Sunday, 29 April 2012

Alberta - Redford Promises a Shake Up - Where are the Priorities

With the election in Alberta in the books, a final analysis shows that although the Redford Tories captured 61 seats in the Alberta Legislature, they only received 44% of the popular vote, compared to the Wildrose Party, which received 17 seats with 34% of the popular vote.  Essentially that means that 56% of Albertans vote against the Redford Tories.  22% of the remaining electorate was voted for leftist parties (the NDP and Liberal Party).  Alison Redford promises a major "shake up"

She wants to transform how government delivers services, boost the opposition's influence in the legislature and improve how Alberta relates to the rest of Canada. The Province

Unfortunately, while she says she wants to boost the opposition's influence in the legislature, in the same breath she takes another swipe at the Wildrose leader Danielle Smith. 

In her interview she says that a defining issue were the so called Dani Dollars.  In fact she said that while the polls may have shown that this was popular with the public, she had the pulse of the Province.  Really?  Personally, she had the pulse of the Alberta Teacher's Association and unions.  The robocalls by unions to voters demonizing the Wildrose party are a good indicator of that.  The author was a recipient of those.  In simple terms it could be called "Dirty Tricks."

"I want to really revitalize the legislative process. I want legislative committees to work the way that they should, and they should be all-party committees. They should be holding public hearings, and that's where we should be talking about policy."

The Wildrose, she said, inadvertently reinforced that theme by defending religious "conscience rights," a concept many Albertans perceived as thinly veiled discrimination against minorities. "They (Wildrose) still kept proposing it, qualifying and changing it - 'Oh, there'll be rules here, there'll be rules there' - but they didn't actually give up on the idea, and I was absolutely amazed by that."

The state of Alberta infrastructure

In the past 36 hours ten people have been killed on Alberta roads, seven on Highway 63, which links Fort McMurray to Edmonton.  Highway 63 has been in the forefront

A report on CTV Edmonton says that 7% of all fatalities on Alberta highways occurs on a stretch of Highway 63/28 between Redwater and Fort McMurray.

Police say seven per cent of fatalities on Alberta highways last year happened between Redwater and Fort McMurray.

High vehicle traffic on Highway 63 plays a major role. Eight years ago, about 2,000 vehicles used the road each day. Fast forward six years and that number has grown to about 3,400 vehicles per day.

Dangerous speeds is also a large factor. Driver Bryson Brown says he regularly sees drivers going faster than the 100 km/h speed limit.

"They pass me about 140, 150 easy," he says.

Const. Fossen says he caught drivers going even faster.

"I've had as high as up to 200 km/h on this stretch of highway," he said.

 Seldom a week goes by where there isn't a report of someone killed or seriously injured on that stretch of highway.  The Tories have been paying lip service to the issue but little has been done.  It has come down to excuses, which have been not enough traffic to substantiate the expenditure to difficult terrain to build a highway.  How much is a life worth? 

Highway 63 is but one example of misplaced priorities of the Tories.  Add to that a promised senior centre in Fort McMurray.  The centre was promised under Ed Stelmach, yet it never happened and it caused Guy Boutelier, the local PC to leave the party and eventually join the Wildrose Party.  The imposition of high voltage power lines, a failing health care system with long waiting lists are just a few other examples.

Range and Town ship roads in rural communities are unsafe and unfit for the 21st century and all of this in a province that is touted to be the richest in Canada.  Reliable internet service in rural Alberta is atrocious.  The list goes on and on..  You get my point.

Instead the Tories went after an expensive carbon capture experiment.  Millions were wasted in the project.  

If the Premier is going to implement change and shake things up, then it's time to get her head out of the sand and set some realistic priorities.  While urban communities may want hockey arenas and museums, all worthwhile projects, it is incumbent that the infrastructure in this province be prioritized. 

It seems obvious that if asked the companies benefiting from extracting oil from the oilsands would probably be prepared to fix Highway 63 in a partnership.   Has anyone approached them?

The Premier needs to set priorities that are important to Albertans, including those of rural Albertans.  While most of the votes are in the cities, rural Alberta still contributes to the Alberta economy and should not be ignored.  Contrary to popular belief, we're not backwood hillbillies rednecks.   The Premier should remember that.  We will pay close attention to her so-called shake up..

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