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1

MATT FREWER



  

VOLUME 02.15

Photo Credit: Joan Bateman - Gainsboro Studio

Max Headroom Today

Guilty

 

Until Proven 

Innocent

THE LAW

Careful Where You Get 

Your Advice

 

CHHS


Musical

”all shook up”

Get your tickets now!

Fashion Files

Jay Godfrey at

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Crystal Metz Ins Agcy Ltd

Crystal Metz, Agent

2-1335 Trans Canada Way SE

Medicine Hat, AB  T1B 1J1

Bus: 403-526-1345

State Farm, Aurora, ON

1211999CN

Crystal Metz Ins Agcy Ltd

Crystal Metz, Agent

2-1335 Trans Canada Way SE

Medicine Hat, AB  T1B 1J1

Bus: 403-526-1345

State Farm, Aurora, ON

1211999CN

Crystal Metz Ins Agcy Ltd

Crystal Metz, Agent

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Medicine Hat, AB  T1B 1J1

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Owner/Business Manager

Cherie Martens

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3

Disclaimer: No responsibility can be taken by Spotlight Magazine for any 

errors or omissions contained herein. Furthermore, responsibility for any 

losses, damages or distress resulting from adherence to any information 

made available through this magazine is not the responsibility of Spotlight 

Magazine. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not 

necessarily reflect the views of Spotlight Magazine. Comments are welcome.

EDITOR

SCOTT COWAN

(403) 504-7092

ART DIRECTOR 



JOAN BATEMAN

 DESIGNER 



CARL GEORGE

PHONE


(403) 504-7092

EMAIL


scott-cowan@live.com

ADDRESS


377 - 4 Street SE

Medicine Hat, AB

T1A 0K4

For a complimentary 

subscription to Spotlight, 

forward your email to:



info@spotlightmagazine.ca

Published and Printed by 

Spotlight Magazine

COVER STORY

Matt Frewer Cover Story

....................................................

4

Scott Cowan



OPINIONS

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

............................................

8

Scott Cowan



FINANCE

What can you learn from “Oracle of Omaha”

.............

10

Edward Jones



 

Donating Appreciated Securities

..................................

12

Dan Hein, BMO



POLITICS

Mandatory School Fee Burden

.......................................

18

Drew Barnes, MLA



POLITICS

Democracy in Action

........................................................

20

Brent Dunstan, Columnist



LAW

Careful Where You Get Your Advice

................................

22

Scott Stenback, Lawyer



FASHION FILES

Featuring Jay Godfrey

.......................................................

25

Scott & Joan Bateman-Cowan



(Cover Photo: Ania Charlot)

CONTENTS

SPOTLIGHT

MAGAZINE

THIS  ISSUES

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY

FROM SPOTLIGHT



i s 

someone 


who just enjoys his 

fans and it shows in conversation. 

Whether he is on stage speaking to crowds, 

at a signing table, or as I found him backstage 

during our inteview. Chatting with Matt  is easy, 

no pretense or celebrity shining through. You 

walk away feeling like you’ve made a new friend. 

Born in Washington but raised Canadian, he 

is an ambassador for Canadians to the world 

of Hollywood. 

We should all 

applaud him.

As a teenager 

he played a 

mean game 

of hockey. He 

was injured at 

age fifteen ending his hopes of a professional 

career. After graduation he tried acting. 

Having been trained in England he naturally 

began acting the classics. He soon tired of 

Shakespeare. “Too many thee’s and thou’s,” he 

expressed. Although, I would buy a ticket to 

hear his voice reprise Othello or King Lear.

 His unusual break with destiny came through 

voicing the famous Max Headroom. He parlayed 

the character into a cult classic. From there 

he retired the computer generated celebrity 

and moved on to movies, and television. You 

would know him from Stephen King’s “Riding 

the Bullet, Desperation, The Stand, and The 

Lawnmower Man.” He did voice over’s for the 

animated Pink Panther cartoon, and starred in 

“Chronicles of the Paranormal.”

He was one of the leads in Steven Spielberg’s 

mini-series, “Taken.” He played the hard-

nosed G-man. Willing to kidnap little girls 

from their mother because they carried alien 

genes. He mentioned that the actors working 

on the show were continually amazed at the 

series  special  effects.  Considering  the  show 

was only a ten part television production. 

