The Edelman Trust Barometer: Who do you trust?

The 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer is here and it’s good news—unless you work in government or business in which case you’re facing what Edelman delicately calls “a significant trust deficit”.

Edelman is a global public relations company that surveys trust levels across 27 countries by asking the public who they trust and how much they trust them.  It surveys four sectors—non-governmental organizations (NGOs), business, media and government—and assigns each a trust rating.

It sucks to be government

Alberta Legislature Building

The only sector Canadians trust less than business is government.  The Edelman Trust Barometer clocked trust in government at a pathetic 51%.  (Mind you it could have been worse; the Americans gave government a score of 37%).  The media ranked slightly higher at 58%.  Business came in at 62% and NGOs retained their “most-trusted” position for the seventh year in a row with a 67% trust rating.

Canadians are getting increasingly nervous about the government’s lack of regulatory oversight over business.  Fifty-four percent of Canadians say there is not enough regulation in the energy sector and want even more protection from the negative consequences of unbridled resource development.  This is an 11 point increase over last year.

Is this lack of trust justified?

Are the “drill baby drill” Albertans as fussed about a lack of regulatory oversight as the rest of Canada?  They should be.  Look no further than the Alberta Energy Regulator’s (non) response to CNRL’s Primrose problem.

Bitumen has been seeping to the surface at CNRL’s Primrose site since 2006 but it wasn’t until July 2013 that the Regulator finally ordered CNRL to suspend high pressure steaming, enhance monitoring, accelerate cleanup and drain a 53 hectare lake to mitigate the impact of the bitumen release.

In light of these regulatory restrictions CNRL decided to convert 80 high pressure steam injection Primrose wells to low pressure steamflood wells.

CNRL has consistently downplayed its difficulties at Primrose; however Peters & Co, a major investment house, is not so sanguine.  Peters says “the single biggest issue facing the company is at Primrose and this will…take time to resolve”.  Consequently Peters has taken a more cautious view of the company’s expected performance than the company itself.*

It’s a sad statement when an investment banker is more frank about a major energy player than the government that regulates it.

Who do we trust?   

Edelman surveyed who we trust to tell us the truth and make ethical decisions.  The results for government leaders and CEOs were abysmal.  Government leaders scored a 36% trust rating.  CEOs were marginally better at 43%.

Instead of turning to those with firsthand knowledge of the industry and how it’s regulated we turn to academics (67%), technical experts (66%), people “like ourselves” (62%), financial/industry analysts (53%), NGO representatives (52%) and regular employees of the company (52%).

Mr Tillerson

If the public loses faith in CEOs like CNRL’s boss who go to great lengths to promote the company’s interest, what happens when the company’s interests run counter to the CEO’s interests?

Consider the case of Rex Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil, the largest fracking company in the US and a major player in Alberta.  Mr Tillerson owns an opulent home on an 83 acre spread in Texas.  The town plans to build a 160-foot water town in the area to supply water to nearby fracking operations.  Mr Tillerson says he’s not opposed to fracking but he is opposed to the increased traffic and unsightly water tower which will negatively impact his property value.  So much so that he joined in a lawsuit to stop the water tower in its tracks.

Mr Tillerson makes over $40 million a year.  It’s fair to say that he can take the hit on his property value more easily than the rest of us.  However he doesn’t see it that way.

Well here’s how we see it.  A water tower or fracking operation is fine when it’s in public’s backyard, but it must be stopped at all costs when it’s in the CEO’s backyard.  How’s that for hypocrisy?

What does this mean for Albertans?

Edelman issued a pointed warning that signals the end of Ms Redford’s “trust industry” strategy.  He said:

“Government is the least trusted institution and there is no business besides energy that relies more on partnership with government to get things done in terms of basic operations…The suboptimal level of trust creates a difficult dynamic — a potentially crippling one.”

A “potentially crippling” lack of trust is not necessarily a bad thing for Albertans if it puts the brakes on reckless development and insufficient regulatory enforcement and encourages the other political parties to formulate an energy policy that is more nuanced than the brainless “rip and ship” policy we’ve endured to date.

