Kitchen table talk

The 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan believed that your home is where the strongest source of political opinion originates. One of Reagan’s more famous quotes put it quite clearly, “All great change in America begins at the dinner table.”

Part of developing into the person we are starts with the environment we’re exposed to. As we go through life we learn and develop every day. A large part of our life education is often influenced by the examples and attitudes we see in those closest to us. If compassion for others is a strong belief that exists in a family home, it is more likely that the children growing up in that home will be compassionate.

Unfortunately not all education is a positive to a person’s development. If the environment a person is exposed to is one of self entitlement and nepotism they would be less likely to consider these shortcomings as character flaws.

Nepotism is the act of using favour to give unfair advantage to friends and relatives in business, sports, politics and other activities. The term comes from the Italian word “nepotismo,” which is based on the Latin word nepos meaning “nephew.” The most extreme examples we see today happen in political settings where decisions need to be made where people can ascend to levels beyond their capabilities, training or education. Those decisions may need to be made with impartiality.

An environment charged with nepotism is something Albertans are increasingly being subjected to from the current Alberta government. Political appointments in this government, and, even some local agencies, inevitably come down to how you’re connected to the governing body rather than using legitimate, impartial qualifications. There can be no other explanation for the appointment of Tzeporah Berman in 2016 when she was named Co-Chair of the Oil Sands Advisory Group. Berman, for years prior to her appointment, voiced her desire to have the Oilsands completely shut down. Yet in a decision that defied logic, she was somehow considered an asset to the board by the Premier.  

Examples of nepotism can be obvious like some of the Alberta government’s appointments but they can also be more subtle, neither are productive or in the public’s best interest. In some ways the normalization of nepotism is learned at the dinner table depending on who is sitting at that table.

The desire to change an environment of nepotism and entitlement is something we can begin at the table as well. Albertans deserve to know the political values of the people seeking power and those already in office.

Ronald Reagan understood that the raw material for political values come from the home environment. The next time you sit down at the table it’s important to remember the effect the discussion has on the others at the table and ask yourself what values you’d like the others at the table to come away with. 

Two of the greatest stories ever told

July 1st marks the 151st anniversary of our great nation. Canada is and always has been a beacon of freedom and peace throughout the world. The story of our nation for most of us is one of the greatest stories ever told. It’s the story of a nation that has a respected reputation that allows its citizens abroad to proudly display the flag of our nation.

Canada Day is when Canadians gather to continue to make the story of the red and white one of the most benevolent and caring societies in the world. Canada’s reputation includes our ability to feed and supply clean ethical energy to nations throughout the world. Not content to sit back on our reputation as a supplier of goods, Canadians respond to disasters around the world without hesitation, whenever situations require this essential call of duty.

The Drumheller Stettler constituency is the setting of another one of the world’s greatest stories. On July 6th the Canadian Badlands Passion Play will be celebrating its 25th opening night with yet another epic performance of the “Greatest Story Ever Told.” The presentation is set in an authentic natural amphitheatre that serves as the backdrop for the Passion Play, a theatrical event that tells the story of Jesus Christ. The Drumheller badlands offers one of the most unique sets you will find anywhere in the in the world. With amazing natural acoustics, patrons have the ability to enjoy the performance from every seat in the house.

The Passion Play has one of the largest theatrical casts in Canada, with hundreds of local residents answering the call every year for extras, in some cases with entire families participating as extras and support staff. Every year hundreds of people of all acting skill levels volunteer for the 9-weekend commitment that makes this epic performance such an incredible success and a wonderful place for young actors and actresses to gain valuable experience.

Opening night on their 25th Anniversary will undoubtedly be a special night for Executive Director Vance Neudorf and his wonderful staff, who work tirelessly to bring the production to fruition.

For tickets to the Canadian Badlands Passion Play call the 1-888-823-2001 (Mon-Fri 9am to 4pm).  Performances are scheduled for July 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21 (6:00pm), July 8, 15, 22, 27 (4:00pm).

These are two of the greatest stories happening as summer kicks into high gear and we embark on creating our own great stories. With those celebrations I’d like to remind everyone to do so safely and with consideration for the safety of others. Please drive carefully and do not drink and drive.

Money well spent

The practice of throwing money at problem is something governments believe will ultimately solve a problem or situation. All too often government’s response to problems or issues is to simply allocate vast amounts of money to the problem often without a strategic plan for the way forward. All too often this approach fails to accomplish little in the way of tangible results that could be considered good value for taxpayer dollars.

