It’s a Wonderful Life… I guess so.

•February 23, 2012 • 4 Comments

February 22nd, I turned 46. To be completely honest I wasn’t exactly thrilled about it. The last year has been, as Her Majesty would say, my “annus horribilis”. I’ve grown extremely weary of trying to keep an asset base together that at one time not that long ago would have been the envy of the industry. I’ve grown tired and weary of being an unpaid and ridiculed highly vocal advocate for one of this country’s most valuable BUT under appreciated and undervalued assets, natural gas. It has been a year of robbing Peter to pay Paul. Being brought to the very edge of promised financings only to have them yanked out at the last minute, because of our natural gas emphasis.

Underlying all of this frustration is my firm belief that Alberta could be so much more. We could accomplish so much more but we are in the grip of an uncaring, unknowledgeable and bloated bureaucracy and a complete lack of vision and strategy when it comes to energy and our natural resources.  In addition, the investment banking industry is filled with number manipulators not necessarily technically knowledgeable, creative or long term thinking individuals. Checklists, and “box ticking” not “out of the box thinking” makes for big bonuses. I’m convinced Wall and Bay Street aren’t the least bit sorry for 2008 and haven’t really changed at all. I’m quite frankly sick and tired of it. Quite frankly, I don’t see it changing any time soon. The IBankers don’t want to have anyone telling them to loosen the purse strings, that would be Government “meddling in the markets” (until of course as we found out they need Government to loosen the purse strings for them). In terms of political will, the latest ALBERTA HEALTH QUALITY COUNCIL report and the absolutely backwards thinking “powerline panel” report have given me great cause to think. I kinda have fun with the other parents at 2:00 am working the casino for my little daughter’s school, but quite frankly like a good Federal NDP MP I’d rather be having fun IN the casino… IN VEGAS than running it to raise money for gym equipment! That’s because unlike Norwegians in ALBERTA’S hydrocarbon based economy instead of the $$ going to ENSURING THE WORLD’S BEST public education we are now going to pay for a public inquiry AND we’ve guaranteed an unsustainable ROI to Wall and Bay Street on their “investment” into Alberta’s cheap coal fired electricity export business.

I can’t deny the fact that lately I’ve been feeling like George Bailey from the Classic Film, “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Everywhere I go, “Mr. Potter” is there! He’s there with his negativity, there with his hectoring, badgering and criticism. There with his “financial advice and business wisdom”. Basically, Mr. Potter has privileged himself for a long time and has been quite willing to watch himself succeed while others failed around him, not because they haven’t worked hard or tried hard enough BUT because he’s the one who has designed the system. A system designed to see that innovation and optimism are not always rewarded unless that fits well into Mr. Potter’s plan. Any attempt to go outside of those boundaries, and you reap what Mr. Potter tells you that you’ve sown. How sad. I have talked to so many individuals who like me are not feeling that Calgary, this city that I love so much and have been so proud to live, work and raise my family in; is providing such a “wonderful life” these days.

With that I took my “mental drive” as to really what the point of all of this is and what the hell I’m actually going to do. Mr. Potter as you’ll recall in the movie “finds” the Bailey Savings & Loan deposit that George’s kindly but forgetful Uncle Billy leaves out in the open at the bank. Believe me, Mr. Potter in all his glory has certainly found a couple of ours. The night before my birthday, these were some of the visions that came to mind, I hadn’t been drinking.

Then suddenly my “village” at a point in my life when I was feeling so very low, came to my rescue at least emotionally and made me at least metaphorically the “richest man in Calgary”. I was shocked on February 22nd, when well over 100 of my FACEBOOK FRIENDS, some of course who are truly FACEBOOK FRIENDS and some who’ve known me for years and have been with me through it all wished me, Chris Tesarski, a normal guy who hasn’t exactly had a great run lately, warm, heartfelt wishes for my birthday and for the year ahead. Sadly the Alberta Securities Commission won’t allow me to ask them “directly or indirectly” to fill the hat and sadly the “bank auditors” (read into that bureaucracy) weren’t present to rip up their ass backwards, illogical, small business killing regulatory paperwork, but I truly did have a very emotional and “George Baileyesque” moment late last night and as I prepared for a tough field tour of our suspended Calmar property with our Field Operator, this morning, thanks Mr. Potter… errr umm I mean ERCB.

Without political will, I see very little reason to be optimistic about natural gas production or an innovative and TRULY entrepreneurial junior energy sector in Alberta and Saskatchewan. I had hoped for so much more recently. Let me say, I do believe that our current Premier is an extraordinarily talented and intelligent woman and could make an incredible Leader for Alberta. My concerns are not necessarily with her abilities, but my biggest fear is those who wield the ultimate control and surround her. Anyone who truly believes that a VERY WELL ENTRENCHED bureaucratic “system” doesn’t exist in Alberta is either a “Potterite” or extremely naive. I was so very, very disappointed to hear of the results of the two aforementioned reports which very much confirm this to be the case. The “system” is alive and well. It is a system that is broken and a system which definitely needs to be fixed. Can she do it? Can the PC Party do it? Can the opposition do it? I see some strong individuals out there that deserve an office in the legislature but their “party politics” gets in the way. The problem… we need SKILLED, KNOWLEDGEABLE AND PORTFOLIO EXPERIENCED individuals to be part of changing the system NOT players in the game. I had hoped to be part of the political process. I regret I’m not. I’m very angry and disillusioned with how the last year unfolded and the fact that my name is not showing up on daveberta.ca as a confirmed candidate for a PROGRESSIVE Alberta, regardless of Party. I’ve been tempted to run as an Independent. I’m convinced more and more that Alberta really doesn’t necessarily benefit any more from the Partisan political Party System. BUT I’ve also been told that “being independent” in Alberta politics is the kiss of death, and don’t expect Clarence to come along and earn “his wings” by granting me such a miracle. I would be interested to hear what some of you in “my village” think of that concept. I believe we need PROGRESSIVE, MODERATE, SKILLED, KNOWLEDGEABLE AND PORTFOLIO EXPERIENCED INDIVIDUALS to apply to work in Edmonton to represent ALL ALBERTANS. I don’t think a Party banner much matters anymore. The days of being an energy minister when all your life you’ve been a farmer; or an agriculture minister when all your life you’ve been a business owner from the big city should be over in a 21st Century Alberta.

Anyway, my old political colleagues and probably my wife, IF she reads this will tell me I’m taking too long. I didn’t jump in the river the other night, so that’s good, right!? I guess, yes, compared to Afghanistan or Somalia or rural China I suppose struggling to make a go of it in CALGARY is A Wonderful Life… sort of. The big issue is though, that such “folksy, motherly advice” about being better off than “starving kids in Africa” shouldn’t be an acceptable barometer of how “good we have it” here. Alberta IS struggling and we need to have LEADERS TAKE LEADERSHIP and be part of creating positive change. But nevertheless, for all of you who lifted my spirits last night and throughout the day with just a few words of good cheer and best wishes, a sincere heartfelt thank you. You really don’t know how much it meant to me.

Blessings on you all for 2012. We will see what transpires and how wonderful life can be. Here’s hoping.

It’s cold and snowing, go crank up your heater and boil a cup of tea on your gas fired stove… please ;o)

It’s 50/50 Season at the Rink… Here’s my 50/50 for Alberta!

•January 20, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I would hope to be around in 50 years. My youngest son will be 52, my oldest will be 72. It isn’t beyond the realm of possibility, in fact quite opposite for my family. Grandparents and Great Grandparents on both sides of my family have endured life this long and certainly under much more strenuous circumstances than I have yet had to endure and probably never will, should our society continue its march forward with all its dizzying array of technological and scientific advances.

So therefore I thought it fitting that I should begin to lay out my 50 year plan for Alberta so that upon my 95th Birthday I might sit back and feel as if I have been part of something important, something that has left this Province in better shape than on my 45th, and something that my children, grandchildren and perhaps great grandchildren can look on with pride that I didn’t just sit back and talk about change but was part of making it happen.

I will over the next few months flesh this out in far greater detail, but it should be a simple task for you the reader to understand what the concepts are which I am trying to present as what I believe to be the FOUNDATION for a long term strategy to make this Province, Alberta an incredible place of opportunity and personal and corporate growth.

