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, April 29, 2004

NorQuest uninvites opposition MLAs 

This article appeared in the Edmonton Journal on April 28, 2004 and was sent to me by a reader of Ralph's World. One has to wonder what secret things would be going on at an event like this that opposition MLA should not know about. Perhaps honorary degrees in caretaking, custodial, or housekeeping certification are being to offered Tory MLAs in exchange for legislation favorable to NorQuest College.

Kelly Cryderman
The Edmonton Journal
April 28, 2004

EDMONTON - Invitations sent to opposition MLAs for a reception this evening at NorQuest College have been withdrawn because the event is exclusively for Tories.

NorQuest College said as a result of a clerical error, invitations went to Liberal and New Democrat MLAs for tonight's event, co-hosted by Bow Valley College.

New Democrat MLA Brian Mason said it is particularly galling that his party has been turned away from this event, since NorQuest is a public institution.

"What it really says to me is that the Conservative party believes it has an exclusive mandate to govern and to represent public institutions, and they're not going to share even a little bit of their power with anybody."

Wednesday-night MLA receptions are held in Edmonton most weeks when the legislature is in session. Conservative MLAs are wined and dined, lobbied and given presentations by various post-secondary institutions, industry associations and companies that host the events.

NorQuest said the opposition members' invitations to the reception were withdrawn as soon as the mistake was discovered, without any prompting from the Conservative government.

Government whip Carol Haley didn't know the specifics Tuesday, but said if someone at her office had known the invitations went to other parties, they would have made it clear to NorQuest that opposition MLAs are not welcome.

"My staff would have reacted to that by saying this was supposed to be a government MLA reception."

Haley said she's not sure whether her staff would have asked the college to withdraw the invitation. "I have young staff, and yes, anything is possible. They're young guys and they're trying hard to do their job properly. If it offended anybody, then I'm sorry."

Haley said groups are free to set up receptions for all the parties anytime they want, but "the point of going through my office is they wanted it to be a government reception, not an opposition reception."

John Carpay, Alberta head of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, said his organization has supported numerous Klein government policies. However, he disagrees with the exclusivity of MLA receptions.

"It should be for all MLAs out of respect for the 38 per cent of Albertans who did not vote for Ralph Klein's government," Carpay said.

"There's nothing wrong with these meetings, provided all 83 MLAs are invited."


© The Edmonton Journal 2004

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