Albertans are generally innovative and forward thinkers; an example of using innovative forward thinking has been recently implemented by the Hanna Rural Crime Watch Association. In cooperation with the Hanna RCMP detachment the board of the Hanna Rural Crime watch has successfully launched a phone application that has citizens in the community actively participating in crime prevention in real time. In addition to the obvious benefits, regular updates and crime prevention tips will be sent out to users on a regular basis.

The application will allow community members to report suspicious activities and/or persons who will include the exact geographical location of the suspicious activity or crime. Reporting an incident through this application also allows users the ability to include pictures and written reports that will be monitored by the Constables from the Hanna detachment. Notifications or reported incidents are automatically sent to other users in the designated area further hampering the activities of the criminal element.

Alberta’s vast rural communities can be a logistical challenge for RCMP Constables who simply cannot be everywhere all the time. The additional citizen initiated monitoring that they now have on the ground through the Rural Crime Watch app users will be an economical alternative to most other approaches we’ve seen on rural crime. It needs to be stressed that this application is NOT an alternative to 911 emergency services.

The obvious problem would be that if citizens can monitor what is going on in real time, so can the criminal element, Hanna Rural Crime Watch and the application developers have taken this into consideration. Potential users of the application must be approved to download the app by the administrators which add another essential level of security to the system.

As opposed to throwing large sums of money at the out of control rural crime we’ve seen in recent years, this program is very economical. The initial development of a rural crime watch chapter’s application is $749, in addition to the cost of development a yearly fee of $375 per year for updates and hosting. With the potential impact this can have on rural crime, a monthly cost of $31.25 you would be hard pressed to find a better value for the money.

The Rural Crime Watch program was originally developed in 1978 to be “the eyes and ears of rural Alberta,” supported by the Alberta Cattle Commission, the Western Stock Growers’ Association, the Farmers Advocate, and the RCMP. The forward thinking by the Hanna chapter of Rural Crime Watch has shown that innovative ideas can often offer solutions to problems that throwing money at them does not accomplish.

Crony capitalism

Conservatism is generally thought of as a set of beliefs which tend to include minimal government intervention in the economy, free enterprise and free market capitalism. Unfortunately all too often we see a destructive form of capitalism; it’s called “crony capitalism.”

Crony capitalism exists in an economy in which businesses grow, not as a result of risks they take or opportunities available, but rather as a return on money amassed through collaboration between businesses and the political bureaucracies. An economy that is normally free-market but allows for preferential regulation and other favourable government interventions based on personal relationships, obviously does not benefit anyone outside that circle of influence.

Crony capitalism often comes in the form of government subsidies that create an unfair advantage for one business over another. However, in order for government to subsidize or otherwise fund a venture, that money must first be taken from another wealth-creating source, such as a business or individual. When that actual wealth-creating source is in direct competition with the subsidized company, it becomes a paradox that has the subsidized company utilizing the true wealth creator’s own money to compete against them.

Government subsidization or outright funding creates a market where one participant has the ultimate advantage over all the others. Where broad  private business interests exist, there really is no need for government participation, directly or indirectly. Fair, open competition amongst private businesses drives competitive prices and ultimate product improvement.

The Carbon Tax is a perfect example of wealth redistribution that funds crony capitalism. The tax is designed specifically to fund/subsidize businesses that are not viable enough to survive in a true supply and demand market. In a system that creates the false appearance of “pure” capitalism, but is publicly maintained to preserve the exclusive influence of well-connected individuals and businesses, we have seen throughout history that it is destined for failure. The impending failure here is evident in Alberta’s projected debt of almost $100 billion and 6 credit downgrades since the NDP took office in 2015.

For some who haven’t experienced a truly capitalist economy, crony capitalism can become a form of dependence, where they begin to believe that business cannot be successful without the protection of government assistance. The funds a government runs on, however, come  only from personal and business sources that create wealth and the redistribution of that wealth is what fuels crony capitalism.

The UCP economic policies offer Albertans the hope that we can become self-reliant without the aid of government. As Albertans, we’re looking for the commitment from our elected representatives to change these policies that have hindered rather than helped this province. We have to learn from our past negative experiences and present Albertans with policies that offer incentives that lead to opportunities.

