Alberta Government

An Open Letter to Kevin O’Leary: You’re making us O’Weary

Dear Kevin O’Leary,

Listen, Kevin, we need to have a talk. No, I don’t have a million dollars to offer you, and no, dinosaur soul juice does not flow through my veins, but I am an Albertan, so listen up.

You need to stop. Stop. Stop, Kevin O’Leary. Stop talking. Go away. I will give you, what do I have here… $6.45 for you to go away right now. You are a money man, and if you stop talking right at this very moment, you will be six dollars richer. That is a total benefit to you. Invest it in ties or hair plugs or whatever it is you’re really into right now.

Kev, Kevin, Kevvy-baby, please. You’re embarassing yourself. You do see that, don’t you? A million dollars? One meelllllion dollars is your offer to ‘revitalize’ the Albertan economy? Have you been to Alberta lately? Do you know what houses are priced at? A million smackos will get you half a house out in Silverado Dressage, and not the nice half. A million dollars is a painfully arbitrary number. The sort of number a fanciful child pulls out of their underdeveloped brain when asked “How much money does Mommy and Daddy have?”

And you think you can somehow bribe our democratically elected representative to leave her position? Do you know who does that? The villain. The villain of the movie tries to bribe the leader of the free world, and when the leader laughs uproariously and flips the villain the bird, the villain proceeds to produce a giant galaxy destroying laser.

Because that is what they do in the films, O’Leary.

You can’t just bribe away democracy. That isn’t what democracy is. That isn’t how democracy works. You are bribing the wrong people. You need to be bribing me. Bribe me so the next time an election comes around I don’t vote for NDP. Bribe me. It’s easy. I am cheap. 

In fact, if you give me $1000 towards my editor fund, I will, hand to God, never mention you again. I will not pepper your Twitter news feed with aggravating comments that reveal my total incompetence and my lack of education in the area of whatever it is you are engaged in. Sharks? No. Dragons! That was it. Christ, how did you get put in charge of dragons? Dragons are fucking huge, man. Is that why you don’t have hair? Do you not want to talk about it?

And maybe you thought by offering the province ONE MEEEEELLION dollars you would somehow cause the overall population of Alberta to resort of a coup d’etat or, as I’ve heard it is called now, a kudatah. But you underestimated several things about us, O’Leary, and I feel as if it is my job to eduate you. Please take note of the following things:

  1. We like democracy. Democracy actually works for us. In fact, Alberta is an execllent example of why democracy works. We are generally very conservative and yet we voted in the NDP’s because the Conservatives were literally making us retch in the streets. Yes, First Past the Post is a flawed system, but we’ve made it work so far, and will continue to do so into the future.
  2. One MEEEEEELLION dollars is quite effectively nothing. It will not revitalize our province. It’s estimated that in November, Calgary lost over 35,000 jobs due to the collapse of oil. Your one mil. isn’t going to satisfying them, let alone revitalize our economy.
  3. Rachel Notley, despite your apparent belief, is not some sort of Oil Necromancer who has siphoned the wells dry and thereby created this current troubling scenario. She inherited these issues from the Conservative government. The oil industry does not collapse under the direction of a single individual. We are talking years of fiscal mismanagement and dependence on a single industry. That is the fault of many, not just one, and trying to place the blame on Notley and bribe her to leave office just makes you look like an uneducated blowhard.

You are a money man, and that is fine, Kevin, baby, but you are clearly lacking in several key components of ‘humanity’, namely the ability to critically and rationally examine a scenario and avoid political pandering. If you wanted to really help Alberta, you would invest in CalgaryNEXT KathleenNOW. 

Please, Kevin O’Leary. Stop making fun of our democratic practice, stop mocking it by suggesting our Premier ought to succumb to bribery. Please stop talking. Please go away. And to the media, stop talking to him. No one cares. If anything it makes us sad every time we have to acknowledge that Kevin O-Is-For-Opinionated-Leary has said something, be it intelligent or… whatever it is that keeps leaking from the corner of his mouth.

Stop, please, just stop.

