Category Archives: Leadership

“Honestly”

Not even a year into this council’s four year mandate and scandal strikes this city.  News about St. Albert’s mayor’s abuse of funds has not only hit local media sites, but has also garnered national media attention.

No matter how much Nolan Crouse tries to “apologize” for his “honest” mistakes over the nineteen month period presented at October 6th, 2014 council meeting, those apologies will not cut it with St. Albertans.

Not to worry Mayor Crouse, you have company in deceiving the tax paying public.

Montreal, Quebec: Michael Applebaum indicted on 14 charges which included fraud, conspiracy and breach of trust and corruption in municipal affairs. Four months later the original charges were extended to include major real estate transactions. Preliminary hearing scheduled for June 2015.

Hamilton, Ontario: Larry Di Ianni pleaded gulty to six charges of violating municipal election finance rules.

London, Ontario: Joe Fontana convicted of three related fraud charges totalling $1700 in June of this year.

Vernon, British Columbia: Sean Harvey admitted to abusing $14,000 of taxpayers’ money via his expense account. He was sentenced to twelve months house arrest. He was charged with fraud a second time for defrauding his business partner of $69,000.

Montreal, Quebec: Gérald Tremblay resigned after allegations of corruption at city hall that he chose not to acknowledge.

Laval, Quebec: Gilles Vaillancourt arrested and charged with fraud and corruption in 2013

How far Nolan Crouse’s deception goes remains to be seen.

References:

http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/montreal-mayor-applebaum-faces-14-charges-including-fraud-conspiracy-1.1328587

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2013/06/17/montreal_mayor_michael_applebaum_has_been_arrested.html

http://forward.com/articles/185057/ex-montreal-mayor-michael-applebaum-faces-wider-co/

http://www.thespec.com/news-story/2155497-mayors-of-hamilton/

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2014/06/16/london_ont_mayor_joe_fontana_resigns_after_fraud_conviction.html

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/vernon-mayor-quits-in-disgrace-1.549515

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/disgraced-ex-b-c-mayor-pleads-guilty-to-breach-of-trust-1.604625

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/gerald-tremblay-knew-about-corruption-court-documents-allege-1.2766949

http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Tremblay+faith+doesn+absolve+responsibility+mess+city/10039497/story.html

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/laval-mayor-resigns-amid-corruption-allegations-1.1193077

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/ex-laval-mayor-vaillancourt-says-he-is-not-guilty-of-charges-related-to-corruption-1.1308828

 

 

 

Character Assassination

St. Albert was a community where residents took pride in the charm, the friendliness, and neighbourliness it emitted. Then came the changes. More residential properties crowded together in ever-increasing concrete surroundings blatantly dismissing authentic ‘green’ space; leaping tax hikes; increase in bylaws and lack of small community charm as this city continues to compete with the province’s capital. And now proposals of monstrous towering buildings are laid at the residents’ feet.

It is not only Grandin Park residents who will suffer lowering property values and the abominable view towering over their homes, but most St. Albertans would be saying good-bye to anything remotely charming about their small city as they look out of their homes to see Big City endeavours trying to manifest itself into reality. One needs to seriously question why people chose living in St. Albert over Edmonton. Surely it is not because of the city’s exorbitant taxes.

Residents can be assured though that with the forecasted increase of apartment dwellers, the small town feel of this community will effectively be dead. Of course the pro of no longer experiencing the small town feel is that buyers will have an easier time to choose if they would like to live in an “urban village” with higher or with lower taxes. Most dollar conscientious buyers will choose Edmonton.

Speaking of Edmonton and various developers’ attempts at what Amacon is looking to duplicate, it is interesting that many of these developments have become rentals as owners either find they do not like the caged in feeling, or they can not sell their properties at a profit. Is this what part of city council envisions for the future? A transient rental community?

As for believing that this will inject new life for the downtown area – possibly at first. But humans are inherently nomadic and therefore will travel elsewhere once the novelty wears off.

Some will squeal delightfully at the possibility of a LRT coming to this “transit village“. At whose cost though? The taxpayers? It has to be remembered that even with free-spending Alison Redford at the provincial helm, promises for a LRT extension to St. Albert were not made. City and provincial taxpayers have woken to government’s spending. So expecting this type of transit for a “possible” 3,400 people is extremely remote.

