May 21st, 2018

Using fake news to target OHV trail use

By Letter to the Editor on February 14, 2018.

As the subject of OHV trail use in Alberta continues to be a hot topic, I’m constantly raising my eyebrows at some of the claims I read by those who support the extreme left views of organizations such as U.S.-funded Y2Y and its sister-wife CPAWS. In a recent opinion piece by Kevin Van Tighem (“Fake news and public land”) he uses the topic of fake news to create fake news!

Albertans are being socially engineered to believe that these extreme left eco-activist groups are the “good guys.” Nothing good has ever come of this practice (ask the Germans how Nazi social-engineering went for them in the early part of the last century).

It’s estimated that 60 per cent to 80 per cent of readers only read the headline of an article, even when they share it. A cleverly worded headline and a few carefully chosen words and sentences (such as including the word “noisy” when describing trails) go a long way in forming the opinions of a reader. These extreme left groups are fully aware of this, and the fact that the vast majority of readers will never do any fact checking.

On Oct. 15, 2017, Annalise Klingbeil of the Calgary Herald (she has since left the paper) wrote an article titled “Poll says 55% of Albertans support more rules for off-highway vehicles.” The research was performed by the award-winning Citizen’s Research Council at Lethbridge College. What’s alarming here is that the “most Albertans” referred to in the headline were among 1,481 surveyed, in a province with a population of 4.31 million people.

This means that, according to the author, 815 individuals represent 55 per cent of Alberta taxpayers. See what she did there? This is the epitome of fake news, yet CPAWS and Y2Y use this “research” to support their claims that “most Albertans are against OHV use.” Say the word “science,” throw in some misinformation, and boom … social engineering!

The long-term economic impact of the parks being created on PLUZ-protected land such as Bighorn will be a drain on public coffers for generations to come. Our government is already adding $32 billion-plus to our debt load and now we’re watering down the tourism dollars significantly, in a province with three world-renowned, internationally marketed national parks.

“If you build it, they will come” was a Hollywood fantasy. It wasn’t real. Neither is the pseudo-science the extreme left is spewing as “fact.”

Gord Belsey


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55 Responses to “Using fake news to target OHV trail use”

  1. John P Nightingale says:

    Edmontonian G Belsey proclaims that surveys are basically “fake”, at least when a mere 1481 folk are surveyed amongst 4 million plus. 55% is a majority of those surveyed end of. Of course it depends on the quality of the survey and whether it is statically defendable. I would suspect the Lethbridge College (Citizens Research Council) is more likely to undertake such a statically sound survey rather than the Calgary Sun or indeed the Lethbridge Herald. Why the reference to these two papers?
    Consider the quote from one Rick Czerny 21st Jan in these columns. Seems like the writer (Czerny) and by extension Belsey, like surveys however flawed, when it suits them.

    “Note the Lethbridge Herald poll with the question: do you think motorized recreation should be banned in the Castle Wildlife and Castle Provincial Parks? 1,166 votes no, 255 votes yes. And the Calgary Sun asked: should access to Crown land by OHV’s be tightened? 3,646 votes no, 1,304 votes yes.”

    • gbelsey says:

      John P Nightingale, I’m not sure what you’re really getting at here, as I didn’t reference the Calgary Sun OR the Lethbridge Herald. As for statistcally defendable, my point is simply that 1481 represents .000189% of the province’s population, but, you know, yay science! As for your comment on other surveys, well, I didn’t reference any other surveys, so…. What seems to have slipped by you is the most important fact, that we are building a deep pile of debt that will take decades, even generations of additional tax revenue, on top of what we already pay, to get back to black.

      • John P Nightingale says:

        No you did not. But your cohort Rick Czerny did. Read his letter from the 21st. Nice segue into the “debt”. Here’s me thinking this was an environmental issue. And BTW, I am not a member of “an extreme left eco activist group” and your comparison with Nazi Germany is spurious indeed.

        • Fescue says:

          Good points, John P Nightingale.

          I think these anti-science-postmodern-dark-age-inclined (thought I would try one of these dog-whistle labels) commentators have no grasp of statistics – which seems for them to be associated with the scourge of science-based-elitism.

          Labeling peer-reviewed science ‘pseudo-science’ or ‘fake’ because it conflicts with one’s self-interested opinion is a clear indicator of the growing intellectual poverty of our society.

    • dedcow says:

      Im surprised that the Herald would print such an obnoxious Letter> First of all Mr Besley is from EDMONTON? How much
      time has he spent in the castle and how well does he know it>? This letter is nothing more than a personal attack
      against an intelligent well known man who cares about our lands, whereas Mr Besley is nothing more than a troll mouthpieces for the “Howlers! He has no clue that Y2Y on THIS side of the border is 100% Canadian as id CPAWS. They work in conjunction with each other to conserve ALL lands. And comparing Mr Van Teghem to a NAZI? Thats WAY out of line!
      The only social engineering going on here is a persistent and insidious attack on people, and on the lands those people
      are trying to save in a decent and intelligent manner! THAT is out right Fascism! THAT is the real “social engineering” Hitler
      did was to systematically try to sensor people who’s views he didn’t agree with. And nobody has to argue he succeeded!
      This anti ecology movement is perpetrated by about 2% of the population that have no interest in conserving our lands, but they DO have an interest in riding their toys in a total disregard to law and for other people. And they are backed by the AOHVA which is nothing more than a propaganda group that supports mainly the dealers and manufacturers who are ALL
      FOREIGN OWNED! Mr. Besley should also brush up on his history. The NAZIS were far RIGHT wing. It was the LEFT WING that crushed them. Lets keep them crushed!

