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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

Thursday, March 31, 2005

CBC INTENT ON TRASHING THE TRUTH! 

From: John Clark
To: Duceppe.G@parl.gc.ca ; Layton.J@parl.gc.ca ; Harper.S@parl.gc.ca ; McLellan.A@parl.gc.ca ; Paul Martin
Sent: Thursday, March 31, 2005 3:54 PM
Subject: Re: Letter from Don Hill to The Friends of Don Hill - Mar. 31, 2005
Re Don Hill's suspension from CBC;
This Autocratic despotic action is unforgivable!
There is only one source for this problem and, that is Ralph Klein and company. Incompetent and unplanned. No budgets in place and proceeding with dream projects in electrical power while paying everything off the hip, awash with taxpayer dollars. Privatize whole departments so Ministers do not have to answer any unsettling questions. Invent and fund an unneeded railroad to Hay River to appease the industries involved in the MacKenzie valley pipeline at Alberta taxpayer expense. Albertan’s and indeed all Canadians who are interested in protecting the integrity of the Canadian press should email the above with your thoughts.

Why did the CBC kill discussion on the public airway?

This site enjoys more hits a day than the 'journal and considered by many of being the alternate source of news in a totally controlled media environment.
http://ralphsworld.blogspot.com/

http://ralphsworld.blogspot.com/SubjectArchives.htm

A letter from Don Hill to The Friends of Don Hill:
31 March 2005
Dear Friends,

I'm deeply moved by your support. And, yes, I'd love to be back on-the-air hosting Wild Rose Forum. However, there's been a change in my employment status with CBC Alberta.

Last Wednesday 23 March, I was forbidden by CBC 'regional' management to lecture a political science class at the University of Lethbridge. This was a clear attempt according to my union, the Canadian Media Guild (CMG), to muzzle me.

No, I wasn't going to discuss the circumstances of my alleged 'redundancy'. My 'talk' was about the political history of Alberta and how the present dynamic -- the democracy deficit, in particular -- creates the conditions for another rapid-fire political movement in the province. In fact, my 'lecture' was an audition for a series of engagements with the University of Lethbridge's department of Globalization Studies; I was in a job-interview situation.

Regardless, I was warned by a 'regional' CBC manager that I could not proceed with the lecture because I would be at odds with the CBC "journalistic policy handbook". That's right, speaking about historical facts and democracy is forbidden (according to 'regional' CBC management in Alberta)

Upon consultation with the CMG, I decided to proceed with the lecture and as a consequence, I'm now an ex-CBC employee; a small severance is part of the termination package. More important, I retained my rights under the collective agreement. I also argued successfully against signing a 'non-disclosure' statement. And a very large CMG grievance concerning my alleged 'redundancy' is now in process. In short, my union believes, as do I, that CBC 'regional' administration will be compelled to eventually reinstate me. However, the process can take time -- lots of it.

I have great regard for public broadcasting and the CBC. I love my job. The extraordinary behaviour of 'regional' administrators in Alberta is not, in my long experience, indicative of the style of CBC management that supports front-line people -- like me -- when it counts the most.

A call to the CBC switchboard will tell you I have "left CBC to pursue other endeavours," that I quit my post. The fact is I accelerated my redundancy to a 'layoff' notice (which was about to occur in a few days, regardless) in order to speak to the political science class unfettered by a threat of censure.

Thanks again for your support; it really means a lot to me. You affirm that genuine dialogue is worth fighting for. You -- yes, you -- make me proud to be a public broadcaster. And I do hope to be reinstated -- sooner than later.

don

"Weighting the Evidence" Conference Announced 

A group of organizations concerned about health care in our fair province have announced a two day conference to be held in Calgary Saturday April 30, 2005 to May 1st. Details can be found at the conference website. This conference, which is open to the public for a fee, preceds the Government's Third Way Conference, also in Calgary on May 3 to 5. The government conference is not open to the public but is free if you can get on the invitation list. A call to the Minister's Department assured me that a fair and balanced selection of the public and media would be invited to attend. Yours truly was not on the list, possibly due to falling into both the unfair and unbalanced categories.

Below is the intro for Weighing the Evidence.

Early in May the Alberta government is holding a symposium of experts and invited guests to discuss the future for our public health system. Premier Ralph Klein has referred to moving to a "third way" to deliver health care in the province. The Premier says Alberta should look at models of privatization from Europe, Australia and places other than the U.S.

Critics suggest the government is trying to publicly rationalize its on-going push to commercialize the health system and turn over more and more of it to investor ownership.

The Friends of Medicare and a number of public organizations are organizing an alternative conference, open to all Albertans to examine the evidence on blending for-profit delivery in health systems. Experts from across Canada and other countries provide information and analysis on the question of what commercialization does to health care.

Stay tuned. Should be an interesting beginning to the month of May.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Calgary Joins US Missile Defense Shield 

Washington DC - March 24, 2005 - RW Newswire:

Alberta's Premier Klein made a surprise announcement yesterday by saying that Calgary had agreed to sign on to President Bush's Missile Defense Shield. For further details, see Globe & Mail article.

Speaking from Alberta's posh new Washington DC Headquarters (named Maison de Murray after the first Chef de Mission Murray Smith) the Premier made it clear that unlike the rest of Canada, Albertans in general and Calgarians in particular love President Bush, Veep Dick Cheney, and all that they stand for.

