Archive for September, 2010

Calgary’s election hijinks continue

September 13, 2010

by Jack Locke

Calgarians beware: Someone at City Hall is not your friend.

Shortly after Lockeblog downloaded a list of the 2007 Calgary municipal election candidate disclosure forms from the city’s election website, the link allowing access to this information vanished. Yes, vanished.

This information requirement is imposed upon candidates to preserve a modicum of integrity in the electoral process.

The disclosure forms show the financial spending and revenue collected by candidates who ran for office. Most importantly perhaps, it shows the surpluses that candidates hold onto following the election. The surpluses show the financial advantage that career politicians hold over newcomers, or a surplus a candidate may hold onto.

Diane Colley-Urquhart enters election 2010 with a whopper of a bank account.

For example, city councillors Diane Colley-Urquhart and Druh Farrell showed surpluses from the 2007 election of $98,371.32 and $48,630.40 respectively. The surpluses could be used over the past three years for virtually any purpose. There are no restrictions placed on these surpluses. Or the money can be used in the current campaign.

The provincial Local Authorities Elections Act proposes that these surpluses are to be held in trust by the municipality to ensure the funds are not inappropriately appropriated. However, the provincial law’s implementation has been intentionally delayed and will only come into force in 2011 and can only be applied to candidates after the 2013 municipal election.

“Sections 147.5(the section dealing with surpluses,) 147.6, 147.7(2) and (3) and 147.91(b) apply to campaign funds on or after December 1, 2011,” reads the provincial law which was passed earlier this year.

Therefore, the surpluses disclosed after the 2007 municipal election may not be present at all. In the case of Mayor David Bronconnier, his $316,052 surplus need not be legally accounted for. The same held for Bronconnier’s predecessor Al Duerr who also accumulated significant surpluses. If the provincial law was in force today, since Mayor Bronconnier is not running for office, his $316,052 surplus would have had to be donated to charity or turned over to the municipality. As it stands, no law stops him from pocketing the surplus.

Until 2013, there will be no realistic accountability for monies raised by municipal candidates.

Kent Hehr challenged other candidates to open their books. Candidate McIver had an $87,581.51 surplus after the 2007 election.

Recently, mayoralty candidate Kent Hehr challenged other candidates to disclose their current level and contributors of donations. To date, candidate Richard(Ric) McIver has not disclosed his donations. Hehr, on the other hand, declared that he has raised $79,990 since he entered the mayoralty campaign.

According to councillor McIver’s 2007 disclosure form, he had a surplus following the last election of $87,581.51. Similarly, councillor Bob Hawkesworth was left with a $36,011 surplus following the 2007 campaign. Defeated aldermanic candidate Craig Burrows showed a surplus of $28,117.75.

"I believe in leading and running government like a business," says candidate Joe Connelly, whose last election campaign ended $17,000 in the hole.

Curiously, the mayoralty candidate who is touted as wanting to run City Hall like a business, councillor Joseph(Joe) Connelly, showed a loss of $17,355 following the 2007 election. His disclosure form does not indicate how this loss was paid for, whether it came out of his own pocket or whether it was paid by a generous contributor. It’s a clear sign that the election disclosure rules are woefully inadequate.

Despite these glaring shortfalls in the financial monitoring of election contributions, the question that still must be answered is: What happened to the 2007 candidate disclosure information link that was removed from the City’s website, and why?


They Blast The Beaufort To Chart Their Map

September 4, 2010

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada map shows oil and gas exploration and development sites in the Beaufort Sea, adjacent to new Beluga whale protected sites.

by Jack Locke

They blast the Beaufort to chart their map
The seismic bounce gives avaricious underview
In Bytown little children take their nap.

As caribou hooves on tundra clomp and clap
The village anticipates a pot of stew
They blast the Beaufort to chart their map.

The ice is a bugger a badger trap
It will entice with a story that is not true
In Bytown little children take their nap.

Black oil is not sugar Maple’s sweet sap
Although both rich liquors will stick to you
They blast the Beaufort to chart their map.

Since time immemorial the Arctic’s ice cap
Provided for life deep beneath the blue
In Bytown little children take their nap.

It’s a crime to pollute with foul crap
A bigger crime to ignore the screw
They blast the Beaufort to chart their map
In Bytown little children take their nap.

Green’s May accuses government of deceit

September 2, 2010

by Jack Locke

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announces beluga reserve, Tuktuyaaqtuuq, Aug. 26.

Elizabeth May is calling the government dishonest for declaring a beluga reserve in the Beaufort Sea, while also allowing for oil and gas development in the area.

“The Green Party is outraged by the duplicitous move in setting aside a portion of Arctic beluga habitat for oil and gas development,” says May in an email communication.

“Seismic testing is very damaging to cetaceans(large aquatic mammals), as it can cause permanent hearing loss, and loss of location ability. You cannot protect belugas in the same area in which you are developing oil and gas.”

Previously, the Green Party had applauded the Conservative’s measure.

“Had we known that the government was violating the essence of declaring a Marine Protected Area by excluding a zone to allow oil and gas in the Arctic, we would not have applauded what we believed to be a significant conservation achievement,” says May.

On Aug. 26, the government proclaimed the establishment of the Tarium Niryutait Marine Protected Area, 1,800 square kilometres incorporating three areas of the Mackenzie River Delta and estuary in the Beaufort Sea.

The prime minister’s official press release was couched in words that hid the possibility of allowing oil and gas drilling and exploration in the protected area.

“It will balance the cultural and economic aspirations of northerners, while advancing the Government’s environmental conservation plans.”

A story by Andrew Mayeda of Postmedia News on Aug. 27, broke the story, saying that Beaufort Sea drilling will see “several major energy players, including BP and Exxon Mobil, plan to commence exploratory drilling several years from now.”

The prime minister’s office has not responded to a request for further information.