Sunday, February 28, 2010
I'm not a lumberjack,
or a fur trader...
and I don't live in an igloo
or eat blubber, or own a dogsled...
and I don't know Jimmy, Sally or Suzy from Canada,
although I'm certain they're really, really nice.
I have a Prime Minister,
not a President.
I speak English and French,
and I pronouce it ABOUT,
NOT A BOOT.
I can proudly sew my country's flag on my backpack.
I believe in peace keeping, NOT policing.
DIVERSITY, NOT assimilation,
AND THAT THE BEAVER IS A TRULY PROUD AND NOBLE ANIMAL.
A TOQUE IS A HAT,
A CHESTERFIELD IS A COUCH,
AND IT IS PRONOUCED 'ZED' NOT 'ZEE', 'ZED'!
CANADA IS THE SECOND LARGEST LANDMASS!
THE FIRST NATION OF HOCKEY!
AND THE BEST PART OF NORTH AMERICA!
MY NAME IS JOE!
AND I AM CANADIAN!
Note: For an *excellent* write up on our Olympics read the following which was sent to me by our blogging buddy, Jose. Thanks Jose!
Winners and losers: Canadians steal show
Thursday, February 25, 2010
I was so upset at this expense, invasion and 'big brother' bureaucracy (I think if we paid for less bureaucracy we would all be further ahead) that on Feb. 10th, I sent off a letter of complaint to my local 'conservative' MLA's Constituency Office, by way of an email. Only to get no reply? So I sent off another one on Feb. 22 to his 'other' email address, only to still get no reply?
I tell ya,
things aren't what they used to be... in more ways than one... :-(
The only thing I can think of is he's at the Olympics on my dime, which came from fees such as the one above... We are so blessed by having a government that knows how to take care of business (for themselves), while monitoring our every move.
UPDATE: My 'friend' Evan has just won 'GOLD' in my books! He's proved to me we have a representative that truly works on behalf of all constituents, regardless of their party affiliation or ideology... which is the way it should be! Way to go Evan! For restoring faith in our democratic system, and proving to me there is at least one 'good conservative politician' out there. :-)
Response Letter from MLA Evan Berger
Thank you for 'taking care of business' in such a 'professional' manner.
p.s. My apologies for putting too sort a time-line on my expectations. I will give that due consideration in the future. Again, Thank You Evan!
I prefer the company of peasants because they have not been educated sufficiently to reason incorrectly.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
note: Thanks Diane!
Friday, February 19, 2010
They say in business its all about LOCATION, LOCATION LOCATION. Well, the CLC has that in spades! In addition, it is isolated i.e. it will not disturb anyone in the area - in fact, it will compliment it. It will also create much needed JOBS, JOBS, JOBS and a much needed tax base as well. Check out what I said about this during my term on municipal council (1998-2001) by way of a proposal to council...
Crowsnest Centre (Casino)
In defense of our four brave councillors who dared do the right thing, my speech during the CLC plebiscite debate of 1999(?)...
Crowsnest Centre (Forum Speech)
Taking action leads to results; not taking action only leads to feelings of hopelessness – and helplessness.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Starting off with the creation of the CROWSNEST PASS BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION - see Articles of Incorporation in 1988, by a small group of individuals (led by our esteemed Mayor) which seized control of our community's economic engine, and has maintained control of it ever since. In 2006, this entity under went a name change and today it is now better known as COMMUNITY FUTURES CROWSNEST PASS - see Alberta Corporation Non-Profit CFCNP), but still having the same people (22 years later) as 'shareholders' and directors in what is suppose to be a non-profit corporation??? Is Western Economic Diversification (WED) who are the federal government's overseer of Community Futures aware of this i.e. private corporation wrapped up into a non-profit corporation? I'm still waiting for an answer to that question, and for supporting documents I requested from WED (my experience so far in dealing with these people is that they are ever-so-slow in responding, and seem to prefer to circle the wagons rather than dealing openly and honestly with those they are suppose to be serving). I'll keep you posted on this and more, once I get some answers and paperwork that I have been promised, and tie up some loose ends.
From looking over the above two documents one can easily see who has been at the helm and controlling much of the decision making with respect to our local economy for the past 22 years (hint: it is NOT the Board), in more ways than one, which explains volumes as to our sorry and sad state of affairs.
Around the same time, the Crowsnest Learning Centre (CLC) was set up as their private little club (Society) with taxpayers picking up the bills, while having little to no say.
Add to the above, Dr. John Irwin being our local hospital's doctor and only surgeon, along with his position as Mayor over our local governance, and we see one-man rule has been the end result for our community. Taken separately, one can argue it doesn't necessarily add up to much, but when added together collectively, the picture of authoritarian and despotic rule is very clear, and explains much in my opinion with respect to our ongoing economic and societal slide into stagnation, decline and despair.
Some will argue we have not had true democracy here in the Pass for some time, but instead, dictatorial rule with a small elite group of people exerting their will for the greater good of the few, at the expense of the many. For those who cannot see this then keep voting him or his underlings in and you will get more of the same... good government. For those who do see this and desire real change, then it is time to depose the King and let freedom reign. By ensuring an 'honest' election and by supporting those who are willing, able and ready to step forward to lead this community into the 21st century, and away from the dark ages. It is time to let go of the past and get on with the future.