"To show our support for the President, we are announcing today that Calgary will be joining that US Missile Defense Shield thing - you know - Starwars and all that goes with it. We Albertans have a strong culture of guns and rockets that we share with our good neighbours to the south. We're mavericks, just like the Yanks are." The Premier went on to say that Canadians in other provinces are all pretty much wimps, most of them even being afraid of fireworks.

When questioned on the details of how Calgary would participate the Premier replied "Well, there are still a few details that George and I have to work out but I'm going to suggest to him that we have a contest for the best Starwars plan from Grade 6 classes all across the United States and Alberta. We'll announce the winner when the Queen is here this summer. She'll be impressed. "

The Premier then unveiled an artist's concept of what the Calgary Missile Defense Shield might look like. See photo at left.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

THE KLINESE LANGUAGE 

WHAT YOU CALL EVERYONE WHO ISN’T AN MLA
Taxpayers
Consumers
Users
Clients
Welfare bums
Special Interest Groupies
WHAT GOVERNMENT WANTS FROM “AVERAGE ALBERTANS”
Taxpayers Money
User fees
Knee-jerk reactions
HOW YOU DESCRIBE INSTITUTIONS THAT SERVE THE PUBLIC
Spiraling out of control
Going though the roof
Unsustainable
WHO GETS TO GO ON GOVERNMENT COMMITTEES
Stakeholders
CEOS
Severely normal Albertans
WHAT POLITICIANS ARE DOING WHEN ASKED
Looking at it
NOT throwing money at it
Look into it but not getting back to you
Making “Optics”
NOT Flying "Klein Air"
WHAT ALL ALBERTANS SHOULD BELIEVE IN
Privatization
Market forces
p3s
Casinos/VLTs/Horse Racing
CURSE WORDS TO USE WHEN BLUSTERING
LIBERAL ( Said with a sneer)
ND (Spoken with disdain)
FEDS (With a feeling of disgust)
OTTAWA (The way you talk about your Mother-in-Law)

ANTI-KLINE THINKING 

WHAT YOU CALL EVERYONE WHO ISN’T IN GOVERNMENT
Citizen
Neighbor
Fellow Human
Contributor to Government funds
Needful member of society
Informed member of special needs group
WHAT GOVERNMENT OWES TO ALL CITIZENS
Fair minded sharing of all resources
Accurate accounting for public funds
Distribution of funds according to need, not “photo ops”
Protection from corporate exploitation of human vulnerability

HOW YOU DESCRIBE PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS
Meeting needs citizens have paid for
Investing the peoples’ money in health, education & human welfare
Responses to human disasters
Causes deserving increased human resources as needed
Worth protecting from those who make money exploiting weakness

WHAT CITIZENS NEED FROM ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES
Open and public discussion of legal issues
Distribution of accurate information before back room dealings
Proof that MLAs speak for the people not the party
Responsible research into human needs before sales talk
Responding to what citizens ask, not what government PR dictates

WHAT ALBERTA CITIZENS REALLY WANT TO BELIEVE IN
Genuine statesmanship rather than image politics
Government that serves people not just money
Government that respects other levels of government
Elections that result in a healthy balance among components of society

WHAT CITIZENS DON’T WANT TO DEPEND ON
The rumors and innuendoes of the market place
Gambling revenue as government vote-buying power
Casinos and VLTs to finance hospital and school necessitates
p3s
Twisted and manipulated statistics
Educators who are forever quoting averages
The Fraser and CD Howe Institutes

Thursday, March 17, 2005

The ladies say Not Witholding is as good as Same Sex Marriage! 

Martha and Henry had their eye to the CBC last night hoping to see that Don Hill had been reinstated and the CBC had given up supporting political parties in their newscasts. No such luck!

What they seen was a feel good exercise with Ralph, Rob Lowe, Jim Dinning and even Mr. Oberg walking hand in hand, the vision of togetherness we in Alberta like to see? Close and very warming; from the heart to be sure!

Henry wondered “Is this another one of Ralph’s efforts to side track the voting public into still another nonsense issue?” Keep their eye off the ball? Martha on the other hand thought it was probably just boys being boys, something about the spin going out of Ralph’s centennial celebration.

Wonder what the Kids will have to say about these shenanigans? (Irish, you know.)

Martha and Henry

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

What is this Don Hill Thing All About? 


You know Don Hill don't you? He's the ex-host of CBC Alberta's Wild Rose Forum. Ex is the operative prefix here. Mr. Hill doesn't host here anymore.

The burning question is: - was he dismissed as part of a CBC economy drive (as CBC claims) or was it because he stepped on the tootsies of too many politicians or wannabe Tory leaders? He did ask some rather pointed questions about the Klein government and was in the midst of a series of programs about Enron and government electricity deregulation when he became suddenly "redundant",

Another burning question is why is the Alberta media pretty well ignoring what is a prime example of a "free speech being muzzled" story. You would think they would be all over this like Ralph on a VLT. But a Google of "Don Hill" CBC produces lots of interesting comments from bloggers and others but precious little from the mainstream Alberta media. The Edmonton Sun had one story by Graham Hicks and the Edmonton Journal published a letter to the editor but that's about it apart from a couple of things from the CBC itself. You can do the search yourself by clicking here.

Let's face it. Mainstream media in Alberta has to balance off the number of negative stories they run about the Klein government with how much they LOVE the revenue those big full page government ads or radio spots bring in.

If you want to learn more about this story and get involved, click on The Friends of Canadian Broadcasting website.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Why the budget is delayed! 