These political parties will unfurl their energy policies and fiscal and social policies soon.  It’s likely that these policies will sound alike (no one campaigns on being fiscally imprudent and socially irresponsible, do they?).  And in the end it all boils down to trust.

So tell me.  Who do you trust and why?

***Daily Oil Bulletin Feb 28, 2014

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18 Responses to The Edelman Trust Barometer: Who do you trust?

  1. Julie Ali says:

    Interesting post Susan.

    Trust is such a necessary matter and yet we often don’t notice it until it vanishes.
    Who do I trust?
    I trust people I love and the people who are ordinary citizens. These people work very hard at low wages to pay for the bills of life and for the taxes that Redford wastes to burnish her non-existent reputation as she did to the tune of $45,000 for the Mandela trip, $9,200, and let us not forget the trip to England for the Olympics. That last trip cost us half a million dollars with the empty hotel rooms figured in.

    http://www.calgaryherald.com/travel/Redford+catching+heat+over+half+million+dollar+London+Olympics+trip+with+video/7327055/story.html
    Redford catching heat over half-million dollar tab for London Olympics trip (with video)

    Bill includes $113,687 for hotel rooms that were never used
    *****************************

    I have lost count of all the dollars used to pump up the Keystone XL docudrama and trade trips to make sure she has full global coverage. Looks like she wants to be the future prime minister of Canada of the Kim Campbell sort.

    But let me not be mean. We were yapping about trust.

    I trust the people I write about like Jessica Ernst, Velvet Martin, Stewart Shields and a new group of mummies whose families are facing pollution and health consequences such as Diana Daunheimer. There are other folks like these families but we don’t hear of them because of non-disclosure agreements that big oil uses to keep the silence in Alberta. There is also that matter of fear and intimidation. Dr. John O’Connor knows all about that. And ask Dr. Fanning what it was like in the Klein error when she got canned for advocating for TB patients.
    The Tories are a bad group of people and are getting worse in my mind and have pretty much lost Alberta. I don’t trust them at all.

    The ordinary citizens in Alberta in contrast are pretty neat. These people are incredibly brave and selfless–giving up their lives and jobs to do the work of getting the information out to the people of Alberta.

    I once trusted the government, the energy regulator, companies, the educational system, the police and the health care system. All these public institutions were worthy–at one time— of my trust. At least I hope they were. Maybe I was just incredibly naive and dumb to trust them at any time. The only reason I no longer trust them is because there is now evidence that they are not to be trusted. Specific people in the institutions are still uncontaminated but there is now a feeling that the upper echelons are mainly clones of the Redford.

    I think citizens must have data to trust that the government is doing its job.
    In Alberta, the data is the problem.
    For example think of the CNRL mess in Cold Lake that you mentioned in your post.
    I never knew that CNRL had a leakage problem since 2006.
    That is odd. Where is the data for this leak being ongoing since 2006?

    I only knew of this one report by the energy regulator that pertains to the spill in 2009.
    http://www.aer.ca/documents/reports/IR_20130108_CNRLPrimrose.pdf
    Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.
    Primrose East Bitumen Emulsion
    Release
    January 3, 2009
    ERCB Investigation Report
    January 8, 2013
    On January 3, 2009, a surface release of bitumen emulsion was discovered near the 1A74
    wellhead located on Pad 74 in the Primrose East development area of Canadian Natural
    Resources Limited’s (CNRL) Primrose and Wolf Lake project (PAW). The Primrose East
    development area employs a high-pressure cyclic steam stimulation (HPCSS) process to
    recover bitumen from the Clearwater Formation. Primrose East is about 350 kilometres
    northeast of Edmonton, inside the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range.
    Bitumen emulsion was observed south and east of the 1A74 wellhead near the southeast
    corner of Pad 74, and also near two thin surface fissures south and east of Pad 74. On
    discovering the bitumen emulsion, CNRL immediately shut in all steam injection at Primrose
    East and initiated emergency flowback to depressurize the formation. Approximately 11 380
    tonnes of solids (including snow, organic material, soil, and bitumen) was ultimately removed
    from the site for landfill disposal, and 904 cubic metres of bitumen was recovered from the
    surface of Pad 74 and transported to CNRL’s Wolf Lake plant.
    On May 4, 2009, CNRL submitted its Pad 74 Interim Investigation Report. The report
    summarized CNRL’s static investigation of the bitumen emulsion release over the January
    2009 to April 2009 period. The static investigation gathered evidence about the bitumen
    emulsion release immediately after it was discovered and focused on wellbore integrity,
    aquifer contamination, and delineation of the bitumen emulsion pathway to surface.
    The static investigation’s findings were largely inconclusive. As a result, CNRL applied for
    and received ERCB approval to conduct limited diagnostic steam injection with enhanced
    monitoring at Primrose East to try to identify the bitumen emulsion release pathway.
    Diagnostic steam injection did not reactivate the release pathway. However, the ERCB is of
    the view that the successful steaming at more traditional PAW steam volumes without
    incident show that HPCSS can be safely conducted at Primrose East.
    In February 2011, CNRL submitted its Pad 74 Final Investigation Report, which included the
    results of the 2009 static investigation, supplemental filings, and the results of the dynamic
    investigation that took place from August 2009 to March 2010. CNRL concluded that a
    general pattern of the bitumen emulsion flow path to surface could be inferred, but that a
    detailed flow path could not be determined with certainty.

