Monthly Archives: June 2013

Don’t Act Responsible, Please.

(DARP)

Southern Alberta has just experienced one of the severest natural devastations in recorded history. Those who helped out can attest that pictures and media footage can’t even come close to describing the nightmare the unfortunate affected individuals are living through. And once everyone is able to return home, the nightmare will continue. The clean-up, the loss of personal possessions, some of which are irreplaceable, and last, but not least, the insurance headaches.

On June 21st, 2013, the Insurance Bureau of Canada issued a statement that they would not cover flood waters that found its way through doors or windows.  This leaves many in southern Alberta in quite the predicament. Even if “overland flooding” had been purchased, the yearly cost would be prohibitive to the average citizen. Besides, who would even dare to think of that possibility happening here on the prairies. And especially to the extent it did.

A few hours north of this devastation lies St. Albert. Its downtown core is located in a verified flood plain. And it is in this flood plain that Mayor Crouse wants to establish one of his legacies under the name of DARP (Downtown Area Redevelopment Plan). With his insistence of being led by an NGO to not  circumvent a possible devastation in the future, it seems that neither his master nor he, himself, have considered various consequences, one of which is the insurance needed to build his legacy in a flood plain.

If Mayor Crouse truly has St. Albert’s interest at heart, he would heed this warning. Common sense would dictate that building in a flood plain is ludicrous at best. Approving an underground parkade in a flood plain to the tune of nine million extra taxpayers’ dollars with the knowledge of the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s position, is an affront to St. Albert residents. Even if the provincial and federal governments step in to help out to some degree, the taxpayer still carries the burden.

It is interesting that Mayor Crouse, a fervent follower of the global warming cult, does not even take heed of the movement’s “expert’s” forecast that buildings will become uninsurable in the future. Blair Feltmate from the University of Waterloo states that once industry and governments have identified and updated flood plains throughout Canada, these areas “will be designated as uninsurable markets[.] [D]o not build there.” He continues stating that “large sectors of Canada could be potentially uninsurable.

It is time that those who have been voted in to office be held accountable for what they approve and don’t approve. After all, their employers are paying them to work knowledgeably and responsibly with taxpayers’ funds. This is one “legacy” that doesn’t pass that test. Maybe it is one that should be washed down the river for the irresponsibility it exhibits.

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Money, Money, Money

Like any savvy organization or corporation, dividing into affiliates, subsidiaries or sister divisions makes sense for a variety of reasons. Some of them are financial, some to appease legal or regional requirements, some because they branch out into different venues from the original parent company or organization, (i.e. food corporation branching into clothing stores/brands), and some to obtain a semblance of obscurity.

The fall of 2012 St. Albert taxpayers finally gained access to see how their money is being used by those they entrusted into office. This segment looks specifically at the initial costs of implementing a shadow government. Prior expense claims have not been made public.

Before delving into everyone’s favorite subject – money – it’s worthwhile to briefly review the various organizations that can be found listed in the seven months of expense claims of present council.

ACRWWC – Alberta Capital Region Wastewater Commission.

AUMA – Although it was founded in 1905 long before ICLEI came into play, it has now partnered with ICLEI.

CUTA – Also founded in the early 1900’s (1904) Canadian Urban Transit Association partnered with ICLEI  and is working on achieving full implementation of the “smart” blueprints for transit by 2040. This should give the reader an idea of why the LRT study was approved.

FCM – Federation of Canadian Municipalities is also a partner of ICLEI.

Regional Boards are non-elected boards that do not answer to the voter. They also comprise a part of the ICLEI program. The CRB is one such board.

“Smart Cities” is part of ICLEI’s program. Over the last few years, many presenters are changing “smart” to “resilient” as the outcry against “smart” is becoming overwhelming in what is left of the ‘free’ world.

ICLEI is known for the conferences, guidelines, training, workshops and consultations of the municipality that institutes the “Smart” blueprint series. Assessment of a municipality’s success in following their program is also done by ICLEI. No leadership required.

In regards to supporting and paying a shadow government, let’s see if interest by Council is there.

