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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

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Freddie's Diary - Article 6 

Neil Reimer said more has been asked of seniors than anyone. "One program we would have been able to live with but, 15 seniors programs have been either eliminated, altered or cut." He says in most cases seniors have faced 17% and as high as 25% cuts and more if they have health problems. January 95, EJ - Premier Klein admitted the cuts have "gone too far." He promised a review of seniors programs - specifically lodge fees and the Health Care premiums. Betty Finch, President of Retired and Semi Retired Society said: "Its all rhetoric. I think he will keep on with the cuts!" The Liberals calculate that the provincial government under Klein has brought in 80 user fees and increased taxes such as health care premiums totaling about $400 million.

In the month leading up to the 50th anniversary of V.E. Day, the Royal Canadian Legion here has set up what social critics are calling an embarrassing first for Canada, a food bank especially for veterans. Most of those needing food so far have been veterans of the Second World War, which makes them senior citizens in their 70s. Jim Hart, Reform MP and the party's critic on veterans' affairs said the food bank's existence is a symbol of the failure of Canada social programs. Mr. Knowler, a 70-year-old veteran said, the situation for senior veterans has become markedly worse since the provincial PC government's cuts in social programs have taken hold. April 12, 95, Globe and Mail, Calgary.

David Ross, Executive Director of the Canadian Council on Social Development in Ottawa, said it is no surprise that Alberta has become the site of a special food bank for veterans. The council's figures show that between 1981 and 1992 the intensity of poverty in Alberta has grown more than in any other province. If that was true in 1992, think of what it must be now after 10 years of cut and slash.

There was no tax free day for seniors in 1995 because many seniors saw their Alberta tax increase by 300 % or more through Health Care Premiums, loss of benefits, loss of homeowner rebates and increased prescription costs, "Thanks to Klein." John Gleeson, April, 95, EJ

The government tried to sooth angry Alberta seniors by creating a $1 million fund to help old people in tight financial squeezes. There would be a maximum of $500 for singles and $1000 for a couple. Seniors applying for this one-time grant found it very difficult to gain any dollars from the program.. Bette Hewes, Liberal seniors critic said, "It is something they had to do to stop the hemorrhaging of public opinion in the province." April, 95 EJ.

Jane Fulton appointed Deputy Health Minister. Fulton was known as an advocate for two-tier medicine and private health care. Many protested her appointment for that reason. July 5, 95 EJ

95% of seniors who applied for the special needs program were turned down. "Clearly the provincial government isn't committed to helping seniors," said Grant Mitchell. "They got peoples hopes up a little bit and then didn't do anything." "Seniors are required to submit receipts for the past 3 years and other documents to prove they are in financial need is onerous and unfair," said Mitchell. Seniors must prove their financial hardship is directly due to changes in senior's health, accommodation or communities care program. Betty Hewes said the Special Needs program is an illusion designed to make seniors believe help is available. Chris Lawrence, Director of the Alberta Council on Aging, worries that provincial cuts to senior's benefits are making people more vulnerable to abuse.
Sept 2, 95, EJ

Senior's Report reissued because the last report was Shredded, Dec/95, EJ
Apparently the original report (2000 copies) was scheduled to be released in December of 1992. Diane Mirosh, who took over as community development minister five days after the scheduled release, replaced the 164-page report with a 36-page report. The original was produced after a year of consultation with seniors. The cost of the report was estimated to be $1 million. One of the original authors' of the documents said it was destroyed because it contradicted the government's claim that spending on senior's programs was out of control. Kevin Taft said, "It clearly laid out that costs and expenditures were not a cause for any great alarm. It dealt with issues the Klein government didn't want the public to know about. The report showed per capita government spending on seniors programs, after inflation, dropped between 1984-85 and 90-91.

Klein claimed he knew nothing about the shredding. Taft called it "absurd" that Klein and his staff would not be aware of the report or its destruction. "Throughout the process of this report, promises were made repeatedly that is would be an open honest process." Neil Reimer, past-president of the Alberta Council on Aging, said, "Clearly, the reason that the report was withheld was because it didn't suit the philosophy that the Klein government was addressing. The New Klein government was promoting spending cuts to bring the deficit under control. Neil Reimer said the council's research shows middle-class seniors have seen their incomes cut by about 21% since 1994.

Bette Hewes tried to raise the issue during the 1993 election campaign and accused Klein of suppressing the report. Klein called her a liar at the time. She said, "To suggest that the report is simply too difficult for seniors to consume is a bit presumptuous and condescending to seniors."

Klein and his followers have spent the last 10 years thinking up ways to hurt you and the Province of Alberta. Are you hurting enough yet? Do you need more suffering, before you get the message that this government will continue to hurt you if you leave them in control of your affairs?. Your vote is the most powerful asset you have, use it to help yourself.

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