    As a result of this incident the ERCB has put limits on the steam injection volumes that
    CNRL is allowed to inject per cycle. In addition, with the ERCB’s concurrence, CNRL has
    undertaken a pressure monitoring program in the Grand Rapids Formation. When pressure
    changes are measured, particularly in conjunction with increases in steam injectivity, steam
    injection is reduced or suspended, as considered necessary.
    On a broader scale that encompasses all steam injection operations in Alberta’s oil sands, the
    ERCB continues to review and assess its requirements with respect to both caprock and
    wellbore integrity issues.
    ***********************************
    When I first read this report I learned three major things:
    1) The event occurred in 2009 and it took until 2011 for the company to deliver a final investigation report which seems a tad long for a report to anyone.
    2) Then the energy regulator (the ERCB at this time) took until January 8, 2013 to report to us that the company doesn’t think that it is the actual technology combined with the geology of the region that is responsible for the messes.
    3) And after taking forever to investigate and report, the energy regulator basically does nothing to penalize the company and lets them carry on with the stipulation of less steam injection volumes (money must be made). CNRL just goes ahead and do it all over again. But let us trust the energy regulator folks because they are watching out for us so that the same thing happens yet again. Your post seems to indicate it never stopped leaking!!! Wow.

    You wrote:
    Bitumen has been seeping to the surface at CNRL’s Primrose site since 2006 but it wasn’t until July 2013 that the Regulator finally ordered CNRL to suspend high pressure steaming, enhance monitoring, accelerate cleanup and drain a 53 hectare lake to mitigate the impact of the bitumen release.
    ***********
    Now you tell me that these leaks were going on since 2006?
    Wow.
    I mean I read that it has been leaking from comments on articles but I thought –it couldn’t be that both the provincial and FEDERAL government would shut their mouths about this mess would they?
    I mean the CNRL operation is on federal land so they should be in on the messes there as well as the Tories at the provincial level.
    Now I really have no trust in these folks.

    It is pretty clear to me that we cannot trust the energy regulator which is basically the front office of big oil and gas in Alberta with the clear support of the Tories.

    Now in the most recent CNRL mess I can’t find out what is going on. Where is the science and the results of ongoing science work? We have no data. The aquifer is contaminated as was most probably the water for the community of Rosebud when Jessica Ernst’s well water went on fire. It may be that we will not know what is going on at the Cold Lake CNRL projects until we fire the Tories at all levels.

    Trust is based on having the data that proves that government and other entities such as the energy regulator are doing their jobs accurately and in the public good.

    If you look at the history of the energy regulator from the time of Wiebo Ludwig to the current tarring and feathering of the Wiebo Ludwig mummies in the Peace, you can’t help but feel rather distrustful. The energy regulator castigates the citizens who complain about big oil’s pollution of their land as in the case of Diana Daunheimer who was trying to raise organic produce I believe. Her story is here:

    http://thetyee.ca/News/2014/02/28/Alberta-Mother-Fights-Fracked-Wells/

    Alberta Mother Fights Five Neighbouring Fracked Wells
    Diana Daunheimer’s lawsuit follows years of policing industry in her own backyard.
    By Andrew Nikiforuk, 28 Feb 2014, TheTyee.ca
    Share article via email Print this article
    Sump pit
    Diana Daunheimer found this large sump pit, or dugout designed to store drilling waste, at a wellsite northeast of her property in July 2012. Photo: Diana Daunheimer.