John Clark
14815 – 123 Ave
Edmonton, AB T5L 2Y7
cyberclark@shaw.ca
March 10, 2005

The Honourable Ralph Klein,
Room 307, Legislature Building
10800 - 97th Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta
T5K 2B6
premier@gov.ab.ca

Dear Premier:

I would like to know if you and Mr. Dinning talk? According to the ‘Journal he thinks you are too soft and recommends a harder right wing line for the Conservatives.

It would seem to me that your budget, such as it is, is going to be a social and economic disaster for Albertans in general. So much so, you blame your new university finance plans on a delay that will carry the presentation past the Queen’s visit! It is my thought you are simply trying to avoid the public outcry at such a public moment.

But, on the secondary education con you have going:

At 80% average required to get into University, half the people who enrolled and paid their $6000 or $8000 dollars to the university failed to enrol a second year. Of the many hundreds of students enrolling in engineering for example, less than 1% graduate in that discipline!

Short funding from the provincial government at every level forces the university into the position of a private business. The more kids they can get enrolled there, the more money they collect from parents and the less money will have to be funded by your government! Still another Ralph fix!

The university system in founded on the ability to fail students!

On the other hand, people going into NAIT OR SAIT can expect to graduate if they do their work. These institutions are presently accepting enrolment at 70% and graduating 98% of their students.

Dropping the entrance to 70% for university will only serve to increase the starting year’s classes and reduce the amount your government is expected to fund!

With oil companies talking of the oil sand’s hardship on one hand and picking their teeth with hundred dollar bills on the other because of the highest (300% increase reported) profits in history we are witnessing one of the largest public relations campaigns we have ever seen put on by the oil industry. The budget will show Albertans and the Queen just how badly we are being ripped off.

Where exactly do you see the advantage for young people entering secondary education under your proposed 70% entrance?

John Clark

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Martha's Monthly for March 2005 

International Women’s Day

Where is the word “Women” in Alberta’s Policies??

Martha has been following the UN conference on the Advancement of Women called Beijing +10 that started Feb 28 and continues until March 11. This UN conference is reviewing the progress of the Beijing conference of 1995 and the promises made for women’s equality. It got Martha thinking about how her own province has been doing on equality for women and particularly on the issue of violence against women. Well, Martha found out more than she bargained for when she went looking for some simple answers to how much her government spends on women’s shelters. The Auditor General noted that in 2003-2004 the Ministry of Children’s Services spent $17 Million on “Prevention of Family Violence.” Martha assumed that this is where funding for shelters falls, but this was not made clear. (Auditor General report (see page 88)) Interestingly, that amount of money is quite similar to the amount pledged by Alberta Lottery fund for “Racing Industry Renewal Initiative.” This effort to “re-brand” horse racing got $17,900,000 in the 2001-2002 fiscal year. (see page 91 of the Gaming Annual Report)

There seems to be a little “re-branding” going on in the Government of Alberta as well. Our government has re-branded women’s issues and violence against women into concern for children. We have no Ministry for the Status of Women, as there is in most provinces. If you dig, you can find “women’s issues” under Alberta Community Development but don’t get too excited, “women’s issues” stop at the Person’s Day Scholarships. Martha went digging deeper and found the Finding Solutions Together report from the Alberta Roundtable on Family Violence and Bullying (held in May 2004). The word “Women” is all but eradicated from the entire Family Violence report. In fact, the word “women” appears only four times in that 28-page report. Here are all four (with my emphasis added):

A Canadian Institute for Health Information Report released in September 2003, showed that Alberta has a higher proportion of cases involving domestic violence against women than any other province (based on 1999 statistics) (p.5)

Family violence is not unique to a specific gender or sexual orientation, although by numbers alone, more of the victims of extreme violence and physical harm are women and children. (P.6)

While many people might think primarily of women and children as the victims of family violence, in fact, family violence affects everyone regardless of gender, sexual orientation, culture, abilities and disabilities, income and age. (p. 8)

The lack of financial support can be one of the key reasons why women stay in or return to abusive situations. (p. 20)

These four references to “women” are overshadowed by the numerous references to families and children, youth, and elderly people who are abused. While Martha is concerned about each of these groups she finds it strange that the issue of their gender has been obscured. For, as we know, it is girl children, female youth, and female elderly who are largely the victims of domestic assault. Why is gender obscured as a basis for analysis in the Government of Alberta document?

Is Domestic violence really a women’s issue?

Here is what the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Ministers Responsible for the Status of Women said in their 2002 Report entitled “Assessing Violence Against Women: A Statistical Profile” (Available, ironically, on the Alberta Community Development Website)

“Why Focus on Violence Against Women? Violence against anyone is unacceptable. Violence experienced by women, however, particularly intimate partner violence and sexual assault, represents a unique aspect of the wider social problem of violence, and requires specific attention and solutions. Individual experiences of violence against women must be assessed against the backdrop of historical, social, political, cultural and economic inequality of women.”

And violence against women is not just different against the backdrop of historical, social, political, cultural, and economic inequality. It is also quantitatively different. Statistics Canada reported in 2002 that

Female victims are more likely than their male counterparts to suffer some kind of physical injury as a result of spousal violence. Of all the victims of spousal violence in the five years prior to the 1999 General Social Survey, female victims aged 15 years and over were three times more likely than male victims to report experiencing a physical injury (40% versus 13%), five times more likely to require medical attention as a result of a violent incident (15% versus 3%) and to have been hospitalized as a result of the violence (11% versus 2%)....In many cases of spousal violence reported in the five years prior to the 1999 General Social Survey, the violence or the threat of violence was so severe that almost four female victims in ten (38%) feared for their lives, while the rate for male victims was less than one in ten (7%).