The re-organizational structure of Community Futures Crowsnest Pass, along with open and free elections at the membership level for a new Board of Directors, and a change of local government this coming fall, must be our community's top priority. Only then, can the people regain control and become all that we can be!
Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
"Woman was created from the rib of man:
Not from his head to be thought of only,
nor from his hand to be owned,
nor from his foot to be beneath,
but from under his arm to be protected,
from his side to be equal,
and from his heart to be loved...".
(your loving and faithful Prince)
Friday, February 12, 2010
A proposal put forward by Bridgecreek Development Corporation to a group of investors of the proposed River Run project has been soundly rejected.
At a special shareholders meeting held in Calgary on Jan. 16, investors in the "River Run Vistas" patch of the Blairmore property, voted strongly in favour of taking the project into their own hands.
Myron Achtman, new chairman of the steering committee representing about 90 Canadians who invested in River Run, told The Promoter the meeting was held to hear an update on the project and Bridgecreek's proposal to attempt to seek new funding.
Crowsnest Pass Mayor John Irwin was also present at the meeting and spoke to investors on infrastructure and environmental issues.
During the meeting, Bridgecreek CEO Bill Bradley, told investors that the company had "raised 14 per cent of our goal when the economy tanked" and that the "mortgage proceeds have been spent".
The group heard a total of $32m was raised and $17m was spent on the project. This was broken down as follows: $5m to Bighorn Mountain Resort in Canmore, $3.2m on "investor relations staff " (sales commissions), $3.7m on marketing, legal and professional fees, $4.5m on accrued interest for carrying costs to investors, and $1.5m on engineers.
Bradley admitted that the $5m inter-company loan to the Bighorn project is "non-recoverable".
The River Run Vistas group invested a total of $14m from early 2007 to early 2008. Bridgecreek defaulted on interest payments due from Oct. 1, 2008. The average amount invested is $156,000. Investors hold first mortgage on 67 lots. During the meeting, investors learned their $14m investment has been spent.
"The economy has rendered your mortgage non-performing," said Bridgecreek's Gabor Zinner.
Bradley and Zinner told investors they were in discussions with a lender and were looking for $2.5m to get the first phase of the project going and required $5m in security. They have hired Viceroy Homes and said they'll "go ahead no matter what".
River Run Vistas investors were offered to become limited partners whereby Bridgecreek would be the general partner and undertake management of the project and the limited partners would hold title to the land. This proposal includes pledging a certain amount of lots as security to the financing organization.
Achtman said a vote was taken with the group after the meeting and they voted overwhelmingly to "enforce the trustee to accelerate the process".
Seventy-one shareholders voted with 67 voting to accelerate, three voting to waive and one voter undecided.
"We are not prepared to stand back," said Achtman. "We are making a demand that he pays us back what he owes."
Achtman explained this action consists of two options. First, the shareholders could decide to hold a judicial sale of the property and may recover a portion of their investment. The second option would be to foreclose on the property and take it back from Bridgecreek, thereby allowing them to develop it themselves.
"We're leaning on [Bradley]," said Achtman. "There was very strong support to do this."
Achtman said after the Jan. 16 meeting, River Run Vistas investors presented a letter to Bridgecreek with two conditions and a compliance deadline of Feb. 15 before they proceed with action. The first condition is that Bridgecreek pay an outstanding balance of $38,400 in legal fees owed to Olympia Trust. The second condition is that the company shows proof that all outstanding taxes and liens are paid.
The municipality is unable to provide an update of Bridgecreek's property taxes to The Promoter without legal authorization from the landowner.
In a letter dated Feb. 4 from Bill Bradley to the steering committee, Bradley acknowledged the investors' decision to accelerate the process and said "we view our relationship with the investors of the Vistas Lands to be terminated".
Achtman said the Vistas group will now decide how they want to proceed.
To date, River Run Vistas investors' group is the only group of the Blairmore project that has publicly voted on the issue.
An audio recording of the meeting was put on the Internet and can be found at http://www.feeltheenergy.ca/.
Note: Kudos to Joni MacFarlane for an 'excellent' and timely news story. Well done Joni!
Hopefully, a much needed and indepth follow up story will be forthcoming after some more 'investigative journalism' with respect to "where has all the money gone?", and if Bridgecreek is in receipt of a Tax Notification (property tax arrears) from our municipality? And, especially, the extent of our elected members of council and municipality's culpability in this whole sordid affair?
We must have accountability... head(s) need to roll!!
"This case is really not enhancing the administration of justice at all."
Note: You will not find a better example of Canada's two-tiered justice system and our world famous reputation for dispensing "Justice for the Rich and the Law for the Poor", than the Livent case. Drabinsky and his partner who stole $500 million have made a mockery of our justice system while at the same time proving that in Canada, if you are rich and connected, there is no need for accountability. In Canada, you can do the crime without worrying about doing the time, as the Drabinsky saga so clearly proves.
