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, November 19, 2004

Klein protects US Packers Expense of Alberta Jobs 

Farmers and ranchers will be now know where they are in Ralph's pecking order! To these same people across this province I say to you "It will be no different for you when it becomes your turn!"

Tuesday, November 2, 2004
Tag: 0411021512; Edition: FinalSection: NewsLength: 79 linesPage: 1BY FIONA ISAACSON, HERALD-TRIBUNE STAFF

Dateline: BEAVERLODGE NDP and Liberal Grande Prairie-Wapiti candidates say that the Ralph Klein government is only interested in doing business with "big businesses," which forced Peace Country Tender Beef Co-op to abandon its planned slaughterhouse in Beaverlodge and move to B.C.

At an all-candidates forum in the Beaverlodge Community Centre on Monday, NDP candidate Jerry Macdonald said the Klein government is not in favour of the kinds of investment that "you make with the sweat of your brow when you get out there and work."They don't seem to have respect for hard work and hardworking people. All they have respect for is dollars," he said.

Asked by an audience member in the 50-plus crowd with some party supporters how a such a decision could be made, Graydon explained that he and several MLAs met with PCTB back in May. "I know they left disappointed, there's no question about it," he said, because MLAs Peace Country Tender Beef Co-op officials claimed they pulled the proposed $4.5-million slaughterhouse out of Beaverlodge and placed it across the border in Dawson Creek after understanding Graydon's Conservative government would do everything in its power to prevent the co-op from being built.The government had bitterly opposed the co-op's desire to test every cow it slaughtered for mad cow disease over fears it may force all companies to test.

However, the loss of the co-op cost the small community of 2,200 60 full-time jobs, a state-of-the-art multimillion-dollar facility and millions in potential economic spinoffs. weren't in the position to give loan guarantees. He also explained that a request made to get a letter of support from every MLA in the province for the business to set up in Beaverlodge was "just outside of the realm of an MLA" to do."

If someone was proposing a project in Whitecourt and there was one (the same project) going in Grande Prairie I sure wouldn't give a letter of support for the one in Whitecourt," Graydon said. He said the government did try to help PCTB with its business plan which was "one of (their) biggest deficiencies, if you will."Graydon added, "We were prepared to help but it went off the rails and nothing happened."

Liberal candidate Cibylla Rakestraw said the government's decision to look into a $300-million rail link to Fort McMurray suggests that it is only interested in helping big businesses. "What about small local initiatives like Peace Country Tender Beef which (was) going to be a tremendous success?" she asked.

Macdonald supported the charge, saying that the government is only interested in subsidizing large corporations. But as a result, beef farmers and cow-calf operators are suffering, through no fault of their own he said.Having the co-op opening up in Beaverlodge would have helped, Macdonald said."I think it was incumbent upon the government to set its ideology aside and try to help Alberta beef ranchers.... I think that's shameful for this MLA to stand here and say he couldn't do anything about it."

After the debate Macdonald predicted Graydon would lose votes in the area because of the issue. However, Graydon said afterwards that his office hasn't received "(many) phone calls to the office. That wasn't a major issue."Other issues such as twinning of Highway 43 to British Columbia and renovating the Beaverlodge hospital were raised. Graydon said it was his understanding that Beaverlodge was next on the list for renovations for Peace Country Health and that his big push was to get the highway twinned.

Nine-year Beaverlodge resident John Hermans said he came to the debate undecided and left the same way."That's the way I like to go in... because you might miss something the other party might have that you want. So right now it's just neutral."The fact that Ralph Klein and the Conservatives are predicted to win a fourth straight majority isn't affecting how he will vote, but he will be voting, Hermans said.

Green Party candidate Allan Webber and Alberta Alliance candidate Jordan Hinman did not attend.© Copyright 2004, Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune (Authorized) Unauthorized reproduction or Web posting prohibited.

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