Provincial Conservatives need a time-out, writes local contributor

Dear Editor,

I was a 17 year-old high school student in Drayton Valley, Alberta when the Progressive Conservative party formed our government. Since they were elected, I started a career, moved to another province where I relocated six times, got married and had three children whom I watched grow up and start their own careers and families. I have since moved back to Alberta, become a grandfather and retired. During that time, a Progressive Conservative government remained in power.

How they did it is a true success story. It just isn’t a story about sound management. Alberta has always had more resources and earning potential than other province. The provincial government hasn’t had to do too much to remain stable. When they have been challenged it resulted in large deficits and the neglect of our youth, our old, our sick and our weak.

We have witnessed an intoxicated premier throw money at a homeless person’s feet and tell him to get a job. We have watched a premier skip out of a first minister’s conference and go to a casino. We have seen the government give themselves a 40 per cent + raise at a time many Albertans are loosing good paying jobs, and we are cutting back on nurses and other medical necessities.

We have watched the religious right dictate what may and may not be taught in public schools and now our finance minister is telling us how to raise our children.

In fact, the only real strategy the Progressive Conservative government has needed for at least 30 years is to keep Alberta mad at the rest of Canada – blame Ontario for stealing our resource dollars; complain that Quebec gets more than we do; blame the Liberals for the gun registration introduced by Conservative Prime Minister Kim Campbell, and if all else fails, fall back on the National Energy Policy.

The Conservative government in Alberta has been in power so long, they do not know they are not above the law. They do not know they are capable of making a mistake. They think they are entitled to more money, better working conditions and they believe they are exempt from being elected.

For more than 30 years the only election in Alberta has been the Conservative riding nominations. That is no way to run a democracy and we are now starting to see the effects.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely and if we are to ever see a decent provincial Conservative government again, Albertans need to give this one a little time in the penalty box.

I.A.M. McLean