His  recent  credits  placed  him  in  the  sci-fi 

thriller, “Falling Skies.” Unfortunately he was 

killed off in the second season. He moved to 

his latest television project the new series, 

“The Librarians.”

He plays a really good bad guy, which is so 

opposite of  his true persona. Knowing Matt 

personaly gives you a trmendous appreciation 

for his acting skills. While in character he 

can make you believe is a tremendously vile 

individual, devoid of compassion. He can speak 

volumes with a steely glare. He is one of the 

rare actors who can communicate anger, even 

psychotic tendencies, with facial expressions.

There are few 

people more 

down to earth 

than Matt.  He 

was willing 

to answer any 

question I posed, 

simply saying he 

had nothing to 

hide. Then he added, “If you ask something I 

don’t like, I’ll just refuse to answer.” 

We laughed about his upcoming but now 

defunct Broadway debut. The lead who he was 

excited to work with passed away suddenly, 

which he said, “put me on the unemployment 

line.”


He is a committed environmentalist, being the 

spokes person for Rainforest Action Network. 

He spends his private time at his homes in 

Malibu or the Gatineau Hills of Quebec. He 

claims Canada is his home. 

Matt  is  definitely  someone  who  would  fit  in 

at your home watching a game of hockey, or 

sharing the BBQ on a summer’s evening. 



Born in Washington but raised Canadian, he is 

an ambassador for Canadians to the world of 

Hollywood. We should all applaud him.

Matt Frewer 

4


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8

A

s society stumbles into 



2015, some simple 

questions need to be 

addressed. In the past few years 

we’ve witnessed the political left 

trash hundreds of years of common 

law. I refer to the presumption 

of innocence until proven guilty. 

Liberal policies planted over the 

last few decades are blossoming. 

Today, trials by media demand  

that conservatives in particular, 

“prove their innocence.” Case in 

point, the previous mayor, now 

councilman of Toronto, Rob Ford. 

There was never a formal charge, 

let alone a conviction. Yet the 

man was destroyed in the court 

of public opinion. The Liberal 

prosecutors scrambled their media 

minions, instructing them to hurl 

innuendo as factual evidence. Day 

after day sophisticated suggestions 

color the perceptions of the 

general public. 

Repeat the lies long enough, 

they become truth, perception 

becomes reality. We live in the 

era of the demythologizing of the 

hero. We love to see the mighty 

fall. Especially if they’re elected 

as conservatives. I’ve been around 

enough city politicians to know, 

those who bitch about others are 

the biggest hypocritical offenders. 

The worst kept secrets in Canada 

revolve around the peccadilloes of 

Toronto council members. 

Yet, after voters elected Rob 

Ford the far left leaning council 

decided with the help of the 

Liberal Premier, to nullify the 

wishes of Torontonians. They 

usurped the mayor’s offcee, and  

blatantly proceeded to destroy 

a man’s reputation. None of these 

inquisitors had real legitimate 

concerns about the alleged 

infractions. They cared only about 

crafting a fantasy to disparage 

Mayor Ford. Simply because 

he had the audacity to win as a 

conservative in Toronto. Few if 

any of the protagonists could 

stand a fraction of the scrutiny 

they heaped on their victim. They 

held him to a standard of morality 

they despise and denounce if  

accusations are made toward 

liberals. 

Bill Cosby is the latest target 

of the self righteous left. He 

committed the unpardonable sin 

of saying young black men should 

pull up their pants and get a job. 

He gave an impassioned speech at 

a NAACP meeting. He voiced his 

belief that minorities should take 

responsibility for themselves, and 

quit blaming white people. 

This didn’t play well with a 

black entitled audience. I find it 

interesting shortly thereafter

fifteen women conveniently 

come forward telling stories 

from decades ago. These women 

sought out a celebrity, went to 

his room, drank alcohol, claimed 

sexual activity, and years later 

they suddenly realize they were 

drugged. The left is thrilled 

to throw Cosby under the bus 

without credible proof. 