  2. biff says:

    find a field belonging to a willing private landowner, and do your damage there. drive around your own property. leave the property belonging to all, alone.
    what those opposed to the trampling of public land are standing up for is the preservation of dwindling natural habitats. quiet, unspoiled places where nature can thrive, and people can go and find some quiet peace, are far too encroached upon and marginalised already.

    • gbelsey says:

      I have to apologize for my impoverished intellect. I found your use of the word “poverty” fascinating, as it is a great descriptor for the coming days, when we see those impending tax increases hit our paycheques.

      While we can agree that the relationship between sample size and margin of error is not linear, increasing the sample size could most certainly have the potential present a result that is less than 50% as there are mitigating factors not considered in the survey. For instance, roughly half of the responders were from Calgary and Edmonton, which has a significantly lower percentage of OHV enthusiasts than those in smaller municipalities. There are other factors not considered that could also skew the results.

      In spite of that, with the margin of error of 2.55 @ 95% (19 out of 20), the percentage of respondents who prefer MORE RESTRICTIONS can be, statistically, as low as 52.5%. That’s a fact. It’s very significant that 0% of respondents thought we should ban OHVs altogether, but that was the result. At best these results barely support the original proposed restrictions on OHV use with in the new parks. They do NOT support the ban.

      As for random camping, only 42% were in favour of more restrictions, meaning 58% support no further restrictions or LESS restrictions. The results do NOT support the ban. Again, 0% chose the option ban random camping altogether, but that was the result.

      Maybe I misunderstand the science here, though, because I am, after all, intellectually impoverished.

      • dedcow says:

        I’ll second that ! I see you ranting and trolling your own letter, and it makes you look even more pathetic with every post! You believe polling and surveys, but have too read the Science? The amount of linear footprint in the castle that was NEVER meant for OHV’s? All those cut lines and seismic trails were never meant for continual use. And Neither were the streams meant to drive around in , right beside bridges, and don’t need “Science” to see the destruction, just our own two eyes, but taking a day drive into the castle and looking around> How about the hundreds of pictures I gleaned from members of the OHV groups that claim to be “Responsible: riders? Ripping up mud bogs, driving through streams, BLOWING UP BEAVER DAMS, ripping up RVs and setting them on fire, I could go on>< Here were the very people who organized the so called "rallies" to protest nothing but the fact that a responsible government FINALLY came to power and took away the toys that they have been using so destructively, 99% of them of a far right political stance and the only thing they have going for them is they are disgruntled that the governments that gave them are reign to destroy, are gone! Well, the OHV community has no one to blame but themselves for this, You cant blame the dog because the cat pooped on the rug! You did it to yourselves! SUCK IT UP!

    • gbelsey says:

      Biff, I’ll be happy to do so, the moment I can stop paying taxes. The fact is, as long as I pay taxes, this land is just as much mine as it is yours.

  3. gbelsey says:

    I need to correct myself. In fact 11% of respondants (+/- 2.55%) supported a ban on OHV traffic, and 8% (+/- 2.55%) supported a ban on random camping. However, it’s obvious neither number is high enough to justify a ban of either activity.

  4. gbelsey says:

    To clarify my statements about pseudo-science and social engineering, let’s look a little closer at the survey. Here are the questions used. It’s important to note that the opening statement clearly states the Governments intentions.
    “To better protect the province’s wilderness and park areas, the Alberta government has announced it will restrict or ban off-highway vehicles and random camping in the newly created Castle provincial park, and possibly other public use areas over the next three to five years.”
    a) Beginning with off-highway vehicles, also known as OHVs, please tell me if you think there should be more or less restrictions on OHVs in public use areas. Would you say OHVs should be:
    b) Thinking now about random camping. Random camping occurs when people camp outside of designated campgrounds. Please tell me if you think there should be more or less restrictions on random camping in Alberta’s public use areas. Would you say random camping should be:
    •Banned in all public places
    •More restricted
    •No more/less restricted
    •Less restricted
    •No restrictions at all
    •don’t know (unprompted)
    •refused (unprompted)
    Additional Information (if requested) Off Highway Vehicles (OHVs) are often referred to as All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) and include quads, motorcycles, dirt bikes, side-by-sides, and snowmobiles.
    We agree that Statistics is sound science. So these seemingly innocuous questions appear on the surface to be valid. However, we absolutely have to consider the background of those responder. As Annalise mentioned in her article, the respondents were not asked if they were involved in the sport of OHVs. There were also no questions about where the respondents spent their recreation time, how they spent it, or how much time they spent in Alberta parks. All of this information is important as it has a background impact on the individual’s response.
    Statistics is at its best when the subject is black and white. “Do you prefer Coke or Pepsi” is a valid survey if you allow 4 responses 1) Coke 2) Pepsi 3) Other Cola 4) Don’t drink Cola. Agreed? Whatever the results, within the margin of error, you’re golden. Accuracy is bang on. The more you drift away from black & white, the more you ignore things like experiential knowledge of the subject, the more vague your questions become. The more you deviate from black & white, the more you introduce anomalies in how each respondents interprets the questions. That’s a fact.
    The problem here is, does the responder clearly understand the CURRENT rules and regulations affecting OHV use on public land? Without that information, none of the responses are truly valid. How can you say MORE, or LESS, restrictions are required, if you don’t know what is currently in place? This applies to both questions. Assuming people know is not a valid assumption. That’s a fact. So, the “science” of this survey becomes “pseudo-science”.
    Now, we look at the wording of the report. When presenting the results of the question 1, the author(s) first reference the results that support more restrictions. Nothing wrong with that, as it’s a majority of 55% (+/- 2.55%). However, the opening statement is “A clear majority of Albertans”. Wait, what?? A majority, yes. Clear majority? Not even close. Calling even 60% a “clear” majority is stretching it. 70% or more, for sure. But the FACT is, as little as 52.45% of respondents are in support. That is not a clear majority.
    Next, we look at question 2. Here, the authors do a 90 degree turn, and focus on the minority. Interesting. “Slightly more than two of every five Albertans (42.0%) support the provincial government placing greater restrictions on random camping in Alberta’s public use spaces.” See what they did there? Considering their wording for question 1, question 2 should have read “A clear majority of Albertans do not support restricting or banning random camping”. Still not a “clear” majority, but definitely more so than question 1. So, why did they do this? This is supposed to be an objective survey, right? We all know that choice of words is significantly important in affecting the opinion of the reader. These statements in the report were designed to sway the reader in the desired direction. That, my friends, is “social engineering”.
    So, there it is. You can disagree with me, but the facts say you’re wrong. The facts support my claims.