    When a tight oil boom invaded rural Alberta five years ago, Diana Daunheimer was, as she puts it, just another “ignorant landowner.”

    The mother of two and vegetable farmer knew little about the practice of horizontal drilling or multi-stage hydraulic fracturing.

    The practice involves the injection of highly pressurized fluids into mile deep wells that later mole out horizontally for another mile or two, in order to break open shale rock as tight as granite.

    To coax lower-quality oil out of the Cardium Formation as well as other pancakes of shale rock deep below west-central Alberta, industry increased its use of the practice around 2009 and created a black gold rush that has industrialized many rural communities with constant traffic and polluting flare stacks.

    Daunheimer knew even less about the Alberta Energy Regulator, formerly the Energy Resources Conservation Board, which referees the industry in the province.

    But as the number of horizontal fractured wells in the Cardium Formation jumped from 70 to 2,000 over four years, and oil production skyrocketed from 2,000 to 80,000 barrels a day, Daunheimer quickly became informed.

    And with five fracked wells owned by Calgary-based Angle Energy, and another one by Bonavista, about half a kilometre from her home, she’s formed some strong opinions on the mining process — and become a royal pain in the butt for industry and regulators alike.

    Daunheimer, who studied science in university, recently warned a Yukon legislative committee currently studying the benefits and risks of fracking in that territory to “courteously decline” the technology.*

    “Wait and see the fallout from what’s happening in the United States and what’s going to happen south of you, folks, and then if you still feel it’s an economically-wise decision, then look at it,” she said on Feb. 13.

    The 39-year-old is also suing Angle, now owned by Bellatrix, for $13 million. Filed three months ago, her claim alleges that the company did not exercise reasonable care while fracking its oil and gas wells near her home between 2008 and 2012.

    It also alleges that Angle’s drilling activity resulted in damaged property, dead livestock, a tumour on Daunheimer’s daughter’s neck and contaminated well water, along with two years of unrelenting stress.

    A statement of defence filed by Angle in early February denies all of Daunheimer’s claims.

    Daunheimer is handling the lawsuit, which she calls “extremely frustrating and life-altering,” on her own, because she says she likely knows more than most lawyers about the industry and couldn’t afford to do it any other way.

    “I call myself mommy bear,” she says. “I protect my young, and I love where I live. I put my heart and soul into this house. I got married here. Why should I get pushed out of my home just because someone is doing stuff illegally? It’s insane.”

    Industry routinely claims fracking is “safe and proven,” and the Alberta Energy Regulator, likewise, assures landowners that the practice is “responsible” and that “cumulative impacts are minimized.”

    But that’s not what Daunheimer says she experienced around her home, which her family purchased in 2002. “We’ve had all the cumulative impacts any family can handle,” she says.

    In Alberta, several landowner groups, municipalities, the city of Lethbridge, water experts, and politicians have also raised concerns about the practice.

    Number of horizontal well licenses granted in Alberta
    Number of horizontal well licenses granted in Alberta. Source: Alberta Energy.

    Brian Mason, Alberta’s New Democrat leader, recently charged that fracking is not only “out of control” but “is increasing on a dramatic scale without any understanding of what the potential consequences will be.”

    A sour new neighbour

    For years Daunheimer, a former environmental coordinator for the city of Airdrie, raised organic vegetables for high-end Calgary restaurants on her acreage.

    But in 2008 her life started to change, when Angle drilled and fracked two wells simultaneously 25 metres apart with highly-pressurized fluids some 400 metres from her farm, west of Didsbury in south-central Alberta.

    It caused endless traffic, noise and diesel fumes, but the Daunheimers figured that was normal activity in a province dependent on hydrocarbon revenue.