Once again, there has  been no 

trial or conviction. None of these 

women would prevail in a court of 

law. For the left, the allegations 

are proof enough. Even Oprah is 

weighing in and accusing. So pull 

Cosby’s honors from universities, 

cancel concert dates, and brand 

him a rapist. 

Who cares we know nothing of the 

women or their motivation making 

the accusations. Twenty women 

say they were abused, therefore 

he “must” be guilty. I’d be more 

convinced if one or two made such 

accusations, but twenty? 

Why would a celebrity of Cosby’s 

stature need to force women to 

do anything? False accusations 

generated  from jilted aspiring 

actresses trying to gain attention, 

or get even, makes more sense. 

Regardless, he was accused, so he’s 

guilty until proven innocent. 

Britain’s Prince Andrew isn’t 

immune, he is rich and royalty. 

Therefore bringing him down 

makes commoners feel powerful. 

Truth is liberals wish they could 

rule and reign. Since they can’t, 

destroying a royal makes them 

particularly happy.

I don’t know if any of these men 

are innocent or guilty. I do know 

none have had their day in court. 

They’re all still  innocent until 

proven guilty.

You might consider... after 

Liberals run out of princes, 

celebrities, and mayors, the next 

to meet the virtual guillotine will 

be you. If we allow the socialist 

policy of trial by media, with the 

“assumption of guilty until proven 

innocent,” none are safe. We’re 

cultivating a lynch mob society 

ignoring inconvenient  obstacles 

like grand juries. Who needs 

truth, or chain of evidence, give 

us politically correct versions, 

eliminating facts. Just stir up the 

mobs emotions, stage an “Occupy 

march.” Then supply the rope and 

a tree.              



Guilty Until Proven 

Innocent?

Scott Cowan

scott-cowan@live.com


9

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W

hat Can You Learn from 



the “Oracle of Omaha”?

W

arren Buffete, the “Oracle from Omahae,” 



is considered one of the most successful 

investors in history. Yet while the investment world 

may seem complexe, Mr. Buffet’s advice is actually 

pretty simple. Here are a few Buffet quotese, along 

with some suggestions on putting them to use:

“Whether we’re talking about socks or stocks, I 

like buying quality merchandise when it is marked 

down.”


Essentially, this means you should look for good 

investment vehicles whose price may have dropped. 

A bear market tends to drag down many stocks — 

even those with strong fundamentals and favourable 

prospects. These stocks might then be considered 

“bargains.” While there are many factors that go 

into determining the value of a stock, one way to 

evaluate whether a stock is “expensive” or “cheap” is 

by looking at its price-to-earnings ratio (P/E). For 

example, if Company “A” has a share price of $20 

and earnings per share of $4, then it has a P/E of 

5. On the other hand, if Company “B” has the same 

share price of $20, but has earnings per share of $2, 

its P/E would be 10. So it would be considered more 

expensive than Company “A.” Be aware, though, that 

the P/E ratio works better as a measure of valuation 

when you are comparing two companies in the same 

industry.

“Time is the friend of the wonderful business, the 

enemy of the mediocre.”

Be prepared to own quality stocks for the long term. 

A quality stock is one that has a high potential 

to provide predictable and sustainable growth in 

earnings over time. Over time, your discipline may 

be rewarded. On the other hand, if an investment is 

not of high qualitye, its flaws will be revealed over the 

years.

“If investors insist on trying to time 



their participation in equities, they 

should try to be fearful when others 

are greedy and greedy only when 

others are fearful.”

Trying to “time” the market — that 

is, attempting to buy when prices 

are low and sell when prices are high 

— is a diffcult task.

 Too many people do just the opposite: They try to 

“cut their losses” by selling when the market is down 

and then go after the “hot” investment whose price 

may already be as high as it’s going to go. Mr. Buffet 

clearly is not in favor of a market timing approach, 

and those who try to do it, he says, are probably 

better off by going against the crowd. Keep in 

mind, though, that even when holding investments 

rather than trying to time the market, investing in 

equities does involve risk, including potential loss of 

principal.

“When we own portions of outstanding businesses 

with outstanding managements, our favorite holding 

period is forever.”

When should you sell good investments? Never, 

according to Mr. Buffet. And while this endless 

holding period may not be possible for all of us, you 

get the idea: the longer you keep a good investment, 

the better off you may be when you do sell. 