  5. Tony Pargeter says:

    You’re totally in the weeds on this though.
    Big picture–no one with any intellect can get behind the concept of having the “right to ride” as seen on your signs at one point when demonstrating. It’s ridiculous and juvenile and irresponsible. Especially where you want to do it!
    Kevin Van Tighem has a fair bit of credibility on this because he’s not concerned with what HE wants to do and can actually conceive of the greater good, as well as the growing importance of protecting natural spaces.
    Because conservatives are philosophically incapable of appreciating the value of anything but business and the economy, they have enabled you selfish, libertarian types all these years to imagine that just because you pay taxes you should be able to haul your toys anywhere you want and rip it all up, like it’s your personal playground.
    People just don’t see you having a leg to stand on.

    • Tony Pargeter says:

      I am struck by the fact that your primary interest is in simply being “above the fray” since you “honestly don’t care if OHV use is banned in the area, it won’t affect me or anyone I know.” So it appears that you just enjoy nit-picking and arguing for the sheer pleasure of it, thereby bypassing the big picture as well. But there still is one. As usual, there are opposing values, the adrenaline seeking rider types wanting to have the mastery that one has when riding anything, enjoying that in an exhilarating “off-road” environment where it is naturally challenging and they can feel free wheeling through it, over it, with views. As has been pointed out, these are heavy, noisy and destructive vehicles. The carefully prepared trails they speak of, the responsible riders who wish to elevate the importance of their fun to the point of even claiming it as a right? It only takes a few irresponsible people to wreak havoc, and have you met people?
      Obviously the pristine wilderness concept has taken a beating for some time now in reality but it still inspires aesthetically and deeply, and there are still limits. Total false equivalency on cars and OHV’s and you know it.
      And “science” is still the absolute best we have, imperfect though it also is, being wielded by us after all. Perverse how some people denigrate it as if that weren’t the case, treating it as if it’s just another religion (since it’s rightly seen as the opposition to it, but unfortunately not the antidote) making absolute claims. Of course that’s nonsense; it’s open to new information at all times.

      • LGLee says:

        You’re just begging the question. I can travel ten minutes out of town and be in pristine wilderness surrounded by sage grass and gophers. It’s also part of a watershed. In your ideologue fantasy I have to add in fir trees and bears before it becomes worthy of protection.

        If I felt myself above the fray I would have ignored your nonsense and said nothing.

        • Tony Pargeter says:

          Now you’re just being churlish. You want the power of indifference without being called on it, as is usually the case I have noticed.
          Talking about pristine wilderness ten minutes out of town isn’t the point. It may all be part of the watershed but I understood from a talk by Kevin Van Tighem that the Castle Mountain area was more fragile and more original in importance on that topic, which only makes sense.
          That aside, who wants to listen to or smell exhaust fumes in that setting for gods’ sake, inundated as we are by that everywhere down here.

          • LGLee says:

            Rationalize it any way you want. You’ve added nothing of value to the conversation. My family has been using the Castle area for well over a hundred years — logging it, fishing it, hunting it, trapping it — year round. We know the area intimately, undoubtedly better than the people claiming authority over it; what do you know about it that isn’t second hand?

            • Tony Pargeter says:

              It’s ME that is adding nothing of value to the conversation? ME that’s rationalizing?
              You’re the one bringing up the subjective again, which is the entire problem with this topic, surely you see that.
              Your family, your claim of ownership because of your history, is just the tribal thing again, and is not the point.

  6. phlushie says:

    Actually what do the people that responded to the survey know. They just expressed an opinion, no science. If you had seen the area as I saw it 60 years ago and then see it today, it is almost total devastation of what was. Again, it is not science but my opinion, but it inline with protecting the wild hinterland that we have. Once it is gone, it is gone. Also read some of the studies of the intrusion of man into the wild land and the damage he inadvertently creates. And then think of the booze drinking mud boogers who don’t care about anything but how much the can drink and tear up. That is the science that hurts everyone. Like I said before, I am glad that farm tractors are so expensive, because the would be great off road vehicles. And think of the damage they could do. Remember, the OHV was developed for industry and the market expanded to recreation and then to wreck the environment.

  7. Incal says:

    It’s good to get an alternate opinion from time to time. Perhaps some commentators here weren’t prepared for the questioning of statistics Mr. Belsey brought, but Twain’s old line about “lies, damned lies and…” should enjoy some periodic dusting off.

    Likewise the point about headlines, to the glide-past of actual content. An ever-timely reminder to actually read the content over just finding agreeable click-bait.

