Ralph Klein has gone and it is time to retire Ralph's World. Thanks to all of you who have supported this venture by contributing material and through your comments. It has been fun.

Should we get another blog underway? Let me know your thoughts by e-mailing me at johnnyslow@gmail.com.

John Slow
January 1, 2007

Monday, September 29, 2003

Democracy in Canada? How about Alberta? 

Every time I hear someone from Alberta say that the federal government is dictatorial, I have to remind myself that I live in Alberta, and that this is often standard fare in the coffee shops and at the water coolers. I have to agree with much of the criticism leveled at the federal government. With issues like lack of funding for the military, the Human Resources Department scandal, the gun registry, Senate reform, let alone Western alienation, it is tough to argue. I’ve often heard that, “the federal government doesn’t believe in Western views, or democracy.” What baffles me is when the subject turns to democracy in Alberta, these same critics often fall silent. Why is it that Ralph Klein’s government avoids similar wide scale criticism? We have municipalities not being adequately funded, government caused electricity hyper-inflation, natural gas rebates only when elections are in sight, a crisis in education, and elected health care officials being sacked. There is no doubt that we hear about these issues in our newspapers and on the radio and TV, but these stories never seem to generate widespread disgust with provincial decision making; at least a big enough feeling when it comes to voting. It begs the question-why? Is it that the provincial media machine of 300 employees is able to counter every negative article or new story?

Take Senate reform as an example of where the feds are criticized and the province gets off the hook. The provincial Conservatives have long advocated the election of Senators to the upper chamber with some reasonable arguments. The fact that this has not happened has been a rallying call “proving” that Western Canada doesn’t count in federal decisions. Well, what about those people who live in parts of Alberta that feel alienated by our provincial government? How about an elected provincial senate? I have never heard this idea come up before, yet it is precisely what we are asking from the federal government. If the Klein conservatives wanted to lead on this issue, and many others, they should set the standard for all else to follow. Likely? Only in our dreams!

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