 

“The line separating investment and speculation, 



which is never bright and clear, becomes blurred still 

further when most market participants have recently 

enjoyed triumphs. Nothing sedates rationality like 

large doses of effortless money.”

The lesson here? Be an investor, not a speculator. A 

long run-up in the market can increase your wealth, 

but it may also make you prone to risky behavior 

if you think that all your investments will rise 

indefinitely.

As an investor, you may well want to consider Mr. 

Buffet’s ideas— after alle, they’ve sure worked well for 

him.


Edward Jones, 

Member Canadian Investor Protection Fund.



Edward Jones, its employees and financial advisors cannot 

provide tax or legal advice. You should consult your attorney 

or qualified tax advisor regarding your situation.

2B-40 Strachan Court S.E. Medicine Hat, AB

Bus: 403-504-0550 Fax: 877-335-9404

jackson.woodruff@edwardjones.com

www.edwardjones.com


11

Whether retirement is down the road or just 

around the corner, Edward Jones can help you 

reach your goals.

As a first step, consider opening an Edward  

Jones Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP).  

You’ll invest for the future and maybe reduce your 

income taxes. And since Edward Jones takes the 

time to develop personal relationships, we better 

understand your retirement goals. If you consoli-

date your retirement accounts to Edward Jones, we 

can help make sure your investments are simplified.

To learn why it makes sense to discuss 

your RRSP with Edward Jones, call  

or visit your local Edward Jones  

advisor today.



How Well You Plan for It.

How Well You  

      Retire Depends on 

www.edwardjones.com

Member – Canadian  

Investor Protection Fund

Jackson D Woodruff

Financial Advisor

.

2 B-40 Strachan Court S E



Medicine Hat, AB T1B  4R7

403-504-0550



12

For more information, contact: 

Dan Hein,

 

BRE 

Associate Investment Advisor  

BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. 

606 2nd St SE 

Medicine Hat, AB  T1A 0C9 

Tel.: 403-528-6771  

Dan.Hein@nbpcd.com

www.bmo.com/nesbittburns

Donating Appreciated Securities 

The benefits of charitable giving go on and on – from helping those in 

need to personal satisfaction when giving to a cause we feel passionate 

about. Charitable giving also makes good sense from a tax perspective. 

With proper planning, you can reduce your total income tax liability and 

maximize the value of your donation.

In an effort to increase charitable donations, Canadian tax law 

allows for the full elimination of any capital gains tax on donations 

of publicly traded securities to a registered charity. Qualified 

securities include shares, bonds and mutual funds listed on a 

prescribed stock exchange.

Charitable Donation Tax Credit

Similar to cash donations, the fair market value of property (i.e., 

securities) donated to a qualifying charity is reported on a charitable 

tax receipt, which can reduce an individual donor’s taxes through 

a donation tax credit. The maximum amount of all donations an 

individual can claim on his/her tax return each year is 75% of net 

income. Donations not claimed in a given tax year can be carried 

forward for up to five years. For donations in excess of $200, the 

federal tax credit is calculated at the top marginal rate, regardless of 

the marginal tax rate of the donor. To encourage donations by bequest 

– in the year of death – the maximum donation that can be claimed 

is 100% of the deceased’s net income. Any donations that cannot 

be claimed in the year of death can be claimed on the deceased’s 

previous year’s tax return, also up to 100% of net income in that year.



Donating securities

If you are planning to make a charitable donation this year, consider 

this tax-saving strategy; especially if you’ve already determined that 

you will be selling some of your current investments to provide the 

cash to fund this donation. By donating securities directly to a charity, 

you have an opportunity to reduce the tax you would otherwise have 

to pay on the sale of your investments. Although a donation of property 

is considered a disposition for tax purposes, as a result of these tax 

incentives the taxable capital gain realized on a donated publicly-

traded security can be eliminated. Whether you donate cash or the 

securities directly, you will receive a tax receipt for the full amount of 

your donation, regardless of the tax treatment of the capital gain.