  8. gbelsey says:

    Well, Tony, when it comes to the insults I’ve had hurled at me this week alone, from the extreme left, you’re definitely a lightweight. It’s aways interesting to see how when the “science, science, science” argument is taken away, and reasonable people present the concrete facts, the extreme left resorts to this smug, holier-than-though self-righteousness. It ALWAYS includes vague references to some event that happened elsewhere, in the past, in obscurity. Kevin Van Tighem’s article is entirely based on exactly that. For you, apparently you were offended by a protestors sign? At a rally? Somewhere, somewhen? Something about people waving signs trying to protect their rights? Many members of the extreme right are members of Alberta’s elite and privileged, and we can both agree the Prince and Princess of extreme-leftism (Harvey Locke and Marie-eve Marchand) are very closely tied to both Y2Y and CPAWS, while living in our precious gem of a town, Banff. It’s those people who are creating a personal playground using our beautiful, natural Rocky Mountain corridor. I’m assuming you’re not of the same social standing as they are, but you share their self-righteous attitudes. “Take away their rights, they don’t deserve them. But don’t stop taking their taxes, we need them!”.

    The more Albertans see how well-funded (American millionaires and billionaires sending money over the border) and highly placed (such as Harvey Locke, past leader of the Alberta Liberal Party and federal Liberal Candidate), the more we realize we’re being deceived by the extreme left.

    There is nothing more insulting than to listen to these self-important extremists such as yourself speak about the people of Alberta with such vile venom, as if anyone who disagrees with your extreme views is a mindless peasant who doesn’t deserve to have an opinion. You and your peers try to marginalize and divide the opinions of anyone who disagrees with you. You use labels and completely fabricated lies, and then make these same claims about anyone who speaks out.

    Kevin Van Tighem’s article on fake news is nothing more than this. A rant against anyone who speaks up against your group. It’s actually fake news, as I pointed out in my comments on it in this paper. What most people don’t know is he’s not a hero of Alberta, and in fact he’s nothing more than a politically-motivated online troll floating around trying to stir up a “war of words” wherever he can. Online, in the papers, all over Alberta, he’s a nasty troll. I’ve been watching him in action, and he‘s definitely not a “good guy”.

    Rachel Notley, Shannon Phillips and their “Orange is the new Green” spending spree will break Alberta for generations. They act like a middle-school child with a credit card. Just spend it! There is no plan for recovering the debt they’re creating. There’s no concern from them for the cost of the interest, or the fact that as our credit rating slides down, the interest rate on the money they borrow goes up. The extreme left wants to say “it’s worth the cost” but it’s not. That money will come off the back of tax payers, on top of what they already pay. It’s incredibly destructive to our economy, which actually matters. A lot.

    So, Tony and the gang, I’ve shown the holes in this survey that prove it’s nothing more than pseudo-science, but there is a concrete fact we can pull from it. Whether the respondent is completely misinformed or well educated on the subject of OHV use on our public lands, there is one option that is concrete, “Banned in all public places”. Now that’s black & white! When given this choice only a very small minority agree with the extreme left. Only 11% of respondents (+/- 2.55%). For a random camping ban, it’s only 8% (+/- 2.55%). So, your science proves that you don’t speak for Albertans, you speak only for a very, very small minority.

    • Tony Pargeter says:

      I realize the left versus right thing is at fever pitch but “holier than thou” is probably not the best phrase because religion is the domain of the right. Here in Alberta, conservatism is more like a religion than a political philosophy and in that it’s more American, thinking itself exceptional in various ways. Had it maintained the word “progressive” in both thought and deed, we would all be farther ahead. In fact, with all the oil money flowing here, this province should be a “city on the hill,” an example to everyone. Instead, it has spawned a tribal bunch of guys who are libertarian in varying degrees, seeing themselves as “free men on the land.” A selfish, competitive, generally male view.
      I’m definitely “progressive” but I do know where you’re coming from. I grew up on a farm in central Alberta and I am old enough to have seen the evolution of the type of “Albertan” you mention here. A conservative, as I said, apoplectic about the impractical uses of “their” money being spent on anything other than what they’re interested in (cheap actually runs deep btw.) Also incensed about the NDP, that bunch of women with a broader, more feminized, humane view of society who govern accordingly. Only here would they be as trivialized and as harassed as they have been.
      Things change in any society, often too rapidly for the conservative among us. I keep making the same argument—that is why only liberal thinkers should govern us, because they can not only accept change, they can adapt to it.

  9. gbelsey says:

    Tony, haven’t you heard? Science is the new religion. And, like any religion, it’s being manipulated and presented in a way that suits an extreme ideology, some of whom are heavily funded by those pesky Americans you mention. What’s really interesting is that you’ve not once come close to describing me here. Not even close. You’ve made a lot of assumptions about me, but you’ve missed the mark. It’s also intersting that never once have I ever made a single comment, nor would I, about gender. Caring about governement spending is appropriate. Fiscall responsibility is appropriate. Gender has nothing to do with it.

    The left loves to label anyone who disagrees with them, and marginlize their ideas, and try to shut down their voice. “Tribal” was a good one. I do like campfires, after all. You probably could have added “Neanderthal”….I heard that one earllier this week. The extreme left want to be seen as the wise ones., the educated ones, the saviours of our future. Like many of them you jump to conclusions about who I am, simply because I support OHV use as an enthusiast. That’s the only true fact you know about me. Who I am isn’t even relevant here beyond my opinion, which is what I’ve shared. I also don’t know much about you beyond what you’ve shared here. I don’t agree with your opinion and unfortunately, I don’t consider you progressive. At best, you’re an example of what George Orwell described in his book “Animal Farm”. HINT: You’re among the group with the curly tail.

