investigators started asking the public for information related to what was now believed to be the murder of Shernell Pierre.

That's where I come in.

I was out at a house party on the night of Saturday, March 15th. I can't remember exactly where, I do know that one of the people I went with knew either the owner of the house or another person at the party, so the three of us went to go check it out. During this time, I ended up in conversation on a couch with a girl who, for reasons I'll never understand, steered the conversation towards Shernell Pierre, who had been ID'd only the night before. I do remember this: she wasn't black (and I didn't score). I assume now that she was a coworker of Pierre's from the Misericordia Hospital, but she was telling me all sorts of things about Pierre. This being the days before smartphones, and a night that I had gone out drinking with the intention of having fun, I tragically didn't really catch all of it. Now I suppose I could have snuck my phone out and started recording video or a sound file. Ah well.

Anyways, of the things I do remember her telling me about Shernell Pierre, I blogged about the next day. Shernell Pierre was from the island of St. Vincent, who had met a Jamaican man in Canada and been in a relationship with even though he was already married. She ended the relationship, then married a man from St. Vincent, and brought him back to Edmonton just two weeks before her murder. From what we've heard after the event, we can look back and say that the first part of this was true: she did enter into a relationship with a Jamaican man, and a friend at her funeral procession did tell the media she'd broken up with him "a couple months" earlier. Nothing to date says that the second part of what I was told was true: that Pierre had gone to St. Vincent and married another man who she'd brought back. It's possible that she had started seeing another man, possible she went to St. Vincent to see him, even possible he came back with her. But her obituary made no mention of a husband or even a fiancee, and the only person the media has reported to come up from St. Vincent for her funeral and/or trial has been her uncle.

Soon after I published the post, it got noticed. It specifically got noticed from two different media persons, CTV reporter Scott Roberts, and Edmonton SUN reporter Nicki Thomas. This being the days before Twitter and DMs, they reached out the "old fashioned" way with a comment asking me to contact them for a chit-chat, even if it was going to be off the record. Now I have no doubt that Thomas and Roberts would have maintained my anonymity as a source if I had requested it. But I don't directly deal with the media. I didn't deal with the media when Global TV did their hit piece on me last year, I didn't deal with the media when they asked me to share what I knew about Shernell Pierre. Of course, I was helped a lot by the fact that I actually didn't know about Shernell Pierre! I'd never met her, I was highly unlikely to have ever even seen her before unless we shared an escalator at West Ed or something. I certainly wasn't connected to her other than I had heard somebody else's story at a party -- a story that we now know to be part true and part not true. It was an odd comment thread really: half the comments were from media wanting to talk to me to report what I knew about the case (when I had at best a half-truth) and then comments from family and friends of Shernell Pierre upset about me to because I was pretending to know about the case at all (when I had at worst a half-lie). I also, partly because Scott Roberts had just posted a phone number, had to deal with the non-zero possibility that the first comment was by somebody who was connected to Pierre; either one of the friends or family members wanting to know who was spreading rumours about their dead relative/friend, or even worse the guy who already showed he was willing to kill over her wanting to make sure somebody with a blog wasn't too well connected into details of the case. Regardless, I didn't talk to the media. I did address the comments with a followup post, where I noted that the "don't call her a homewrecker" comments meant that at least part of the story, the part about her being with a married man, must be true (and, indeed, it was). I also told the media that I pretty much laid everything out in the post, sorry but the Feynman and Coulter's Love Child well has tragically run dry.

Anyways, brief firestorm, angry relatives in the comments. It was, except for the bit of insider baseball I heard at the house party, just another day in the life of a Third Edge of the Sword post about a murder victim in Edmonton. It happened with Lily Tran, it happened with Niko Arlia, and it happened with Jacey Pinnock. Pretty basic stuff. Meanwhile, the investigation continued, and I didn't pay it much attention.

Maybe I should have. At some point, an anonymous comment had been posted to my followup entry where a man was named as the killer. I don't know when: sometime between March 2008 and February 2012. My website stats don't go that far back historically, so when I tried to research further I was stymied. The native blogger commenting system only gives you a time of day for a comment posting, not an actual date. Anyways, the comment included this line (in ALL CAPS)

The name of that Jamaican man is Devon Hugh Saunders. He is the murderer of Shernell. He is the ex-boyfriend a very cold and callous person. He calculates his every action to a "T" and does not care who gets hurt. Everything has to be to his satisfaction. When you see this man stay far away from him. He drives a navy blue avalanche with "Hugh's Home Renovations" on the back window.
Had I noticed that earlier, I would have followed up. I probably could have found out where "Hugh's Home Renovations" was. I could have looked up Devon Hugh Saunders. I may have got a picture of him, his house, his vehicle, who knows. Instead, the only way I found that entry is when I Googled the name "Devon Hugh Saunders", which I did when Edmonton Police announced they arrested him for the murder on March 6 2012. which is where I discovered the first ever non-dark internet presence of him was...me.