But most importantly the same Statistics Canada report stated:

Of the almost 34,000 victims of spousal violence reported in 2000, women accounted for the majority of victims (85%), a total of 28,633 victims.

Though men are sometimes victims of domestic assaults, 80% of the charges against women are later dropped. Some jurisdictions have identified the phenomena of “dual charging” (when both partners are charged with assault) and have begun to look into better training of police officers to be able to distinguish “assault” injuries from “self-defense” injuries. In her paper on this subject, Dr. Edna Erez,states:

When women reciprocate with violence, they commonly act in self-defense, after all previous attempts to stop the battering have failed…preliminary results suggest that the overwhelming majority of female offenders in domestic violence cases acted in self-defense, or retaliated against previous assault or abuse.

So what happens when a government stops recognizing women as victims of domestic assault and just sees “Children and Families” as the victims? When we overlook the gender of more than 85% of the victims of assault then we overlook many important needs. In Alberta it has meant that our government has offered woefully poor resources to women’s shelters, transition homes for women, and financial resources available to women leaving abusive relationships. Though the government has stated that it will provide “provincial leadership” (Finding Solutions Together report) this pledge has not translated into financial commitment. And frankly, financial commitment is what is needed here. When interviewed for this backgrounder, Kristine Cassie, CEO of YWCA in Lethbridge said: “This government owes safety and dignity to these women and to the staff of shelters.” I asked her what was the chief impediment to ensuring women’s safety and dignity. Guess what it is? Full funding.

The Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters Position Papers state clearly what the problem is:

Funding uncertainties and limitations are the most prevalent issue facing women’s shelters in the Province of Alberta

On salaries the ACWS is also clear:

ACWS believes that all workers in this sector deserve to receive market value for their work and not be forced to subsidize essential services by working for low wages.

Interestingly, MLA salaries are indexed, every April 1st, to the Average Weekly Earnings, according to Statistics Canada. Don’t shelter workers deserve the same? Martha thinks so.

As for transitional housing, the ACWS states that:

Alberta falls short in its provision of safe, affordable housing for women leaving abusive relationships… Alberta has a shortfall of 600 to 1000 (transitional) beds.

We know what we need and now we need to do it. The Government of Alberta needs to commit to financial leadership in the funding of shelters, transitional housing, and financial supports for women leaving abusive relationships. We owe it to the women who are victims of spousal assault and we owe it to the women who work in the shelters and subsidize the government by working for low wages with unsafe staffing ratios.



On International Women’s Day, please help by copying the following letter to Premier Klein, your MLA, and the Opposition. Please remember to put your name and address on the bottom. And send this message to anyone in Alberta who believes that we owe women safety and dignity.



Copy the following to Premier Klein at premier@gov.ab.ca, Liberal opposition leader Kevin Taft at Edmonton.riverview@assembly.ab.ca, Liberal House leader Laurie Blakeman at Edmonton.centre@gov.ab.ca, New Democrat leader Brian Mason at Alison.Crawford@assembly.ab.ca, to Paul Hinman of the Alberta Alliance at cardston.taberwarner@assembly.ab.ca and back to us at marthasmonthly@yahoo.ca. Many Marthas have had good responses when they also sent the email to their own MLA. Find your MLA and contact info here.



Premier Klein

Alberta Legislature

March 8, 2005

Dear Premier Klein:

As today is International Women’s Day, we wish to draw your attention to the women in Alberta who live in abusive relationships. As you are aware, a Canadian Institute for Health Information Report released in September 2003 showed that Alberta has a higher proportion of cases involving domestic violence against women than any other province (based on 1999 statistics). This concerns the Marthas of this province very much. We believe that we owe abused women safety and dignity. We believe it is the responsibility of our government to provide this safety and dignity by immediately committing to the following:

- Full, predictable, and certain funding for women’s shelters.

- Shelter staff must be paid at fair market value and have their wages indexed in the same way that MLA salaries are indexed.

- Transitional housing needs to have a major financial commitment in order to provide nearly one thousand additional transitional housing beds in this province.

- The reinstatement of the Women’s Secretariat in order to draw attention to women’s issues.

Please provide the provincial leadership you promised in the Finding Solutions Together report of the Alberta Roundtable on Family Violence and Bullying. Please show your commitment to the Marthas of the province on International Women’s Day by making immediate commitments to the women of Alberta.

We would be most interested in your written responses to our concerns

Sincerely,




Ralph spins the health issue with his one liners. 

HEALTHCARE - Borrowed from Martha's page.
The myth of un-sustainability and the Premier’s privatization agenda: Understand, he has no plan, just the idealisim, blind and quite brain dead, forever following the myth of pure private enterprise as the only way. As this is posted, consider 30% of the costs are presently carried by private health care coverage! This, compared to 20% some 25 years ago.
When the Senior's emplyment stops, so does his health care package. This package should in a moral society, be picked up in it's entirety by the Government.
Some oil companies are posting a 300% increase in profits from oil sands this past year. Ralph and Dinning have made sure the citizens of this province get a set figure in return, 25% the lowest in the world! Pick up the phones and get ahold of your MLA and get things set right again!
Don't let Ralph pick the hot buttons for health debate! Rod Love is good at exciting the deep dark dangers of the future but, negletcts to say the present lack of planning by Ralph's team is the only real danger we face! Note the US private system costs twice or more than twice now, of what our public system costs. Seniors are living longer and healthier and are remaining productive for much longer than Ralph and company would have you beleive!