A FIFTY YEAR PLAN FOR ALBERTA AND ALL ALBERTANS THAT:

“FOCUSSES ON our LONG TERM PROVINICAL FINANCIAL STRUCTURE”

“FOCUSSES ON our PERSONAL AND COLLECTIVE FOUNDATION”

“FOCUSSES ON our PERSONAL AND COLLECTIVE FAITH IN GOVERNMENT”

What do I mean by these? In my mind they are the cornerstones of WHAT MUST BE THE PLAN for our Province;

First, we need a focus on long term Provincial FINANCIAL STRUCTURE. What is the financial plan for Alberta? If we claim as we do at the Alberta Party that it is our intention to “promote Alberta as a world Energy Leader and create an environment favourable to economic diversification”, this must begin NOW. We are blessed with an abundance of natural resources a constant theme in this province. What are we doing with them NOW and into the future? We must diversify our economy not to make us a manufacturing superpower, or a world widget super producer; we cannot possibly compete with the “human superpowers” of Asia. HOWEVER, WE CAN REVITALIZE THE CREATIVE ENERGY OF ALBERTANS by capitalizing on the wealth of knowledge we have in this Province and channeling that into creating an environment that fosters growth and expansion of the economic bedrock of the Province away from sole reliance on hydrocarbon extraction. In addition, it is absolutely critical that we discuss a new economic model for dealing with Provincial revenues and ensuring the financial infrastructure is sound. We need a new relationship with “Corporate Alberta”. Taxation into the black hole which has become the Provincial coffers is a non-starter. We need a partnership approach to Provincial revenues and spending in this Province; and it has to start with an intelligent discussion with its Corporate Leaders. It is a discussion I wish to have and it is a discussion which needs to happen now. Profits from our energy resources MUST be reinvested back into ensuring Alberta is equipped and able to handle its growth and development not just today but far into the future, through significant reinvestment back into research and development, innovation, post-secondary education with extensive and comprehensive focus on science and technology BUT EQUALLY IMPORTANT on development of highly skilled and qualified tradespeople.

Our personal and collective FOUNDATION is under attack. What do I mean by this; the very things that give us our grounding, our families and communities. This needs to end. While once again I will significantly expand on each of these 3 key areas over the course of the next several months, I will say this that the deterioration of these fundamental needs of all of Albertans is impacting and will continue to impact our “social system” if it is not addressed, and addressed with a view to a long term plan for reversing the damage that has been done and ensuring we don’t walk this road again. In addition, our “foundation” includes those things that are critical to our success and very survival as well, health and education, both of which are impacted by loss of focus on our personal and collective wellbeing. Of course a focus on this cannot be successful without focus on financial structure. We must not continue to preside over the death of any more Alberta communities. The same Alberta innovation, integrity and resolve that built these communities needs to be encouraged and fostered through an unwavering commitment by government to ensure that our communities are built up and supported instead of allowed to deteriorate and completely lose their identity, only to have it replaced by the identity of a “big box store chain”. Strong, vibrant and healthy “families” using a broad brush definition of that and proud, vibrant, growth oriented COMMUNITIES not faceless and characterless sprawl will set Alberta on a positive and healthy course for the next 50 years.

Our personal and collective FAITH and trust in the institution which is government; is deteriorating. We have lost control of the bureaucracy, and accountability in government is at an all-time low. We cannot continue to allow voter apathy and disillusionment with government to cloud our view of what role it should have and should continue to have in ensuring Alberta remains the best place in the world to live, work, raise a family, build a business and enjoy the fruits of those years of labour in a societal structure that ensures long term social infrastructure and care when needed. If we don’t begin to change peoples’ mindsets with regard to this critical part of our makeup collectively and as individuals we cannot hope to affect change in our financial structure in Alberta and ensure that we have reliable and effective development of our foundational structures as well. As I mentioned the business of government, the bureaucracy is taking valuable capital away from these areas of focus; it is in dramatic need of change.

Starting in February I will visit 50 TOWNS IN 50 DAYS TO EXPLAIN AND DISCUSS WITH ALBERTANS, MY 50 YEAR PLAN FOR ALBERTA AND ALL ALBERTANS. It will form the structure and theme of my campaign for the leadership of The Alberta Party. I’ll continue to blog about it and use social media to the greatest extent I can, but it in no way can replace personal face to face interaction with real, grateful, intelligent, innovative, but questioning Albertans who are not entirely hopeful about where they see the Province and certainly would question where it is headed in 50 years under this current administration. Many are hurting and don’t see government as truly committed to their FOUNDATION now or in the future. I look forward to listening to their stories and having those discussions and I’m sure occasional debate in the communities where they are, not just in the community online. It should be an exciting 50 days… imagine then what we can do in 50 YEARS!!

The Inside of the Faceoff Circle is Getting Crowded… Why is everyone suddenly wanting to play “Centre”?

•January 10, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Orthodox Christmas ended for our family this weekend. I put away our Nativity scene from in front of our house and it was cold, bloody cold. Perhaps it was the cold, I’m not sure but I got quite angry. Angry that I was suddenly ending this “season of goodwill” and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” for the first week, FULL WEEK back to the grind, but more importantly the “political grind”. Alberta would make a lousy hockey team, because everyone wants to play CENTRE. Quite frankly, I’m tired of it. So at the risk of a bench clearing brawl, I’m throwing down the gloves and putting up my fists and I’m going to fight for the CENTRE, the rest of you are going to have to take us on.

It is absolute nonsense what I read on Twitter et al about how every political party is out there in “the centre”. Rubbish! I watch endless tweets from the #pcaa and #wap about how “progressive” they are, how they truly are “balanced” parties, I cry STOP. Where are the Right Wingers? Where is the “minorities in the backroom” checking line? Where’s the Old Reform Party? Have they all passed away, God rest their souls? Now the “right” side of the political spectrum has been left with a bunch of young, centrist, progressive ideologues? C’mon let’s have a go! I hear the postings by “outraged Tories” that Uncle Ed and his band of merry men can hardly wait to rob from their rich friends and give it all out to the poor, what a load! Red Tories running the Leg? You do disservice to the age old term “Red Tory”. What absurdity to hear the Wildrose Alliance described as Centrist. It is almost offensive. They would do away with your Public healthcare and Education in a heartbeat, but for soundbites holler into the fray of the Legislature trying to pretend that they are “ashamed” of the government’s approach to management of “our public” healthcare in the Province. They cheer on Raj the Lionhearted with their mock angst ridden twittering, about “ending the debate”, shaming the government. Play your position, Ms. Smith. Play your positions “Honest Ed” et al. The Alberta Liberals led by their highly intelligent strategist Dr. David Swann, have shown a strategy of truly showing that they don’t really believe or stand for anything. Dr. Swann is a Left Winger, play your position. What on earth has happened to the NDP? Where is the Carpenters’ Hall religious fervour for full scale unionization of the Province? Where is the vocal and demanding fight for worker’s rights? Higher pay, higher benefits? Socialized everything? Where’s the Greens demanding that the Province be running completely on french fry grease and Crowsnest Pass wind? Where have they all gone? Apparently everyone is all lining up in the little red dot in the faceoff circle. Get off my dot, and play your positions.

I WANT HEALTHY DEBATE IN ALBERTA. I WANT TO DEMOCRACY IN ACTION. Part of that is strong and rigorous debate about major issues. Continuous shifting so as not to alienate voters, trying to catch “the other guy off guard” might be great strategy in chess, but it is disingenuous to Albertans. STATE WHAT YOU BELIEVE, HONESTLY. Don’t Twitter your day away pandering to voters with a bunch of muddled nonsense that doesn’t reflect for  a moment what your “power base” is donating to you to provide. Go out STATE YOUR CASE AND POSITION WITH CLARITY AND BOLDNESS. Declare to Alberta’s agriculture sector that large multinational food giants are the way of the future, the family farm is dead, what land you might still have if not lucrative for oil and gas royalties is needed for coal powered electrical generation. Get on with it Farmer Jones, sell to us, we are giving money this year to our friends at Cargill, 2010 was a rough year. We are simply “investing” in Alberta’s “long term” agricultural future. Ms. Smith stand up and cheer, you’d do the same thing had you gotten there first. Stand up once mighty socialists and say to same farmer we are converting your land to methanol production, so we can get rid of Non-Union Big Oil. And soy, to make Alberta a world leader in tofu processing all of this occurring on government managed “farming cooperatives”, wages and prices set of course in Edmonton. Don’t laugh Alberta Liberals there are many from those heady days of the “anyone but a PC” movement in certain Calgary Constituencies that would do just that.