Sincerely,

Kathleen Sawisky

Integrity Commissioner

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Extra Life 2015 – A Week Late

Last week was the official Game Day for Extra Life 2015. Unfortunately I couldn’t partake as I was busy screaming at children and their parents. Now, you might be saying to yourself “Tell us something about you that we don’t know, Kathleen.” If I am to be honest, I was paid to scream at them. I was paid by my place of work. I was paid to pump up the copious parents and their wee children who had arrived for the grand opening of our American Girl Boutique. It was great fun. I spent the day meeting and talking to parents and kids, escorting them through the store as I threw on my best Ol Timey Radio voice and waved my hands around like a Wacky Waving Inflatible Arm Waving Tube Man. Some parents were even kind enough to thank me for the job I did on twitter, which was jolly good.

But, that meant while I was screaming at children, all my Extra Life buddies were busy with bloodied fingers and sore eyes, taking part in a 24 hour video game marathon for our local Children’s Hospital (which I have spoken about before.)

Well, a week later, and I’m getting off my ass to do it. Cheryl will be joining me again this year, as will Shawna. My goal is $1500, and at this point I’m only at $340. It doesn’t matter, though, because it is the thought that really counts. Sean Rooney and his team raised over 40K in the memory of their son, Dominic. That money will go directly to ACH and help them remain one of the most prestigious Children’s Hospitals in North America. We are so, so lucky to have access to the research and staff at ACH, and every year around Extra Life time I feel the need to reflect on my time as a patient as ACH.

Like most sick kids, I never really had the capacity to look at my situation with any sense of rational thought. I never looked around and mused about the remarkable things happening all around me, about the lives being saved and lost within the bright walls of ACH. I never said, “Golly! The medical research taking place here is out of this world! Surely we, as a community, ought to go out of our way to support this fabulous institution!”

I was, simply put, a dumb kid with no concept of the world that revolved around me. In many ways I am glad that my education focused heavily on rational thought. I constantly wonder if I would be capable of looking back at my time as a patient at ACH with gratitude if it weren’t for the teachings of those around me.  For Doctor Harder, who stepped into the role of a father and still keeps my graduation picture on his desk; to Evelyn, who became a close friend and comfort to my mother. To Doctor Salo, who took on my case with his dry sense of humor and, to this day, is the only person I want on my side when Skynet takes over (because he is, and I quote “Not afraid of no toaster”.)  To my teachers who showed more patience than necessary through high school, as I adjusted to my life in this new and relatively disagreeable body, who offered me books and words of comfort every time a surgery came around. To the professors in College in University, who put up with my sarcasm and helped me hone it in such a way that the energy of it went towards educating others instead of fueling my own regrets. To my mom, who stood by my side for every surgery, every x-ray and MRI, who brought Momma Bear forth when needed, and joined me in outlandish and childish commentary about other patients during the long hours in hospital waiting rooms. To my husband, who stands by my side now, through everything. Who does it without being asked, knowing that I am perhaps a bit too stubborn to acknowledge that I need him there, when the truth is I do, for every appointment.

I do this ridiculous marathon for all of you, because you taught me how to survive, and help me to do so every day. And knowing that the love and compassion you showed to me was not meant for me alone, but meant to be shared with those who I encountered as I got older. I will continue to show compassion, thoughtfulness, and rational thought on a daily basis because that is what I took away from Alberta Children’s Hospital. Every child who walks through the front door of that amazing structure is fighting their own battle, be it cancer, blood diseases, autoimmune diseases, or broken bones. They don’t know it now, but they will learn compassion and thoughtfulness as well, probably years after the fact, when they are older and capable of reflecting on their experiences.

So tomorrow, if you are having a lazy saturday, join myself, Cheryl, and Shawna as we play games of all sorts for ACH and all the kids in Southern Alberta who have, and will eventually use ACH in some capacity.

We will be streaming via twitch here, starting around 10 am MST.

Donations can be made here.

There will be singing and antics and various games. Cheryl will also stream, I imagine, as she has a much larger and dedicated audience! There will be Moscow Mules to drink (I bought a bag of limes just for this event), popcorn eaten, and lots of Beemo and Vivi time in front of the camera.

Help me support Alberta Children’s Hospital, a week late but hopefully not a dollar short. If you can’t spare a dime, then please consider sharing this with your friends and family.

