From King Ralph to Uncle Ed to the next Premier of Alberta

Seeing as how the editor was goofing off last week, here’s a three-pack of items that developed over the past little while that deserve a closer look.

Seeing as how the editor was goofing off last week, here’s a three-pack of items that developed over the past little while that deserve a closer look.

* * *

Now that the Olympic Games are over, you’ve got to be at least satisfied by the effort put forth by our athletes especially when you consider the horrible start they got off to. After more than a week of competition, Canada still didn’t have a medal and trailed such sporting hotbeds as Togo, Egypt and Tajikstan in the standings, but rebounded nicely to finish in 19th place with three gold medals, nine silver and six bronze for our third-best finish overall and best since the 44-medal haul of 1984 during the Soviet-led boycotted games.

Still, despite one of our better efforts, we only ended up with one gold medal more than North Korea and that certainly isn’t anything to write home about considering that those people barely even have food, let alone running shoes!

Sadly though, it’s back to ‘business as usual’ over in China now that they’ve staged their charade of an Olympics with the news that concrete video evidence has surfaced in which a Chinese doctor admits that he and his colleagues went to various prisons to select Falun Gong practitioners for involuntary organ donations to be sold to transplant tourists. The practice has been going on since 1999 when the government banned the spiritual-based exercise regime and in that time, the doctor said thousands of Falun Gong members have been killed for their organs.

* * *

With the National Energy Policy and the late Pierre Trudeau giving the west the ‘finger’ and all, it’s easy to see why most people out here in Alberta despise the Liberals, but just for a second, don’t you wish Ed Stelmach and his cabinet were a bit less like themselves and just a bit more like Kevin Taft?

At least Taft had the decency to donate & half of his recent huge wage increase to an Edmonton-based children’s charity, unlike the previously mentioned hogs-at-the-trough who arbitrarily decided to dig into Alberta’s big pile of cash with both hands and line their own pockets.

On behalf of all of us in central Alberta, congratulations to Mr. Taft. Liberal or otherwise, helping to fund the Edmonton School Lunch Program for less-fortunate inner-city kids deserves everyone’s admiration.

How about this for a new concept: rather than despising the Liberals, maybe Albertans should be despising Uncle Ed and his buddies.

After all, how many people reading this paper right now even earn $54,000 a year – let alone getting that much for a raise?

So c’mon Ed, don’t be like you; be like Taft and peel a few brown ones off that big wad of the taxpayer’s money you took and send it our way. In case you didn’t know, we’ve got a food bank here that needs some help along with far too many people who rely on it. And while you’re at it, how about passing the hat around to your cabinet members too.

If you come and deliver it in person, the Rimbey Review promises to take your picture and put it on the front page. Heck, we might even write something nice about you too!

And let’s not forget about the entire ‘health care regions’ fiasco either.

First, King Ralph hires his political buddies – one being former Calgary Health Region CEO Jack Davis – a former Tory insider who served as cabinet secretary under King Ralph, isn’t that convenient, and paid him, along with the other seven health region CEO’s salaries near or in excess of $1 million per year. Yet even with that kind of a paycheque, Davis still managed to run his health region into the hole to the tune of over $97 million.

Then all of a sudden, Uncle Ed comes up with the brainstorm of amalgamating all the health regions into one big SUPER health region, and that’s all fine and dandy.

Except of course, for the fact that when he ‘fired’ Davis, he also announced that he would be paid a $4 million severance and pension package.

Excuse me?

Where else in the world except mega-rich, cronyism Alberta does someone get fired for losing $100 million…and then gets $4 million for doing it?

For Stelmach and the other hogs-at-the-trough, digging into Conservative coffers with both hands is one thing, but this is the taxpayer’s money that they’re giving themselves and each other and let’s face it, if you or I went into the cash register at work and lifted a few thousand dollars out, we’d be in jail. Not Uncle Ed and his bunch though.

Apparently, Stelmach must have gotten the figures from the last election backwards and figured if 76 per cent of the public voted Conservative, that gave him the green light to dole out tens of millions of dollars to himself and his political friends. Sorry to break it to you Ed, but only 24 per cent voted for you.

* * *

But enough of that – let’s close on a positive note from, “the best politician in Alberta who isn’t in politics” – or something to that effect.

Here’s an idea from our own Joe Anglin that should go a long way in appeasing both animal rights activists and die-hard fans of rodeo and addresses an issue brought up a few weeks ago regarding the exploitation of animals for personal gain.

Rather than starting the granddaddy of animal cruelty events from the same point all at once, Anglin suggested staggering the start of chuckwagon races much like they do for Olympic bicycle sprints. In other words, the chuckwagons race against the clock, not each other.

During competitions, two bicycles start the race directly across from each other on the course with one at the starting line and the other halfway to the finish line. By doing it that way, neither bike can catch or be caught by the other and there’s no chance of a collision between the two.

As a bonus, because tracks at rodeos are so much larger than Olympic cycling tracks, even four chuckwagons could run at the same time with virtually no threat of running into each other. When the racing is over the best time wins and no innocent horses get killed.

Heck, all rodeo fans gotta love that idea – even Reg Johnstone himself, because if they make the mistake of still objecting, then all the rest of us know for a fact that rodeo really is nothing more than people paying money to watch animals be tormented.

If you ever get the chance, the editor highly recommends sitting down for a cup of coffee with Joe Anglin. The guy’s got more knowledge than you can shake a stick at and plenty of great ideas.

Who knows, someday he just might end up with Uncle Ed’s job.