Come out swinging. Give us something to work against. Everyone by now knows I am running for the Leadership of the Alberta Party #abparty, and I truly believe as do my fellow Party members that we are representative of the “middle ground”, in many ways the Common Ground that so many Albertans and Canadians share. Our Party is literally representative of all parts of the political spectrum coming together for a common purpose, to introduce a PLAN for Alberta and ALL Albertans which will make Alberta the truly GREAT jurisdiction that it can be. You have heard much talk about the 60% that don’t vote, that is the target . As long as the “mainstream parties” keep up their “muddled middle” message the 60% won’t vote and that will work just fine for the RIGHT and LEFT. Oh a few seats swing here and there, but for the most part, it works if the true voting public, not Party loyalists who will vote anyway, are disenfranchised, disillusioned and dispassionate about coming out to vote. Tell it like it REALLY IS, stand up and fight for what you truly believe in and I actually believe that the voter turnout will increase substantially but not for the mainstream. I truly believe also that the hearts and minds of many loyalists can change as well if they listen to their Party’s TRUE voice and decide whether or not that vision of Alberta is ultimately the one they want. I believe that we MUST incentivize our citizens to exercise their democratic right to vote. I trust we can do that with HONEST message not a mandated process.

Gordon Chaffin, an American moderate says it best in his blog that we moderates, Centrists need some swagger. We must fight for the CENTRE and take issue with the monikers of “wishy washy, indecisive fencesitters”. No, WE ARE THE MAJORITY. We need to fight for that territory by respectfully exposing the “mushy, watered down message” that the “political poles” are espousing”.

So as I draw to a close I think perhaps I’m watching the bench clear on both sides. Great, let’s have the Battle FOR Alberta. When you come out though don’t just dance around, land some real policy punches. I look forward to the debate. Give us your TRUE policies, I will give you ours right back. I believe we can and will change the hearts and minds of Albertans if all of Alberta’s political parties stop vying for the Centre and play our positions. I’m not moving off Centre though.

I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas… My ideas for Alberta’s Economic future

•December 30, 2010 • 1 Comment

Well here it goes, I’m dreaming of a White Christmas just like the ones I used to know.

I “used to know” some incredible winter days as a young liberally conservative academic growing up in Southern Ontario, where we could basically jump off the roof of our house into a huge pile of snow. I used to skate and pretend to be Daryl Sittler on the rink my dad and I would flood, ok mostly my dad (until the wee hours of the morning, thanks Dad) until as long as my mom would let me. I built myself a “ski run” where I used K-Tel plastic skis to go downhill when I wasn’t trying to beat my “Olympic bobsleigh record” on my big wooden toboggan.

I didn’t know any kids that went to Private school. When I was sick we went to the doctor or actually the doctor (as was the case when a wild pony which escaped from the Italian neighbours across the road and came over to our paddock bit my ear after my mom specifically told me not to try and get close to it) came to the house. I knew some kids that had an ATARI, we just had a Pong. We had a B&W TV that was a piece of furniture, I knew some kids that had a colour TV. I’ve told you about my train already. I heard of kids going to Disneyland/World, we travelled in one of our family “arks” all over the US on my dad’s business trips. I got to go to some pretty cool places. I grew up going to Chicago, NYC, Montreal, etc. I didn’t care about “Hawaii” I knew I would go there someday “when we had enough money”. I actually never went until 2003. I always wanted to travel to Europe ON A TRAIN, I did that for the first time in 1987. My point being; is that I grew up as a pretty normal MIDDLE CLASS kid in rural Ontario. We travelled, went to church, hung out with friends, played in the snow, and imagined being a Toronto Maple Leaf on our outdoor rinks. I saw “poor people” when we went downtown for a Leaf’s game or on Yonge Street window shopping and eating roast chestnuts from a street vendor at Christmas when we went skating outside at Nathan Phillips Square, but they weren’t really part of my daily experience. Bill Davis, who I thought seemed like an admirable fellow, Joe Clark, even Pierre Trudeau (who was always a source of division in our family) for the most part seemed; when discussing “politics” in Social Studies and “Current Events” (always a highlight for me because I would devour the Toronto Star looking for news) to have a grasp on what we all needed to run our society. I knew my dad “paid taxes”, I was pretty sure everyone I knew did. I understood even at that age if I was going to have my outdoor rink and see the doctor and travel on the 401 that these things had to get paid for and my dad and all the other dads I knew, and some moms, had to do this. They didn’t necessarily like that, but apart from their mortality, it was inevitable. I never really heard of anyone trying to “cheat the system”. I didn’t ever hear of any of my friends’ dads BUYING A CADILLAC OR MERCEDES OR A HOUSE WITH CASH from their Christmas bonus. I knew some kids that had more than us but not a lot and seems to me that their parents were generous and gave to different things, “causes” as my parents used to call it. Everyone and everything seemed to function with “an order” to it. Kinda white, a nice Christmassy white, colours came from our imagination of things we wanted to do and be and see, not from a technicolour barrage of non-stop media.

When did the “White Christmases” stop? When did the black and white become replaced with various shades of grey and “in the BLACK” or “in the RED”? 1980 was strange year. We moved from Caledon, Ontario to Calgary that summer. When I saw the Rockies for the first time (my dad stopped the car on the side of the Trans Canada) right around Strathmore I was in awe. When we went to Banff for the first time, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was “out west”, the “frontier”. I went to my first Stampede and I’ve been every year since. I remember my first steak at Caesar’s that summer. I also remember that Ontario CRASHED. Our incredibly beautiful 5 acres with 4800 square foot house, trout stream where I fished, my BUILT IN TRAIN TABLE, horse paddocks, gardens, etc was sold in a “guaranteed sale” I heard my parents say late one night with my mother basically weeping for less than $160,000. It was sold a few months later to a lady that bought it for a “weekend house”, she was a “broker”. I didn’t know anyone who was “a broker”. I knew kids, whose parents owned, and I grew up at my aunt’s cottage in Muskoka, but I had never heard of anyone having a 4800 square foot house as a “weekend place for entertaining” it broke my mother’s heart. I remember her crying. “Rural Calgary” was $100,000 an acre, we couldn’t afford that so we rented the house that to this day stands at the corner of Acadia and Southland and having my favourite bike I brought from Caledon stolen because I left it sitting out in the “back lane” without a lock. I never had a bike lock before. That year the Calgary school Board went on strike, my parents moved us to Okotoks. Everywhere was “booming”. We moved to Woodhaven on “the other side of the tracks”. I remember my mom and dad in tears again as they paid about $20,000 less than what our place went for in Caledon, for a place about a 1/3rd the size and on a “lot”. We hadn’t lived on a “lot” since I was in Grade 1. My school, Okotoks Jr./Sr. High was old. I came face to face with STRATHCONA TWEEDSMUIR, a private school, with really hot RICH girls. Suddenly at our church there was a huge gap between “the rich kids” and me. I didn’t understand this. My dad worked in oil and gas, BUT we didn’t live in Calgary. At that time many of the kids at Okotoks Jr./Sr. came from ranching/farming families. At that time Calgary’s infamous “horse racer” pronounced that the “Bums and scums” from the East needed to go home. Needless to say the kids in Okotoks knew I wasn’t born at the Holy Cross in Calgary, it wasn’t much fun. I remember the night John Lennon died; my sister and I were listening to CKXL 1140. That was shattering to me. It really seemed weird. A few years later “the broker” sold my parent’s place in Caledon for well north of a million and everyone on our street except my parents and a couple of other families lost their homes to foreclosure. Alberta was bust.