Thank you,

Kathleen Sawisky, esq.

Integrity Commissioner and also Prime Minister of Canada Hur Hur

An Open Letter to Alberta Premier Rachel Notley

Dear Premier Notley,

First, let me congratulate you on the NDP’s stunning rise to power in Alberta. 40 years is too long to suffer through anything without seeing some change (and I say that almost completely without irony save for the little bit which, I assume, will become clear in the next few paragraphs.) I proudly voted for my local NDP representative, although I believe she lost to the PC candidate who, as I understand it, had avoided drinking the same Flavour-Aid as the rest of Prentice’s self-worshipping team. Was that too bitter? That sounds a little bitter. I actually like our local chap; he’s always spoken up for Silverado. No hard feelings there.

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Chronic Pain Diaries IV

Okay, spine. Listen. I know it’s hard. Life is hard for you. You shouldn’t be fused, and you are. You shouldn’t have metal scattered about you, and yet you do. For some reason all your happy little nerves coming from your facet joints aren’t actually happy. You are tired, angry, and you are trying your utmost best to curl into a ball despite the intervention of several very professional, steady-handed fellows.

I get it. I’m in the same boat as you. We’re in this together.

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An Open Letter to the People of Alberta: Behold, Your New Premier (is me)

My Fellow Albertans,

The polls are open in Alberta, and to save you both time and aggravation, I feel it prudent to make my announcement ahead of the officially polling day.

I, people of Alberta, your noble Integrity Commissioner for the City of Calgary, am your new Premier.

I know, I know. You’re thinking What party were you running for? And Do you actually know anything about politics? And Your background is so shady that even crab grass won’t grow under your feet. How can you be our new Premier?

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All Hail the Mighty Soapbox

This is my soapbox. That’s why I write open letters wherein I complain to people, places, things. Basically any noun that really grinds my gears. On very few occasions have I ever found myself so truly enraged by something that I felt the need to take it to the streets. Nope, the good ol’ written word is fine with me.

Calgary Expo ran into some issues on its first day today wherein a booth put up a Pro Gamer Gate banner. Now, there are always two sides to the story, but as I have wondered many times, why does a group that insists it stands for ethics in gaming journalism use the title of a group of people that is equated to the harassment of women? I’ve heard it is because they want to stand their ground, that they aren’t their title. This is true, and noble in its own way. My big question has always been “is this the hill you want to die on? Are you so passionate about the term ‘Gamer Gate’ that you are okay with your actual cause being ignored in favor of the attention ‘Gamer Gate’ gets for its bad apples?” No one has ever given me a satisfactory answer.

I guess I just think that when you are passionate about something enough to start a movement, you should probably throw that energy into the movement and not something as simple as the title.

But, that being said, who am I to judge? I just like playing games. That’s it. I don’t care if people are paying for reviews. I usually just go by what looks visually enticing.

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An Open Letter to the City of Calgary and its Council Members: “As your new Integrity Commissioner…”

Dear City of Calgary and Calgary Council Members,

Greetings and good day! My name is Kathleen Sawisky and I am your new Integrity Commissioner. Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Integrity Commissioner? We only voted to get one yesterday!” and “I don’t see your resume anywhere” and “Please stop calling us with complaints about your neighbour’s choice in music.” But you see, I’m doing you a favor here, folks. I’m not saying any one councilmember is so blitzed out of their mind that they lack the capacity to make any decision about who is hired for the job or what qualifications they should have, but if that were the case it would clearly be in your best interest to simply accept that I am the best possible candidate and allow me to start work as soon as possible.

Of course I may not seem the most qualified given, as I write this, I am only just about to graduate with my Bachelor’s Degree in Communication. I am only 25, and thus your preconceived biases about people my age might suggest that I am more likely to encourage a lack of integrity than monitor the integrity of others for particular shortcomings. I assure you that is not the case. Why, only last year I was nominated for Sainthood by Bono. My greatest flaw as a human being is that I am simply too loving. And also that I am a serial liar (accusations which have not been confirmed in a court of law and therefore hold no validity as far as I am concerned.)