    The family sat up and took notice, Daunheimer says, when the company drilled and fracked a sour gas well south of the property in Aug. 2010.

    After performing a propane fracture on the well, located 377 metres from their house, the company then burned off unwanted gas for 19 days.

    The company flared off “all the non-profitable gas to get to the money-making oil,” explains Daunheimer — a common practice in the oil patch and now recognized as wasteful and a potential risk to public safety in North Dakota.

    Two incinerators that sounded like jet engines roared day and night. The smoky pollution terrified her chickens and goats and gave the family headaches, spells of dizziness and chronic respiratory infections, she says.

    People in the industry (Daunheimer’s husband, Derek, is a rig manager in the oil patch) told the family that they should have been evacuated during the event.

    Three weeks afterwards, the family’s goats aborted 50 per cent of their offspring, while Daunheimer’s 10-year-old daughter developed a tumour on her neck.

    It took Daunheimer a while to take action. Only after using freedom of information laws to access drilling and other records last year did she realize the potential danger and scale of chemical exposures posed by the nearby wells.

    As a consequence, the family will be seeing an Edmonton toxicologist next month. “The look you get from doctors when you try to explain your concerns regarding industry activity affecting your family’s health is one of pure disregard and disbelief,” says Daunheimer.

    Sour gas, a cyanide-like poison toxic to humans and animals at low concentrations, sinks and collects in low areas, and the Daunheimer’s house is located in a depression. The family says they could smell sour gas for years.

    *********************************
    Can you imagine living like this for years?
    When she complained to the regulator they were pissed off and won’t help her now she has filed a lawsuit. Meanwhile oddly enough the government fails to do the water testing properly.

    http://thetyee.ca/News/2014/02/28/Alberta-Mother-Fights-Fracked-Wells/

    Daunheimer filed a freedom of information request to the government in order to get a copy of the enforcement order, which shut down the company for a day in 2012 while it removed the oily waste from one pit. It took the company another year to fully clean up the site.

    Meanwhile, another branch of the Alberta government botched a drinking water well test that Daunheimer requested after a routine chemical sampling showed evidence of hydrocarbon contamination.

    The government initially reported that its test “did not show anything of concern” last December, but after Daunheimer raised concerns about the quality of the testing, it later admitted in an email that “there were so many mistakes made by the lab in the first testing event” that they would have to resample the well.

    **********************************************
    Of course, Diana Daunheimer is not the only one yapping about the insane proximity of the oil industry to families. The city of Lethbridge has already got 8,000 signatures on a petition to prohibit urban drilling. I doubt anything will happen. I think that the energy minister is going to look at the signatures, meet with the folks in Lethbridge, say she has consulted with them and then do what every Tory government has done which is go on its knees before big oil and then turn around and kick the citizens in the rump. It took 600 complaints in the Peace to get the AER to hold a HEARING when the Tories could simply legislate the use of closed loop systems for sequestration of all vapors but no–we have to pretend that the AER and the Tories are doing their jobs here and let them get free publicity when it is such a farce.

    I understand now why rural Alberta is going Wildrosie. They have to put up with emissions that make them sick. Then their doctors will go to the MLA to check if it fine with the government if he /she does tests for the sick citizen as in the case of the Labrecque family in the Peace:

    http://www.ernstversusencana.ca/karla-labrecques-doctor-refused-to-do-a-blood-test-until-he-called-the-local-mla-mike-labrecque-got-sick-working-for-baytex-baytex-lets-him-go-youre-done

    Some of the witnesses told the inquiry they had problems getting medical care. Karla Labrecque said one doctor she saw in the area told her to move after she said she thought her symptoms were caused by emissions from bitumen tanks near the farm. The doctor also told her about Dr. John Connor whose licence was threatened after he raised concerns about cancer rates among First Nations north of Fort McMurray. In a visit to a second doctor, Karla said she was taken aback when the doctor refused to do a blood test until he had called the local MLA. She did not ask the name of the MLA.

    “He said ‘I just got off the phone with the MLA and he says it’s OK to take a blood test and fill out a form.’

    “It’s not very good when you go to the doctor to get help and he has to call an MLA.”
    *************************************
    You can’t even depend on your doctor to advocate for you. They’re all afraid of being canned.
    They will even tell you that it is no use fighting!

