Thursday, August 24, 2006

Goodbye Ralph.

Let the countdown begin!!! At least we would if we had an actual clue as to when King Ralph would let his deathgrip on power loose.

After 14 years under dictatorial rule, it is enevitable that you face moments of confusion as the end draws near (I will spare you from any comparisons to Cuba). There were moments over the past few months when I actually thought I might miss poor Ralph. Moments where I considered that his time in office might not have been as bad as I made it out to be in my own mind. Moments when I thought he had some redeemable qualities.

Any such thoughts quickly dissolved today as i listened to Ralph speak on the opening day of his last session of the legislature (at least I hope so, this time.) There were three moments which were indicative Ralph.

(I type this before the hansard has been posted to the web, so I apologize for not having direct quotes.)

The first moment which raised my eyebrow as I watched question period was in Ralph's response to the first question directed at him. It even seemed that the opposition didn't care to direct questions at King Klein because they knew he was a lame duck, but nonetheless Liberal Opposition leader Kevin Taft could not refuse the opportunity to get in a few last jabs. In response to Taft's question regarding Education spending Klein replied by saying 'The leader of the opposition might be happy to be back here, but I sure am not.' This comment is indicative of the contempt for the legislature which Mr. Klein has had since his entry into the Premier's office. I would think that someone who wants to provide their public service to the province would enjoy their work and enjoy being there. I know I enjoy my job and enjoy being at it. I would never say after a long break away from it that I am certainly not happy to be there. Klein has always resented his legislature roles and responsibilities. He would rather rule by iron fist than have to answer to a body of his peers.

The second moment of contempt and disguist came actually before the first moment. Rose Lundy experienced a miscarriage in the hallways of Peter Lougheed hospital in Calgary in front of over 30 other patients. <> She came to the legislature today to get answers and to ask questions of the government that was ultimately responsible. The Liberal party spoke to her and her husband Rick, even the health minister spoke to the Lundy's. But when they approached his highness, Mr. Klein quickly ducked into the elevator and yelled something to the equivalent of I have no time for you over the backs of the people in the elevator in front of him. Could he not have at least walked over, shook hands, and whispered in Rick's ear that he had no time for them. No, he had to treat thim with a similar lack of dignity that they received in the Peter Lougheed hospital. This once again showed his inability to listen to the concerns of his critics, and of the victims of his policies. He is not alone amongst politicians in this but it is a irreprehensible practice.

Finally Ralph Klein capped the day off by proving his appeal to the lowest common denominator. When confronted about having the lowest welfare rates in the country, he responded by touting the line that the employable have been encouraged to work, and he reminded us that the employable who refused to work were given a bus ticket. Ralph Klein dispises the poor. He did nothing to acknowledge the many who are unemployable and still trying to raise families on $12,000 per year in this wealthy and expensive province. He simply kept on the LCD argument that those bums on welfares should go out and get jobs or leave.

I am so happy to see Ralph Klein go. Happier today than I was on the day I first heard the news (and I remember vividly reading the newspaper on the airplane.) He is full of arrogance and ignorance, combined with contempt and disgust for anyone except his voters and the social elite whom he serves in this province. He has always been controlled by special interests and unexamined ideology.

The only thing that scares me is who shall follow.


Breakenridge said...

One thing about the welfare story, it never mentioned how many people are still on welfare.

In Alberta, and specifically Calgary, we're seeing the lowest unemployment in the country, and l less than one per cent for people in our age group (yes I know how old you are). While rates may be low, are less people actually on wel;fare now than they were previously, and isn't that a good thing?

pikey78oil said...

in the story it mentioned 1.7 million canadians needing social assistance, including 500 thousand guy I talked to said it was better to be a poor person 5 years than it is today...

pikey78oil said...

although I must say, why is someone trying to raise a family on 12 grand a year...have they not heard of the oil patch?? or birth control? i agree with welfare to a point...but in this province, if you aren't disabled, or suffering from some other situation that prevents you from working, then you should be working. i don't go to work everyday to watch my tax dollars being wasted on someone who's too lazy to get off their ass and work (some exceptions apply, please see rules for full welfare details!)

Atypical Albertan said...

There is a very important distinction that needs to be made here, one that Lorne Cardinal actually looked at since my last post. Employable versus non-employable.

Some people are simply non-employable, for a variety of reasons. Some people are in transition and need a crutch to stand on while they make crucial changes in their lives. Single parents can't work because if they did, all of their income would go to child care. Some people have no skills or ability to work in the oil patch, access to clean clothes for interviews, access to computers for resume printing.

The reasons why someone needs to access welfare are numerous and unique to each individual. When someone needs to access welfare, the amount available to them should be sufficient to allow them to get their lives together again. In Alberta today $12,000 annually for a family to live on is disgracefully insufficient.

Ralph Klein was ignorant to this point; he only saw it as another opportunity to slam the poor - a hobby which rivals fishing as one of his favourites. Perhaps there is abuse in the system (although I wouldn't know why anyone, in their right mind, would freely choose to live so far below the poverty line when they can work part time anywhere they choose for significantly more), but the issue is not for those people. The issue is that Ralph Klein treats all welfare recipients with complete disdain. For those people who are unemployable, provide a living wage. For those people who are employable, give them the skills and resources required to get them a job, not a bus ticket to BC.

This would be money spent wisely for the betterment of Alberta. This would help business by expanding the employable workforce in Alberta. This would not be your "tax dollars being wasted on someone who's too lazy to get off their ass and work".

But King Ralph is too ignorant to actually think about the problem and that is why I am glad to see him go.

pikey78oil said...

But the issue I have here is that I work hard for the breaks and opportunities that I get. Why should I subsidize someone who isn't willing to do the same.

Now we all know that I did not come from an affluent family, and I had to work damn hard to get to where I am today. My parents got divorced, got back together, my dad went on long term disability (and if you think living on 50 per cent of one's normal salary while my mom wasn't working was easy, I encourage you to try it). I have had a form of employment since I was 11, whether it be delivering papers, washing dishes, barely selling vacuum cleaners, shoveling sidewalks, babysitting, etc...I worked hard to get to where I am and I expect others (welfare recipients or not) to do the same.

Now this is not to say that I am a cold heartless bastard, because I do understand the need for LIMITED access to welfare. And I would never deny someone that, having gone through the financial hardships that my family did. And I do agree, ATA, that its better to teach these people who are employable the right skills to get back into the workforce.

But the people who continually take advantage of the system, never learning to support themselves, well that chaps my ass.

How did you become a teacher ATA? Not through handouts. You worked your ass off. I became a reporter by working my ass off. Sketch became a (what does sketch do again? JK)reporter/editor/writer/conservative by working his ass off. Had I known that I could just live on welfare and live off the backs of those who work for a living, well hell, I would signed up for that program a long time ago!!

But I'm much more appreciative of where I am today, because I know I had to work for it....unlike SOME of those currently languishing on welfare.

By the way ATA, given your financial situation, how much did you donate to homeless charities or social assistance agencies last year?

Or does the responsibility for housing the poor fall solely on the shoulders of Ralph?

I'm not supporting Ralph here in any way, shape or form (never will least we can agree on one thing), but come on! If the answer was that easy, the problem would have been solved a long time ago!