Archive for category Politics
On 2012-04-12 (April 12th, 2012) the leaders of Alberta’s political parties faced off for a debate. All except Glenn Taylor for Alberta Party. I’d spoken to Glenn previously, and would have very much liked to have seen him participate in the debate.
So I hope you enjoy the “Alberta 2012 All Candidate Leadership Debate“.
Alberta Party let me video their War Room. Glenn was responding to debate questions in real time via a team of people monitoring various online communication channels. After the debate, Glenn restated the full answers on video.
I edited that after-the-debate video footage appropriately into the broadcast debate timeline. Also included (in real chronological order) are the creation of responses Alberta Party posted online during commercial breaks.
There was a lot more War Room action during the debate, but I didn’t want to cut away from any of the other 4 candidates, or interrupt the flow of the debate. So I stuck to commercial breaks.
I do hope anyone who hasn’t yet watched the debate does so with this version. It contains all the debate footage. No opening or closing statements are missing. And it includes Alberta Party responses. Yet is is shorter than the broadcast version.
However, I had a specific question to ask. I was there taping anyway, so here’s my coverage!
My question, which was not presented (probably due to its length):
Alberta wastes valuable natural gas in process of adding hydrogen to bitumen, resulting in oil that can be then processed into gasoline etc.
Deploying LFTRs (Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors) would supply us with heat and electricity which would (using copper-chlorine cycle) let us stop wasting our natural gas in this process.
China is racing ahead of everyone in LFTR development, and have stated their intention to control the intellectual property.
LFTR promises inexpensive electricity, reduce our CO2 output when processing oil sands, and offers vast improvements over every other commercial form of fission, including our widely respected CANDU.
LFTR enables local inexpensive energy production. Can we invest in LFTR research instead of soon-to-be-redundant transmission line capacity? Or will we be paying licensing fees to China when we inevitably build these things?
Not having this question answered during the forum, here are the candidates discussing thorium afterwards…
Glenn Taylor left before I had a chance to approach him at the forum (he happened to be the last person I could have gotten to). Glenn has since spoken with me via recorded video Skype about Thorium.
I briefly spoke to Tammy after the debate, and she suggested we discuss the topic by phone before she go on the record discussing the subject. She’d seen TEDxYYC Kirk Sorensen video “Can Thorium End Our Energy Crisis?” already, but wasn’t ready yet to speak on the topic.
We have since had a decent phone conversation, and Tammy is aware of the many Albertan industries which can benefit from our use of LFTR. She agrees it is important, but does not see where funds for research can be found, asking where does one cut to find the money.
Tammy won’t be able to participate in a recorded Skype call before the leadership election.
My sense at this point, from the candidates I’ve spoken to, is that they’re open to new technology, and appreciate that this is indeed a different type of nuclear power.
They all deserve credit for having some knowledge of the subject before our conversations: I’d tweeted them in advance I’d like to discus LFTR, so our discussion was less “what is LFTR?” and more about their approach to new technologies.
The most promising aspect of the Alberta Party in this matter: their policy can be influenced by a grassroots movement to promote this clean energy technology. Certainly I don’t have answers for how research can be funded. But if enough Alberta Party members from industries demanding cheap electricity (or enough Alberta Party environmentalists understand what is being offered), it is quite feasible LFTR will soon have political allies at the provincial level.
And just in case you were only looking for debate coverage of Alberta Party leadership candidates, and you have no clue what this “LFTR” thing is of which I speak… Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor.
It is the most practical & essential technology I’ve ever heard of, since some guy decided mice needed lasers instead of balls.
10 Minute TEDx video – “Can Thorium End Our Energy Crisis?”
16 Minute (more technical) video – “LFTR in 16 Minutes”
If you’ve watched those 2 videos, then the most important piece of information you need to know is this: China is already researching thorium powered molten salt reactors, and they’re seeking to file patents on the technology.
THORIUM REMIX 2011 is now complete. This is my recommended video resource for learning about the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (a type of Thorium Molten Salt Reactor). It begins with a brief summary comparing LFTR to Pressurized Water Reactors (PWR).
A potted plant no more, Conservative Michelle Rempel joined (Green) Heather Macintosh, (Marxist-Leninist), Peggy Askin, (Liberal) Stephen Randall & (NDP) Paul Vargis for a very lively debate.
This video is released under Creative Commons share-alike 3.0 license. If you remix it, link to my original. If you post a remix to YouTube, be sure to also use an annotation hyperlink.