Retail and office space lays vacant throughout St. Albert. Other than optimism for this project, it would be interesting to hear why Amacon feels that their vision will not suffer the same fate.

Promoting ICLEI’s urban villages in a smaller community definitely supports the much touted content of the social master plan Councillor Heron championed.   Community spirit can not be successfully fostered when a small city promotes separate identities throughout it.

St. Albert is long overdue for reinstating the MPC so the character of this community is not eroded any further.

 

 

Stack ‘em and Pack ‘em in.

Under ICLEI’s program private property is eventually to be done away with as it contributes to a “concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice, if unchecked, it may become a major obstacle in the planning and implementation of development schemes. Public control of land use is therefore indispensable.” Therefore those municipalities that embrace The Program look at various ways of downsizing lots, dividing older lots, rezoning and building new homes upward. Stack ‘em and pack ‘em in is ICLEI’s agenda.

And St. Albert is developing right on target with The Program. Check out the cereal boxes being erected in the northwestern part of the city. Upright wannabe McMansions on tiny lots with a lot of wasted space being used by stairways that lead to the next cramped level. At least the cumulative square footage sounds impressive to the uninitiated buyer.

Let’s look at this realistically though. Historically, what is of most value is land. What gets built on the land enhances property value. Lose that asset because of some misfortune, you still own the land.

Owning real estate or other forms of property empowers an individual. The more the individual owns, the more economic security one has enabling one to be more responsible in one’s personal life (i.e. family), and in one’s community. Take it away, reduce its size or put restrictions on it and the individual not only loses out on personal wealth, but becomes increasingly reliant on government and its whims.

Active ICLEI’s “Smart Growth” followers, Councillor Heron and Mayor Crouse, enthusiastically advocate diminishing personal wealth. Promoting smaller properties in newer districts and changing the face of graceful, established neighbours by rezoning them for multiple lots and multiple family homes is supported by both individuals.

Indoctrinating young families that children will have plenty to do outside of their stamp-sized concrete lots and encouraging mature adults to sell and downsize from their spacious homes so that those properties can be rezoned are excellent ways in lowering personal wealth and limiting choices and individual freedom. All for the growing collective.

It is easy to understand that developers hop on the “smart growth” gravy train. After all, business is business. And when they find easy, pliable political targets, who can blame them for aiming and shooting for the obvious.

“Urban villages” and theme developments are a part of The Program. Regardless of the name attached to it, any high density urban mixed use development would have ICLEI’s approval. Another excellent avenue for developers to pursue. Make no mistake about their advertised benefits though. These concepts promote further restriction of an individual’s freedom of movement. Incrementation is the name of the game.

Rezoning older neighbourhoods to accommodate this “healthy mix” of residential possibilities devalues property without compensating existing property owners. Long time residents of Akinsdale and Erin Ridge are unfortunately already experiencing this and although they are being given a voice, they are not being heard. It doesn’t follow “The Program’s” vision.

Incrementally dictating how private property owners use their land diminishes the owner’s investment even further. This can be easily noted through the various bylaws approved and passed by council over the last few years. 

As long as residents can not find the respect for their property rights and continually vote in those who are willing to abuse those rights, the path to ICLEI’s decimation of wealth and independence will be closer with each successive insult individuals, who revere The Program, throw at St. Albert.  

A Brief Primer

Before embarking on other local issues that affect not only residents, but substantiate leadership adequacies or inadequacies, a brief primer of public-private partnerships (P3) is in order. This is needed to help clarify how so many facets of local government have been hijacked from the voters’ realm.

Public-private partnerships are the going rage at international, federal, provincial and local levels.. It has nothing to do with free enterprise, and everything to do with economic fascism, something that the voting public should be protesting loudly against if it wants to have financial transparency, any say in public policy or retain any right to private property, infrastructure, or resources.

Public-private partnerships are a key player in ICLEI’s program that systematically seeks to destroy the government that represents the people. This program effectively redistributes wealth by transferring taxpayers’ dollars and putting profits and resources into the hands of private interest groups. Quite obviously, these private interest groups do not have to answer to the taxpaying public. And because of the nature of the relationship, governments tend to remain silent to its electorate about any arising issues leaving it ineffective in fulfilling its official mandate.