Albertans are independent by nature; most are simply looking for a hand up not a hand out. That is why I am committed to supporting common sense conservative fiscal policies that create opportunities and allow Albertans to provide for themselves.

True blue

In what can only be described as a conservative wave driven by ideological policies, the political map of Canada is beginning to turn blue – conservative blue. Voters in Ontario came to the solemn realization that the burdensome taxation implemented by the Wynne Liberal government was not making life better for them and it did not make their businesses more competitive. Voters in Ontario found it harder to support their families, particularly after the Liberals’ disastrous green energy policies, that have lead to record-high electricity costs for consumers and businesses.

Lead by Doug Ford, the citizens of Ontario chose a new conservative government to guide them out of the financial calamity that the Ontario Liberal party had led them into. The Ontario Progressive Conservative party came from Opposition status to majority government, with the Liberals losing their official party status with just 7 of 124 electoral seats.

Being a true-blue conservative isn’t something you achieve by simply declaring to be one. Conservatism is a set of principles that advocates for free enterprise; driven by innovative incentives that rely on individuals acting on opportunities, as opposed to top-down government-driven subsidized development.

True conservatism creates an even economic playing field that caters to no sole business or individual; instead, it creates equal opportunities for people willing to work hard and accept the risk and rewards of investing in a capitalist economy.

The importance of creating an economic environment that is predictable and stable for prospective investors, is being played out before our very eyes. The type of government involvement that recently took place with the Trans Mountain Pipeline has sent a message to private investors, that their investment may not necessarily be protected. Kinder Morgan was prepared to build the pipeline using private investment, however, despite having followed all of the regulatory conditions and licensing, the federal government failed to act in their favour as they should have.

A return to a true-blue conservative economic environment would allow investors to have peace of mind when investing their capital in a Canadian jurisdiction. The disregard being shown for investors and the law of the land by the B.C. NDP government is nothing short of reckless to our economy.

An important basic element of freedom sought by true-Blue conservatives includes the entrenchment and protection of definitive property rights. Without property rights a true capitalist economy cannot exist; because it is deeply rooted in the ability of individuals’ having an inalienable right to use their property to create their own wealth – free from the encumbrances of government.

As true-blue conservatives, we must work towards less government involvement, which would allow markets to grow naturally based on the simple premise of supply and demand. We must also work towards less government control over our day-to-day lives and a return to the freedom from government that attracted so many people to Alberta in the first place.

With the support of conservative Albertans we can once again return to a true-blue Alberta.

So What’s a Nomination Race Anyway?

Confused? Don’t worry….

As I have been contacting people over the last few months and asking them to support my nomination bid, it has become apparent that there is some confusion about what I’m asking them to do, and why.

This is NOT for the next provincial election…although, of course I DO want you to vote for me in that too! But that’s not what the nomination race is about.

I AM asking that you support me as I seek to become the UCP candidate again in the Drumheller Stettler constituency.

This second point is where it can be confusing. Aren’t I already the MLA? Doesn’t that mean it will be my name on the ballot for the UCP in the next election?

No. That’s because before each election, each constituency association has to choose who will be their candidate in that election. And because the UCP believes in grassroots democracy, it is the members of the party in each constituency who will choose that candidate, rather than a top-down process where the party picks the candidate.

So How Does it Work?

The new Constituency Association Board will appoint a Local Constituency Nominating Committee (LCNC) and inform the Party that they are ready to open their nomination race.

The LCNC can approach people whom they feel would make a good candidate, or there might be others who approach them to put their hat in the ring. Just because a riding, like ours, already has an elected MLA, that doesn’t mean that the MLA will automatically become the candidate the next time around. This nomination process is the opportunity for members to put their name forward as the candidate before each election.

Sometimes there is only one person who puts their name forward. In that case, that nominee is acclaimed (assuming they make it through the vetting process, done at both the local and Party level).

If there is more than one person who signs up to be a nominee, there will be a vote to determine who the UCP candidate will be. As of right now, we know of at least two people who have announced intentions to enter the race besides me. So that means we have to be ready!

Can You Help Me?

That’s why I’m asking people to buy memberships and support me. Our goal to have a thousand memberships sold to supporters by the end of June, and we are well on our way.

But we could use your help! Do you have friends or family members who would like to support me? Would you host a gathering of people that I would attend, and explain to them my vision of principled, proactive, leadership?

Every membership sold is one closer to our goal. And of course, it will be vitally important for supporters to get out and vote on the day it is held.

