Thursday, February 23, 2006

Ralphie boy

I didn't watch his Throne Speech. Whenever I hear that, I always picture King Ralph with a crown (maybe a Crown Royal?). Oh wait, he doesn't drink anymore.

A friend of mine who worked as a bartender at a local golf club lounge was mixing drinks for people during a political function and he told me that he saw Ralph at the end of the bar, not looking too happy while drinking a virgin cocktail. He said he almost looked depressed. Ralph's good days were long-ago. After that, his arrogance was evident during a drunken night when he threw his change at some down-trodden people. After that, I just couldn't support him anymore. Then he quit drinking after that and I think he's lost his spark.

I didn't vote for the PCs last time around. I started to work on a friend's local PC campaign, but then I saw a Premier who was vision-less and who didn't have any plan for "our bright future" at all. The PCs have been in power since 1971, a year before I was born. It's time for a change.

NDP leader Brian Mason recently stated that "anyone" could have managed the provinces finances with the amount of oil revenue streaming in. He's exactly right. Ralph and Co. have been over-spending on all sorts of things, while people continue to die on Highway 63 to Ft. McMurray because it hasn't been twinned yet. Get 'er done! And many other things.

Albertans like Ralph because he's folksy yet hard-nosed in dealing with the federal gov't. He made some tough decisions in the early-mid 90's, but with help from current leadership contender, Jim Dinning, and ol' energy minister, Steve "The Knife" West.

So where is Alberta going from here? Debt is paid off, so now it's time to save. Ralph said they should put back a billion into the Heritage Trust Fund. Well, after he has pillaged from the fund over the years to pay for his over-spending, I would hope he should.

But why not also help out low-middle income earners by getting rid of the $45/month health care premiums? It rakes in just under a billion a year and really hurts men and women over 25, especially single parents. My company pays for mine, so I don't even notice. But I remember when I did have to pay them. What a pain in the ass they were. It's just a tax. It goes into general revenue.

And speaking of health care, people who can pay are now jumping queues. This just isn't right. Why bother with the premiums which hurt the people who can't pay then?

The PCs are having their annual convention and will have a leadership confidence vote. Rumblings are that Jim Dinning' camp is gunning for a Paul Martin coup d'etat and have Ralph get below 70%. I suggest they vote 85% in favour, in exchange for a deal for Ralph to bow out gracefully.

Anyway, I'll be glad to see Ralph go. It's been a slice.

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