I don’t want anyone complaining that the applause levels don’t reflect reality. I’m having trouble with my video editing software SONY VEGAS, which crashes when I perform a copy/paste operation, so I’m stuck with a single audio track for this video. The single audio track is board audio, so the candidates certainly sound good. But the sound person wasn’t worried about accurately passing the crowd’s cheering and booing to the speakers, since everyone in the room could hear that quite clearly anyway.
Hey, you ask, SONY… Isn’t that the same company that just lost all their Playstation customer info to a hacker? And sent out CDs infected with Trojans back in 2005? They kill puppies don’t they?
I can’t speak to the puppy question, all I know is their video editing software as-of version 10.0c won’t let me copy/paste reliably. Copy/paste! (Final Cut X is coming out in July for $300. Good to hear.)
15 Minute Highlight Reel
If you don’t have 92 minutes to spend watching the entire debate, there’s a Calgary-Centre-North Forum 15 minute highlight reel you should check out. It may not cover everything, but what it does cover is pretty interesting.
Calgary City Council live audio stream. Will be active from 9:30 AM onward on November 29, 2010.
This is an experiment to illustrate how an audio stream can be offered up to smartphone users.
Previous experiment was delivered directly from City Hall. This time the city’s Window Media stream is being relayed remotely (well… from my house) to an IceCast2 server.
Also, instead of videotaping City Council myself, I’ll be focusing on capturing the Windows Media stream, and reviewing a neighbor’s recording off cable to try retrieve Close Captioning data.
This post will be updated/replaced with a post-mortem after a day’s relay and capture. The ultimate goal is to offer not just live audio, but a complete transcript of the day’s session based on Close Caption work already being paid for by the city (but not yet fully leveraged).
The audio relay worked fine, once I was playing the stream with VLC. Windows Media Player embedded in the city’s website kept timing out (deliberately I assume), so audio kept dropping out every 30 minutes. VLC addressed that, but couldn’t address the city’s Windows Media video feed disappearing. I was told that means their server is crashing.
Neighbor’s DVD Recording of SHAW did not include close captions. And (me never having used a DVD recorder before) the resolution was only 352×240. Guess that is what happens when use the “8 hours on a 4.7GB disc” setting.
My brother was taping on his PVR, but some Googling shows best-case the video content can only be copied off it in 1x playback speed… despite all the data ports at the back of his SHAW PVR, there’s no file copy off of it.
I will post Nov 29th footage here once I’ve collected it all from my neighbor. But the quality will be poor.
I’ve ordered SHAW Digital TV. Too hard to organize decent City Council recordings otherwise. And it is the only practical way to reliably provide an audio stream (until the city starts doing so).
Have created a dedicated page for Calgary City Council streaming audio.
Here’s is the debate video most Calgarians have been waiting for. The top 3 candidates: Ric McIver, Naheed Nenshi and Barb Higgins.
Source material was culled from the 6 mayoral candidate debates I’ve posted to my own account. These debates can all be found by filtering my blog posts down to those categorized “POLITICS”.
I’ve seen a few comments on YouTube stating that I’m trying to make Barb Higgins look bad. While I certainly didn’t go out of my way to try make her look good, consider that there is a reason Higgins didn’t want a three candidate debate. The reason was not that she kicks ass discussing policy.
This 3 candidate debate consists almost entirely of questions that all 3 candidates had a chance to answer. Not every candidate answered every question! While the early debates consisted of very few questions being answered by every candidate, formats eventually shifted to token systems were candidates were given a limited number of opportunities to respond. This made for more intelligent debates, but meant many questions didn’t get responses from all 3 candidates.
I don’t apologize for showing Barb (IMHO) utterly failing to impress when asked how she’d cut red tape at CivicCamp, all 3 candidates fielded “how” questions, so that was guaranteed to be a keeper. But if you take the time to skip through some of the “complete” debates to monitor Higgin’s responses, you’ll probably find more jems like this one (18:32). Compare Higgins’ response to Jon Lord (who’s response follows Higgins).
Like you care what I think
The election is tomorrow, and I’m just about to share my thoughts now (before bed-time). I’ve waited this long because my opinion shouldn’t be important to anyone. Certainly not compared to facts. Facts are what I’ve been sharing when I shoot video. We’re all entitled to our own opinions, but we’re not entitled to our own facts. So if you’ve consumed any one of my debates, I like to think you’re about to cast an informed vote.
So now that the important stuff is out of the way, what do I think?
