Sunday, January 09, 2005

Alberta Premier Ralph Klein on Goodwill Tour of Canada


It is a sad day in Canadian politics when the most successful province in Canada's history has to engage in a goodwill tour with the rest of the nation. This coming week Alberta Premier Ralph Klein will visit Ontario and Quebec to try and counter the opinion that Albertans are not very caring or sharing.

When Ralph Klein was first elected in 1992, Alberta's debt was $23 billion dollars. That amount worked out to $8 400.00 for every person in Alberta. Not only has Alberta been able to pay off that debt, but it did so while sharing its wealth with all the have-not provinces including the biggest have-not province of all, Quebec. Now the Alberta Premier who lead this turn-around for Alberta has to journey to provinces like Quebec to offset Alberta's image problem.

It seems there are too many people in this country that despise Alberta. They think Alberta's oil and gas revenues are the only reason the province was able to retire its debt so easily. Too many Canadians think that Alberta's success was the result of undeserved luck and that their success came on the backs of all other Canadians. This Communist/Socialist mentality is all too prevalent in a nation that despises success of any kind by anyone, but the truth needs to be told.

One of the first things Ralph Klein did when coming to power in 1993 was to pass the Deficit Elimination Act. It required by law that the government implement an aggressive program to reduce the deficit and eliminate it by 1996-97. The Liberal party reluctantly supported the legislation. Not surprisingly, the New Democrats did not.

The second major initiative was to eliminate the pension plan for MLAs. The Pension program was eliminated retroactively to 1989. Instead of a government funded pension, MLAs now had to take care of their own pension responsibilities, as did most Albertans. By comparison, Federal politicians enjoy one of the fattest pensions on Earth which they qualify for after only TWO years of service!

When the Alberta Conservatives went to the polls the mainstream media was full of spin, predicting a huge loss for the Conservatives and a major victory for the liberals. Instead, the Conservatives won 51 seats, the liberals won 32 and the radical socialist left-wing extremists of Ray Martin's NDP were completely wiped out.

Once elected, Ralph focused on eliminating the deficit with deep cuts in spending and no increase in taxes. Ralph Klein was the first to acknowledge that Albertans had to make sacrifices. Every area of government was affected by budget cuts, which forced departments to find new and better ways of doing things. In some cases entire hospitals were closed and demolished.

The people of Alberta did something few Canadians, and certainly no left-wing politicians are willing to do, which is make sacrifices. When Paul Martin as liberal finance minister turned budget deficits into surplus he did it by raising taxes and offloading the problem on the provinces. Even he would not make sacrifices of his own.

Yet now, because Alberta did make sacrifices, Ralph Klein must tour the nation to rebuild Alberta's poor image. The whole thing is just sick.

Alberta should serve as a model for the other provinces in Canada, it should not have to kiss up to them..

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