The P3’s “private” component is usually made up of any one or combination of the following: associations, corporations, foundations, non-governmental agencies, organizations, or secondary institutions.

When the private portion of this partnership is business, its ultimate goal is to seek profit, not service. And profit as a motivator will change lifestyles for the taxpaying public who has now become a commodity being tossed between private business and government. The one gains revenue, while the other obtains higher taxes.

When non-governmental organizations get involved in a P3, it is to promote their own agenda. As they are totally committed to their cause, they are calculating and at times can be quite aggressive in pushing their plans forward. They prey on the social conscience of corporations, government and the public often citing the benefits of the “collective” community instead of the individual.

Many NGO’s use various forms of on and off-line advertising, scare tactics, coercion and pseudo science as they incrementally move forward towards their goal. They value nature above human life which can frequently be observed in the various methods they use.

The issues Keystone XL have encountered from NGO’s is an excellent example of how these organizations work. Between the pseudo science, scare tactics and hysteria the NGO’s promoted regarding the assault Keystone XL could unleash on Gaia, they effectively managed to put Keystone temporarily on hold. Renown business author, Peter Foster, has written several articulate pieces on NGO’s and the propaganda techniques they inflicted on Keystone XL. Two of these can be found here and here.

And how do public-private partnerships affect our once fair city?  Stay tuned.  There’s more to come.

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.

Leadership Not Required

Overview

For the last few years a red flag has been flying in front of our eyes. A dangerous flag that not only takes the sovereignty from this city’s residents, but gives the mayor and present council a blueprint of how to develop St. Albert. Leadership is not required. Thought is not required. Only the determination to implement a non-elected, non-government entity’s plan is needed. Additional criteria required is the ability to pick and choose the points that local government believes they can incorporate without too much fuss from its residents. The other points will fall into place over time.

It is a plan that is being duplicated worldwide. Some municipalities have woken up to its dangers. Some are familiar with history’s repeated failures of this plan. Some have withdrawn their support as they see the danger in what is transpiring. And more are in the process of severing ties to an entity that consumes taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars – dollars that should be going towards the community they live in and not to an unelected non-governmental organization (NGO) that is regulating and ruling their lives. Yet St. Albert’s mayor – Mayor Nolan Crouse – officially signed St. Albert on in March of 2010.

What is this that St. Albert residents are not aware of? What is it that St. Albert residents work so hard to fund and receive nothing in return? What is it that screams of not requiring leadership – only a token figurehead to implement it?

It is called the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, also known as ICLEI.

Presently headquartered in Bonn, Germany, this non-governmental organization (NGO) was created by the United Nations in 1990. As its goals became known, it developed and partnered with a variety of national and international organizations to gain further foothold in local communities. A few of these found in Canada are:

  • Associations of Local Governments (i.e. Alberta Urban Municipalities)    
  • Environment Canada
  • Federation of Canadian Municipalities
  • Natural Resources Canada
  • Partners for Climate Protection

ICLEI’s blueprints encompass all aspects of a community’s function. And taxpayers fund this. Some of the most notable ones affecting St. Albert, and coming straight from this NGO’s blueprint are:

  • Economic Development and Home of Community Sustainability
  • Master Plans
  • Public-Private Partnerships
  • Smart Growth
  • Strategic Partnerships                                                                  

When NGO’s start governing communities, people should be more than concerned about what is happening to their way of life, what their hard-earned dollars are being used for, where those dollars are going, as well as what is happening to the validity of the electorate system.

We need thinking people at the helm. We need people who have local interest at heart. Puppets are expensive toys that blatantly reinforce that leadership is not required.

******************************************************************************** Stabnow has set out a new category for this very in-depth topic, as it can not adequately be covered in one simple article. The information will be worthwhile for local residents to pursue and consider before they head to the polls in October. Check out “Leadership” under “Categories” on the right-hand side of the page for continued updates and analysis.

Stabnow would also like to send out a special thanks to the astute reader who made us aware of this.

Keep the info coming and if you do not want to be a guest blogger, send us your information anyway. We will research it and then blog it for you.