Agree or Disagree: Calgary Folk Festival should ban Pseudo Indigenous Headdresses.

Last Week, The Edmonton Folk Festival announced that they would ban Pseudo Indigenous Headdresses. This was met with much support from the community of Edmonton and around the province of Alberta.

For those who wonder why they would do this, here is a good read on the topic

Meanwhile, in the fine City of Calgary, we have a Folk Festival coming up this weekend. Which incidentally, tickets are down 10 to 15 percent and is NOT sold out. They have decided to not ban Pseudo Indigenous Headdresses.

This is an article from Metro News on why the Calgary Folk Festival should do this.

Do you Agree or Disagree that the Calgary Folk Festival should ban Pseudo Indigenous Headdresses?

Agree or Disagree: Restaurants should get exemptions from minimum wages.

We have had many discussions about this.

Some of you love the idea of raising the minimum wage.

Some of you do not.

The current minimum wage is $10.20, which is one of the lowest in Canada. However, the restaurant industry is anticipating some concerns with the coming raises. As such, they want an exemption from the minimum wage.

In the story below, this is a quote from Mark von Schellwitz, who is a Restaurants Canada  spokesman, is quoted as saying this;

We have certainly heard from a number of our members over the last few weeks who are extremely concerned about surviving this increase, especially in an economic climate where they are already seeing their sales decline because of the downturn,” he said Wednesday.

“We are asking them (the NDP government) to adjust that promise and let’s take this one step at a time, one year at a time.

You can read the story here.

What the restaurants industry is looking for is the option to pay a servers who earn tips and young people who are in their first jobs less.

As a little fun fact here is the minimum wage across Canada.

Do you Agree or Disagree that the restaurant industry should get an exemption from minimum wages?

Agree ro Disagree: It’s time for Pay before you pump.

You may have heard of the tragic story this week involving Maryam Rashidi. She was a gas station attendant who was killed by a stolen truck she attempted to stop. You can read the story here.

From time to time, I get requests to do an Agree or Disagree. It’s somewhat serendipitous that this happened today as I planned to do one anyway.

However, I’m going to post her perspective. She is an ESL teacher and she is concerned about the cuts to LINC Programs.

This might be controversial, however, I think it needs to be said. Immediately, people were calling for federal laws to be changed to prevent gas & dash. However, NO ONE mentioned the concern that came to my mind first. When are new staff trained in emergency prevention and response procedures? This started with a stupid crime, but ended up being worse than it needed to be. This woman should not have died. 

My question is: did she get the proper training from her employer? Did she get an orientation & employee SOP manual before or on her first shift to read, review, and ask questions? In this industry, along with other convenience story cashiers, etc, shouldn’t this kind of training be mandatory first?!!!! Especially for new immigrants who may not be familiar with our culture or customs. 

The gas station where the attendant died, is close to my house. The attendant, a new immigrant, could have been one of my students, or one of my colleagues’ or friends’ students. 

I had not seen this perspective or questioning from news reporters yet, except just now, from CBC TV, but it only quotes the Centex president citing “policy”, not what is actually done. 

Many times, I have had students tell me that they don’t get very much in the way of proper training, especially for low-level, minimum wage jobs. Employers just assume that they already know; or will learn in on the job, over time. This is unacceptable!!! 
Especially when the Centex president says that gas theft occurs every day = then new (gas station) employees MUST be properly trained BEFORE starting their first shift! 

They could have given her an SOP manual to read, and reviewed it with her on her first shift. I would like to know if this was done???!!!! Will the owners and managers of that Centex gas station be held liable for negligence, for not training their employee? What, exactly do Alberta Employment and Labour laws say about this?. . . . Could or should Mr. Rashidi sue Centex? 

Perhaps if Maryam Rashidi would have gotten a proper employee orientation that included Emergency Response Training, a new employee handbook and SOP, etc, then hopefully she would still be alive, because she would have understood the danger in the choice of trying to stand in front of a big truck, trying to stop 2 idiots in the process of stealing less than what? $100.00 worth of gas? 

ALso, I’m asking, encouraging, pleading, and urging anyone that teaches English as an additional Language, to talk about this with their students, to help teach critical thinking & problem solving skills to new immigrants, so even if they do not receive the proper training in their entry level (& for many, their first job in Canada!!!), they will be able to make safer choices when faced with danger. 

Kevin Olenick, you have a great social media forum. Could you please discuss this? 

Yes, this crime should not have happened. Those boys did not think, and behaved horribly selfishly. 

