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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

Thursday, October 30, 2003

MARTHA AND HENRY FINALLY WAKE UP 

Well before Ralph Klein became party leader, Conservative politicians were holding meetings supposedly to learn from the people of Alberta what they wanted from their government. In fact, however, consultants were being paid big fees to manage and control the information available to those preselected groups who overwhelmingly came from the financial and corporate interests of Alberta. Social values weren’t allowed to bother anyone there. For example, in his book The Klein Revolution, Marc Lisac reported in 1995, “At a workshop on training, participants found not having any teachers around made discussion easy (p. 53).”

As part of the the illusion that these discussions were about “real Albertans” a fictitious couple named Martha and Henry were invented to represent all of the severely normal people in the Province. When came time to vote in 1993 Marthas and Henrys all over the Province swallowed the bait, hook-line-and-sinker. Then, having crawled into bed with the Tories, they fell asleep. Ten years later Martha and Henry have started to wake up. Insight is hitting them like a bolt of lightening. Let’s listen in:-

Martha: Henry wake up!

Henry: Huh? Whazzup?

Martha: We’ve been robbed!

Henry: Whaddya mean we’ve been robbed?

Martha: It’s Ralph, Ralph’s been stealing from us for years.

Henry: Not Ralph! no it can’t be. When we went to sleep the last thing he said was “folks, believe me I listen and I care”.

Martha: Yeah right! So, if he cares so much, how come our son in grade five, who’s no Einstein anyway, is crammed into a classroom with thirty-two other kids and we’re paying higher and higher fees and raising thousands for essentials?

Henry: Hey, you got a point there Martha! Ralph said he was gonna pay off the debt so our kids wouldn’t be shortchanged.

Martha: Yeah and then look what happened to your mother when we had to move her into that nursing home. We were already supplementing her costs and she hadn’t been there a month before fees went up and Ralph says she doesn’t need things like toothpaste and shampoo.

Henry: You know Martha I’d been forgetting how disgusted I was when Ralph went down there into a men’s shelter and started calling homeless men down because they didn’t have jobs.

Martha: What’s that got to do with your mother Henry?

Henry: Martha, that shows me how phony Ralph's pretense of being one of us really is, that’s what it’s got to do with my mother.

Martha: But I thought you liked Ralph!

Henry: Ten years ago I trusted Ralph. Remember how we let him use us for an example of what ordinary Albertans wanted the government to do.

Martha: Yes, come to think of it, I thought that was a gimmick even then. Ralph made us look like all we really cared about was making and saving money. Didn’t seem to care we have families and live in communities. I remember thinking that Ralph already thought he was something like God and knew exactly what mattered to us most.

Henry: Right! and now I’ve seen him operating for ten years I really resent how he still thinks he knows better than we do what our values are.

Martha: You mean like we’re facing into the future with far less security than we had when Ralph took over and we are paying far more for it.

Henry: You sure got that right! I’m sick and tired of being treated as if I don’t know what’s going on. Ralph said he was going to be more open and upfront with us. In fact, he and his boys are still constantly making up schemes in the back room and pretending we’ve told them what to do.

Martha: When we voted for Ralph did we vote for hospital emergency wards jammed up for hours and sometimes days at a time? Did we vote for poor people to be treated like scum? Did we tell him to treat teachers and nurses like they were scabs on society while his government pockets billions in surplus?

Henry: Martha there’s no way I would vote again for the market place mess Ralph has foisted on us. It puts our car insurance and power bills into the hands of money-driven outfits that manipulate the market like a puppet on strings. Then Ralph goes round the world boasting about having the lowest taxes in the country.

Martha: You know Henry all the time we were sleeping I thought we were living in a kind of paradise here in Alberta. You know the Alberta advantage? Ha! That paradise exists only in Ralph's imagination - he calls it Ralph's World. Now that I’m awake I realize we’ve really been robbed of respect for everyone who cares about people more than money. Ralph’s World is really a bad dream and the people of Alberta haven’t realized it’s only going to get worse.



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