    • Tony Pargeter says:

      Well, I’m a woman and I am progressive, for what it’s worth, and am open to sharing life and wealth, my own included. Also a fan of investing in people, not just entrepreneurs.
      If I am lumping you in as a typical Alberta conservative, am I wrong? I apologize for casting aspersions on your intellect but consider this….could it be that one reason the right wing accuses the left of being superior is because they truly are? Credit where credit’s due. As we speak, just cast your eyes down south at what is going on there politically and then try and defend the right wing view. It demonstrably attracts the very worst people among us. The neo-Nazis, the religious nut jobs, the proud misogynists, the greedy, the mean-spirited, the niggardly. What’s to like? As I said, when they at least entertained being progressive, they weren’t the scary psychos they have now become. Look at this Reform crew here, following the dumbass Tea Party, peddling more religion via the Trojan horse of economic credibility and “fiscal responsibility.” Except they have been thoroughly discredited on that front now too, both in Canada and U.S. Fact.
      And bowing down to Jason Kenney to do a Trump, sucking in those who want to “make Alberta great again”, even when he’s a full-on poser and isn’t even from here. Is an extreme Catholic more than anything else. Read “True Blue” online from Walrus magazine.
      The left is definitely irritating in their preciousness, and absolutely go overboard in trying to include the hell out of everybody and everything. Tedious, but I’d rather err on that side than the dog-eat-dog, every man for himself (women not even factored in) world envisioned by conservatives. They’re living the dream right now down south and how does it look? If you don’t see the threat from that take, like nuclear war entering the conversation for the first time in a long time, then reason has abandoned you.
      And no, science bloody well is NOT a religion. Nor is atheism, another piece of crap I keep hearing, so brainwashed are some people. No belief in some mythical being, no following some manufactured doctrine or other. The natural world is who and what we are, and that is the domain of science, which makes them the wizards, the potential saviours.
      Science is simply an evolved methodology that celebrates the best of us, and is the total frigging opposite of religion.
      Just remember what Harper’s conservatives did with it….

  10. gbelsey says:

    Congrats, tp, you’ve got Biff’s support. Yay, Biff!

    You know what my problem is? I don’t fit into any political box. I don’t fit any of those labels, and no ideaology really clicks for me. I’m fine with this, always have been, But go ahead, throw me on the PC pile. Label me. It makes it easier for you. Nice rant about the US, by the way. Quite the mess they have.

    Err wherever you choose, but you’re still in err. The “include everyone” mantra of the left is a lie, and slowly but surely, as they divide and alienate more and more groups. Like boiling frogs, you’re necassary at the moment, but iif you don;t fall in line down the road, you’re the new right in their eyes. The majority of the support they garnered in the last election was a result of people getting sick of the right-wing trough-sucking gong show that gave us the sky palace and an empty zamboni garage. Looking around the political landscape there wasn’t any suitable replacement. The liberals…oh, wait, did we even have a liberal showing?? The NDP Played the game well, and won the lottery. They immediately open the coffers and paid handsom rewards to all their extreme left friends. Almost immediately, the heart and soul people of Alberta found out they’d jumped out of the frying pan into the fire.

    Good for you that you’re comfortable embracing the left’s ideologies. It comes with a few surprises, such as the weight of an unfathomable level of dept burden for you and your kids (or is it grandkids?). The spending doesn’t stop and it will keep growing. You’re also embracing a future full of uncertainty. But, it’s only money. Your ideaology is worth more than just money, right? It’s principles that matter most, right? Or maybe you’re old enough that you really don’t care how much they spend. It’s someone else’s problem.

    Your government doesn’t have a plan for the future, they really only have an ideal. If you tax the oil ccompanies out of business, there will be enough to finance the new energy sources we need, right? The jobs will just, you know, be there. Eliminate the bread and butter industries in the province because they’re, you know, evil. Their money is no good here any more. Anyone who disagrees with you needs to be marginalized and silo’d into the only label you can think of – right-wing. Because you own all the other labels. How could anyone else not agree with you? It’s OK that your government is spending your future and your kids future. It’s only $32 Billion or so….for now. They’re the good guys, right? You can trust them. They’ll still accept you after we “righties” are gone, right?

    So, any way, I’m guessing you’ve never read George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”. You should. It’s an eye-opener, and rather prophetic of the direction your government’s ideology is going.

    • biff says:

      not a left or right thing, gbel, it is about common sense and respect, and about something that requires restraint. you said previous that we pay taxes so as muxh your space as mine or others. if we share something, then surely it is our duty to each to take care of it for each other. the thing is, we share that land with far more than just you and i. we hold it in trust for future generations, and just as importantly, it is habitat to many species. in fact, i would say it is more important to those species of flora and fauna than it is to any person.

    • Tony Pargeter says:

      Yeah, I’ve read Animal Farm as well as 1984. They were both anti-communist. That’s not what we have here. You say that you’re not conservative but unless you don’t vote, certainly an option, you still have to pick a side, and there is no shame in admitting that you are on the wrong one. It’s also on the wrong side of history, just look around. Things change, pick the people who get that and aren’t terrified of it. Accept the complexity and that there are no easy answers anywhere. Things might be messy right now but transitions are always complicated.
      Went and listened to Kevin Taft last night at the university talking about the oil industry’s control of Alberta all these years. The only government that stood up to them for the public good was Peter Lougheed and no one has done it since. So that industry and the conservative government (as well as, increasingly, religion) is one and the same at this point.
      All that money is what has captured the heart and soul you speak of. And Notley is trying to ease it in another direction, she’s a fair and open-minded and intelligent woman. Vote for her because she’s the best one and is from here and actually gives a shit. Philosophy IS important and it is NOT just about money, ever, and you know it.

  11. phlushie says:

    biff, all I can say “Nail, Head” with the last statement. The beauty and sanctity of mother nature should be observed and preserved, quietly and unobtrusively.

