Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream

Trashy's World: How not to show your appreciation of and trust in your “base”…

Dear fellow Conservative: We really, really want your money and support. But please, please, just STFU. If you are approached by anyone resembling a reporter, blogger, Liberal, New Democrat, Green, environmentalist, Public Servant, First Nation member, telecom industry employee or Maude Barlow, please run away screaming, hands over ears, and yelling “LALALALALALA!” as loudly as […]

Bill Longstaff: Calgary—sprawl or planning?

During the recent Calgary election campaign, two visions of the city’s future development vied for attention. One, presented by Calgary’s mayor, Naheed Nenshi, was about planning growth to ensure a sustainable city. The other, presented by a group of home builders and their hired gun, Preston Manning of the Manning Institute, was about leaving growth to the dictates of the market.

The latter was

Susan on the Soapbox: Congratulations Mayor Nenshi!

John Macfarlane, editor of The Walrus,* asks the question: When did society turn against its best and brightest and more importantly, why? He was bemoaning the fact that Torontonians had elected Rob Ford—a man he described as wearing “his ignorance like a badge of honour”—to be their mayor.

Mayor Rob Ford

Mr Macfarlane concludes that the practice of electing idiots to run things is the result of two things: the “nothing is sacred” attitude that developed in the 1960s which led to a devaluation of knowledge and expertise, and the tendency of politicians to put their own selfish interests (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: Progressive Alberta

Seemingly in defiance of Alberta’s reputation as a very conservative province, voters in Calgary and Edmonton both elected young, progressive mayors yesterday.

Calgary elected the 41-year old Naheed Nenshi for a second term and Edmonton chose the 34-year old former city councillor Don Iveson. Nenshi supports a more compact city with increased density in the inner city and levies on suburban

Terahertz: Albertans choose progressive mayors

After a surprise victory in the 2010 purple wave, Naheed Nenshi became one of Canada’s most popular mayors during his handling of severe floods in Calgary earlier this year.

Few predicted any chance of him losing his position in yesterday’s election and perhaps the only shock was the size of his victory, with 74% of the city voting for him.

Meanwhile, Edmonton saw a heated race as popular incumbent Steve Mandel opted to retire on a high note (rather than be unseated like most of his predecessors). Three councillors stepped forward to challenge for the seat, with Don Iveson’s ‘policy (Read more…)

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Pay to Go Politics in YYC

So, yesterday there was an “all candidates forum” sponsored by The Calgary Chamber of Commerce, the Urban Development Institute – Calgary and The Canadian Homebuilders Association – Calgary Region.

I did not attend this forum – for several reasons.  We already know that the developer community (or at least notable cabal within that group) have a “bone to pick” with the incumbent city council, and would dearly like to make things more “developer friendly” in the future.  They are entitled to that opinion and to advocate for it.  I have enormous problems with the obvious attempt to sponsor a (Read more…) What the heck is CivicCamp?

Who’s behind these pencils? Where do pencils get their funding from? Pencils are nothing but a left-wing propaganda machine. One pencil wrote in cursive once so all pencils obviously can only be used the same way!

I’m sorry, but I can’t help but play this game whenever I hear some folks talk about CivicCamp in an accusatorial way. Basically you replace the word “CivicCamp” with the word “pencil”. You see, in some circles there is a mis-understanding about what CivicCamp is, which that it is simply a tool. Like a pencil.

It’s not the fault of these folks that they (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: Buying Calgay’s civic election with a little help from Preston Manning

Alberta’s election funding rules are notoriously weak. Those applying to municipal elections are no exception. The essentials can easily be summarized: no spending limits, contributions limited to $5,000 a year (the candidate may contribute up to $10,000 of his own funds), and the candidate must file a disclosure statement of contributions over $100. Candidates are allowed to keep surplus revenue

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Canada’s Far Right Next Attack On Nenshi

It’s no big secret that the Conservative power base in Calgary was profoundly pissed off when Naheed Nenshi won the Mayoral race in 2010.  The amount of vitriol seen in the Sun’s pages after election day was astonishing, and since then, they have taken every opportunity to snipe at Nenshi.

This is no surprise.  They were also suspiciously silent when it came out that Cal Wenzel and a bunch of his pals had ponied up over a million dollars to the Manning Centre to build a slate of candidates that would be “friendly” to their interests in the next city (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: Is flood amnesia setting in?

Immediately after the big water in June, two truisms were out and about in Calgary. One stated the flood had been so catastrophic that finally Albertans would take significant measures to mitigate damage from future floods. The other said that it wouldn’t be long before the disaster was put out of mind and things would return to the complacent normal.

Reading recently about the province

BigCityLib Strikes Back: Dear Tim Hortons: It’s Not Your Lids That Are The Problem

…but what’s in the cup.  Your coffee is too patriotic, and not near gay enough.  I refuse to drink it. Every double-double is as though I am casting a vote for a regressive, far-right government.  It is also on the markedly bitter side.  Your Mr. Hansen will discover all this when he leaves Calgary and finds that there are other brands, like Satanbucks, or Coffee Crime, where the servers are always friendly and the pan-handlers doff their hats in respect as they block your path to the men’s room and lunge for your wallet.  It will strike him (Read more…)

Terahertz: Things You Can Do to Help Calgary’s Secular Community Grow and Thrive!

Found this (public) note on Facebook with some exciting news about the secular community in Calgary.

Keep it up!

And when I say “we,” what I really mean is you. I’m looking for people to take up some of these projects so I can proceed with the things I already have on my plate! If you are interested, contact me;I’ll provide more details and introduce you to the people you’ll be working with. If you’re not interested, I’ll have to let these opportunities slide, and that would be a shame. So show some interest, people!