September 26, 2012 – AUMA Conference – Patrick Draper – $ 15.00
September 26, 2012 – AUMA Conference – Malcomlm Parker -$463.84
September 27, 2012 – AUMA Conference – Patrick Draper – $ 15.00
October 4 – CRB Affordable Housing Symposium – Malcolm Parker – $59.74
October 11, 2012 – CRB – Cathy Heron – $15.45
October 16, 2012 – CRWMAC – Cathy Heron – $33.99
October 18 – CRB Transit governance sub committee – L. Bracko – $240.17
October 19, 2012 – CRB Transit committee – L. Bracko – $240.17
October 19, 2012 – ACRWWC – Cathy Heron – $41.20
October 22, 2012 – CRB Governance – Cathy Heron – $224.21
October 24 Calgary Chamber of Commerce Smart Cities – C.Heron – $875.77
October 25, 2012 – CRB Landuse – Cam MacKay – $224.72
November 04, 2012 – CRB – Cathy Heron – $15.45
November 10-15, 2012 – CUTA – Wes Brodhead – $2873.21
November 15, 2012 – CRB Housing Committee – Cathy Heron – $224.21
November 19, 2012 – CRB Governance – Cathy Heron – $224.21
November 23, 2012- CRB Transit committee – L. Bracko – $211.85
December 13, 2012 – CRB – Cathy Heron – $15.45
December 14, 2012 – CRB Presentation – Cathy Heron – $20.60
December 17, 2012 – CRB Governance – Cathy Heron – $224.21
December (undecipherable),2012 – Smart Cities Summit – C.Heron -$1765.01
January 10th, 2013 – CRB – Cathy Heron – $15.45
January 14th, 2013 – MLA & AUMA meeting – Mayor Crouse – $21.63
January 14th, 2013 – CRB Governance – Cathy Heron – $224.21
January 15th, 2013 – Regional Responsibilities – Mayor Crouse – $50.99
January 17th, 2013 – CRB Housing – Cathy Heron $224.21
January 22nd – 25th, 2013 – Smart Cities Conference – Cathy Heron – $992.55
(no date decipherable, but submitted in January as prepayment)
– FCM Conference – Cathy Heron – $770.00
February 14th, 2013 – CRB – Cathy Heron – $15.45
February 15th, 2013 – AUMA – Mayor Nolan Crouse – $237.16
February 15th, 2013 – AUMA- Cathy Heron – $244.54
February 21st , 2013 – ACRWMAC – Cathy Heron – $14.94
February 25th, 2013 – CRB Governance – Cathy Heron – $224.21
February 28th, 2013 – CRB Land Use – Cathy Heron – $24.21
February 28th, 2013 – CRB – Cam MacKay – $226.78
March 26, 2013 – CRB – Patrick Draper – $15.00
April 12, 2013 – 11 Books on “Smart Cities” – Patrick Draper – $427.69
May 13, 2013 – CRB – Patrick Draper – $12.50

Update:
May 28, 2013 – ICMA Membership – Patrick Draper – $144.06
May 30 – June 2 – FCM Conference – Lemieux – $1993.25
June 6, 2013 – ICMA Webinar – Patrick Draper – $158.37

The above figures only cover a small portion of the period of time this council and mayor have been in office. Not having access to expense claims from previous years, one can only surmise how much more was spent to institute a shadow government’s blueprint.

The trickle effect the various conferences, meetings, and publications will have or already have had on St. Albert taxpayers is supported by not only the various master plans, but also the amount of yearly tax increases, the amount of utility increases, the micro-managing of private citizens’ lives, housing, transit, economic development (or lack thereof) and the extensive increase in government size.

It comes down to the age old question – who spends YOUR money better? You, the government or a shadow government?

The Collective

The Social Master Plan. 

Now that sounds like a name that came right out of the soviet system’s play book. But in St. Albert? Insane thought, isn’t it? Actually no.

Councillor Cathy Heron has frequented numerous ICLEI conferences and workshops throughout her term in office. It is unfortunate and extremely concerning that she chose to take orders and have them backed by other councillors and the Mayor from a non-governmental organization (NGO) instead of those who employ her and pay her salary.

What happened to the independent, free-thinking individuals who used to actually govern St. Albert? Regardless if one agreed or disagreed with them, at least residents were assured that the city’s interests and not an international NGO’s were at the forefront.