Something happened. Something went very wrong. At 45 years old this February, I’m not naïve enough to think that even while I was growing up in the “White Christmas” of my youth that there weren’t issues, but I’m sorry the world seemed like a much different place. We seemed to be much different as a society. White Christmas has been replaced by black and red Christmas, “Black Friday”. Boom, bust, boom, stagflation???; recession, record high TSX/DJIA then record lows on the same exchanges. Balanced budgets, surpluses, followed by record deficits. Really, what happened to those silent, starry, snowy nights of fiscal responsibility, living within your means, “paying cash”, balancing the budget BEFORE the budget is being TABLED! In a previous blog, by my friend @ppilarski he saw me as “looking to the past” the “progressive” Conservatives are the way to the future. So let me state here and now I simply look to the past to move us forward into a much more responsible future. I want white again, no more black or red. No more labelling economics as “Liberal red” or “Conservative blue”. I want a WHITE CHRISTMAS,

I’ve heard from real, live breathing Albertans that we need to start over. We have lost our way. The old “colours of the past” that have defined and divided us aren’t working. So on Christmas Eve/early morning as I was wrapping presents and eating “Santa’s snack” my little daughter left out for “him”, and watching the Classic Film “White Christmas” with Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney I couldn’t help but think about a “White Christmas” for Alberta. For white is what you get when you start with a clean, fresh new sheet of paper, and even though it isn’t a colour it is what needs to happen in this Province. We need A Plan for Alberta, and All Albertans. When you’ve got a ZERO on a page there’s white in the middle, no black, no red, no streets paved with gold, pure beautiful white. It is time to introduce zero and white to Albertans. Government is not a profit making corporation, and it is not a company. It is the guardian of the hard earned dollars of its citizens, hard earned dollars that it has been entrusted with to manage and provide a standard of living for ALL of those same citizens that is commensurate with its revenues, in other words long before the end of the year the goal should be ZERO balance sheet. Income matches expenses. If there is a massive amount of income at the end of the year; a surplus, and there are people sleeping under bridges, increased wait times in ER rooms, food banks, overcrowded classrooms, massive student loan crisis, the government has mismanaged its finances. If there are all of the above and corporations are paying massive bonuses, making record profits, playing “flavour of the month” pump and dump on the stock exchanges, allowing local Alberta businesses to go under while large multinational, food, energy and retail business prospers, government has failed its citizens. How do I know this? I speak for thousands of Albertans who’ve had enough of the “boom and bust” the “in the black or red” reactive economic policies because we have lived it for too long. We have as a society allowed ourselves to become slaves to debt and deficit, spend, spend, spend; borrow, borrow, borrow when times are bad because that will stimulate the economy, when times are good because it is the “economic engine”. We need to WHITE it out!

I AM NOT ADVOCATING ZERO PROFIT FOR BUSINESS. I AM NOT ADVOCATING CLOSED MARKETS, I AM NOT A PROTECTIONIST. I AM NOT AGAINST CAPITALISM. I AM NOT A COMMUNIST. I am simply stating that when the economy is flourishing that if profits are not being turned into research and innovation, making this Province a WORLD ENERGY LEADER, leading edge healthcare and long term care, WORLD CLASS PUBLICLY FUNDED EDUCATION BOTH POST SECONDARY AND K-12, and massive profits are going offshore and into massive bonuses and stock enrichment schemes, we have a problem. For the next budget we must partner with industry to ensure this is taking place or if we continue to fail to arrest these issues, raise taxes, the choice is simple. We can no longer allow massive profits from this Province to flow south to a massive retailer in Arkansas and have local Alberta businesses struggle and go into bankruptcy therefore putting enormous drain on our social system. We cannot have massive profits from our once thriving agricultural sector be sent to the world headquarters of staggeringly massive factory farmers in St. Louis or Minneapolis while Alberta “family” farmers that have farmed this Province for generations gradually wither away or “sell out” to these entities, again putting massive strain on our social fabric. Gigantic oilfield service companies based in Texas swallowing up family run service companies that can’t afford to keep staff or rigs going when we “piss the next boom away”. And foreign energy companies sending profits far from Grande Prairie while the social underpinning of the Province erodes is not acceptable.

BUT when I talk of fair share, I talk of FAIR share. This isn’t just about oil and gas companies, the other examples above in agriculture, retail and many other sectors that leave Albertans “draining the system” while they are making massive profits are not “paying their fair share” either. Let us not be so disingenuous as to single out one “visible” and easy target, while leaving the “elephant unattended in the room”. Just raising taxes will bring everyone a very black Christmas, and I don’t mean a positive ledger entry. So that is why I am advocating a “blank, white sheet of paper”; a creative partnership between government and industry that fosters infrastructure development. Innovation and research. Strategic development and planning that will lead to a much more creative, dynamic and diversified Alberta that fosters both personal and corporate growth and truly makes the Province a sustainable, diverse economic powerhouse that has a quality based, proactive approach to growth and province wide development. Perhaps tax increases based on certain economic performance may be warranted BUT more critical is long term reinvestment into making Alberta a WORLD economic engine.

Again, if individuals are “taking from the system” we need to assess the long term ramifications of “building bigger personal empires” while the fabric of the Province unravels. Like it or not; we are ALL part of a bigger picture, and when certain segments of our population are left to their own devices while other segments of that same citizenry are able to benefit disproportionately with zero accountability, we have a problem. At some point in time we all may need some or ALL of the services that the government should maintain for its citizens to ensure that such a vast resource base is not squandered on anything less than world class care. One glaring and critical example is a “blank canvas” in terms of our relationship with our aboriginal citizens. If massive corporate and individual profits are taken from this province and the systemic issues which plague so many of our aboriginal communities remain, we have failed, for the downside cost will continue to create a massive strain on the social fabric.

2011 is going to be an exciting year. I am looking forward to the discussion, dialogue and sometimes I am sure, lively and challenging debate with Albertans from all corners of the Province. But I will hold fast to my dream of a “White Christmas”, a chance to begin again to create a partnership between Government and its individual and corporate citizens that encourages and fosters a climate of balance between profits and all Albertans profitting from a healthy, diverse, strategic approach to our economy and social fabric.

Chris who ??… Info about me after being “exposed” by Sheila Pratt

•December 19, 2010 • 1 Comment

Who the heck is Chris D. Tesarski, and why should I care, and why should I want him to run for Leader of the Alberta Party??

All very valid questions and quite honestly they will need some very real answers over the next couple of months. However, I thought a good place to start would be with my “official Career Synopsis”. My friend Sheila does me a little more credit than I deserve. I have been employed in the OIL & GAS INDUSTRY for 27 years, since I was 17. Had I been running the same nat gas company for that long I would undoubtedly be seeking professional help or perhaps a medal of some sort as opposed to the leadership of a political party.

I have been politically involved in Provincial and Federal political campaigns and organizations in both Alberta and Saskatchewan, primarily for the PC party but also for the Alberta Liberal Party, and as a young boy of 13 shook PRIME MINISTER Joe Clark’s hand at a rally my father took me to and told him one day I would be just like him, I will leave it at that. He was and is a great man of integrity, despite some of his admitted political shortcomings. I was so proud to see him win his seat in Calgary for the PC PARTY (the real one) in an “anything but Reform” movement that swept our riding. So what, you say, hardly the qualifications to make you a Leader.

I have had extensive experience in the arts, business, energy, community groups, political organizations, and I tend to be chosen or gravitate to positions that see me providing leadership, direction and strategy. I’m not a very good “filer” or paper shuffler. I am a firm believer in collaboration, dialogue and big picture thinking and planning. Our province lacks much of that. We have a well established bureaucracy, some of which I am sure is very important and vital to our Province. I am hoping to be part of creating and developing A PLAN FOR ALBERTA AND ALL ALBERTANS, I am not interested in creating more bureaucracy.

Well Alberta, this is who I am. To be honest, being an “contrarian energy entrepreneur” read natural gas company CEO, in Alberta isn’t a whole lot of fun these days. There is very little empowerment for the multitude of Junior Energy firms that did at one point or still do attempt to have a significant LOCALIZED impact on Alberta’s oil and gas sector. There are very significant incentives for Sovereign Wealth Funds in this Province that admittedly, as Kate Easton a member of The Alberta Party has pointed out in her well informed blog, (I urge you to read it for an enlightened “big oil” viewpoint) do bring a lot of $$, BUT we have bypassed many Alberta “small enterprises” who everyday try to think and act with innovation and creativity to impact Alberta’s energy sector; in the race for much sexier international money and junkets for our Provincial Politicians. This needs to change if there is going to be ANY “ADVANTAGE” for ALBERTANS.