This is a summary of (Read more…)

Illuminated By Street Lamps: In Brampton, Few Recorded Development Votes After Developers Contribute To Political War Chests

By Joe Fantauzzi@jjfantauzzi Key Findings: 

– The development industry is clearly engaged in the political process at Brampton City Hall.

– 233 development companies and development-affiliated individuals were publicly disclosed to have contributed money to Brampton candidates in the 2010 municipal election.

– Of those 233 developer donors, 48 were discovered to have proposals in various stages in front of Brampton City Hall between December 12, 2010 and May 22, 2013, according to city council minutes.

– The interests of 20.6 per cent ─ or about one in five ─ of the companies and individuals (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Illuminated By Street Lamps: In Brampton, Few Recorded Development Votes After Developers Contribute To Political War Chests

Bill Longstaff: I participate in an historic event

For my first posting in seven months, I can hardly do better than comment on my participation in a truly historic event. I not only observed but became a fully-fledged, if highly reluctant, participant. The event I refer to is the greatest flood in Alberta’s history, perhaps in Canada’s history, the great flood of 2013.

I live in an apartment building beside the Elbow River, a normally gentle, Admitting My Failure

At the Alberta Liberal Party’s annual general meeting in June more than two thirds voted to shut down the supporter system. As someone who championed the system when it was first introduced, and then pushed for it nationally for the federal Liberals, I must admit my failure to both Albertans and to the provincial party. And [...]

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Spending a Billion #cdnpoli

Many homes and lives were recently destroyed in Alberta last week. Warnings about where, and how to build homes were not heeded.

A former Alberta MLA who headed up a flood mitigation task force after the 2005 floods says new development should not have been allowed to spring up in the flood zones.

“The one thing they could have done … they should have stopped building some housing and buildings on the flood plains. And that was a strong part of that report,” George Groeneveld, who chaired the flood mitigation committee and report, told CBC News.

“If you’re going (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Committing Sociology or Climatology

The Prime Minister infamously implored people to not “commit sociology” when Chechen-American thugs blew people up in Boston. The PM’s point was that he didn’t want people analysing the root causes of terrorism, out of supposed respect for the distant victims. With another deadly tragedy underway in Alberta, there are a chorus of complaints from people both local and quite distant from the disaster, asking people to not talk about why Calgary was subjected to a massively uncommon flood.

@pmoharper @saskboy @Thegreyweb @JohnVaillant @MikeSoron Denialists feel that no time is the best time for climatology. (Read more…)

350 or bust: Mother Nature, Pumped Up By Warmer Atmosphere, Swamps Alberta

* “If you think mitigated climate change is expensive, try unmitigated climate change.” Dr Richard Gammon * The City of Calgary, home riding of Canada’s climate-denying, scientist-muzzling Prime Minister, ordered the evacuation of the entire downtown earlier today because of catastrophic flooding from the Bow and Elbow Rivers. Approximately 75,000 people were evacuated from their […]

Trashy's World: Alberta floods, where’s Steve?

As far as I can tell, the only reaction from Harper concerning the horrible situation in southern Alberta has been this piece on conversations that he had with Premier Redford and Calgary Mayor Nenshi indicating that Feds will help out if needed. But where is he? Shouldn’t he be there filling sandbags or something? Is [...]

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Mark Gongloff reaches the unsurprising conclusion that a tax system warped to favour the interests of the wealthy leads to greater inequality (but not the promised growth): Slashing top tax rates has had none of the positive effects on economic growth that the supply-side economists promised us, the NBER paper points out. Instead, it has just worsened income inequality.

There are other factors driving income disparity, including a rise in investment income (think stock dividends) compared to earned income (think wages). The recently soaring stock market, helped along by the Federal Reserve, is (Read more…) Calgary: A Tale of Two Slates

If you’ve been paying attention to Calgary’s municipal election over the last week you would likely have heard about the Manning Centre, a $1,100,000 donation by the home builders to “in order to bring Preston [Manning] on board,” and the recent comments by Cal Wenzel on buying council members — earning influence for his industry [...]

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- The Broadbent Institute’s “Union Communities, Healthy Communities” report discusses the significance of the labour movement in achieving positive social outcomes. And Rick Smith concurrently writes that the right’s attacks on unions represent a solution in search of a problem: (W)hen unions are strong, the gains that they make for their members in terms of decent wages and benefits spill over into non-union workplaces. In the face of Canadian conservatives trying to portray unions as some kind of impediment to economic growth and productivity, actually examining this empirical evidence is instructive.

Economists agree (Read more…) the rapidly rising share of all income going to the top 1% in the US and Canada since the early 1980s is explained in significant part by declining unionization. US-style de-unionization would clearly make Canada a much more unequal society than is already the case.

And . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links Alberta In Open Revolt

Allison Redford has a problem. Between mayor Mandel unleashing his fury on her government and the University of Alberta’s rage at the province’s letters of expectation progressives across the province are finally coming to see that Redford is simply not on their side. For the Liberals who saw that supporting the Progressive Conservatives preferable to [...]

Politics, Re-Spun: Free Speech and the Privatization of Public Space

Donald Smith was protesting a sign at Glenmore Landing in Calgary’s southwest Sunday that bans political demonstrations. [CBC]

The privately owned parking lot near the prime minister’s constituency office asserts that protesting is prohibited. On the surface, this looks like the prime minister is impeding the constitutional rights of expression and peaceful assembly.

I’m sure he finds this all quite convenient, but a large hidden issue in this is the privatization of public space.

Can I prohibit protest in a space I own? Possibly.

Can I lament at the amount of space deemed to be public [parking lot, shopping mall] (Read more…)

Walking Turcot Yards: Idle No More in Calgary