We will keep you informed through this website and on Facebook at;

https://www.facebook.com/UCPRick/ 

as to the details of when the nomination race opens and when and where the vote will be held. In the meantime, we will continue to sell memberships and build a solid base of supporters.

Thank you to all who have bought memberships already. I truly appreciate your support. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact my Campaign Manager Lorne Murfitt via email at LorneMurfitt@telus.net, or phoning him at 403-819-4170 and we will get back to you immediately.

Rick Strankman, UCP Nominee for Drumheller Stettler

Let’s keep the momentum going!

How can you help Rick’s campaign?

Hi folks. I would like to remind you must have a current membership with the United Conservative Party 21 days in advance of the upcoming nomination contest to support Rick in the Drumheller – Stettler Nomination Contest.

Memberships are available online at www.unitedconservative.ca or from any of following:

 

Gina Bossert – Stettler

Phone: 403-742-5130 

Cell: 403-740-3183

Email: ginabossert@gmail.com

 

Julie Franz – Big Valley

Phone: 403-876-2446

Jeannette Parkin – Monitor and area

Phone: 403-577-3214

Cell: 403-577-8520

Email: ftgent@netago.ca

 

Sharel Shoff – Drumheller and area

Phone: 403-820-1644

Email: sshoff@bytesurfer.ca

 

Donations of no more than $4,000 personally (in total) may be made by any one individual to the nomination contest and the candidacy contest.

Corporate donations are prohibited. 

Donations may be made by e-transfer to: Strankmancampaign@gmail.com

Or by contacting Gina Bossert, Chief Financial Officer, at 403-742-5130 for more information.

Thanks you all for your support!!

Rick

Rick Strankman, Nominee for Drumheller-Stettler Electoral District #59

Thank a farmer

On June 8th recognition of the people we count on for our daily bread will happen. For more than seven decades Farmers’ Day has been recognized and celebrated in rural communities across the province and by our agricultural industry. Farmers’ Day was first established at the UFA’s annual convention in 1945. The co-operative passed a resolution to lobby the Alberta government to “”declare the second Friday of June as a provincial holiday.”” Although no longer a provincial holiday, the United Farmers of Alberta co-operative has chosen to continue to celebrate this day by acknowledging the hard work and contribution of Alberta’s farmers and Ranchers.

The business of farming and ranching is not an easy vocation by any stretch of the imagination. Commodity prices, non capped electrical prices, droughts, fires, and other weather-related issues are far beyond their control. What they also haven’t been able to control is the NDP government’s love for ideological-based legislation. Their crippling carbon tax severely hampers their ability to compete on provincial and international levels. Farmers and ranchers are not, as many people seem to believe, exempt from the carbon tax. Farmers are greatly impacted by the tax on everything, a tax the NDP government did not campaign on.

Costs continue to soar; expenses such as transportation costs go up for the trucks and trains that ship the grain, crops, and livestock to consumers around the world. Those costs will have to be absorbed by the producers or passed on to the consumer, leading to rises in food costs at grocery stores and restaurants.

The business of agriculture provides life’s necessities, including food, clothing, and shelter, and we should all be grateful for what farmers do. Farmers’ Day is a significant day to honour and celebrate those in the agricultural community, who work tirelessly throughout the year. Farming and ranching is not just an occupation, it’s a way of life for the people that dedicate themselves to this noble pursuit.

Canadian and American primary food production technologies are world leading. The new innovative developments in agriculture are using near space age technology. Global positioning technology allows precision placement of seed, fertilizer, chemicals and even water thru electronically controlled environmental monitoring systems.

Technological advancements using computer based programs allow modern farm managers remote operation and even allow crop growth sensing. Unfortunately many other countries aren’t blessed with this leading innovation but benefit by adopting some of the more affordable technology that is available today.

There’s a lot to be thankful for when it comes to how the agriculture industry makes our lives better. If you have access to a nutritious diet that promotes good health, thank a farmer. If you benefit from an economy that gets a significant contribution from agriculture, thank a farmer. If you wear any of the multitudes of high quality agricultural based textiles, thank a farmer. If you enjoy affordable fresh produce, thank a farmer.

If you ate today, you should thank a farmer.

Why they Come

In early 1947, the discovery of Leduc No. 1 a major crude oil discovery made near Leduc, Alberta, kicked off a boom in petroleum exploration in not only Alberta but across Western Canada. The discovery of Leduc No. 1 transformed the Alberta economy with oil and gas replacing farming as the primary industry, with it came new opportunities.