  12. gbelsey says:

    BIFF! Yes, believe it or not, I agree that we have a duty to preserve our natural wilderness. I’ll add that we, in Alberta, are blessed with some of the most spectacular natural wonder the world has to offer. Banff, Jasperr and Waterton are world renowned Park reserves. Where we disagree is on what constitutes protection, and most importantly, how we approach protection. While the left brags about inclusiveness for all, any facts and ideas put forward to the left that include the “other” part of “all” is marginalized, ignored, slandered and badgered into the corner. Disagreeing with the left is a sin that can only be explained by silo-ing them as “right wing judahs” bent on destruction. If those who oppose you point out the flaws in your plan, you scream “science”. If anyone shows any holes in how your “science” is researched, you fall back to “it’s nature, we must save her fragility at any cost”. The fact that Mother Nature, in all her awesome beauty is also a powerful and cruelly destructive force beyond compare is never allowed in any conversation.

    This thread has circled the track a few times now, and we’re headed back to the start line. It didn’t go where you wanted it to. It’s become a pointless conversation. Fortunately, the vast majority of Albertans who fall under the “all” category, while easily swayed by theclever rhetoric of the extreme left, are a little more concerned about our financial future and debt burden that you are. It occurs to some people that we may be listening to a group of alt-left evangelicals from the church of science, who will bury us financially in pursuit of their radical, over-the-edge ideology that believes mountains of debt are necassary to protect, well, our mountains. I believe in Albertans, but believe in you? not so much. There is actually a better approach that really does include ALL. But, the left has to stop talking long enough to actually listen, and apply those briliant minds to creating a more harmonious plan. It’s been done before, but they don’t want to hear about it.

    I’ll leave it to you peeps, Biff, TP and Plushie to hug it out. You guys are clearly made for each other. Enjoy!

    • phlushie says:

      What it boils down to is that you do not support the NDP party and are assuming that we do because we agree with one of their policies. Speaking for my self,I am apolitical, and I truly believe that those persons that run for public office are only therre for their personal benefit and not to do “good” for the electorate but make sire they get elected again. And the circle vote continues with no body winning.

    • already extinct says:

      Good essay writer this gbelsey, until the part about “Banff Jasper & Waterton” being world renowned “Park Reserves”. Whose “world” are you speaking of? Rich English German and Japaenese tourists??? – sure in hell not my world.

      Take the commercial aspects out of these hives of humanity run amuck ,and you have what I experienced as a young kid washing dishes and scrubbing floors at the Rimrock in the 60’s – step out the back door on break, and nothing but the wind blowing through my hair and the scent of pine trees drifting past my nose – Not today!

      Enjoy your left/right rambles and the ABM’s on every other corner, that’s about all you have left.

  13. biff says:

    gbel – i am on record so many times stating that our political system is corrupt; the party system is corrupt; and first past the post is fully undemocratic. moreover, our elections and their tweedle dum tweedle dee outcomes serve almost solely to legitimise the selfish and corrupt interests of the uppermost 1% of the elites. i do not buy into the left/right divide because it is part of the illusion, and it is also a part of the propaganda machine that is used so as to more easily rule the masses by creating this chain: division -> distrust ->insecurity.
    so, let us put aside politics and its useless rhetoric, and focus on the issue of preservation of natural spaces. i feel we agree fully that that we need them. what would you say supports the idea the that the castle area has not been degraded, in particular, over the last 20 years? what has been in place in the last 20 years to curtail those that would demonstrate no respect for the land there, and that have committed acts such as those outlines by dedcow (or, is it dedcow is inaccurate)?

    • Tony Pargeter says:

      Like all of our systems, the political one is indeed corrupted by the same unfortunate traits that make up our human nature.
      But it’s all we’ve got, and you know what has been said about democracy when compared with the alternatives.
      The tarring all with the same brush thing is tempting but still misses the important distinctions that exist. There are ever-widening philosophical differences between the left and right that are palpable and can be directly blamed on the extreme changes in the right side of the spectrum of late, which are linked to the growing “social conservatism” i.e. religion. I think that this, the 2008 economic meltdown and social media are the significant factors in what feels like a huge chasm now. If you’re a true believer then yours is an alternate reality from the non-believer. Divine law versus our own rule of law is a straight-up culture war we are required to address yet again. We can’t ever win against this depressingly entrenched mass delusion, but we certainly need to try and beat it back to the churches and private homes, that old battle. And the political system is where this happens.
      The other front is in our education system, where they also have a strong foothold, and this is happening now too, both here and in Ontario. And lines are crossing because one of the candidates for the PC leadership there is identified for her resistance to sex education in schools for god’s sake. Unbelievable.

    • dedcow says:

      Have you been to the Castle area? I have been here for 61 years. I have seen the destructionYou don’t NEED science to see what has gone on. No,I am NOT inaccurate in my statements or observations. I could show you pictures taken off peoples Facebook pages that show the destruction. These are the very people that are now fighting to continue the “right” to destroy our lands. Mud bloggers, people riding through streams with BRIDGES right beside them, in packs of 20 or more< Blowing up BEAVER DAMS with Dynamite with their children present! And destroying RVs by pulling them apart with big diesel trucks, then BURNING them in the open as a campfire, then leaving the mess behind! No, My Besely lives in Edmonton and is part of the problem. I have witnessed RVs loading up at the local Walmart, (sending money to Bentonville AR) and doing little for the local economy, then dumping their RV tanks in the town RV dump , that is if they don't dump them down a badger hole first. There has been very little enforcement over the years, and the OHV crowd has been now claiming that it would help, but they now say they are being targeted and harassed because the Conservation officers are doing their job! No, Mr BEASLEY is way gotta line here, and has no interest other than his quad…. Sad

