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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, April 07, 2004

PREMIER'S PERFORMANCE AIN'T PRETTY #7 

Alberta Hansard March 30/04

Peoples Rep Taft: “..... a new company named The Alberta Oil Sands Transportation Corporation could soon be overseeing a railroad project worth $1.8 Billion, but as far as we know none of the leaders of this corporation have experience running railroads, so, frankly, the Liberal Opposition is concerned that it’s the Alberta taxpayers who will get railroaded here. My questions are to the Premier, what can the Premier tell us about this company, which was only registered last Tuesday and has already received one and a quarter million dollars in taxpayer funding?”

Alberta’s Premier: “...... they haven’t received one cent. The honorable leader of the official opposition should learn to tell the truth. That’s the first thing he needs to do. He is not telling the truth when he says that we have given them $1.25 million. That is not the truth. When someone does not tell the truth, he tells a lie, and I get frustrated.......

Deputy Speaker: “I think that on the issue your raise, if someone is not telling the truth, that’s one thing, but our rules do not move to the point where if you call it a lie, that is unparliamentary. The facts may be at variance with those stated.”

Alberta’s Premier: .... my apologies, but I don’t know any other word for an untruth. Mr. Speaker, Alberta Oil Sands Transportation Corp. is a newly formed Alberta company, as I understand it, The primary contacts are Jim Gray and Paul Giannelia, and Mr. Giannelia, of course, is the engineer responsible for Straight Crossing, the phenomenal bridge that links New Brunswick with Prince Edward Island. The contributors would be - would be - if all things work out - the Alberta government, the oil sands and the feasibility study would be conducted by this group......... Mr. Speaker, I can understand that the Liberals don’t know about any of these things because they have never been in that area presumably. The simple fact is that there are very serious transportation problems related to almost a hundred billion dollars of development now or potential development in the oil sands, which has a huge impact on the economy of this province.

Peoples Rep Taft: “.... will the Premier promise Albertans today, here and now, that if we commit to any funding of this project, Alberta Taxpayers will never be on the hook for bailing out a financial flop relating to this railroad? Will he make that promise now?

Alberta’s Premier: “... absolutely. I’ll make that promise today because, Mr. Speaker, that’s what the feasibility is all about. I don’t mind making that promise at all.”

Peoples Rep Taft: “.... well, given that this company is already on the record as backing this railroad isn’t it a conflict of interest for us to be paying for them to study their own project? Shouldn’t we be going to a third party?

Alberta’s Premier: “..... this is their initiative and, quite frankly, its an initiative that I thought was long overdue by the private sector (talks about financial benefits, then adds)....... I’ll have the hon, minister speak to that.

Premier’s Agent Norris: “... you know, I noticed yesterday that, in an attempt to drag what I think is a marvelous project down, the Leader of the Opposition made reference to the Simpsons, and while he may look like Monty Burns, he seems to be thinking like Moe Szylak, the bartender on this one. However the reality of the fact, Mr. Speaker, is that the government of Alberta has a responsibility to be involved in this. We have made no commitment whatsoever. No money has changed hands whatsoever and there is no long-term commitment other than the study and the study speak to the economics which are remarkable. So if you want to allow them to go on and drag the project down......

The Deputy Speaker: (Cuts him off) “Second main question. The hon Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition.

Edmonton Journal: Six days later, April 5, 2004 Editorial “And, in fact, Gianelia claims the government has committed $300 million to the project, the rest to be raised through a bond issue. But Klein insists the province has only approved spending $1.25 million for the study.”

Long before Ralph’s World was invented and people were still citizens of Alberta who thought for themselves, children were taught a response to those who bullied them with accusations of dishonesty.

Kids used to yell back : “ He who calls his brother a liar is in danger of hell’s fire.”

Wouldn’t it be heavenly if somebody in the Premier’s Party did some responsible research before plunging us all into another free market puddle before they even try to find out how deep it is?

Just wonderin’ - Bill Barley, Severely Abnormal Albertan



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