Submitter writes Tories have broken promises to Alberta seniors for decades

Dear Letters Editor;
Integrity in its completeness is lacking in governance.
How true! Rev. Billy Graham, a well-known and respected American evangelist was often quoted as saying, “Integrity is the glue that holds our way of life together. What our young people want to see in their elders is integrity, honesty, truthfulness and faith.

Dear Letters Editor;

Integrity in its completeness is lacking in governance.

How true! Rev. Billy Graham, a well-known and respected American evangelist was often quoted as saying, “Integrity is the glue that holds our way of life together. What our young people want to see in their elders is integrity, honesty, truthfulness and faith. What they hate most of all is hypocrisy and phoniness.” That holds true whether in the USA or in Alberta.

Our government in its Centennial Year of celebrations introduced the 2005 Centennial Medallion indicating, “The 2005 Centennial is an exciting event for all Albertans. It’s an opportunity to recognize and remember the pioneers who built this province.” Wonderful! Recognition of our pioneers, but window dressing for our politicians as they failed to fulfill a promise made to such pioneers.

It is now 15 years since our government introduced a number of measures to reduce expenditures in order to balance the budget and lead to eliminating the ever-increasing provincial debt that was taking place. Our politicians agreed to a 5 percent drop in their pay to set the tone followed by a number of other cost-effective measures including reducing and eliminating a number of global senior support programs. Then, Premier Klein, on behalf of government committed the return of such programs upon the province reaching debt-free status.

The Klein-led government kept its commitment fully to all but not to the seniors, the pioneers they gave credit during the Centennial Year’s celebrations, who had built this province. Every effort by individuals and many senior organizations to convince the government to keep its promise to the seniors – has been disregarded.

As one of several founding members of the recently established Association of Seniors Helping Seniors organization in Edmonton, in communicating with over 80 senior advocacy organizations throughout the province, we were shocked to learn from many of them that most never even got an acknowledgement to their letters, although occasionally a reply came from the then acting Minister of Seniors and Community Supports.

The response in virtually each instance was a standard “Thank you for your recent letter (or email) regarding benefits for seniors. I am pleased to respond. As the (new) Minister of Seniors and Community Supports, I appreciate your comments and will keep them in mind for the future. Again, thank you for writing.”

In Alberta, integrity is not the glue that holds our way of life together. Because of the lack of a proper and democratic electoral proceeds, our life must carry on whether we like it or not at the behest of a government with support of only 21 percent of the electorate. As a result, we have a government not responding to seniors or ignoring them entirely by failing to fulfill a promise made; a government not interested in taking any action to correct the gaps in our democratic system; a government which soon after taking over governance in 1971 scrapping the equality in the pension benefit package that was in place for all public sector workers and introducing one that provides for a select grouping of highest paid government workers with dual pensions that could exceed $150,000 annually at tax payers expense – a two tiered pension benefit package leaving many of the remaining employees with the feeling they are considered as second class workers by our elected officials; a government where, on a few days notice would meet with big business, particularly in the resource area; but ignoring seniors completely and not advising them why they have no intentions of fulfilling a promise made to them, to name a few.

The Stelmach led government no doubt prides itself on gaining one of the largest majority governments since the Tories took over governance in 1971, but such pride is besmirched with the lack of integrity prevailing in the areas outlined herein.

Sincerely,

S. Michael Marlowe

Seniors Advocate and former President of The Alberta Retired Public Employees Society

Edmonton, Alta.