From Martha:

The un-sustainability myth

Premier Klein and his ministers constantly try to convince us that health care costs are un-sustainable. Even in this wealthiest of all provinces, we are told that we can no longer afford the type of health care we have had for the past 36 years.

Were that true, at least eight developed countries should be bankrupt by now because they spend more than we do on health care.

The table shows total per capita spending (US$) on both public and private health care in 14 countries in 2002 as listed by the World Bank’s Development Indicators.

As you can see the United States spent more than twice as much per capita on health care as Canada did in 2002.Even allowing for the different scales of the two economies, the United States allocated 50% more of its GDP to health care than did Canada.

Canada spends about 9% of its GDP on health care to cover everyone. The USA, by contrast, allocates almost 14% of its GDP to health care and leaves 45 million of its citizens without coverage.

Examining only the public portion of health care spending, Canada spent only 6.7% of GDP in 2002, significantly less than the 7.4% of GDP it spent in 1992. So where’s the crisis?

CountryPer capita Amounts
United States$4,887
Switzerland$3,779
Norway$2,981
Japan$2,627
Luxembourg$2,600
Denmark$2,545
Iceland$2,441
Germany$2,412
Canada$2,163
Sweden$2,150
Netherlands$2,138
France$2,109
Belgium$1,983
Austria$1,866

Clearly, then, when the Premier Klein talks about health care costs being un-sustainable, he is not saying we cannot afford proper health care. What he is really saying is that he does not want a single-payer, publicly administered government program, as required by the Canada Health Act.

The privatization agenda

Since taking office in 1993, Premier Klein has consistently pressed for “reforms” designed to circumvent the requirements of the Canada Health Act.

In 1994, the pressure was for private, for-profit eye clinics supported by facility fees charged to all patients. Fortunately, Federal Health Minister Diane Marleau challenged Alberta for allowing fees for required medical services and in May1996 a settlement was reached in which Alberta was penalized $3.6 million for violating the CHA and Alberta agreed to ban facility fees charged by private clinics.

The next move was a private 37-bed hospital in Calgary offering cosmetic and dental day surgery, treatments not covered under provincial medicare. Not satisfied with that, in 1998 the Province introduced Bill 37 to allow private, for-profit, acute care hospitals. The outcry was so great that the government shelved the bill. But in 2000 it was back with Bill 11 to allow private, for profit ‘surgical facilities’ to compete with public hospitals. Bill 11 was pushed through despite the largest public protests ever seen in Alberta.

Then, Responding to the Mazankowski Report in 2002, Premier Klein said Albertans will pay more for health care and be offered extra insurance for services de-listed from medicare.

More recently, in February 2004, Premier Klein said that Alberta may “take measures that contravene the interpretation of the principles of the Canada Health Act and we ought to be ready for a firestorm.”

All of the foregoing are indications of our Premier’s privatization agenda. He wants to reduce the size and scope of publicly funded health care and turn as much as possible over to the private sector. He would like to see private hospitals and clinics, and private insurance to pay for many of the services now covered under medicare,

In short, he doesn’t just want two-tier health care, he wants a totally free market system such as our American cousins have. While such a system provides the very best of care to the wealthy or those with jobs and good group insurance, it gives health care as charity to the elderly and the indigent and leaves millions without any coverage at all – and all of that at more than twice our current costs.

Perhaps the greatest danger of privatization is that, once established, it becomes almost irreversible because of powerful business lobbies. President Clinton found that trying to get a rational medical care proposal through congress was like trying to un-scramble an egg -- and he didn’t have to contend with NAFTA.

Premier Klein has made it clear that he wants major changes to the Canada Health Act that would leave Alberta free to go its own way. When others don’t share his views, he has no interest in attending meetings of Premiers’ and he characterizes the First Ministers’ meetings as a “gong shows”. He will undoubtedly interpret re-election as a mandate for whatever health care changes he wants to introduce.

PLEASE THINK ABOUT THE MYTH OF UN-SUSTAINABILITY AND THE PRIVATIZATION AGENDA WHEN YOU CAST YOUR VOTE IN THE PROVINCIAL ELECTION


Wednesday, March 09, 2005

CBC or Rabonivitch on Conservative payroll? 

John Clark

14815 – 123 Ave

Edmonton, AB T5L 2Y7

cyberclark@shaw.ca

Robert Rabinovitch,

President and CEO, CBC,

Box 3220, Station C, Ottawa, ON, K1Y 1E4

Re:- Dismissal of Don Hill by the CBC

Dear Mr. Rabinovitch:

The CBC has long been negligent in reporting or investigating as journalists, the political and financial situation of Alberta and its political system. This will ultimately effect all of Canada and the U S of A. More specifically it will for ever change the face Alberta!

Unless you havn't noticed, Ralph is doing away with whole Government Departments making them "private companies". This allows Ralph to claim gains balancing budgets while the direct cost for these "departments come companies" is charged to Albertans on their utility bills.

I have long thought because of your disinterest, your party ticket was that of a Tory but, beyond this you most certainly must have direct ties to the Alberta Government at one or more levels.

Your steadfast ignoring of this province and it’s scope would could lead me to no other conclusion than you are on side with persons or parties within this Government.

From a citizen standpoint, the Alberta Conservatives have had no actual plan for any of their changes in privatization since day one. At best Mr. Klein and his company are following a nebulas doctrine or ideology only and let the pieces fall where they may. It has been demonstrated on many occasions they have not even done any budgets or cost extensions on the implementation of the great ideology!