One other closing note. I have been described as an “Ivory Tower Academic”. While this might be the impression, it is a flattering misnomer. My Bachelor’s Degree comes from a CONSERVATIVE EVANGELICAL COLLEGE & SEMINARY, I absorb information and knowledge like a sponge. I read voraciously (when I can). I follow the news and soak up as much CBC and PBS as I can. It was my dream and at one time my goal to wear the velvet robes of a PhD in History. Four incredible children, two marriages and an energy career later, that goal eludes me thus far. Weightier issues now consume me. Despite not coming to much agreement with Ms. Higgins during the Calgary mayoralty campaign, during her “concluding speech” I became somewhat emotional listening to her as she related that she could no longer “sit and talk” about what was bothering her; she needed to take action and get involved. My interview with Sheila Pratt has now done that, I hope. It says I have had enough of “talking politics, talking about change” it is time to execute A PLAN FOR ALBERTA AND ALL ALBERTANS I am excited about the challenging days ahead. I look forward to the dialogue, not always pleasant I am sure, from every corner of this fantastic province.

I have a passion for this Province that I share with my fellow Albertans in the Alberta Party, a gifted and acutely intelligent group of amazing Albertans that I have uniquely intertwined into the fibre of my day. We are weaving a tapestry together of ideas, hopes, dreams and fears into an unbreakable bond of unity of thought and purpose. That Alberta has changed before, when THE PEOPLE, wanting so much more, truly needing so much more from their politicians, demanded it.

So this is me Alberta…

Christopher David Tesarski:  A Career Synopsis

Personal History:

Mr. Tesarski has had a career in the oil and gas industry which has spanned over two and a half decades, beginning with his first foray into the industry in 1983 with Canadian Occidental Petroleum in their Joint Venture Department. An excellent speaker, writer and communicator, Mr. Tesarski has used those skills to great benefit as he has had the opportunity to lead, shape and motivate companies to strategize and to grow with vision. Just as important though has been his emphasis on solid implementation of that vision through development of internal systems and processes which have led to greater efficiency. Mr. Tesarski was born in Ottawa, Ontario in 1966, graduated from High School in Okotoks, Alberta in 1984 and Canadian Bible College & Theological Seminary in Regina, SK with his Bachelor’s Degree in 1987.

Systems Knowledge and Expertise:

From his first position at Canadian Occidental until today; Mr. Tesarski has built a reputation as a spreadsheet specialist utilizing all major spreadsheet systems to provide skilled management consulting services to numerous companies. Although known to be a skilled user, he has been called upon to implement his knowledge and skills to help strategize, design and implement PC based Production Accounting Systems, Joint Venture Revenue Systems, Gas Marketing & Control Systems, as well as strategic Acquisition & Divestiture Systems. Several of these internal systems have been used to integrate into commonly used data management systems within the industry.

Areas of Knowledge and Expertise:

  • A career of over 25 years in any industry means watching a lot of change and growth. It also means watching success and failure and learning how to analyze trends and strategize and plan so that success and not failure is repeated. Mr. Tesarski has well over a decade of Production Accounting expertise in BC, Alberta & Saskatchewan.
  • A Crown Royalty specialist in BC, Alberta & Saskatchewan, he has watched as the industry has moved from paper based reporting to the online, instant reporting we see today. Not one to sit idly by and just report data, his expertise in dealing with various provincial regulatory agencies and their numerous systems and departments has been utilized as department head for the Injection Scheme Task Force. In addition to this he served as the Alberta Government Royalty Simplification Task Force leader for several junior oil and gas companies in the 1990’s.
  • Mr. Tesarski has always been a strong proponent of integrating a company’s many departments into a cohesive force designed to promote and encourage corporate growth. This has led him to coordinate and lead several departments for several companies over the course of his career. He has coordinated Field Operations for Calgary offices. He has been responsible for control of all aspects of Gas & Liquids Marketing, both contract and “spot market trading”. His knowledge and expertise in Contract Administration & Analysis has seen him coordinate and facilitate strategic relationships between land departments and other facets of company’s operations.
  • His expertise in facilitation and strategic development led to his coordination and marketing of Non Core Asset Divestiture Programs for several companies, which in turn led to the development of his current company FWDSTEP Resources Limited. FWDSTEP has been a strong partner in marketing, facilitating and negotiating transactions in the challenging area of oil and gas acquisition and divestiture. Mr. Tesarski’s skills as a marketer, facilitator and negotiator have served him well as he has helped numerous companies with implementation of asset rationalization both in their strategies of acquisition and divestiture.
  • Mr. Tesarski’s extensive experience in Oil & Gas Contracts has led to his involvement in the creation of numerous contracts and agreements. He is called upon frequently to analyze and act in an advisory capacity on contractual matters prior to hiring of legal counsel. His knowledge and expertise in this area has served companies well as Mr. Tesarski has often ensured that organizations be spared unnecessary legal costs.

Corporate History:

The following is a partial list of companies where Mr. Tesarski has been employed or where his various consulting companies have had or have contracts. With over 20 years of career experience this list includes some companies that are not in existence as a result of mergers, etc.

Canadian Occidental (now Nexen), Grandalta Resources, BP Canada/Talisman, Okusan Energy, Canadian Pioneer Energy/Cimarron, Grandir Resources, Eravista/Torrington, Rustler Petroleum, Bearspaw Petroleum, Nexxtep Resources, Chancellor Energy, General Atlantic and Moraine Production Company, The Terra Group of Companies, EnCana, Enerplus, Husky Oil, TIRMOIL Energy Ltd., General Reef Corp., Arrow Energy Ltd., Sunshine Oilsands Ltd.

Although Mr. Tesarski’s career has meant full-time employment for some well known companies in the energy industry, for well over a decade his skills and expertise have been sought out by numerous companies in a senior advisory and consulting role. This resulted in Mr. Tesarski operating a consulting company called Visionwest Energy Services from 1993 to 1997. He then incorporated as THE OVERTURE CORPORATION in April 1997.  Overture was a company which methodically carved out a niche in the Commodity marketing and Acquisition & Divestiture sector of the energy industry. In 2002 it became FWDStep RESOURCES LIMITED. Overture started with its first project in late 1996, facilitating the purchase of a $400,000 unit interest for a client. By 2003/2004 FWDStep had helped to facilitate well over $100,000,000 worth of transactions in the energy industry.

In 2004, Mr. Tesarski lent his expertise in Oil & Gas Contract Analysis to assist in helping two major Canadian oil and gas companies facilitate closing procedures on well over $1.5 billion in assets.

In January 2005, Mr. Tesarski was asked to assist Husky Oil in managing their Northern Road Systems and establishing internal processes for long term strategic management of Husky’s road and Third Party Agreements. Mr. Tesarski was an integral part in the development of several regional initiatives for road management and business development in the Peace River/Slave Lake Area.

In September 2006, Mr. Tesarski was appointed CEO of Arrow Energy Ltd., a TSX Venture Exchange listed company. Mr. Tesarski grew the company from less than 100 BOE/d to over 300 BOE/d prior to his departure in July of 2008.

Since leaving Arrow, Mr. Tesarski has given leadership as President & CEO to an exciting new oil and gas venture, SANDBOX ENERGY CORP. The company has grown from ZERO production to approx. 100 boepd, with significant holdings in SW Saskatchewan (150+ sections @ 100% working interest), Thorsby, AB and Clyde, Texas.

On a personal note:

Mr. Tesarski is an active participant in Calgary’s Arts Community as performer, corporate sponsor and board member. His involvement with Calgary’s Opera, Dance, Theatre and the Visual Arts communities is well known. He sees corporate and individual involvement as being critical to the success of the community, but also to the success of an individual and corporation as a whole. He has also been an active volunteer with his children’s (Matthew (22), Mikhail (17), Sofia (5)) sports, school and extra curricular activities. In October 2008, he and his wife Audrey welcomed Oliver Johan Tesarski into the family.

Mr. Tesarski’s contacts and references both personal and corporate are one of his greatest assets, which he can bring without hesitation to any organization. He would welcome the opportunity to discuss these if requested and necessary.

He can be reached via email @ chris.tesarski@sandboxenergy.com or by telephone at 403-512-5887.

Strike Up the Band… A discussion of the old one that keeps playing the same old tune

•December 16, 2010 • Leave a Comment

As a classically trained singer, I have had quite a bit of experience following bands.

My friend Tammy, @seachange4ab inspired me as she often has since I met her at the #abparty Convention in Red Deer to write about bands tonight and bandwagons and the fact that in Alberta the tune is getting very old and the instruments are very out of tune.

My favourite elitist tool; Wikipedia, tells us the following

The bandwagon effect, closely related to opportunism, is a phenomenon — observed primarily within the fields of microeconomics, political science and behaviourism — that people often do and believe things merely because many other people do and believe the same things. The effect is often called herd instinct though strictly speaking, this effect is not a result of herd instinct. The bandwagon effect is the reason for the bandwagon fallacy’s success.