  14. gbelsey says:

    ugh….I’m really trying to let go of this because it’s clear that I’m beating a dead horse. One last comment. TP, if you read Animal Farm and 1984 and all you can say is “they’re anti-communism” you definitely missed the real point of the story. Anti-communism was the foundational theme, but the real over-arching story is about what happens when power changes from one hand to another. As for the money thing…..accepting a significant cut in pay is a challenge for anyone, and a hardship for many. There is no clear plan for how jobs in the energy sector will be replaced by the new -non-energy based economy. At this point, it’s just “going to happen”. A significant amount of the funding this governement has invested in creating alternative energy programs has been sent out of province, to organizations such as Dunsky Energy Consultants. But I digress. Meanwhile there’s been limited investment in retraining all of those who have only energy-related skillsets to rely on. Reduce the overall ability for Alberta families to earn an income, and then add a significant debt load on top of rising taxes, and what exactly is the result you expect? Is Rachel Notley a Disney Fairy Godmother that will solve this? It’s a very real problem, and unfortunately it doesn’t just go away. In creating an economy that is diverrsified and not reliant on oil & gas is a fantastic idea. It’s not a PLAN until it fully addresses ALL of the issues. They’re burning money today without addressing these very significant realities, which means there won’t be money availble tomorrow, when these realities can no longer be kicked to the curb and ignored.

    Caring about others and having a giving mindset means caring about what happens to everyone, including those who earn a living in the oil&gas industry today. It’s not just compassion for those who get on board with “the program”. This government is defintely not “inclusive”. Far from it. And the disaster their creating won’t disappear with a little sprinkling of pixie dust. But, Like Jim Prentice, they’ll be regarded as heroes anyway.

    • Tony Pargeter says:

      You expect WAAAAAY too much from any government though! Corporations are far more the culprits than anything else really, and yet aren’t even mentioned. They wield a lot of power with the politics everywhere and are the real threat.
      The NDP inherited a massive set of problems here but I keep coming back to philosophy. They are known for at least valuing fairness. Rachel Notley is a labour lawyer as well. You speak for those who have been pulled up short by circumstances beyond their control, but they’re beyond anyone’s control, including the much maligned government. They are genuinely trying but can’t win really thanks to the bunch of blockheads here who are used to being able to make a shitload of money without much education. It shows now.
      Again I observe that it’s politically acceptable here to be tribal and misogynist (also evangelical, weird combo, no?) They HATE having a bunch of women running THEIR business, their place! Being a women, I bloody well recognize that kind of hatred when I see it, and I absolutely see it here. It’s like Obama; a lot of Republicans (and Democrats actually) simply loathed having a black guy in charge of THEIR country, but would never openly admit it. A comparison can be made here because women can be seen as the “niggers of the world.”

  15. biff says:

    lol prentice a hero! but, there are those so bought in that some truly believe as much.
    you make good points about economy and consequently, about our singular dependency on oil and gas in oilberta. however, the world turns, things change, and we can exert our free will to affect change for the better, or just dumbly try to surf out a wave that is dying. i suggest the focus now needs to turn upon where does all the money go – who is getting it; how fair is fair? with that in mind, i expect we will discover our economic approach is a disaster. it does not serve honesty, fairness, compassion, nor sustainability. there is something very wrong when people – lots of them – support endeavours that are hazardous to our well being because it helps some people earn a living. the issue of fair distribution of wealth/spoils has been debated for a long time – but in the end, little in the way of effective change takes place. the rich get richer may be a tiring cliche, but it is undeniable. when the top tier elite sleaze us and get caught, when they run a too big to fail business into the ground due to avarice and corruption, they get rewarded with public monies. when they commit crimes – such as those by hsbc, kpmg (just two of too many recent examples), nominal fines are levied. why not seize assets under proceeds of crime laws? i digress, a little. the point being, people need opportunity to work/contribute, and they must be expected to do so. to that end, would not reduced work weeks and income supplements/basic minimum incomes, and perhaps even income caps as may be necessary be useful tweaks to our trickle-down-not economy that is killing the planet? the dying oil industry is a fact. whatever, there are better ways than our present approach, which is unsustainable, unfair, and unintelligent. i feel that staying on this present course, we are running out of space, and time.

  16. phlushie says:

    Actually we are seeing the evolution of the capitalist society. Without the proper checks and balances int the capitalistic society it evolves to a feudal system. History is repeating itself. The problem being the self interest of everyone in our society with the elite wield the big control of what happens. Its as Louis XV said when his advisers told him the peasants had no bread to eat. he replied”let them eat cake”. The elite only care about themselves. Look of the saleries and bonuses of the CEOs of the corporate world. Look at what big pharma charges for life saving drugs. Specifically, look at the EPI PEN and the price increase after the CEO adjust her salary to over $20,000.000 per year. $600.00 for two epi pens. (syringe $1.25, 10 ml epineprine $9.00, convienence $289.75 per injection).

    • gbelsey says:

      phlushie, you are correct again. Interestingly enough, take a look at Harvey Locke, the co-founder of Y2Y, past President of CPAWS, and past leader of the Alberta Liberal Party. You can’t get more “high society” than this guy. He and his well-connected wife own a home in Banff. Family money and privlege begets more money and more privilege. We won’t be having a beer with these guys! BTW he’s already against the Winter Olympic plan.

      Not all of the wealthy elite in Alberta are right wing. This guy covers everything from middle to the far left, and has the pleasure of living where most Albertans could never even dream of owning a home. In fact, there are Albertans who can’t even affrd to visit his backyard! The reality of it is the wealthy and powerful make the decisions. We just debate them.

    • Tony Pargeter says:

      I agree.