On May 01, 2013 council approved a social master plan with a “vision” of what the community should be [and/] *OR* “to direct social policies“. For the history buff this raises an alarming deja vu of the early twentieth century when the Soviets instituted “The Program”. Directing social policies is very communitarian as it proclaims a selfless commitment to community service and a duty to work for the ‘common good’.” In other words, it promotes collectivism sacrificing the individual in the process. A definite recipe for oppression.

Although “The Plan” boasts of having had input from “over 600 residents“, at no time was a follow-up done to see if these same residents were in agreement with their original input compared to what was eventually laid out in “The Plan”. This is an excellent initial demonstration of the importance and relevancy of residents in the city’s Social Master Plan.

But then the Social Master Plan admits that the contents were already laid out for residents even before they were ‘invited’ to participate. To make participants feel that they  were actually making a contribution, the plan states that “it may or may not include issues such as housing, transportation, health, education, race and discrimination, inclusiveness, connectedness and social responsibility“. So, from the list that ICLEI laid out for present local administration, a steering committee was formed to “allow” residents to choose.

Interestingly enough, Councillor Cathy Heron found herself on the Project Steering Committee, as well as the Citizen’s Committee. How convenient is that to insure the outcome of this plan?

But then, to be fair, the Social Master Plan site does admit to providing “strategic direction necessary to support the development of the Social Master Plan.” Who else would be as qualified than someone who has been indoctrinated to do this job?

The manner in which participating residents were allowed to “choose” what they thought would be important to this plan confirms how valid residents’ input is to this local government. Remember that nowhere in “The Plan” did it state that the original 600 participants were revisited to confirm that their input was addressed. Instead “The Plan’s” core group used methods of gathering information that avoided any type of confrontation. Any input was done via small groups or surveys. The delphi technique comes to mind. Briefly, this is a technique that uses written surveys, written questions and separate discussion groups to obtain a pre-determined outcome. Participants generally do not realize that they have been used to obtain the desired results.

Reading through the plan, the demise of the family becomes apparent as government creeps in to determine the individual’s lifestyle and quality of life. Of course at this point the dollar costs aren’t determined. But they will be. Transit, housing, education, health, recreation, culture, downtown development (aka DARP) were considered while putting “The Plan” together.

This is alarming to be sure. If the outcry isn’t loud enough, equality will eventually be achieved under the communitarian’s “Program”, also known as “The Social Master Plan”.

Election Prelude?

Does Mayor Crouse’s present hiring stance have anything to do with the presentation he gave to the Coalition of Municipalities against Racism and Discrimination (CMARD) which was led by the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization)?

Could it be that Saskatoon’s councillor Tiffany Paulsen’s presentation on city initiatives for recruitment had an effect on Mayor Crouse?

Does Mayor Crouse have insight into rampant racism and discrimination in St. Albert? Is it possible he took Councillor Sandy McMillan’s presentation to heart and “collect[ed] and evaluate[d] data and information on discrimination, racism and exclusion“?

Or is this an incident that seems to be gathering some political clarity?

Has Mayor Crouse read the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms? Or how about Alberta’s?

Is Mayor Crouse wanting St. Albert employers to hire anyone who comes through a business’ doors regardless whether there is a job available or not and regardless if the individual is qualified to do a job? Is that how the City of St. Albert acquired the massive staff it presently has under Mayor Crouse?

Is Mayor Crouse supporting a society of rights without responsibilities?

Kudos to the County of Parkland

Finally someone is taking a stand and recognizing the Capital Region Board’s (CRB) system which, since its inception, has managed to usurp the voter’s voice.

Mayor Ron Shaigec’s position that “Parkland would drop its legal action if the province changed the CRB’s Regional Evaluaton Framework (REF) process ” is a bit disconcerting though. Could it be that he left himself an opening since signing on to ICLEI in May of this year?

As a new member of this non-governmental agency, there may still be hope for Parkland to rapidly resign its membership. Having first-hand experience of how the CRB is effectively destroying local government control; overstepping jurisdictional boundaries, and not being answerable to the voting public may impact Shaigec’s decision.

As for Crouse’s left-leaning stance that this system works – it shows the residents of this city that he has no respect for either them or the electorate system. You know, the one that originally voted him into office.

It’s a slippery slope St. Albert is sliding down. Let us hope that Parkland is successful in not going down that same slope.  And that it manages to successfully “sink” the CRB.