Tax Benefit of Donating Appreciated Securities

Tax on disposition

Sell Security and  

Donate Cash

Donate Security

Capital gain on sale of security

$50,000

$50,000


Taxable portion of capital gain

50%


0%

Taxable capital gain

$25,000

Income tax payable (46%)



($11,500)

($0)


Donation Credit

Charitable donation amount

$50,000

$50,000


Add tax savings from donations (46%)

$23,000


$23,000

Net Tax savings

$11,500

$23,000


Net cost to donate $50,000

$38,500


$27,000

Now let’s look at how making a $25,000 donation from this 

investment will impact the deceased’s tax liability if properly 

bequested in the deceased’s Will.  By donating half of the 

investment, the total tax liability on other income realized in the 

year of death can be reduced. So much so, that a $50,000 investment 

provides the deceased’s estate with after-tax proceeds of $34,200 

and also provides for a $25,000 donation to a charity. In other words, 

it only costs the deceased’s estate an incremental $11,200 ($45,400 - 

$34,200) to make a donation of $25,000 to a charity.



Tax Benefit of a Donation Upon Death

No Donations

Donation of Half of 

Investments

Current value of investments

$50,000


$50,000

Capital gain

$20,000

$20,000


Taxable portion of capital gain

$10,000


$5,000

Income tax (46%)

($4,600)

($2,300)


Net cash to deceased estate

$45,400


$47,700

Donate half of the investments

less charitable donation amount

($25,000)

Add potential tax savings (vs. other in-

come) from donations ($25,000@46%)

$11,500

Net cash to deceased’s estate



$34,200

Net cash to charity

$25,000

Corporate charitable giving can also provide the same tax benefits as 

individual giving, through:

1.  Potential elimination of any capital gains tax on a qualifying gift of 

publicly-traded securities.

2.  A tax deduction equal to the fair market value of the gift. A 

corporation will not receive a tax credit for the gifted qualified 

securities; instead, it will be entitled to a deduction equal to the 

value of the gifted property. This will result in a reduction of the 

tax that would otherwise be payable on income earned by the 

corporation. However, similar to individuals, corporations are 

also restricted on the amount of charitable deductions claimed 

annually. A corporation can deduct charitable donations, up to a 

maximum of 75% of its current year net income, with the potential 

to carry forward any excess for up to five years. For a Canadian-

controlled private corporation which donates a qualifying publicly-

traded security, the 100% non-taxable capital gain portion will be 

added to the balance of its Capital Dividend Account (CDA)7. This 

notional account, when positive, may be paid to shareholders on a 

tax-free basis, which could facilitate the withdrawal of funds from 

the company to its shareholders.



Gift of Qualified Securities

Individual

Corporation

Federal and Provincial personal tax credits on 

the gift value:

•  Federal portion is 15% for the first $200 

and 29% for amounts over $200

•  Credits limited fto 75% of net income 

(100% in year of death)

•  Capital gain on qualifying security has 0% 

inclusion rate.

•  Corporation may expense the gift value 

(up to 75% of net income) as a charitable 

deduction.

•  Capital gain on qualifying security has 0% 

inclusion rate. Non-taxable portion of the 

capital gain is added to CDA and a posi-

tive balance of CDA may be withdrqwn as 

a tax-free dividend.

Call to discuss other Special situations:

•  Donating Shares or proceeds acquired through employee  

stock options

• Donating Flow-Through Shares 

Opinions are those of the author and may not reflect those of BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. (“BMO NBI”). The information and opinions contained herein have been compiled from sources believed reliable but no representation or warranty, express or implied, is made as to their accuracy or 

completeness. BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bank of Montreal. The comments included in the publication are not intended to be a definitive analysis of tax law. The comments contained herein are general in nature and professional advice regarding an individual’s 

particular tax position should be obtained in respect of any person’s specific circumstances. ®“BMO (M-bar Roundel symbol)” is a registered trade-mark of Bank of Montreal, used under licence. ® “Nesbitt Burns” is a registered trade-mark of BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. is 

a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bank of Montreal. If you are already a client of BMO Nesbitt Burns, please contact your Investment Advisor for more information.