Compounding this, the Conservatives brought their member sitting Dr. Steve West into play. His job was to quite dissidents. In his words “they will tow the line or else.” The loss to Albertan’s was a huge number of the people who actually planned. They were seen as dissidents and told to move on.

While this is going on which such a grand scale, the CBC sat quiet.

Even now, while Alberta is under investigation for ENRON connections, the CBC is silent. Parisian Politics practiced by the CBC? Yes!

The Alberta Power Corp would be worth an investigative job. From a non identity to looking after unsold Power Purchase Agreements they now show 600 millions of dollars assets and profits. Considering they paid nothing for this and the company is now private and the tax payers have yet to receive a cent for the asset, it is less than an average business deal. Where is the CBC? Toasting Ralph Klein and company?

One brave heart Don Hill with his fingers on the pulse of the Alberta community, with no staff to help him, seen the opportunity for honest journalism and opened his phone lines to a very broad spectrum of intelligent, thought out people for discussion on items of interest to Albertans. Considering the Conservatives got in with just 20% of the available vote actually voting, a Journalistic story on Riding Allocations in Alberta would be worth while and interesting to all of Canada. Where’s the CBC? Still, Don Hill went to bat for the 80% disenfranchised Albertans.

And, you chose to turf him out! This is a very sad day for the Canadian Media and all people working in the media should feel a new rush of insecurity because of this.

Don Hill was the last vestige of honest journalism in this province. A very badly needed resource! If you are looking for cuts, look to the people who put Dan Hill forward for the axe.

Wild Rose Check up under an interviewer would be a farce! If you are going to pull this, better the Government of Canada give the Alberta Portion of Funding to an organization who will take an interest in our issue!

Yours truly,

John Clark

Copy Paul Martin, PM .pdf

Post at http://ralphsworld.blogspot.com/ (This site was taking 8000 hits a day prior to the election)

Reference: http://ralphsworld.blogspot.com/SubjectArchives.htm

TO CONTACT THE CBC AND REGISTER YOUR COMPLAINT:


Don Orchard, Regional Director,
CBC Calgary,
Box 2640, Calgary, AB,
T2P 2M7
(Phone: 521-6215) OR email don_orchard@cbc.ca

CBC Audience Relations: 1-866-306-4636 (Toronto)

Jane Chalmers,
Vice President, English Radio,
CBC, Box 3220, Station C,
Ottawa, ON, K1Y 1E4, email Jane_Chalmers@cbc.ca

Robert Rabinovitch,
President and CEO, CBC,
Box 3220, Station C,
Ottawa, ON, K1Y 1E4 email Robert_rabinovitch@cbc.ca


Monday, March 07, 2005

Minister querried on reinstated seniors allowance. 

John Clark
14815 – 123 Ave
Edmonton, AB
T5L 2Y7

cyberclark@shaw.ca
March 4, 2005.

The Honorable Minister Yvonne Fritz
Edmonton, AB


I have received a reply through Alberta Connects the spring budget will carry a restoration in part the eye glass and dental coverage withheld from seniors in '93.

This same message indicates such benefits will be income dependent.

This being said, will such a program include spousal incomes in the calculations?

There is presently a huge move across Alberta where seniors of lifetime experience in successful marriage are forced to legally seperate or divorce in order for the senior to receive decent benefits. This could be overcome in part by the income of the senior in question being the only income considered.

Is there going to be anything in this budget which will alleviate this problem? Will incomes be considered for the senior claimant or will the claimant have to include spousal income into the calculations?

Yours truly,

John Clark

Sunday, March 06, 2005

GETTING OLDER IS GETTING HARDER!! 

Alberta doen's have an estate tax. Under the Conservaitive system, there will be nothing left in the estate or, they will have made sure a senior person collected nothing! Conservative policy is such that it directs money to the instituations rather than the estate. Generations loose under thier programs.

Like all Albertans, seniors want to preserve their quality of life and their independence as long as possible. Helping seniors to maintain their independence is in society’s best interest. It reduces the strain on social and healthcare services. However, over the past decade, the government of Alberta has significantly reduced its assistance for seniors and has made it infinitely more difficult to live on a fixed income that does not keep pace with inflation.

Seniors’ Benefits

Those who live in their own homes want to continue doing so but find the cost of maintaining and heating an older home increasingly burdensome. The task is made even more difficult by the escalating cost of utilities, property taxes and school taxes,particularly in mature urban areas, and by health care premiums. (the latter was mended in the election bid)

Among the programs eliminated, curtailed or revised in the past decade are the following:

a) The exemption from paying the educational portion of property taxes.

b)The introduction of market value assessment for property taxes instead of the previous assessment formula that recognized the depreciation and maintenance costs associated with of older homes.

c) The impact of deregulation on utility costs.

d) The re-introduction and health care premiums for senior citizens and the significant increases in those premiums.

e)The curtailment through strict eligibility rules of supplementary dental and optical benefits for seniors. -

Of these, the elimination of health premiums is the only benefit that has been restored –- shortly before the provincial election was called.


A further encumbrance for seniors wishing to remain in their own homes is the limited availability of home care. Because of this limitation, many seniors end up in hospital or a chronic care facility when they could be cared for much more economically in their own homes.

Long Term Care:

For seniors with serious health problems, the situation is even grimmer. In a news release dated June 17, 2003, the Alberta Government announced that, effective August 1st, accommodation rates at long-term care facilities would increase as follows:

Type of accommodation

Previous

Monthly fee

New

Monthly fee

Percentage

Increase

Standard

$858.36

$1,205.11

40.4%

Semi-Private

$910.37

$1,277.5

40.3%

Private

$991.58

$1,469.12

48.2%

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Conservatives focus on acceptable level of poverty. 