In logic, an argumentum ad populum (Latin: “appeal to the people”) is a logical fallacy that concludes a proposition to be true because many or all people believe it; it alleges: “If many believe so, it is so.” This type of argument is known by several names, including appeal to the masses, appeal to belief, appeal to the majority, appeal to the people, argument by consensus, authority of the many, and bandwagon fallacy, and in Latin by the names argumentum ad populum (“appeal to the people”), argumentum ad numerum (“appeal to the number”), and consensus gentium (“agreement of the clans”). It is also the basis of a number of social phenomena, including communal reinforcement and the bandwagon effect, the spreading of various religious beliefs, and of the Chinese proverb “three men make a tiger”.

“Three men make a tiger” (Chinese: 三人成虎 ; Pinyin: sān rén chéng hǔ) is a Chinese Proverb that refers to the idea that if an unfounded premise or urban legend is mentioned and repeated by many individuals, the premise will be erroneously accepted as the truth. This concept is analogous to communal reinforcement or the sociological concept known as argumentum ad populum (appeal to the people).

The proverb came from the story of an alleged speech by Pang Cong, an official of the state of Wei in the Warring States Period (475 BC – 221 BC) in Chinese History. According to the Warring States Records, or Zhan Guo Ce, before he left on a trip to the state of Zhao, Pang Cong asked the King of Wei whether he would hypothetically believe in one civilian’s report that a tiger was roaming the markets in the capital city, to which the King replied no. Pang Cong asked what the King thought if two people reported the same thing, and the King said he would begin to wonder. Pang Cong then asked, “what if three people all claimed to have seen a tiger?” The King replied that he would believe in it. Pang Cong reminded the King that the notion of a live tiger in a crowded market was absurd, yet when repeated by numerous people, it seemed real. As a high-ranking official, Pang Cong had more than three opponents and critics; naturally, he urged the King to pay no attention to those who would spread rumours about him while he was away. “I understand,” the King replied, and Pang Cong left for Zhao. Yet, slanderous talk took place. When Pang Cong returned to Wei, the King indeed stopped seeing him.

Why do I mention this little story? In this Province we’ve only needed “one man” saying there’s a tiger roaming the streets and that is the tiger of “liberalism, elitism and SOCIALISM” and we had better watch out, for so long; that we’ve completely deluded ourselves that as long as we have these “right” guardians in power; all will be well, everything is fine in the kingdom, no tigers are about to destroy our “way of life”. We are blessed, so why complain; don’t let “the tiger in”. Lately there’s another voice, a “woman” saying there’s a tiger, but also that the “one man” saying there’s a tiger, is less right about the tiger than they are?? Thankfully, I’m not sure any of us see a “third man” any time soon!

Strike up the band! Yes, the same old one that’s been playing for decades, with the same old guys playing in it. Like the band of old guys from one of those old Italian films, you can’t help but sort of have a pitied respect for them as they waddle through Grande Prairie or High Prairie or Pincher Creek or Rainbow Lake or Calgary or Edmonton on and on the cities and towns on their cross province parade of old chestnuts roll by. All is well. Trust us. Don’t listen to the left wing socialist academics trying to confuse you with talk of “complex issues demand a complex and intelligent response” oom pah pah oom pah pah boom bim bam all is well all is well in our beautiful land! Sadly what should be a tune played with a nice “sustained” G(rowth) followed by a lovely sustained E(conomy) with much F(uture) crescendo in a harmony of E(conomy), E(nergy), E(nvironment) and C(are) for A(ll) A(lbertans), is tossed off for the more familiar refrain of Sharp G(rowth) unsustained D(evelopment) with a Flat E(conomy) decrescendoing rapidly into a Major dissonance of E(nvironment) and E(nergy) leading to a decrescendo of Sharp C(ompetitive) D(ecline) into a Major D(eficit) building into a Major F… well you get the picture. Play on! All is well. Fa la la la la, Deck the Halls with Bows to Folly!

I didn’t blog for a while. It hasn’t been an easy couple of weeks in the world of Junior O&G, and we’ve moved offices as many of you know, right above #pcaa HQ in Calgary, and my whole little volley back and forth with my good pal @ppilarski wherein he chose to completely and deliberately misread, misguide and misinform readers about the “tiger” roaming around devouring “simple Albertans” like himself with my academic elitism has left me a little bit ponderous. However, tonight the “tune kept playing” over and over in my head and I had to write it down. Folks, this old Conservative refrain, it’s a “paper tiger”.

First of all, let me say I truly believe that Albertans are a diverse, complex, intelligent and highly passionate group of people, I never called them simple. Just the opposite, I believe that our politicians have treated us as a simple bunch that can be easily swayed onto the bandwagon to listen to their F(lat) tune. Lately a lot of Albertans aren’t sure this is actually music to their ears anymore. They are looking for a new band and a wagon that doesn’t have tires that are continually going flat. I write in a very sarcastic, Monty Pythonesque style, black humour. I think the vast majority of Albertans are smart enough to get the message, if they want to listen. If not, I’m not going to apologize for the tune I’m playing and I’m not going to stop playing it. Harmony of Energy, Economy, Environment, Competitiveness and Quality care at all levels for All Albertans is not a tune I think that those same Albertans don’t want to listen to, but they have to turn their ears away from the old familiar ditties and realize that we must make changes, complex changes. We need a new tune, played by a new band. We must enhance and expand our dialogue and collaboration so that we might have an intelligent, thoughtful, provocative and challenging discussion about the tune that Albertans want to hear. Just throwing a couple new bows and ribbons on the old uniforms and changing up one or two of the tunes isn’t “new”, #wap, as in The Wildrose Drum & Bugle Corp. ( I intended to spell it Corp.). We need a new band filled with a fresh intelligence and SKILLS to handle the complex tune that is Alberta. Oh it is a beautiful piece of music this place we call home, but its hardly “row row row your boat gently down the tailings pond, throw the lefties overboard and listen to them scream”. How ironic that a quiet little chorus came out of “the Septet of Leftist Oilsands Operators” this past week, as it is becoming apparent that there is no true regulatory framework and plan that is coming out of Edmonton. It is a start. It is the kind of discussion that needs to happen, and it needs to happen now.

I am very proud to have donned the fresh, new, crisp blue and gold of the #abparty, Alberta Party. The challenge for us will be to keep the uniforms that way. To continue to bring a fresh, intelligent and dynamic new tune to Albertans. Some will scoff and PRETEND that the new tune is irrelevant. Some will shout “tiger tiger” everyone run! They’re really socialist Green extremists. Right, I tell myself everyday when I analyze well production how lucky I am to be a left wing, socialist, elitist academic environmentalist living and working and contributing to the economy in Alberta.

No, we are a moderate group of individuals as diverse and complex as this amazing Province we call home. We are bound together by a passionate response to changing the tune that Albertans are hearing and have listened to for so long. It may be really new, we might play a few notes wrong here and there, but if you truly listen I believe that you will hear a truly remarkable and talented band beginning to play some pretty great stuff. I invite you to listen to a truly NEW BAND WITH A NEW AND TECHNOLOGICALLY ADVANCED, MADE IN ALBERTA WAGON. I and my fellow bandmembers are marching through a town near you. Come out and listen Alberta, I believe that you will enjoy the music you’ll hear www.albertaparty.ca

A View from the Tower…The Ivory One: A Battle for the Minds of Albertans

•December 7, 2010 • 1 Comment

This is my volley; the first of which I trust will be many at the #pcaa and their leading YYC spokespersons the famous @ppilarski and his partner @crontynen and the characterization of me as a left wing, liberal, academic, elitist. Unfortunately I was unable to attend such a lavish spectacle as the Calgary #pcaa Non-Trappist eggnogfest complete, I am told, with cup stacking, devoid of anything created by Monks and over 12% alcohol rest assured. As a high minded, aloof academic, oh yes I had higher things to pursue. Thus, I waged a sort of “tweet battle” so to speak with Mr. Pilarski while exploring such noble and lofty pursuits as finding my wife Dutch licorice and a Delft blau ornament at the extremely elitist “Edelweiss Market” in Calgary for St. Nicolas day December 5th. I then pursued such mental gymnastics as finding a parking spot at the Chinook Centre, a bastion of liberal thought, while shopping for ornaments for each of my 3 children and dining at that most Bohemian of eateries, Poulet Frit de Kentucky or KFC as it is known to Alberta’s more simpler citizenry who I’m told don’t relate to me very well, being the “burdened” academic that I am. My foray, if I might be so bold as to use a term perhaps unfamiliar with Albertans, to Chinook, as it is affectionately known, even amongst Academia, came after an intellectually stimulating hour, my 3rd epic journey this past week, to that bastion of oral and visual stimulation, Best Buy to get my laptop back.