Member-Canadian Investor Protection Fund and Member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada

Source: Donating Securities, BMO Financial Group, December 2013

Source: Donating Securities, BMO Financial Group, December 2013

Source: Donating Securities, BMO Financial Group, December 2013


13

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The music of

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Book by

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DIRECTOR

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JENNIFER DAVIES

VOCAL DIRECTOR

RALPH BROWNE

MUSICAL DIRECTOR

CURTIS PERRIN

14


15

16

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Every September, it’s the same ol’ story. 

While students excitedly prepare to return to school, 

parents prepare to be nickel-and-dimed by the PC govern-

ment on mandatory school fees. This, despite the fact we 

parents already pay to cover these costs in our taxes. 

There’s simply no rhyme or reason for these fees. Families 

pay for education already, but it seems every year parents 

get dinged on a host of fees that should already be cov-

ered by our tax dollars.

We pay for administration costs. We pay for photocopying. 

We pay for noon hour supervision fees. And yes, in some 

cases, we pay for lockers and textbooks. 

If you factor in the cost of transportation and extracurric-

ular events like field trips, a family with three school age 

children could spend upwards of $2,000 on school fees in 

any given year. 

Make no mistake about it, this problem lies squarely at the 

feet of the PC government, which chronically underfunds 

our provincial school boards, leaving them to makeup the 

shortfalls. 

While the PCs wastefully spend millions year after year 

on perks, salaries and severances for friends and insiders, 

they can’t seem to make a point of funding our schools ad-

equately and ending the burden of school fees for families. 

Recently, the government made some changes to the Ed-

ucation Act in order to enhance the transparency around 

these school fee calls. While my colleagues and I applaud 

any effort to address this issue, these changes don’t come 

even close to fixing this problem. 

Under these changes, steep and unexpected school fees 

will still hamper back-to-school season for families, school 

board will continue to face funding shortfalls and the PC 

government will continue to misspend taxpayer dollars on 

perks for itself, as it always has.  

There is a better way.

A Wildrose government would end mandatory school fees 

once and for all by adequately funding our school boards. 

This would be a cost-neutral process, as we’re the only 

provincial party willing to cut the bloat, waste and excess 

the PCs have grown so used to. 

This problem of overspending hasn’t been addressed un-

der Premier Jim Prentice, who is toying with the idea of 

raising taxes on families at the same time he’s spending 

more than $4.3 million per year on political staff salaries in 

his office. 

Alberta needs a new way of doing things. It comes down 

to priorities, and sadly, the PCs have failed to prioritize Al-

berta families.

Wildrose is the only party that will fight to ensure our kids 

receive a world-class education at no added cost to hard-

working Alberta families.

Drew Barnes, MLA 

Cypress-Medicine Hat

I value your input! 

Please call me at 

the Constituency Office: 403-528-2191 

or by E-mail:  cypress.medicinehat@assembly.ab.ca

 

 



 

#5, 1299 Trans Canada Way SE

Medicine Hat, AB  T1B 1H9

Phone: 403 528-2191

Toll Free: 1-866-339-2191

E-mail: cypress.medicinehat@assembly.ab.ca



DREW BARNES

 MLA

Cypress - Medicine Hat

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Mandatory School Fees 



Will Continue To 

Burden Parents

January 16, 2015


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Brent Dunstan

Democracy in Action

S

adly, the title “Fast & Furious” is taken, as it describes 



the last year in Alberta politics perfectly. The action 

has been fast; the pace furious. 12 months ago Alison 

Redford was Premier, and the Wildrose Party was thriving 

under Danielle Smith’s leadership. What has transpired since 

then on Alberta’s political stage has been dramatic and game 

changing.  

Alison Redford’s stunning fall couldn’t have been steeper and 

deeper had she stepped off a cliff. It was widely thought her 

inexplicably poor judgement and sense of entitlement had 

finally burned down the Progressive Conservative Party and 

its 4 decade grip on the Alberta Legislature. Misgivings about 

the Wildrose looked to be eclipsed by disdain for the PCs. 

However, a funny thing happened on the road that appeared 

to be heading toward a political changing of the guard 

unseen in Alberta since CCR had the #1 song and gas was 44 

cents a gallon. Jim Prentice became Premier.  

