I hate to rain on the parade of the Jason Kenney fan club, (actually that's a lie, I kind of enjoy it) but his decision to run for the leadership of the Alberta Progressive Conservatives is not really all that new, invigorating or, frankly interesting. Being endorsed by your old boss, Steven Harper, is kind of like getting a good reference letter as part of a severance deal.
I'd be more interested if Harper himself were running for the leadership, but that is kind of a step backward, sort of like going from being James T. Kirk captain of the Enterprise to being Scotty, in charge of the engine room; so I doubt there is any hope Mr. Harper himself will reemerge as the savior of Alberta.
What's wrong with Kenney? Bad suits aside, not much really; he is affable and certainly committed to his cause, a level of which we can only hope exceeds that of Jim Prentice, another guy Harper recommended for the job.
Maybe the problem here is Harper, he keeps whispering in the ears of guys, who clearly would never replace him, about a "rock solid opportunity out west". And off they go, either back to their home town, in the case of Kenney, or a tourist, as in Prentice.
All of which leads me to want to talk about LED light bulbs. The cost of LED's is now so cheap that indoor farming is going to be come a seriously viable proposition and all those vacant safeway stores that blot our city and are rented out to sell RV's or as flea markets, might actually have a valuable use as a place to grow food for places that sell food.
This should appeal to everyone: cheap very efficient light bulbs mean we can kill all the coal generators that much quicker and food can be delivered by bicycle instead of truck, which should make Edmonton's mayor happy.
"Farm Fresh" might mean your lettuce is grown at an address instead of a legal land description. LED's use less than 1/10th of the power of grow op lighting equipment; indeed in BC the police say that extreme power consumption is no longer the tip off of a grow op and less drug growers are being electrocuded trying to bypass pwer meters. (A task so simple any moron could do it, and a lot of them try)
LED's take all the risk out of this, growing things and being able to pay the power bill is a dream come true. Green houses will be obsolete as crops, yes crops, can be grown in completely controlled conditions without huge energy costs for light or heat.
Think about this: Imagine eating tomatoes in January that do not taste like they were driven 3,000 miles in a truck, or having to pick through 200 heads of romain lettuce to find one less than 50 percent wilted, thanks to LED light bulbs, this will become the reality.
It already is the reality in many US cities; Goldman Sach's the investment bankers have invested heavily in several start ups and John Deere has reportedly been developing a hydrophonics equipment line, that does not require 300 horsepower diesel engines.
The issues this will lay to waste: hydroponics do not cause soil depletion, herbicides will be non existent, which means the RoundUp haters will need to find a new enemy, and food production will become a local industry again.
Naturally any vegetable operation opens the door to composting and a great form of fertilizer for hydrophonics happens to be fish poo, an often troubling problem in gold fish bowls everywhere. My dream hydrophonic operation would certainly include Tilapia tanks, raise fish and vegetables in a symbiotic way, the plants are fertilized by the fish poo and the fish poo mostly comes from plant waste.
Now, if only a politician had thought of this; If only a politician had said "the best way to meet energy demand and deal with carbon emissions is through conservation" there might be some real progress on a number of files but as long as they are more concerned with their ideological masters nothing really innovative is going to happen.
There is no appetite in any camp to conserve: conservation itself runs counter to the growth demands we have been led to think matter so much, there is only one good number and this is growth. Anything that does not support growth is deemed as bad. This is not a unique conservative concept, the NDP are even worse at it, because they want the state to help business fail instead of letting business fail all by itself.
Since I am a "Super Delegate" for the PC leadership race, (being a former MLA, gives me the right), I'm going to look for a candidate who is not a retread, I want to see some fresh rubber on the old truck that is Alberta. I want a candidate who says "hell yes, let's grow all our own food, right here" A candidate who understands that burning coal to generate electricity is a hell of a lot better for the environment than installing a wood stove in your basement. A candidate who understands that trucks are only efficient when they are moving and who, (oh though I dream lustfully), sets standards for roads to ensure traffic moves instead of sitting there idling.
Might as well dream big, if we are going to dream at all. This, is all I am ever going to say about Jason Kenney, he does not meet my defintion of fresh rubber....