Alberta Conservatives are on a roll! Read below, they will determine what level of poverty is acceptable for help. Remember their plans for subsidized accommodation was based not on cost or budget but, on how much a pensioner could pay and still have 265 dollars left in their jeans!

Jim Dinning meanwhile is telling the inside Conservatives they are too soft, have to toughen up! ‘Promises much more of the same if elected as premier.

Meanwhile, the tar sands oil companies have declared their largest profits in history from work in any state entirely due to Albertans being sold down the river by having them pay the lowest royalties in the world. Yes, it is party time for the Alberta Conservatives.

The conservative government response to the additonal help question:
Thank you for visiting the Alberta Connects web site. Following is the response to your question prepared by Seniors and Community Supports [SENIORS]

On 2005-03-03 19:36:00 you wrote:

As a senior I am very interested in the extent of help one may expect. Will there be sufficient help to cover 1 pair invisible of tri-focal glasses annually; or once every two years?

Thank you.
John Clark

Seniors and Community Supports responds as follows:

Thank you for your question.
The enhanced benefit package for seniors, which includes new programs for dental and optical assistance, will be introduced later this spring. The Government of Alberta recognizes the importance of good dental and optical health as a key component of healthy aging. The dental and optical assistance programs will focus on providing a reasonable level of dental and optical health for Alberta's seniors. Both programs will encourage seniors to share the responsibility for their dental and optical health. The income-based program will target financial assistance to lower-income seniors who are most in need, while seniors with moderate incomes will also be eligible for partial dental and optical assistance."

Alberta Connects is constantly updated to provide you with important information about Alberta programs and services. We invite you to visit us soon.

Alberta Connects

Toll-Free 310-4455
Internet http://www.gov.ab.ca/
(AC-94728)


CBC turfs out a fine Journalist after he reviewed Ralphs' power scheme honestly! 

The full sordid story with links for your support.

Many of you probably already know that Don Hill has been fired from his
position as the host of the Wild Rose Forum. This is a very serious attack
on free speech as well as the firing of an excellent host of discussion in
Alberta. He brought challenging ideas to the front.

Many concerned listeners are now being mobilized for a call for his
reinstatement.

I hope you will join us.

Bob

____________

Letter to Antonia Zerbis of the Toronto Star from Ted Woynillowicz, 3
March 2005
.

To: azerbis@thestar.ca
Sent: Thursday, March 03, 2005 10:18 PM
Subject: CBC host loses job in Alberta- a blow to free speech

7328 36 Ave NW
Calgary, AB
T3B 1T8

Dear Antonia,

On Feb 28, 2005 , Don Hill, host of the Alberta CBC Wild Rose Country talk
show (and former host of CBC radio's Tapestry) aired in Alberta was
unexpectedly terminated. There has been no explanation to Alberta CBC
listeners and only one article in the media found below.

Mr.Hill listened to his audience and articulated their concerns on issues in Alberta through his
program. He did not shy away from public interest issues such as deregulation of electricity, privatizing health care, gay rights, democracy, genetically engineered and foods, or the effects of transnational corporations such as meatpacking plants in Alberta.

The action taken by CBC and the subsequent chill that that will have on subsequent hosts is clearly a step backward and a heavy blow to a province that has already displayed a lack of tolerance for dissenting or opposing views. The CBC is responsible to its listeners and needs to come clean.

Furthermore it needs to reinstate Mr. Hill to his position of host of Wild Rose Country. Without alternate views and public discourse and dialogue, the institution of democracy is under direct threat. We must not allow this to happen.

It is of vital importance to take action to restore Mr. Hill to his position as host of this daily talk show. We must not allow the self interest of a minority to deny, control or manipulate in any form or degree the right to hear differing points of view. We have a right to express our views but we also have a right to hear differing views.

I would like to ask you to consider delving into this urgent issue. It is of vital importance to many Albertans. Did Don Hill step on some toes while investigating Transalta Utilities and possible use of
Alberta as a guinea pig during deregulation ventures in the U.S.? Who stands to gain from his termination? Who stands to lose from this move? Was pressure applied to CBC to terminate Mr. Hill's position? By Whom? Why? We are hearing nothing.

Your consideration of exploring the issue of democracy under siege in
Alberta would be appreciated.

Yours truly,

Ted Woynillowicz
403 286 9283
woynillt@telusplanet.net
John Clark
cyberclark@shaw.ca


Wed,
March 2, 2005
Edmonton Sun
By GRAHAM HICKS

WHAT HAPPENED TO DON HILL?

Doesn't sound right.

The CBC rarely dispatches show hosts with no notice on the grounds of being "redundant," which was the official reason Don Hill was given earlier this
week for his immediate termination as host of CBC radio's noon news/call-in Wild Rose Forum.

Hmmm ... wouldn't have anything to do with the veteran journalist's persistent investigation into Enron and its relationship to
Alberta's power grid during the province's "electricity-restructuring" period, would it?

Or with Hill's ongoing series on gay rights, which has drawn serious fire from both sides of that particular debate? The CBC wouldn't fire program hosts because of political heat. Would it?

