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Something smells in Balzac

I have, somewhat jokingly, come to refer to Calgary’s Mayor Nenshi as the Messiah or the anointed one. I say this due, not only, to his inflated view of himself but two particular comments he made awhile back. Before I explain let me say he’s got charisma, personality, intelligence and he’s very well-spoken. Contrasted to our mainstream politicians it’s easy to see the appeal he has with people. He’s constantly tweeting ergo connecting with people who choose to follow him. With his down to earth style there’s a salesman like quality that accompanies him. If I didn’t know better I’d say he has a publicist working behind the scenes in the Nenshi branding department. With this said, here’s the rub; during the flood two summers ago and again last fall with the heavy wet early snowfall that took so many trees out, the Messiah spoke. He pronounced (via tweets and mass media), to Calgarians they should stay home, stay off the roads, don’t go to work unless absolutely necessary. Many in his fiefdom listened to the dictates by the mayor and did stay home with no thoughts I’m sure about the effects on the private sector with accompanying lost man-hours of work. Calgarians safety and well-being should certainly trump any need to operate a business. Who can argue that?  

When I heard the second “stay home”pronouncement, I thought, who does this guy think he is, meddling in the affairs of the private sector? Who is he to decree workers stay home from work? I’m sure many other businesses felt that he overstepped his authority on this one. Sure there were people genuinely stuck/unable to get to work and that’s understandable. However, when a liberal politician such as Nenshi directly interferes with company operations it’s not only intrusive, but misguided and even insulting to a person’s ability to think and decide for themselves whether they can go to work or not. Again, notwithstanding the lost man-hours that resulted from his comments, this Messiah should stick to the business of operating city hall. Maybe more effort could be put into getting city budgets to mirror actual inflation (2%) rather than the 6 – 7% tax increases Calgarians pay. If he could do that, he’d improve my opinion of him, but I digress.

Playing interference with the private sector goes much broader than making “stay home”pronouncements with this mayor and his cackle of councillors. I am referring to the new plan to prevent the doors opening at Harmony Beef in Balzac, a meat packing plant (note, didn’t use nor do I condone the descriptive, slaughter plant) located in the M.D. of Rockyview – OUTSIDE CALGARY CITY LIMITS no less. Yes, it seems they have the ear of someone in Rocky View County and now the opening is on hold or dare say, quashed. I can’t speak for Rich Vesta who purchased the plant and invested close to $20 million in upgrades but, I suspect he’s seriously pissed at the interfering end game Calgary has put into play. Some of the concerns Calgary refers to include water and future real estate development plans in the area. When I was there last fall it was very apparent the surrounding area was industrial. In fact they have a sulfur plant kitty corner to Harmony Beef. Wanna talk smell? As for the water issue, Vesta knew when he bought the plant that this was central to re-opening the business. Hence, he installed a state of the art water recycling plant, drastically reducing water needs by 80 – 90%, I believe. Apparently not good enough for Messiah and company who now want a full scientific review assessing impacts like noise (mooing, I suppose) odors and air quality. Ironically, the plant is also close to Calgary International Airport and last I heard, noise and air pollution are synonymous with close proximity to airports. Seems in city hall thinking, having literally tons of diesel exhaust output by some of the largest jets made today (Calgary has the second longest runway in North America for the big birds to land and take off) is NOT as bad as some SH#!% odors wafting in the air or some short term bawling cattle in the alley way. Which is worse? The Messiah answers, the cattle of course. Really?

We have here a Messiah who has not stepped foot in the very plant that he seems to want to disappear. This plant will obviously employ a good number of [his] people and bring tax revenue to the tax hungry government coffer but, not good enough it appears. So, what is the real reason behind this move and who stands to benefit if Harmony Beef doesn’t open it’s doors? There’s a strange odour indeed about this and I wonder too what our once supportive Ag minister thinks about this? There are more questions than answers and they’re not going to be found in a scientific study. Something does stink here and it remains to be seen where the real source of this odor is coming from. Stay tuned.

Until next month.

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