So I posted a little boasting, figured it was at least a minor feather in my cap, and went about my business. The media started reporting more about Devon Hugh Saunders, a Jamaican (go figure!) who was married (you don't say!) and was in a relationship with Pierre (gasp!). I sort of kept up on it, sort of didn't, but it wasn't exactly to start impacting my social life. So on the night of Friday March 30th, 2012, I went out drinking downtown and we ended up at The Rack on Whyte Avenue. Well, it's The Rack now, I think it was The Rack then too but that's the bar that was Roxy's and the temporarily Urban Lounge and I think another dozen or so names since the turn of the century. Anyways, I'm at that place that now you know of as The Rack. I go to the bar in the southeast corner to refill my wobbly pop, and pass a table of mostly black girls (there was one or two white ones there, if I recall). One of the black girls is in the middle of telling a story, I briefly perk up to see if it's about her wanting to have sex with me and then disregard and turn my attention to my drink. Wait, what was that about Hugh Saunders? Why do I know that name? Suddenly I don't think an earthquake could displace me from that spot. Her table is one of the ones just to the southwest of the corner of the bar ("the bar" here is the big table with a girl behind it serving drinks, not the establishment as a whole) so I am able to order, pay, and then stand there and eavesdrop while trying to look as casual as possible.

She's one of Saunder's friends (I'm going to just assume at this point intimately, which would explain a lot of the content), and is telling them that he did it. It wasn't a huge revelation in and of itself, but he had come clean with his family members about what happened. He went to the hospital when he knew her shift was ending, found her car in the parking lot, and waited for her. He confronted her, and they went for a drive. The reason he confronted her was that she had borrowed a lot of money from him (or "Hugh's Home Renovations") and after they broke up he wanted it back. Instead she refused to repay the money, and even taunted Saunders that she was going to use it to be happy with her new beau. So he killed her. Police seized his passport, questioned him, and tried to build a profile of him by speaking with family members. It didn't sound like she was interviewed. At that point their conversation morphed into stories not about major cases covered in the news, I waited around just in case it swung back Pierre's way, and then casually moved away when it didn't. Armed with this information, and fairly sure talking to them wouldn't let me obtain any more of it, I wrote a new post about it.

Since then, I've been done with the case, just like I had been before, and so I didn't realize the trial was on until I started noticing an increase in Pierre-related blog traffic, mostly directed from Last Link on the Left or Google. There hasn't been much news coverage of the case, but Devon Hugh Saunder's interrogation video was played in court, and a portion published by Global. A man suspected to be him is seen entering West Edmonton Mall, though they don't seem to mention which entrance. Was it Entrance 50, which faces towards the transit station and also happens to be the closest entrance to 87th avenue and 176th street where Pierre's purse was found by investigators. The Crown also alleges, as did Saunder's gal-pal, that he met up with her in the parking lot, which they say security cameras will back up. Glenmore Rennis, a contractor who worked with Saunders, said he'd been shown the gun used to kill her before, and the Saunders said he'd "never fall in love" like that again, crying over Pierre regularly before -- but not after -- her death. Saunders had hidden his gun on his property, and the police hadn't found it. Saunders also had been heard talking very angrily to Pierre over the phone because she was sleeping with another man (possibly in St. Vincent?) and then said he'd kill her, though it didn't sound serious at the time. Fellow nurses said that Saunders was a jealous person, maybe even "a cold and callous person"?

We then got further information about Pierre, who did hook up with a "childhood friend" while she was in St. Vincent, just like my 2008 source had revealed. The trial is ongoing, and while I haven't been in any position to attend, I have kept an eye on the videos taken by the media around the courthouse, with half a mind to identify either of my two sources. So far no luck, though I suspect that even if I saw them, I wouldn't recognize them.

On the bright side, they wouldn't recognize me either. And that's why I've been able to give you inside information on a case that I otherwise would have had no involvement in.