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

Friday, June 04, 2004


(Why one old SALT believes in PIA)
*Note:- This is a long one; so, get yourself a coffee.

I sincerely believe that those who gathered to take part in founding Public Interest Alberta (PIA), on Saturday May 29/04, represent a potentially powerful voice for the whole richly diverse but uncoordinated army of Alberta citizens whose common motivation is a commitment to serving the needs of their fellow humans.

As PIA finds its voice, it will be heard speaking for the people of this Province who understand that the Natural`/God-given resources of this part of Canada belong to all of the Province’s people and not to a self serving few. That voice will call for elected government to act for the benefit of the whole of society instead of draining off our resources for the benefit of an already rich and politically powerful elite.

Public Interest Alberta will counterbalance government sales campaigns; designed to take advantage of the ignorance and limitations of the people in the market place; that preach one-sided mental attitudes and moral values. PIA will confront the values and attitudes of commercial forces that invalidate the worth of people and their personal/social needs. Public Interest Alberta will challenge elected officials at all levels to stop tearing down, undercutting and giving away institutions and programs that have been built over hundreds of years from citizen-contributed money and personal investment.

The power of Public Interest Alberta will come from the quality and integrity of its sources of information. It will speak for those who know from first-hand experience what fellow human beings are dealing with in their daily lives. PIA will report from the workers in industry who are being bullied out of their benefits when opportunistic, profit-driven entrepreneurs are licensed by government to run human service programs. It will inform the public from the actual experiences of health care workers manipulated into taking on impossible burdens of care for the sick and elderly. It will do responsible research into classroom and hospital conditions for the purpose of finding the truth rather than demanding disembodied and misleading cold statistics.

Public Interest Alberta will speak on behalf of those human beings whose voices have been muted or totally silenced by a citizen-financed; Premier-controlled; politician-serving; advertising and broadcasting program that originates from behind the closed doors of the Alberta Legislature. PIA will seek to be heard above the noise of commercialized; propagandized; politicized; and misleading opinions of politicians that are repeated constantly like campaign slogans under the guise of evidence gathered from research.

Government, in Alberta, under its present leadership, has taken on the structure and values of a massive corporation. Power is exercised from within a boardroom dominated by money managers subservient to a Premier who boasts of being the CEO of a $2 billion operation. Decisions about the distribution of the Province’s wealth are sent down from an inner circle to departments like health, education, social services. Budgets ignore or reject research into the real needs of the workers and the people they care for. Benefits like those for Seniors; legitimate welfare recipients; or the so-called working poor are dictated not distributed according to need. Unions are treated as enemies of Government whenever they take a stand on behalf of their members. The business goal of government in Alberta has evolved into one of investing the least possible into services for its “customers” while sucking out the most energy possible from those who serve the public.

What has actually happened, then, is simply that, in every area of public service, institutions and programs have been so severely deprived of necessary funding that the government now claims them to be “unsustainable”. The truth is that for over ten years opportunistic, profit-motivated, entrepreneurs (medical sales persons and private educators for example) have been like scavengers standing around while public structures are coming down. Eagerly they have watched for and promoted opportunities for moving in, carrying off, or buying cheaply, a piece of the public service for their own for-profit purposes. Today the government itself has begun referring to these same exploiters and opportunists as rescuers. Political leadership wants them to move in and repair the damage the politicians themselves have done. They call it privatization: but it’s really getting setting friends of government up cheaply at the expense of Alberta’s citizens.

The energy of Public Interest Alberta (PIA) will be directed, then, toward bringing into harmony; from as many sources as possible; spokespersons who can and will confront the illusions and expose outright false assumptions being used to sell privatization to a poorly informed and vulnerable populace. The strength of this new movement will come from the realization, by all who enter fully into PIA’s spirit, that, although each group has it’s own special concerns to express, the deeper need is to enable the people of Alberta to be heard by government that no longer takes responsibility for serving the people who pay for it. PIA will demonstrate the ability of truth to prevail against the onslaughts of derision and ridicule that are certain to come from the most anti-democratic government in all Alberta’s history as soon as it realizes PIA is here to stay.

Blair McPherson, Citizen

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