Barb Higgins might make an OK mayor. There are certainly other candidates who performed worse than her in the debates …out of a field of 15. But if we had instant run-off voting, my preference for mayor would have to be:
- Naheed Nenshi
- Wayne Stewart (who has stepped down and endorsed Naheed Nenshi)
- Ric McIver
- Jon Lord
- Barb Higgins
I knew of Naheed Nenshi long before the election from his TEDxCalgary talk which I enjoyed (as one of my favorites from the event) and videotaped for the TEDx team. Because of this, early in his campaign he asked me to help create a platform video, which I was happy to help with. But I felt it was too early to decide who I’d be supporting (or if I would even get involved at all beyond voting).
Naheed Nenshi became my #1 choice shortly after the “We Should Know Naheed Nenshi” event on September 15, during which he fielded questions from a room full of not-yet-convinced voters. His answers conveyed a deep understanding of a bewildering array of civic (and bureaucratic) challenges, and he let me videotape every Q & A exchanged. He did this after I made it explicit to him, I was still undecided and was doing so for my own video blogging purposes, not for his campaign.
What did not happen after that day, was that other candidates did not emerge with detailed policy proposals. It seemed no one else was even trying to convince me they understood how to reform Calgary’s bureaucracy. That they understood precisely why Calgary Transit is essential, and any sub-par performance on its part puts Calgary at a competitive disadvantage. That while our budget must be balanced, the bang-per-buck spent is more important than now many bucks.
Waste is the enemy. Wasted tax dollars. Wasted man-hours. The wasted intellectual capacity of city employees who don’t have an opportunity to improve their own processes.
So I volunteered to help the campaign, not just a good-luck-with-that platform video, but actually get involved. I have to say, if Nenshi can run Calgary as well as his campaign team have run their campaign, our city has some exciting times ahead.
The Nenshi campaign is described in the press as one that “employs social media” to market itself effectively. That is wrong. The campaign uses the internet to get stuff done in the manner any start-up would. That which can be delegated is delegated. That which can be crowdsourced is crowdsourced. Communication channels are always open. Initiatives are taken. Results shared. Lessons learned.
I never saw anyone lose their cool.
I never saw an opportunity that was missed because of a communications bottleneck or someone unwilling to make a decision.
I never saw a campaign dollar spent foolishly.
I didn’t agree with every decision that was made, but I never felt my input was being ignored, or that the decision making process was a poor one. And ultimately I don’t see any opportunities we missed (except for obvious financial constraints). I was (and am) surprised to see perpetual innovation and volunteer initiative. The team was all about getting stuff done.
In short, this was how an organization should be run.
Monday, October 18 is election day. It is going to be a great day.
VoteCalgary (funded by Calgary’s housing construction industry) presented our mayoral candidates with questions which allowed candidates to pitch “consumer choice” and “freedom” against sustainable growth, should they so choose.
Comparing candidates performance at VoteCalgary forum, then contrasting against their performance against CivicCamp forum (where “sustainable” is all the rage) could have reflected poorly on any candidate to played too strongly to their respective audience. But candidates pretty much held their ground no matter who they were speaking to. (Darn! No explosive juxtapositions between debates!)
This forum (which allowed rebuttals and rebuttal-rebuttals) was refreshingly short… aside from an introductory question, and a closing question, the only non-bookend question was “How will you support inward, upward and outward city growth?”
This video is released under Creative Commons share-alike 3.0 license.
Our mayoral candidates faced off in University of Calgary’s MacEwan Hall for what must have been a grueling 2 hour plus debate. CivicCamp‘s inclusion of Oscar Fech and Gary Johnston brought the total participants up to 10 (out of the 15 running), in what is currently looking to be a 3-way race.
“What’s going on here? Can you believe it!?” -Oscar Fech
Did you know many candidates are polling at zero? As an infamous FOX NEWS host would say, “Now is no time to give up!”
The CivicCamp forum followed ArtsVote’s limited responses token system (this time it was poker chips), which kept things at a brisk pace, as did the entertaining lightning round.
This video is released under Creative Commons share-alike 3.0 license.
And I’d like to apologize to any color blind folk looking at my table. I’ve run out of ideas how to visually compress this information.
An optimal candidate debate probably has some similarity to an optimal team size, too many members result in confusion, and ultimately… despair.
“The organizers had to make arrangements to get the candidates quite early. There are a few candidates running for mayor who are not onstage, but are here this afternoon. Afterwards, stick around and you can put your questions to them.” – Jim Brown
It would appear ArtsVote, by soliciting participation early and having a deadline, has solved this problem. Good on them, because the result was a better forum.
And, seriously, they put thought into how to force candidates to use their time wisely, and only speak when they have a critical point to make.
I enjoyed this Calgary mayoral forum immensely, and I hope you do too. Thanks to Chelsea Pratchett for help covering the event, and to ArtsVote for allowing me to do this in an official capacity.
This video is released under Creative Commons share-alike 3.0 license.