The former Federal Cabinet Minister seems to have breathed 

as much life into a moribund and stale institution as the 

newly elected Pope. He outflanked his opposition on their 

right by recruiting notable conservatives, reversing most of 

Redford’s missteps, and adopting policies very unlike former 

Premiers Stelmach and Redford. Proof of his success came 

when the PCs swept 4 by-elections, widely viewed as a litmus 

test of voter opinion.  

All this led to one of the most unforeseen developments in 

Canadian political history. In an unprecedented move, Smith 

and 8 other Wildrose MLAs crossed the floor, joining the 

governing PCs, and reducing the Wildrose to a mere 5 seats, 

on par with Alberta Liberals. This move has, of course, disap-

pointed and angered rank and file Wildrose members. Calls 

for the 9 to resign and stand trial in by-elections still ring 

out. These calls, while understandable (but somewhat oblivi-

ous to the irony that interim leader Heather Forsyth crossed 

the floor to join the Wildrose from the PCs), are based more 

on emotion than an understanding of our political system.  

When we elect MLAs, we don’t elect governments; we elect 

legislatures. The members of that legislature form the govern-

ment, typically based upon, but 

not limited to, party affiliation, 

and can align themselves as each 

sees fit. The Canadian experience, 

for the most part, has been fairly 

straightforward, single party 

governance. This is not the case 

in many countries that share our 

parliamentary form of govern-

ment, where backroom deals and 

coalition governments are commonplace.  

I recently asked someone what the purpose of the opposition 

is. The reply; “To hold the Government accountable.” Ac-

tually, no. The people hold governments accountable. That’s 

democracy. Opposition parties have two roles; to oppose the 

government in the legislature, and to present alternative poli-

cies to the electorate as a potential government in waiting.  

So what should opposition members do if they can do 

neither? If they agree with the actions of the government, 

and hence, cannot present contrasting policies to the peo-

ple, what then? The conclusion that these former Wildrose 

members came to was to stand with the government rather 

than oppose simply for the sake of opposition. Agree with 

the decision or not, in this light, their actions have some 

defensibility. 

Changing party affiliation is not outside of parliamentary 

rules. Those who do so will be held to account in due time. 

Each of these MLAs will be subject to the full process of elec-

tion; from contesting party nomination in their respective 

ridings, through to the general election itself.  

Grassroots political movements often call on their elected 

representatives to make decisions according to conscience, 

and not exclusively by party line. If they take actions and 

make decisions that their constituents disagree with, then 

constituents can exercise their right to to participate in the 

democratic process of nominating and electing someone else. 

That is democracy in action, just as what we have witnessed 

in the past year is also democracy in action. 

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D

ivorce and separation is a stressful event. I think people truly need to have the support of friends and 



family. I caution clients all the time to be very careful. The line between people lending support, versus 

attempting to push you into certain courses of action. It is not unusual for me to meet a client, espe-

cially for the first time, with a support person with them. Often a trusted friend, a family member, sometimes 

even a new partner. I encourage this. There is a lot of information in those early meetings. I write lists and make 

notes, but the presence of who extra person that may remember some of the advice I have given that a client 

may forget, can be very helpful to them later.  Although I give clients my direct cell, and they can call me any-

time for clarification, the do forget some things. Sometimes that friend or family member is useful in that way.

However, it starts to become concerning when friends and family start to cross that line of support. To often they pull a client towards 

certain courses of action.  

Now, at the outset, I think most people are well intentioned.  The problem is that they may not have all the facts or the background. So 

they don’t know why I may advise a client one way or another.  For example, people often have a difficulty coming to grips with the fact 

that divorce in Canada has been no-fault for over 40 years. The courts will often not even hear evidence about who left who and why.  It 

often seems to be “common sense” to friends or family members, when someone refused marriage counselling or committed infidelity, 

that there should be some legal penalty in the proceedings. But there simply isn’t.

I also encounter a lot of projection.  Sometimes the friend or family member has had their own unfortunate or high conflict separation. 

They want to take some action that they wished they would have taken, but vicariously through the client.  I find a lot of times that the 

old cliche that “misery loves company”, is often true.  I caution people to be very, very, careful about whose advice they take.  If that ad-

vice is coming from a friend or family member that is very unhappy after their own divorce or separation, tread carefully.  However that 

is not to say they often don’t have valuable insight, however.  I have spoken with a lot of people that recognize real mistakes they made 

in their own divorce or separation. They have wisdom to pass on as part of a legitimate desire to help a client not make the same ones.