---------------------

As at 9:30 pm 2 March Wednesday, Don Hill is still described on the cbc
website as working for them:

http://www.cbc.ca/programguide/personality/?personality=Hill%2C+Don&program=Wild+Rose+Country+%28Alberta%29

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Decisive Action to Cut Air Tory Costs 

Edmonton - March 3, 2005 - RW Newswire:

Responding decisively to a scathing report in yesterday's and today's Edmonton Journal Alberta Premier Ralph Klein and his Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation Lyle Oberg today announced new changes to how the government fleet of aircraft will be used.

Attired in spanking new "airline captain" whites both ministers appeared confident as they faced an assembled media crowd at the legislature.

"The public has a right to know that me and my ministers, and their wives, kids and friends are using my planes responsibility and at the lowest possible cost to the Alberta taxpayer" said Klein. "Effective June 1, all current pilots and stewardesses will be terminated and their duties will be taken over by the ministers and their wives themselves. They're smart people - there is no reason they can't learn to fly a plane and serve drinks. I got my pilot's license through a correspondence course at Athabasca University in just six weeks so how hard can it be?"

After an initial outlay of $2.7 million to train the ministers and their wives, the province is expected to save some $300,000 annually in wages paid to the current in-flight personnel.

Following the announcement, the Premier and his sidekick Lyle Oberg took reporters on a demonstration flight over the city. The flight was highlighted by a comical low-level strafing of the legislature annex which houses the opposition MLAs as well as a heart-stopping "near miss" (see photo above).

HEALTHCARE ON THE BASIS OF NEED NOT GREED 

DOUGLAS AND KLEIN
WHAT’S WRONG WITH THESE PICTURES?

PICTURE # 1
Place:- Saskatchewan 1944. Times:- Province just emerging from deep recession; World War 2 still on. Tommy Douglas proclaims intention to develop a full healthcare system. Principles:- 1. Healthcare available to all citizens on the basis of need. 2. No family to be financially ruined by medical costs.
By the end of 1944, cancer victims, the mentally ill, and those suffering from venereal disease were already receiving both medical care and hospitalization at state expense. In 1945, the same benefits were extended to old age pensioners, blind pensioners,mothers allowance recipients and wards of the province.
PICTURE # 2
Place: Alberta 1993. Times: - Province rich with natural resources, running yearly surpluses despite self-created debt. Already has full healthcare system. Ralph Klein running around the province proclaiming “Healthcare costs out of control,” “Health expenses going through the roof.” Quick everybody, take on a depression mentality. Start thinking and acting like Alberta is deep in depression and, like a giant corporation facing bankruptcy, we’ve got to lay off workers, slash expenses no matter what gets destroyed and who gets hurt.

By the 1995-96 budget, Klein’s government had taken $53 million out of the health department (from $4.3 billion in 1992-93 to $3.77 billion 1995-96). Hospital beds cut, operating rooms closed, one hospital blown up and others mothballed, professional staffs manipulated; morale devastated.

PICTURE # 3
Place:- Saskatchewan 1957: Time:- Saskatchewan still a have-not province, yet Tommy Douglas leads the passing of “The Hospital Insurance and Diagnostic Services Act” which covered all citizens of province. Laid the foundation for universal Public Healthcare:-
Principles
- Medicare to be prepaid by state; Patients will not be billed.
- Everyone covered regardless of age, income, or physical disability
- Medicare not financed by syphoning funds from other areas of health
- Operates under government control, not private insurance companies
- Legislation acceptable to both the public and the medical profession before implementation
Ten years later Federal government acts on Saskatchewan's principles but adds that benefits must be transferrable and that federal government will contribute to costs of any provincial program that satisfied those principles.
PICTURE # 4
Place:- Alberta 2004-2005: Times:- Klein Government amassing huge surpluses and bragging “we’re debt Free.” Ralph Klein still running about the nation preaching to elite audiences that healthcare costs are “unsustainable.” Dishonestly, keeps comparing present health costs with those at the point ten years ago when he had slashed Alberta’s healthcare budget. Lacks the integrity to admit that it is because of his own underfunding, closing of hospitals, and depletion of human resources that he can claim costs are rising “unsustainably.”
Klein government, pushing changes that mean medical services will no longer be available to all on the basis of need but will rather become more readily available to those few whose income goes far beyond meeting basic needs.

PICTURE # 5
Place:- Saskatchewan 1961 Times: Doctor’s on strike until Urologist, Dr. Esfstafios Barootes, leader of Doctor strike against Medicare, changes mind, becomes staunch supporter. “For the first time, illness or accident would not be the inevitable precursor of ruin for the average Canadian.” Emmett Hall report soon after recommends that the federal government “should make the fruits of health sciences available to all our residents without hindrance of any kind.”
1967, Federal government legislates healthcare into being based on Saskatchewan’s principles plus rule that benefits must be transferrable between jurisdictions. By the end of 1970 every province, including Alberta, had joined.
PICTURE # 6
Place:- Alberta 2004-2005 Times:- Ralph Klein refuses to reveal plans for “privatizing” Healthcare before 2004 election. After election drops hints of challenging principles of Canada Health Act. Talks of delisting services and introducing user fees, Sets up so called “private” operations and guarantees profits to corporate investors. Then preaches to elite audiences about a mysterious “third way.” Won’t accept that Canada already has the most affordable healthcare system in the world. Organizes symposium to gather support from “other sources” for his, hidden-from-the-public solutions to healthcare's’ so called “unsustainability.”

Is it any wonder that Canadians selected Tommy Douglas as the most important Canadian of the century while Ralph Klein wasn’t even in the running?
Tommy Douglas, was the builder of healthcare in Canada. Ralph Klein is the dismanteler of healthcare in Alberta and threatener of healthcare in all of Canada.

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