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.