However, this is NOT ONLY about instituting a gas & dash law. People with criminal intent, will always find a way to circumvent obstacles in committing their crime, no matter what technology is put in place to prevent that crime. 

***NOT preparing your employees properly for this kind of emergency situation, should also be considered criminally negligent!! ****

How are new immigrant employees supposed to respond well in this situation? We cannot assume that they have the same “common sense” skills that we grew up with in our society. Different cultural customs, education, traditions, etc all affect “common sense” or critical thinking/ problem solving skills. If I were suddenly plucked from Calgary and dropped into a refugee camp not far from a war zone in the Middle East, I probably wouldn’t do very well either!!!! 

And yet, our government still strips away the resources (Like slashing funding to the LINC program and other immigrant-serving programs) to help new immigrants acclimate to our culture, and is satisfied with lower level language proficiency requirements for citizenship, because they want a cheaper labour force who is willing to do all the crappy, low-paying jobs that natural-born Canadians turn their noses up at. 

Obviously I’m upset!!! I don’t want to see this happen to any of my students. This should never have happened. It could have been prevented. And that makes me very, very sad.

Do you Agree or Disagree that’s it time to pay before you pump? Or, is there a need to improve emergency training?

Or do we need to do both?

Agree or Disagree: It’s time to remove the Catholic School System.

If you missed it Friday, Luke Fevin and I were on the Ryan Jespersen Show in Edmonton. It was Faith vs Atheism.

You can listen to it 

Now, some of you might have been expecting more of a battle…..and you would have been a bit disappointed. Because we didn’t “fight”. We had more of a discussion. Part of the reason for that is this was a unique opportunity. It’s very rare that a radio show goes into something like this. So, there was some unpacking to do. There still is.

However, there was a debate.Specifically around the issue of Catholic Schools. And the question around if there is a need for a Catholic School System. Here is where I see benefit for a Catholic School System.

-There are still over 800,000 Catholics in Alberta. There would be many families that do benefit from this. There is a sense of community and connection and shared values. It is an opportunity for families to have additional education and exposure to their religion other than the home.

That being said, there are some concerns. First, how they handled the GSA issue. Many Catholic parents and families were rightly angry on how this was handled. Which, quite frankly, was poorly. Second, the idea of a specific religious school for a religion for many seems outdated. They see religion as damaging to people.

So, while Luke and I did not unpack this as much, the topic is very important to many.  I would imagine and expect Luke and I will be involved in other dialogues like this.

But do you Agree or Disagree that it is time to remove the Catholic School System?

Please be respectful in your dialogue.

Agree or Disagree: Non Smoking Condos.


After a condo fires in both Edmonton AND Calgary within the last week, there are people suggesting that Condos go Non-Smoking. In both cases, a cigarette in the condo caused the fire. In Edmonton, a Cigarette in a Diaper caused the fire. In Calgary, smoking material was put in a planter pot.

Robert Noce is a corporate commercial lawyer in Edmonton. He was on the Ryan Jespersen Show yesterday suggesting it’s time for the governments to step in. You can listen to the interview here

For an apartment or condo perspective, we will go to Palo Alto California. They balk at the idea of restricting smoking. You can read their perspective here.

What do you think? Do you Agree or Disagree with Non-Smoking Condos?

Agree or Disagree: Calgary should have a 24 hour downtown

It may seem like an odd thought. After all, Calgary’s downtown is very quiet.  Other than the Stampede, or an occasional Flames playoff run, it seems like people go and work downtown and generally head home.

But what if, and it’s a big what if, Calgary looked at an 24 hour downtown.  Like Montreal did, for example.

Last week, The Quebec government partnered with the City of Montreal bestow some specific neighbourhoods 24 hour access. Which means in a nutshell, if your business is in those areas, you can have your store open for 24 hours.

You can read the story here.

Now let’s imagine for a moment areas like 17th Ave SW had this access. Or, Stephen Avenue. Would you support that?

Would that help to revive downtown Calgary?

Do you Agree or Disagree with a 24 hour downtown?

Agree or Disagree: Social Media wins elections.

I posted this originally on March 9. Since I posted this only on the Agree or Disagree: The Podcast Facebook Page, we didn’t get comments.

I do think it is an important discussion. Hence, I’m re sharing and re adjusting.

As you know, the Alberta Provincial election has been called for May 5.