    This is all very anti-democratic stuff in my mind.
    I see no reason for us to put up with it.
    Everyone is afraid.
    When will Albertans stop being afraid?
    When will they say that there is no trust left?

    How much longer will we put up with this?
    I think it is time that Tory voters decide that enough abuse has been suffered. Now that the problems of rural Albertans will come to the cities of Calgary, Edmonton and Lethbridge I think that city folks will understand the problems of rural folks and there might be enlightenment about the Tories, the energy regulator, the Redford and Harper sleeping in the same bed with big oil and all that collusion, corruption and failure to represent the people.

    I don’t think the government should behave in this way. They should respect the rights of citizens and when they do not respect their rights, citizens must yap and vote them out.

    Trust is a small word.
    But without it present, big things cannot get done.
    Big things for the oil industry mean that they get the social license to drill and frack in Alberta.
    Big things for government means that they get the revenues needed to pay for services for citizens and get rehired.
    Big things for citizens means that we do not have 745 kids dead in the foster care system that the government had no right keeping a secret.

    When they keep secrets, when they lie to us, that is when citizens need to investigate the government and ask for data.
    Even if we have to pay for it.

    • Julie, excellent excellent post. I whole heartedly agree with your point that all trust is lost. Albertans are now faced with the challenge of ferreting out the information we need to hold government and industry accountable. This information is buried in a thicket of rules, regulations, policies and guidelines that make it very difficult for ordinary Albertans to access. All the while Redford trumpets the fact that her government is the most transparent one in the country. And as evidence of this fact she points to the very same expense records that prove she’s completely out of touch with the people. My kids make less in a year than she spent in a couple of days attending Mandala’s funeral.

      I got the CNRL information by backtracking through a pile of information on the AER and Pembina sites…I’ll see if I can find the cite for you. I was not aware of the Diana Daunheimer story, but had heard about the problems at Lethbridge. You’re right about the WR gaining traction with the rural folks as a result of what Joe Anglin calls the “environmental deficit.” He knows who his constituents are and he’s prepared to fight for them.

      The next big thing to hit the fan will be TransAlta’s allegations that the government (through its agent the Market Surveillance Administrator) was not only aware that TransAlta deliberately shut down its power plants to jack up the price of electricity it wanted TransAlta and other power producers to cut supply in order to make the power market more attractive to other competitors. I just read TransAlta’s complaint and they make a pretty compelling case.

      Once again, it points to a government that has strayed far from the conservative principles espoused by Peter Lougheed and now thinks it’s just fine to sell out Albertans in order to make the big boys happy. Enough.

      • D Daunheimer says:

        Hi Susan;
        I think this was a great article on trust. It was our biggest mistake in light of the activities around our home for years. We trusted that the company would operate with due care and not poison us and that the regulator would surely be there to mitigate any deficiencies should there be any. We couldn’t have been more wrong and now realize the industry/regulator relies on folks like us trusting them and not asking any questions or looking for any answers, just swallowing what they are spoon feeding you.
        A section of our lawsuit deals with fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation and deceit, a nice want to say we were lied to, a lot.
        I thought to comment because you mention Joe Anglin; we contacted his office several times and have never heard back from him. He may not care as much about his constituents as he states, much less fight for them if he is not willing to even talk with them. His office is adjacent to the SPOG office. (our areas prominent synergy/lobby organization) I would question just how much trust to put in his platform as well.
        Solutions to this epic web of economy, energy, politics and public good are not readily forthcoming but if each person seeks the truth and demands accountability, a shift will occur.
        Reagards,
        D Daunheimer

      • Exactly Diane. It’s all about trust and Albertans have very good reason not to trust the PC government. This government systematically dismantled the regulations that protect the public by erasing our right to public participation. Your situation is a classic example of the government’s failure to enforce the laws that protect health, safety and environment.

        The attention the public has brought to bear on the government’s failure to govern is helping. For example the Calgary Herald says that CNRL withdrew its application for low pressure steam processing at Primrose because the Alberta Energy Regulator had not yet finished its investigation of what caused the bitumen spills and told CNRL that it would deny CNRL’s application until it was done. I don’t think the Regulator would have had to courage to stand up to CNRL but for the fact that citizens kicked up a fuss about the issue in the first place.

