By Letter to the Editor on February 13, 2020.
An interesting situation is happening here in Alberta since Ralph Klein began his cuts to the budget in 1993 verses what Jason Kenney is now facing in 2020.
First, I want to say, as an old Progressive Conservative, that I agreed with Ralph and I agree with what Jason is trying to do.
The tone of politics these days is nastier. Democracy can only survive if we have informed losers. There has to be a winner. We, the people, decide who that winner will be. The losers need to realize that fact and proceed to fill their roles in opposition in a respectful way.
Second, Jason is not Ralph. He does not conduct himself in a manner like Ralph. The different styles of presenting information is the biggest difference that I notice.
Third, we are still without a social policy for this province. Jason hasn’t got one, Rachel didn’t, Alison or Ed didn’t and neither did Ralph. However, the big difference for Ralph was that the departmental budgets were magnitudes smaller than what governments are facing today. There are some really big ships in a narrow canal that, if not turned around, certainly need trimming. With no social policy to guide us, we continue this ad hoc mentality of social services being provided with no moral map to be guided by, especially in health and education.
Ralph had real help from the people at the time. Almost every Albertan gave up five per cent of their wages or salary. Not all classes of work did it willingly, and yes, a couple of occupations escaped unscathed. But people of the day could not stand the thought of kicking deficits and debt down the road to our kids. I find it ironic that the biggest howling against a five-per-cent wage and salary reduction is coming from those departments that are absolutely needed for our kids, the receivers of this massive spending.
One more irony to conclude on. As your elected representative for Lethbridge-West for 14-plus years, I talked to many of you people. Some of you raised hell with me over the five-per-cent cut. But guess what? Some of these same people raised supreme hell with me again when Ralph said thanks by sending $400 back to every Albertan over 18 years of age.
I just love human beings being human.