For generations, people have come to Alberta for the bountiful opportunities of every kind, and for what was eventually called the “Alberta Advantage.” The advantage was considered to be the opportunities available to anyone that wanted to work hard and was determined to create their own wealth. Recent successive NDP budgets have decimated those opportunities and all but eliminated the dream that inspired so many to uproot their lives and head for Alberta.

Since the Alberta NDP government took over, opportunities are steadily leaving Alberta along with opportunity creating investment dollars. Investors came for opportunities and they left because the economic environment has been replaced by a system that favours manipulative government wealth redistribution rather than organic/natural wealth creation.

The NDP’s has wealth redistribution does not lend itself to creating opportunities, instead it removes any incentive. It’s important to remember that in order to create an opportunity by redistribution of wealth, that opportunity must be removed from somebody else. Under a system that removes incentive with one opportunity simply being transferred rather than created; there is no advantage to the overall economy.

The notion that government can create opportunities is exactly that – nothing more than a notion. The goal for government should always be to facilitate the creation of opportunities by simply letting the economic environment grow organically. Without manipulation and government manipulated conditions, good things grow and they’re driven by nothing more than incentive and desire to succeed. For generations, Albertans have taken advantage of the vibrant opportunities that presented themselves; it’s why many of them came.

In order for Alberta to regain its status as a economic growth destination for those seeking opportunity, Alberta will need a team of experienced conservatives at the helm. The key conservative principle that will allow the market to grow and attract investors is having smaller government with less involvement. The increase in the size of government we’ve seen under the NDP has been disastrous to our economy. Alberta is plagued with redundant services that should see some departments downsized to eliminate the waste; this, of course, does not mean to frontline services.

With less bureaucratic government comes more opportunities; more opportunities means more investment; which is why they used to come. Let’s open the door again by stepping aside as a government and let people prosper. In Drumheller Stettler there are still many innovative agricultural economic opportunities yet to be developed.

It’s your turn

To properly hold our elected representatives to account, Albertans need to get involved. With an election looming in the next year or so, it’s time for Alberta conservatives to recognize an important opportunity. A cohesive effort to put our best foot forward and offer the public choices that come from our experiences is imperative. It’s your turn to get involved and decide who will advocate for you and your fellow Albertans and not just for a small special interest segment.

As the elected member of the Alberta Legislature for Drumheller-Stettler, I feel personally accountable to every resident in the riding. That accountability came of my own free-will when I allowed my name to stand for the election in the 2012 and 2015 general elections. My responsibility and accountability is to every constituent – with no exceptions, regardless of what part of the riding they live in, rural or urban.

On December 17th, 2014 my decision whether to cross the floor with the 11 other MLAs was not something I was willing to consider. Ultimately, the decision was not mine to make. I remembered who put me in the seat and I respected their wishes. For me to arbitrarily change the vote of the majority of the people of this riding, would have been undemocratic and therefore not something I considered doing.

In recent years Albertans have been on the bad end of some very undemocratic decisions and actions by elected people we have entrusted to be in charge of our province and country.The lack of respect for democracy and accountability towards Albertans has been met with cynicism and anger from voters, leading to a feeling that the average Albertan has no influence or voice on issues that affect them personally; thus creating a deficit in democracy within Alberta.

An example of this deficiency in democracy is the lack of free votes in the Legislature by Government MLAs and the expectation for them to ‘tow the party line’ without question. The NDP failed to mention their carbon tax before the last election and their MLAs one and all shirked the responsibility given to them by the electorate, by blindly voting in favour of it. This government’s elected representatives vote in favour of Bills presented by the government, with little regard for the wishes of their constituents.

The right of the electorate to duly elect their representation without interference or manipulation should never be undermined by anyone. Special interest groups, regardless of how they present themselves, have always tried to have special influence in elections and legislative functions. Unfortunately, these special interest groups have a very narrow field of political vision.

It is wise to be mindful that the electorate have certain reasonable expectations of their duly elected representatives and that they hold the pencil and the ballot at the end of the day. In 2015, conservatives learned that very valuable lesson, and for the majority of us we received that message.

With the battle scars of having been through the 2015 election, Alberta conservatives have another marvellous opportunity to stand up and get involved if they hope to change the ideological crash course this province is on.

Let’s not waste this opportunity on special interests!