        It is disappointing to hear that Joe Anglin didn’t respond to your requests for a meeting. Getting an opposition MLA involved is usually a very effective way to push this forward.

        Diane, kudos to you for pushing your dispute with Angle (now Bellatrix) into the courts. Given what you’ve gone through I’m so impressed with your last sentence “solutions to this epic web of economy, energy, politics and public good are not readily forthcoming but if each person seeks the truth and demands accountability, a shift will occur”.

        A shift will occur, but it will take a different government to do it. All the very best to you and your family.

      • carlosbeca says:

        Unfortunately many of us realize now that what D. Daunheimer writes in his post is our reality. I call it the ‘Predator Society’ – unregulated garbage to allow those without scruples to take as much as they can without any consequences.

  2. I trust lots of people, as I live in a country where much of everyday life functions without coercion: in effect, the lack of policemen in every store and street-corner is proof of our tendency to treat everyone else honestly.

    I distrust organizations who either
    – are convinced of their moral rectitude, or
    – have substantial power.
    The former tricks them into assuming immoral things are moral, merely because they’;re doing them. The latter tempts them to do immoral things because they believe they can succeed.

    An example of both at the same time is Dr. Charles Smith, a former chief pathologist who reputedly believed he was doing the right thing by creating false evidence, and believed that no-one had the standing to be able to contradict him.

    Large companies and governments who have been in power for some time are at moral hazard from both of these factors.

  3. Further to the last point, a government made up of people who consider themselves ethical while at the same time considering governments in general to be unethical and/or corrupt, has an interesting contradiction to deal with.

    I speculate the Reform party in Canada (but not the similarly-named one one in the US) might find this a reason for some of what we’d now call “bozo outbreaks”. Normally sane people acting like clowns…

    • Well said David. As further proof of the nutso element, today’s National Post carried a story about the sixth annual Manning Networking Conference which just wrapped up in Ottawa. All the heavy hitters were there, Brad Wall, Jason Kenny, Jim Prentice, Preston Manning. The wrap up speaker was Mark Steyn, who appears to be taking on oracle status. His point was this: “Culture trumps politics”. And while every few years you can “persuade the electorate” to vote for a conservative party if you want them to vote for a conservative government you have to shift the culture. “Because if the culture’s liberal, if the schools are liberal, if the churches are liberal, if the hip, fashionable business elite is liberal, if the guys who make the movies and the pop songs are liberal, then electing a conservative ministry isn’t going to make a lot of difference.”

      Ummm…yeah, but wouldn’t you expect the government to reflect the desires of its people and not the people to reflect the ideology of a particular political party?

      • Yes, trying hard to advance your position can take you down an interesting psychological rat-hole. I’m beginning to think there is a degree of “moral hazard” in belonging to a group that holds views that are self-contradictory…

  4. Carlos Beca says:

    I think that 36% trust in government is actually a very optimistic number. Not surprising considering that in the last 30 years we have been pounded with negative messages about government and public good. The same people that send us these messages are fighting like dogs to be government. I wonder why they just do not leave the rest of us organize ourselves. They claim that government is what takes our money and freedoms away but in the meantime created the meanest and less democratic governments of the last 60 years. Corporate Conservatism, better known as Fascism, is finally unravelling once more. In our beautiful province we have been able to join Fascism with ineptitude and created a pretty uglly Oilocracy which has pushed the levels of PC popularity to an astounding 24%. I am just in heaven with these numbers and just like the Romans I cannot wait to see the sinking of this Cirque du Alison. I looked in the flames and I can see already some PC refugees. Lukaszuk must have his ass on fire. The Wildrosies found their secret to success – SILENCE. Better no talk then burning gays at the stake, after all in order to continue the destruction of government they want to be it, even if just to get the 6 years and the golden handshake. They do not believe in pensions so they have to hurry before it is too late.