During this time, there will be no question that the Provincial Election will be a dominate topic Twitter and Facebook. People will bring up topics. People will debate them. But will it actually win someone an election? To present some argument, I’m going to share this post. While there the obvious ones like Mayor Nenshi and President Obama, here is the story of how Klaus Iohannis won the Romanian Presidential Election. He went from not having a Facebook page to having 776, 911 likes on Facebook. However, I’m also going to share this. This is a list of “Political Fails”. A number of decisions and posts on Facebook or Twitter that severely cost some elections.  You can make the argument that Social Media loses elections. All this to ask this question. Do you think Social Media wins elections? Or, Do you think that Social Media loses elections? Or, Does it even matter at all? An example is here in Calgary. Councillor Andre Chabot does not have a Twitter account. Yet he has served Ward 10 since 2005. How does he win without Social Media??????? I’m being sarcastic of course. But you get the point.

Agree or Disagree: Calgary Transit is an effective form of commuting.


Starting on Monday, Calgary Transit’s new Spring Schedule starts. For more information on that, you can click here.

Some of the angriest Tweets I have seen expressed by Calgarians is directed right on Calgary Transit.  Whether they are behind, or there are delays, or someone actually missed a bus, you can read about it on Twitter. However, Calgary Transit has done a good job in communicating delays and updates as well. They will respond to your respectable questions as well.

According to the feedback they have received on their own Calgary Transit experiences, the feedback they are getting is most people have a pleasant experience riding the bus or the C-Train. However, it is also interesting how those with a car, or have lived in other cities find the Transit in this city frustrating.

What do you think of Calgary Transit? What is working? What frustrates you? Is it an effective form of commuting?

Please note: I don’t work or represent Calgary Transit in any way. I’m just asking questions.

Agree or Disagree: Twitter is an effective way to communicate to Calgary City Council


You might have heard a little rumour that I have a Podcast.

The rumour is true. You can listen to the interview I did with Sean Chu here.

I picked Sean Chu for an interview because he is one of the most controversial Councillors on Twitter. Here’s some sample Tweets he gets.

It’s a new day. I wonder what Sean Chu will get wrong today.

you still think like a cop. This is why you will remain a rookie politician.

He is very controversial. There are many times he has expressed his opinion strongly. And it has angered people.

But he’s not the only one that uses Twitter.

We of course have our Mayor Nenshi. He is well known for his Tweets and how he communicates. He has 225 K Followers. He engages.

While we are at it, here are some other numbers for you.

Ward Sutherland @Ward4Ward1 2108 Followers.

Joe Magliocca @Joe_Magliocca 1,655 Followers.

The above mentioned Sean Chu @seanchucalgary 2,255 Followers.

Richard Pootmans @pootmans 2,768 Followers

Druh Farrell @DruhFarrell  6,690 Followers

Gian-Carlo Carra @gccarra 5,498 Followers

Brian Pincott @bpincott 5,666 Followers.

Evan WoolleyWard8 3,531 Followers.

Shane Keating @CouncillorKeats 3,655 Followers

Dianne Colley-Urquhart @BigRedyyc 4,115 Followers

Peter Demong @peterdemong  2,220 Followers

Three Councillors Jim Stevenson, Ray Jones, and Andre Chabot do not have Twitter.

What is interesting is Ray Jones has been a City Councillor for over 20 years. Chabot for 10.

Since you are on the Social Media, and perhaps on Twitter, how effective do you find Twitter in communicating what is working, and well, what is not working in City Council. Do you feel that your voice is heard? Do you see that there has been change? Or, is it a lot of noise that goes nowhere?  Do you see people just being rude, belligerent and snarky to City Council on Twitter?

Who is the most effective City Councillor including Nenshi on Twitter? Why or why not?

In addition, how do you think we can effectively communicate our concerns to City Council on Social Media?

Agree or Disagree: Calgary is an easy place to date.

Agree or Disagree: Calgary is an easy place to date.

The above link is from It has dome some research on easy it is to date in different cities.

I would like to point you what they say about Canada.


“Central Canada is predominately looking for love where the West and East Coast are more casually oriented. The more remote locations in the North seem to show more of an interest in making new friends above all else.”

Then, there is this map below….


According to this research, Montreal is looking for love and Edmonton looks to hook up.

So Calgarians, you live here. You might be single, or in a relationship or even yes, married.

How easy is it to date in Calgary? If you are single, what are your options? Where do you go?

If you are in a committed relationship, or married how easy was it for you? Are you glad to be out of the so called “scene”?