Oh I know; I know, you wonder how so much higher learning in an evening could possibly leave me any time for thought processes about anything else but these lofty, liberal pursuits at hand, BUT think I did. Back to days of yore, so to speak, or should I say “olde”; to that bastion of socialist, utopian ideology, Caledon East, Ontario. Oh those heady days of Proulst, and Hardy, Shakespeare and the Ilead. My memory floods back to my fond childhood recollections of the operas of Mozart, Verdi and Rossini. Such was the youthful boyhood world of the son of a respected Marketing Manager for a metal finishing company, and a mother who pursued the art of textiles so to speak while teaching other women in our Liberal dominated community how to sew, and then branching out to not only teaching them how to sew, but wait for it oh reader, selling them the fabrics and “notions” for those of you unfamiliar with the terms of sewing. Oh I know that Conservative façade (especially my Conservative Evangelical upbringing) they put up was just to mask their true identity, so they might “blend in” so to speak with “common” Ontarians. It was those nightly Thespian endeavours or discussing Plato and Socrates that really stand out with me. It was perhaps those frequent discussions of mathematical equations by my father until all hours when, silly me, I would add instead of subtract on my math test. Hard to believe isn’t it, I know, but yes even we lifelong believers in all things Renai (pause) sance as it truly should be pronounced, are apt to make the occasional mistake. All of this led me back to Christmas in Caledon, how Elysian, to blankets of fresh white snow and one fine Christmas Day when I was 11. Ah yes, what would such a learned boy as me; want on such a day you might ask Dear reader, perhaps an updated set of War and Peace or a complete set of Shakespeare? Oh tut there would be plenty of time for such cliché as that. It was this my 11th year that I truly wanted to explore the dissemination of Liberalism throughout our Great Dominion of Canada via “the Iron Horse”. In simpler terms, I wanted a train. Oh yes a train set. How extremely rare a thought for a young boy of 11, but burdened as I was with such weighty matters as the rise of the Democratic Party in the US following the Viet Nam war, I felt it just to challenge myself with a more lofty gift for the Jolly man himself to leave under the tree. Being the Liberal Democrat that I was, albeit in Conservative clothing; I had surmised long before that the myth of Santa Claus was just that, a myth. It was my dear high minded, Liberal parents that were the true “Clauses” so to speak. I was content with that. In this particular “Yule season” my parents, bless their heart found it “less suspicious” to give me a “German Romantic” “cut out” train. Oh it was detailed, and quite exquisite, but it was in fact made of sturdy cardboard. Perhaps it was metaphor? Perhaps it was meant to challenge my mind, visualize a real “Iron Horse” galloping endlessly past lakes, and vast Prairies, past Mountains and on to the sea. No it was a trick, for after what seemed to be a suspense filled eternity of an hour or so of other tomes of wisdom and Meccano sets, dolls (for my sisters, albeit being a good Liberal, I did play with Big Jim, and GI Joe. I believed Jim to be a handsome Caucasian Dr. Suzuki, exploring the wilderness and Joe to be well, I was sure of it a UN Peacekeeper; but I digress) etc, there in a large GLAD GARBAGE BAG, wasn’t the compost (we actually did compost all the time) but my IRON HORSE. I couldn’t stop touching it, playing with it, setting it into all different configurations, back and forth, forth and back. Stopping only for the repasts of the day, oh sorry, scrumptious feasts prepared by my Cordon Bleu trained, oh well it sure seemed like that to me, mother. Christmas Day brunch couldn’t end too soon, despite wanting to discuss poetry and philosophy, my trainset called to me. When Christmas dinner with all its Traditional finery came, I couldn’t wait to get back to my train, showing it to my cousins, pretending I was taking magical journeys to the seat of Democracy in Greece; the birth of Marxism in Germany and Eastern Europe then on to gay Paris to explore Bohemian pursuits. Oh the sheer, unadulterated joy of being an 11 year old Liberal ideologue!

As I wandered throughout “Chinook” and afterward after climbing the stairs of my Ivory tower to alight onto my pillow top Sealy, a wave of nostalgia and exuberance filled me. For there, under my elitist Christmas Tree, you my friend Piotr, had left me my GLAD BAG, filled with of all things that “train set” of my aloof, elitist dreams… Ralph Klein’s “Martha & Henry”. Oh Piotr, you fulfilled the wish of us Elitist Academics like only the great Claus himself could have done. Oh I’ve been giddy for days. I can’t stop playing with it over and over again. While I’m running my high minded, Liberal, elitist Oil and Gas Company I drive it back and forth across the tracks stopping at so many little villages along the way like Grande Prairie, High Prairie, Rainbow Lake, Swan Hills, Slave Lake, Lethbridge, Coaldale, Olds to thumb my nose or present my middle finger in a Trudeausian salute to “Martha and Henry”. Oh yes, the bane of we high minded elitists, you and your lovely partner, “just simple Albertans”, just an Immigrant’s son. Ignored, looked down on, tossed aside by we the elitist burdened academics looking down on those simple folk like yourselves, while we confound you with our Quixotic notions of balance of economy and the environment, HIGHER Education funding and sustainable healthcare. Oh the absolute drudgery of trying to explain our views on sustainable municipal infrastructure and here comes the train, high speed “Liberal European” rail systems.

You say I should be succinct, that is the problem. I am sick and tired of being “dumbed down”. I am fed up with the “Palinization” of Alberta, where apparently people like me are branded as aloof, elitists while it is the PCAA that speaks for Martha and Henry. Or as the completely underwhelming Conservative icon Ms. Palin would say AND I QUOTE “how’s that hopey changey thing goin for ya”. Albertans are smarter than that and deserve better than that and hiding behind your “simple gratitude for the abundance of our Province” doesn’t cut it anymore. You never read my blogs, because if you actually did you wouldn’t have branded me the way that you did. So I will make it SIMPLE for you and your PCAA colleagues by outlining a few key points below, and to hell with my word count.

You love living in this Province and in Canada. Every time you turn on the news and watch yet another global conflict or disaster you feel thankful and blessed that you live in a country that allows you to be free from so many of the things that plague and impact the lives of those we share this planet with. BUT you can’t help feeling that still all is not well. You have dreams and hopes and aspirations for your life and for the lives of your family and friends. You can’t help but think that there are ways that your government is not truly speaking for you or at least doesn’t seem to be listening to you (Blog:  What happened to me this past weekend)

How, pray tell, do you get anything else out of that first sentence but gratitude. It is 100% reflective of how I feel about this Province. You and your colleagues do not have a monopoly on gratitude, only power.

We are weaving a tapestry together of ideas, hopes, dreams and fears into an unbreakable bond of unity of thought and purpose. That Alberta has changed before, when THE PEOPLE, wanting so much more, truly needing so much more from their politicians, demanded it. (Blog: What happened to me this past weekend)

You label me as “an elitist academic that looks down on the rest of us from his ivory tower, feeling somehow burdened that he must fulfill his divine mission in life – leading some modern day Renaissance”. Really? How out of the above statement do you get that I have anything else but a heartfelt hope for my fellow citizens, you’ll notice NO REFERENCE to PARTISAN POLITICS above.

I have somewhat patient shareholders, BUT at some point in time the meetings stop, the consultation stops and THE WORK has to begin. This Council can’t CUT??? Give me the scissors! Don’t go through some namby pamby “public process” that just lets you sit back and “build bigger bridges”. MAKE THE TOUGH DECISIONS; YOU ARE AN EXECUTIVE, NOT A JUNIOR MANAGER! (Blog: Management by Committee)

You claim in the opening paragraph of your blog “There are some areas where Chris and I agree – I will get to them shortly”. When? I checked, you never did, you just labelled me, have you even read the above blog or this paragraph from it? Tell me what “Progressive Conservative” such as you wouldn’t agree with such an “Ivory Tower Elitist” viewpoint as I’ve lain out above?

And my absolute favourite, I mean really do you not have Google?