Nonetheless, I trust the hiring committee will easily accept my appointment as Integrity Commissioner. I guarantee in this position I will bring about a new age of ethical and moral standards within Calgary City Hall. My wrath will know no equal, and my comedic antics will ease any awkward conversations with those ‘problem drinkers’ that will undoubtedly need to be dealt with.

For the record, integrity is defined by Google as “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness”. Ah yes, moral uprightness. Well, just another reason I am going to make a fabulous Integrity Commissioner. I am full of uprightedness thanks to my surgical-steel reinforced spine! The moral part might be a bit sketchy, but you know, once we really get down to definitions I’m sure we can find a concept of ‘morality’ that we’re all happy with!

As your new Integrity Commissioner, I have created the following handy list for Council Members to look over. If you answer yes to any of the following questions then you need to make an appointment with my assistant to meet with me at the earliest possible convenience. Also, where do I get my assistant? Is there a closet where we keep them next to the staplers or… Never mind, I’ll just ask Nenshi.

  1. Do you frequently black out only to wake up hours later with no memory of what happened?
    1. Follow up: When you wake up are you covered in blood and/or human feces?
  2. Do you find the only way you are able to get through a single one of your monotonous days is by imbibing in at least one sip of that sweet, sweet, fermented liquor?
  3. Do you read The Sun frequently?
    1. Follow up: If yes, do you need a stiff drink before you can read it?
  4. Do you drink alone?
    1. Follow up: Do you believe you are not drinking alone if you pour yourself two drinks at once?
  5. Have you, at any point in time, ever had sex with a random stranger in a Taco Bell parking lot?
  6. Do you make excuses for your drinking, such as:
    1. “Mankind has been drinking fermented beverages for over ten thousand years. What harm could one more drink do to me?”
    2. “I have to talk to Ezra Levant today.”
    3. “I am so very lonely.”
    4. “If I’m the only one not drinking then I will have to be DD for the Councilman from Ward 3, and I just hate Ward 3.”
  7. Is every special occasion an excuse to drink?
    1. Tax season? Drink!
    2. Arbour Day! Take a drink!
    3. Didn’t run over that homeless guy in my drunken stupor last night! Have another drink!
    4. Somebody sneezed? Kegger!
  8. Is your family concerned about your drinking?
    1. Follow up: Do you even still have a family, man?
  9. Do you find Axe Body Spray is the only effective way to mask that strange smell that seems to be coming from your pores?
  10. Do the workers at the bottle depot know you by name?
    1. Follow up: Are you going over to their home for the holidays because your family left you?
  11. Are you are the Scouts favourite home on the block?
  12. No pants Friday? No pants every day!

I believe this list incorporates a wide enough range of issues for any member of City Council suffering from extreme alcoholism, or even slight alcoholism. Basically, basically anyone who is drinking when they shouldn’t be.

Of course, there is always the question about when the members of City Council are not on the clock. I’ve created a handy reference list for them to glance at should they find someone trying to ply them with booze.

  1. Is it between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.?
    1. If yes, do not drink.
  2. Are you home?
    1. If yes, you can have a damn drink.

You see, by simplifying the question of When is it appropriate to drink? To When do other people who don’t work in City Council drink? We are able to more successfully identify when drinking should occur.

What I’m getting at folks is that you’re just a damn City Council, not a leader of a major western civilization. If the guy working at DQ can’t drink during his working hours, neither should you.

Now, I understand this might be difficult for some of you to hear. “But we were voted in!” you might protest. “We are politicians! We earned the right to have a drink or two in between our meetings!” My response to you is very simple: “No, you don’t. Stop being an immature tit about it and get back to work, you lazy dumb-dumbs.”

I understand as the Integrity Commissioner I should not resort to name calling, but the fact of the matter is that I was hired (?), not for my cheery disposition, but for my ability to destroy those who stand in my way in my rise to power. Actually, I’m not sure why I was hired (?), all I know is that I am clearly the most qualified person for this position, and you won’t regret your decision (?) to hire me. (?)

I look forward to getting to know each and every one of you as I brutally cut down your ego and berate you for wasting our time. Now if you’ll excuse me, it is time for my 9:06 a.m. brandy and cigar.

Most Sincerely,

Kathleen Sawisky, esq.

Integrity Commissioner