It is not uncommon for a friend or family member to have a real dislike and hostility towards a client’s ex.  It is natural to want to align 

with and take the side of someone close to us.  It’s also not uncommon for a client to have a parent or long time friend that didn’t like 

the ex spouse from the start!  In these situations, I often see the friend or family member urging the client to take a variety of punitive 

and high conflict actions. Whether they are the best solutions or otherwise.  Again, it is easy to give “advice” when it is someone else’s 

life.  As close as that advisor may be to the client, it is still not actually them that has to foot the bill. Secondly live with what the con-

sequences may be afterwards.  Particularly where children are involved, it is the client and not anyone else that is going to have to deal 

with that ex spouse, day in and day out, where the kids are concerned.

Where things can get really out of hand is where the “support group,” starts to become quite large. They all want to come to watch 

court proceedings in the case.  I do encourage clients to bring one support person to court with them. But it has to be someone that 

they trust to not react to what is being said in any way.  Many times I have seen two pews of friends and family that gasp, or guffaw, at 

everything that is said by opposing counsel. Reacting to the point just short of doing the wave.  That doesn’t help me or the client very 

much.


There is also something else to be aware of and it is not well intentioned.  Lots of times people are just bored and want to see a good 

scrap.  Sometimes the situation is not unlike a bunch of school kids in a circle trying to egg a couple boys on to fight. Just for some-

thing interesting as a distraction from the boredom of daily life.  I think this probably happens more often than one would think. All 

we would have to do is turn on any social media to see how quickly and earnestly some people can post things about someone else’s 

personal drama.

I remember the advice I gave to a client once that was being goaded on by a “friend”.  I asked the client if the friend was willing to pay 

their legal costs, pay counselling costs for the children, if the conflict adversely affected them. Will they be an intermediary for access 

pickup and drop off, after the client and their ex can no longer stand one another after the trial? Will they be responsible for whatever 

support order was granted?

Accept the positive support for sure. But when it becomes more than that always keep in 

the back of your mind, where free legal advice is concerned, you usually get what you pay 

for…


Scott Stenbeck

Careful Where You Get Your Advice

Stenbeck Law Office

(866)783-6232



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CROSSWORD



PUZZLE

D o w n


A c r o s s

1. Cuban currency

2. Asian river

3. Expert

4. Knowledge or understan-

ding


5. Arithmetic operation

6. Let for money

7. Beginning

8. Healthy

9. Guide

10. Lament

11. Shelf

12. Father

14. Rolled up document

18. Not in favor

20. Triple world heavyweight

champion, Muhammad __

23. Make amends for

24. Lodges

27. Live in a tent

28. Sport played on

horseback

30. All assets and liabilities

31. Constrictor

33. Friend

34. Excited

36. Emergency services

professional

37. Affirm

38. Arm of the Indian

Ocean, ___ Sea

41. Meat skewer

43. Abrasion

46. Every one

48. Country, initially

49. Fertile part of a desert

50. Unaccompanied

51. Musical instrument

53. Small hill

57. In addition

58. Far down

60. Net

61. Employ



63. High rocky hill

64. Grow older

65. Hard-shelled seed

1. Mountain top

5. In favor of

8. Combustible material

12. Two

13. Optical device



15. Small island

16. Colorado ski resort

17. Unharmed

19. First note of a major 

scale

20. Abaft



21. Thin-shelled object

22. Method of transport

25. Sum up

26. Cereal grass

27. Felines are fond of this 

herb


29. Prevarication

31. State capital, ___ Rouge

32. Gemstone

35. Box


39. Portents

40. Fall behind

41. Musical notation

42. Part of a church

43. Song for one

44. Whittled

45. Part of a minute, in short

47. Stringed instrument

49. Lout

52. Biblical boat

54. Part of a plant

55. Everything

56. Country on the Pacific, 

Arctic


and Atlantic

59. Australian flightless bird

62. Roald Amundsen got 

there first

64. South American 

mountain chain

66. Within

67. Additional

68. Pretext

69. Visionary

70. Sever

71. Engrave



Answers on page 18  

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