The Harpercons are more interested in going after our kids and building super prisons to house them along the American model, than going after the real criminals in our society... their friends, the white collar criminals.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
In praise of municipal staff
I just want to give a big thank you to the staff who work for the municipality. I have heard some negative press about the way the municipality is organized so I want to say how much I appreciate what these people do and how helpful they have been to me and my family. My wife and I moved to the Pass almost two years ago. We built our own house from the ground up and I had the opportunity to talk with most everyone in the office, and many of the Public Works field staff during this process.
When I worked in commercial construction in Calgary, it was common to have to wait six to eight months for a building permit. I was delighted to have the entire application process wrapped up in around six weeks! Whenever I had a question for an inspector or the Development Officer, I was ushered straight into their offices and we solved the problem immediately. More so, they were keen to help and make things happen, while abiding by the rules set before us. When I needed something inspected, it was common that the inspector would stop by the next day. This is something that you will never see in most other places.
On several occasions crews from Public Works came to our building site to assist with water or sewer problems. They always arrived promptly and worked with my contractors to solve the issues. Just today I had two staff come to my house for a sewer blockage out in the street. I called the office at 3:05, and even though they are off work at 3:30, they came by shortly after my call and stayed late to make sure the back-up was cleared.
I know people have issues with snow removal but you will never hear me complain about it. Shortly after we moved here, when we saw the first big dump of snow, they had my street cleared by 8 a.m. After living in Calgary for ten years, do you know how many times they plowed and sanded my street? Zero - not once.
When moving here I visited the municipality office a number of times. I have always been helped in a courteous, professional manner. Everything, from getting dog licenses to tax questions, was handled quickly and with a smile. It is so nice to know that you can talk to a person face to face, rather than waiting on hold, listening to some automated service telling you, "press one for hours of operation, press two for..."
All in all, we have been extremely pleased with moving here. I keep hearing that "other towns do things so much better" and I just shake my head. Nothing is ever perfect, but I have lived in a couple of dozen villages, towns and cities around the world and anyone who does not see the good things happening here needs to live somewhere else for a while. Then you will truly appreciate the Pass. Thanks again to everyone working at the municipality.
Note: With all the negativity floating around (especially with CLC and River Run) it's nice to pause for a bit and realize how fortunate we all are to live in the safe, friendly, interesting (colourful), and 'beautiful' Crowsnest Pass. Thanks for reminding us of this Brian.
Kudos to all our municipal staff for letting the sun shine in by keeping good things happening here!
UPDATE: (Feb. 11) For an *EXCELLENT* video presentation on the Crowsnest Pass, check out the following:
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
A family from Pincher Creek recently saw themselves hung, drawn and quartered before even stepping foot inside a court room. A nine-month-old child was torn from its parents and taken away by the state, who in turn jailed its parents while at the same time condemning 2 of the 3 residences where they lived. Their names were published in the newspapers and the media had a field day from one end of this country to another in demonizing these poor people. This family, who I do not know, must have been traumatized and horrified by their experience at the hands of the state. Their crime... selling a little pot. If ever there was a case where the punishment did not fit the crime, this is the one.
I speak of this because this is just one more example of how our country is becoming a police state using draconian measures to suppress peoples desires to 'lighten up'. Prohibition lasted for 13 years before the state realized the error of their ways. The criminalization of marijuana has gone on for much longer than that, with no end in sight. Other countries have woken up to the fact the state has no business establishing morality and using a big stick in the process, while turning a blind eye to the real criminals in our society, including themselves, our government. They are all hypocrites!
You measure a democracy by the freedom it gives its dissidents, not the freedom it gives its assimilated conformists.
Monday, February 1, 2010
RALPH GOODALE’S REPORT
A weekly commentary by the Member of Parliament for Wascana
A new year should be a time to anticipate the future with fresh optimism, but instead, the federal government is telling Canadians to curb their enthusiasm, and even orders Parliament to get out of town.
Lower your expectations, and don’t look to Conservatives for encouragement – that’s the message from Stephen Harper.
The economy may be crawling out of a deep recession, but there’s still a long way to go. Signs of feeble growth emerged at the end of 2009, but recovery is not yet tangible for a big majority of Canadians:
- 60% of those over 30 say they’re worse-off today than when the recession started;
- Canada’s standard of living has dropped by 4.5%;
- one-third of middle-income families have so much debt (in addition to their mortgages) that it will take more than three years to pay off, even if the prime interest rate stays at 0.25%;
- three-quarters of those over 45 are worried about surviving financially once they retire; and
- all of this is on top of the hard reality that more than 1.5 million Canadians remain out of work, and many of their pre-recession jobs are not coming back.
In these circumstances, it’s cold comfort for Mr. Harper to say we should all be glad we’re not in as big a mess as the United States.
Surely our measure of success should be something more than just being “less badly off” than the country that started the whole recession under George Bush.
We need to aspire to excellence, not mediocrity.
And that requires a government that’s pro-active – stimulating innovative new jobs, investing in the best education (from early childhood development to post-graduate degrees), advancing science and technology, and securing decent retirement incomes for seniors.
Parliament should be in session, and working on issues like these.
Ralph Goodale, M.P.