    • already extinct says:

      phlushie, look closer to home, for capitalist corruptors.

      Former Lethbridge City Manager Mr. Sherwin at $361,000 annual raked in unashamedly more bucks than any Supreme Court Judge, any Premier, any mayor, or other CEO by a wide margin in his category (cities under 100,000 pop) in Canada.

      We don’t have to travel far to find corruption, greed or mishandling of the sheeple treasury – most depressing very few care one dam!

      • phlushie says:

        I didn’t want to mention it, but how about the president of the University, The College and the Hospital. They are also in that elite salary neighbourhood. On public funds!!!!!

        • already extinct says:

          yes phlushie, although I’m uncertain of their take, you probably have a better understanding of this and I judge it will not be pretty. When do we get to correct these injustices??
          I did the math a couple of years ago and if memory serves correct I found salaries of professors and associate profs at the U of L, came in at just under $100,000,000 annual. That’s one hundred million dollars annual.

          That’s another travesty of money allocations by the keeper who then goes out and charges kids to park their old Volvos and GST on their study material, tablets etc.

          Another bloody crime against folks trying like hell to get ahead of the bureaucrat dressed as a clown sticking the bank, while everyone sleeps!

  17. gbelsey says:

    dedcow, this is like beating a dedhorse! See what I did there??? LOLOL

  18. Resolute says:

    TP – Mr Taft asserting the oil industry control of our Alberta Govt was not supported by fact, just two possibly relevant situations. Basically horse doo unless you are the choir he was preaching to.

    • Tony Pargeter says:

      It’s entirely believable and supported not only by fact but by commonsense. Not unprecedented by any means. Money does this, we all know that.
      Kevin Taft was there, and being on the more objective outside was not “captured” which is the word he uses.

  19. gbelsey says:

    dedcow, one more poke at that dedhorse. I see your silo mentality again. If anyone disagrees with you, either they’re from a different, clearly defined silo, or there’s something seriously wrong with them! Rebels! We’ve banned labotomies, so now what’s a dedcow to do? It’s surprising what happens, though, when you actually start to think “outside the box” and even question the status quo. Just to be clear, I’m well aware of what I believe and I”m very comfortable with it not “conforming” to silo’d thinking. I don’t need to fit within any construct, and I dont need to make constructs fit my ideas. So, there’s that. Kicked the walls out of you labels again. You should try a little free thinking. It might be good for you.

    BTW we are way the hell off topic in this thread now. I think I’ve wriitten an 8000 or so word essay. You’re a stick in the mud and you’re just not going anywhere.

    • Tony Pargeter says:

      Haha! Definitely essay length!
      And yeah, way off topic here! Everything and everyone is so much more complicated than they seem!
      So keep thinking as will I. I for one appreciate you doing so and sharing your thoughts.

      • dedcow says:

        Mr Beselys “Whataboutism” Kicks in and drags everyone off topic except for MOI. This is about the BAN on OHVs and Random destructive camping in the castle. Many of these “HOWLERS” claimed that EVERYONE was getting the boot from the Castle, including fishing, hiking, camping, WALKING, canoeing, and , heck, TAP DANCING for all I know! They also seem to believe that Minister Phillips ( as I like to call her out of (RESPECT) has a mansion at the Ski Hill! There was also a bunch of guys that staged a barb wire event and blamed “eco terrorists”! All this for one purpose, to Save their addiction to motorized vehicles that they invested in, and abused by running rampant on Public lands without concern for the other 99.5% of Albertans

    • dedcow says:

      Ah I see that you have deteriorated into ad hominem! Typical trademark of a conservative mind that feels a hole in the bubble! You actually described yourself perfectly, which is so ironic its almost sad! “If anyone disagrees with you, either they’re from a different, clearly defined silo, or there’s something seriously wrong with them! ” When did this discussion deteriorate into a grade 2 mud slinging event? As for “free thinking” try this one on for size-” After 30 or so years of unchallenged and enforcement free rampant destruction in the Castle area, a responsible Government has come to power, and seen fit to SAVE the lands that everyone CLAIMS they love so much, but BANNING destructive behaviour. That being the illegal use of public lands through off road vehicles tearing up on illegal trails, and illegal camping re: Leaving their RVs in the Castle area for months over the LEGAL 14 day limit.” You haven’t said much about the lands you all claim to love so much, except that you want to continue to destroy it with your “toys” As for your sir, You being from 350 miles away, why are you so concerned with MY corner of Alberta? Why not stay in your city and get involved with the homeless or something? That might be an area that you could actually do some good, that is, if you have an actual Beating Heart…

  20. gbelsey says:

    oh, dedcow. You’ve answered all your own questions. Except for the ones where you jump to conclusions with a complete lack of facts. You’re definitely the problem with Alberta today.

    • dedcow says:

      I like to think of it as a solution— to the destruction of lands, Simple, remove the things that are destroying it. Fact: In the 60 some odd years I have been here, it has been the last 20 or so where I have seen the random destruction take place by “random campers” (I like to call them city hillbillies) who thought it was their “right” to ignore the rules and set up permanent campsites all summer long, dump tanks in streams and down critter holes, create trails where there were none before, and basically turn the land into a giant mud bogging show like you see in the arenas and stadiums in the cities. As I mentioned in another letter about OHVs being the “victims” here, if there was a sense of accountability and a willingness to sit down and LISTEN to the science, and offer a compromise, MAYBE the government would be willing to listen> But so far, all i have seen is an attitude of a bunch of spoiled brats who want their own way with no consideration for the other 90% of albertans who would like to see some peace and quiet and order for a change instead of random hillbillies running amok! So why not just take up golf or somethings t least they allow you to run around on a 4 wheeler!

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