(All of the following are from my Blog: Kumbaya: An OPERA… Uh Oh, MUST BE ELITIST IF IT’S AN OPERA)

“In my mind’s eye I see them all gathered around one of my gas wells, the flame burning out slowly, to match with my dwindling corporate bank account. The LEFT part of the concert hall (privately funded by Bullfrog AND EnCana) swaying back and forth while the good Doctor sings (every great opera has a Doctor in it) visions of windmills and geysers dancing in their head like some Disney Fantasianesque dream. The RIGHT lulled to sleep as the cannons fire and dancing scarecrows waltz back and forth scaring the ducks and migratory birds off the tailings ponds. Oh yes and there’s the choir at the ERCB singing ever so softly so as to not give the audience a clue whose side they’re on. The baritone is about to shatter this Elysian dream with a resounding cymbal crash… I’m sure you can see that unless this quartet is broken up and the audience scared ___________ out of their snooze, this is not going to go well”

“With a flaming natural gas torch he rides onto the stage in his NGV powered chariot and demands an answer. It is at that point that the ERCB shrugs as choruses often do and the quartet starts into a typical patter, another operatic technique where upon Elysium being uncovered for what it really is, a hodgepodge of Don Quixote windmills, dancing Disney geysers, and Wagnerian pools of tar, each side starts quickly into blaming the other!

Speaking of Europe, after the war, in the same blog, being from Poland (had you read it) you should have got this.

“More importantly their infrastructure was left in shambles after the 2nd World War, and we cannot comprehend what needed to be done to bring it back let alone move it forward. With a Cold War in place, little infrastructure, and difficult and risky hydrocarbon development, you can’t help but bring a quixotic vision into place.

And finally from my Blog dedicated to you Piotr…

For even there, the Renaissance thinkers of old would laugh at our Quixotic mix of windmills scattered hither and yon and geothermal thrown in, and solar panels patchworked all over the place, why? Because there is no plan!

Figured it out yet? It comes from the story of Don Quixote. Tough hey, I’m sure Martha & Henry would have a terrible time figuring it out? This is what it means, for the simpler folk out there that think I’m an Elitist…

“Preoccupied with an unrealistically optimistic or chivalrous approach to life; impractically idealistic” just like Don Quixote. I’m sure actually back when great literature was part of the Curriculum in Alberta, Martha and Henry just might remember reading Don Quixote. More importantly though, look throughout the above examples of how the term is used, EVER to describe Martha & Henry or the #pcaa, NEVER. It is meant to be a pillorying, oh sorry, making fun of; the ridiculous and completely unattainable, at least next week, goals of the extreme left. Views of some which do not speak for the majority, no more than the extreme right does not speak for ALL of the #pcaa. How sad that you are so quick to label me without even seeing the context of my writing. All of the above examples are exactly what the #abparty stands for a CENTRIST, SOMETIMES A LITTLE LEFT, SOMETIMES A LITTLE RIGHT, and MODERATE VIEW of what we believe Alberta should work towards LISTENING THROUGHOUT THAT PROCESS TO THE VOICES OF ALBERTANS. You sir wish to flim-flam them with “the bogeyman in my words”. We don’t understand him Henry! He must be a scary, leftist, elitist Ivory Tower academic! You’re right Martha I heard tell up in Edmonton when those lefties start using big words it usually means they’re going to build a nuclear plant.

Bullshit. The people of Alberta deserve better, and I have the faith in them that they are sick of labelling and nonsense from Politicians and want a change. They want EDUCATED, INTELLIGENT, THOUGHT-FULL AND THOUGHTFUL RESPONSES to the issues that they are facing. They’ve had enough of the ridiculous notion that you can learn on the job; and if this Cabinet job doesn’t quite suit me I can try another one; I’ve got a couple of terms. Solve problems with qualified and intelligent people who can DO THE JOB the voters have entrusted them with. I speak to that in another Blog: Looking for a Saviour…. Which you haven’t obviously read, because it is a discussion of internal politics within the ALBERTA PARTY after what I felt were QUIXOTIC ideas about a LEADER, and LEADERSHIP in general, which with all due respect, I will choose to disagree with you about STEADY EDDY et al as you and your Non Trappist eggnog swillers so affectionately call him at your Xmas (just trying to be politically, Elitist, correct) Parties at this joyous time of year. In CONSERVATIVE CALGARY in that BASTION OF LIBERAL IDEOLOGY, THE OIL & GAS INDUSTRY, they have quite a different term for him, one which I won’t repeat because it actually isn’t politically correct and it is offensive. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard one of your average Albertan oilmen use it, I’d be drilling another well. Hand on the wheel indeed.

But I have saved your most offensive comment for last and it is with that I launch my personal campaign against the bamboozlement of Albertans. You and your #pcaa colleagues can call me what you want, I don’t care, I relish it and trust the debate to be fierce, but I will not sit idly by and allow you to twist my words.

This is what I’ve said…

“The Musings of a man who thinks the Renaissance happened 5-600 years too early.” Is my personal tagline.

“In addition, progressive thinking, in essence Renaissance thinking doesn’t favour the “one trick pony” either. I would ask our friend Dr. Sherman for his views on energy, the economy, research and development, agriculture, trade barriers, etc etc etc. Galileo didn’t just gaze up at the stars and say, “Bravissimo, completo!!”. Da Vinci didn’t just paint the Mona Lisa pack up the easel and yell “Ciao bella”. These are PROGRESSIVES. They looked at the WORLD AROUND THEM not just Vegreville, Spruce Grove or Airdrie and wanted to make a difference. They wanted to change things, turn things upside down. Rip the rims off the cartwheels and design a car. They’d look at the rumbling, plodding machine of our government and society and want to dismantle it and start again. It is the kind of thinking that must occur if we are to truly change and it is the kind of thinking that is NOT occurring in Edmonton; in the Legislature, by any of the Parties that hold seats. Partisan politics CAN TRULY BE THE BOGEYMAN if it categorizes and ultimately breeds dogma, dogma does not yield Progressive thinking.”

“OR we dismantle the whole thing and build it back up again in partnership with industry to make Alberta a global leader in green hydrocarbon production while at the same time increasing our consumption of renewables and making us a global leader in those areas as well. For even there, the Renaissance thinkers of old would laugh at our Quixotic mix of windmills scattered hither and yon and geothermal thrown in, and solar panels patchworked all over the place, why? Because there is no plan! Again, Renaissance thinkers didn’t just bang out a machine for that day. They wanted to revolutionize the world that they knew and the world of the future.”

“… so on November 13/14 I sat and listened, and sometimes debated with a gathering of 150 strong in Red Deer that talked about a society that looked a lot like what I’ve been describing, PROGRESSIVE. A Renaissance so to speak; that would see this incredible place we all call home; plan to be something different. Not just for the next year or 5 years, but for the next 50 years and 100 years…The Renaissance is beginning, I plan to be an active part of it.”

Then this is what you’ve said…

“Never trust a party that offers you the past – @cdtenergy wants to take you back 5-600 years.  Let’s look forward to the Alberta we want to create and let’s have an HONEST discussion about how to get there.  Let’s make sure that moving forward, we don’t leave people behind.  Let’s get out of our ivory towers and roll up our sleeves.  My Progressive Alberta is one where everyone takes some personal responsibility for the future and everybody does their part.  Many passionate Albertans and I have chosen the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta to get there – we hope you consider joining us!”

Then this is where it begins. We are battling for the minds of the people of this amazing Province that I’m so blessed to live in. I know what many of their hearts have to say, the question is whether or not they’ll listen to intelligent, thoughtful, educated voices or continue to listen to the flim-flam fear tactics of allowing informed and intelligent debate and discussion to be written off as dangerous to “the Alberta Way” because it sounds a little bit educated. If you truly believe that what I said above is what you’ve just tried to pass off onto Albertans as being aloof and Elitist then my dreams for Alberta aren’t QUIXOTIC enough to believe that I can change you or “Martha & Henry”. BUT I believe Albertans are smart enough that as a part of the #abparty that I can be part of changing Cheryl, Michael, Ming, Ahmed, Francisco, Marilyn, Frederick, Audrey, Johann, Maria  and more and more and more.

I look forward to the Renaissance, I’m sure the resistance to change will be strong. Just ask Galileo, apparently he had the crazy, backwards looking view that the Earth revolves around the Sun. FYI, Alberta doesn’t revolve around the #pcaa.

 
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