  5. Carlos Beca says:

    There is no better example then us in Alberta. I was just reading again this morning about our premier’s trips abroad and what a show this has become. Is there any wonder why our trust for Alison Redford is down to 20%? Her behaviour is to say the least embarassing. ‘I screwed up ..’ is all she can say and then jump to another even worse situation. Yes Alison you have screwed up in Health, Education, Financial and everything else you have touched so far. You are makind Ed Stelmach look like Franklin Roosevelt ! Please pack it in and disappear before we have to do that ourselves. We all know you just do not understand why we are all having a bit of a problem with you at the helm but that is common in people extremelly intelligent like yourself and above us regular earthlings.

    • Ms Redford seems intent on taking what little shreds of trust we have left in government (not much) and flushing down the drain. Edelman commented that the lack of trust in government will take its toll on the energy industry by impeding the energy industry’s ability to move projects through the regulatory process, slowdowns mean missed opportunities and increased costs. This is what he was referring to as the “crippling dynamic”.
      Edelman’s solution, which I thought was extremely naive, was to have business CEOs work closely with highly trusted third parties like academics, NGOs, environmental and consumer activists. This only works if the interests of business align with the interests of the trusted third parties. Somehow I can’t see Pembina jumping on to the “expand the oilsands as fast as possible” bandwagon, can you?

  6. Carlos Beca says:

    I am surprised this post only got 9 comments total. We are in a different age that is for sure. Princess Alison spent the whole of last week just making childish comment after absurd comment about her trips and being a single mother and a working mother and everything else as if she is the only one in the province and still we take it all in and little happens other than comments in the Sun for the most part from a couple of journalists. This all seems unreal to me. Are we all sick from the tar sands fumes? Maybe the number 1 objective of the Neo-Conservative movement has actually been accomplished. We have become consumers ready to follow the rules created by super elites and affraid of rocking the boat.

    • Carlos, I was stunned when Alison played the Mommy Card.
      First it’s irrelevant.
      Second it demonstrates that Alison is out of touch with working mothers. A friend who’s a nurse remembers being put on mandatory overtime and scrambling to find someone to pick up her daughter at daycare at 6 o’clock. The daycare had a rule—all children were out by 6:00 or they were calling Child Welfare.
      Third, it’s hypocritical. Alison tore the WR to shreds for printing the “Wanted” poster to highlight that Alison was continually on international junkets when she should have been in the Legislature. Alison complained bitterly that her daughter’s school friends asked her daughter whether her mother was really missing.
      What does that tell you about her integrity?

      • Carlos Beca says:

        Very good points.
        Integrity?
        Frankly, I sometimes question if I am actually in Alberta or this is all a bad dream.
        There are thousands of women in Alberta living in conditions that would kill princess Alison in less than a week and they have to endure. They do not have an unlimited bank account like she seems to think she does.
        This issue is just one more example of a person that has no idea what life is about never mind having the necessary skills to run this province. Furthermore, it seems she is surrounded by people with the same mentality. It is scary. There is no integrity or anything else for that matter. Does she even realize how ridiculous her behaviour is? Does she at least read the papers? What is the 359 thousand assistant for?
        I am sorry to say but sometimes it has to be said clearly – Alison Redford is in wonderland and somehow no one has ever told her that.

  7. carlosbeca says:

    Once in a while good articles are shared in this blog which I think is great because otherwise it is almost impossible to be aware of a lot that is being published.
    I believe that many of the people who read this blog are interested in Progressive Politics and so I would like to suggest a book. There are not many out there and 90% of them are just more of the same fix here and there and everything will be alright. This is the same mind set that guided the Liberal in becoming a little more than soft Neo-Cons.
    The writer is Brazilian and his name is Roberto Mangabeira Unger and he has several books. The one I suggest is titled ‘The Left Alternative’ written in 2005. For those of you that, like myself, believe that we need a lot more than just quick fixes, this is an interesting reading and to me the best out there.

    • Thanks for the suggestion Carlos. I’ll check it out. Oh and by the way, in the first draft of the Hillary Clinton blog I said that given a choice between Hillary and Alison, I’d take Hillary. That’s because Hillary was more honest in her 24 minute speech than Alison has been in the entire 3 years she’s been in power. However given a choice between Alison and Bieber, I’ll take Bieber (!!).

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