Pipelines before persons with developmental disabilities?

Alison Redford Christy Clark

Alberta Premier Alison Redford and BC Premier Christy Clark in October, 2011. Photo: PremierofAlberta via Flickr.

Fresh from a surprise election win, British Columbia Premier Christy Clark‘s government formally announced its opposition this week to the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline that would carry bitumen from Alberta to Kitimat. A controversial issue during the heated election campaign, BC Environment Minister Terry Lake told the media that evidence supporting the pipeline “simply is insufficient for us to think it should go forward.”

Perhaps sending a political message to her western counterpart, Alberta Premier Alison Redford is flying to New Brunswick this week, hoping to use Premier David Alward‘s idea of an eastbound pipeline to kickstart her still undefined National Energy Strategy.

Thomas Lukaszuk

Thomas Lukaszuk

Maintaining a presence on the national and international stage appear to be continuing priorities for Premier Redford. The Premier has recently travelled twice to Washington D.C. to advocate for the construction of the TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline and numerous cabinet ministers have been scouting the globe in name of the PC Government’s new slogan – “Building Markets.” Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk is currently travelling in Europe, and Finance Minister Doug Horner and Agriculture Minister Verlyn Olsen recently returned from trips to China and Kazakhstan.

There is certainly value in government leaders travelling internationally, but in Alberta’s case, the perception has become that the Premier is more comfortable travelling outside of Alberta than dealing with the day-to-day domestic issues in the province.

Frank Oberle MLA Peace River

Frank Oberle

For example, a week after the Premier re-announced plans to open five new international trade offices, hundreds of Albertans with developmental disabilities and their families rallied at the Legislature and outside Premier Redford’s Calgary-Elbow constituency office to protest deep cuts to service providers.

The minister responsible for explaining the cuts, Peace River‘s mild-mannered MLA Frank Oberle, has been tongue-tied and delivering confusing diversionary messages to Albertans.

While Minister Oberle correctly states that the entire budget of his department is increasing, he has yet to convincingly explain why $42 million is being cut from programs designed to help the province’s most vulnerable citizens become more employable.

8 thoughts on “Pipelines before persons with developmental disabilities?”

  1. I don’t see any announcement of Lukazsuk’s international travel Dave. Am I just missing it?

  2. This woman is a disgrace…how many times has she now travelled to Washington? And does she not have a Washington Rep whose entire $500,000 annual salary is to do the very thing this woman is doing on her own? I remember when faced with budget and economic hard times, Stelmach put a stop to ALL travel. Don’t hold your breath that this woman will be putting an end to her extravagant lifestyle any time soon- she’s entitled to it after all.

  3. I strongly suspect that all these programs to help the disabled are more beneficial for the organizations who host the programs than they are for the folks with challenges.

    How effective have these programs been in helping disabled people find meaningful work? No amount of feel-good training is going to magically transform a severely disabled person into an asset in the labour market. It will, however, increase funding to training providers who could care less about meaningful workforce integration after banking the provincial money for enrollment numbers!

  4. I can’t disagree with you more. I’ve been reading and listening to a lot of families with relatives at the facilities in Red Deer, and it sounded like the care was excellent.

    I couldn’t imagine having a child or family member unable to care for themselves, and then not having a high-end place for them to receive care.

    I work very hard, I pay a lot of tax, but I’d be glad to put some of that money towards those with disabled relatives. Could you imagine if, God forbid, You or I were injured somehow and ended up in an understaffed facility, in a delinquent building somewhere.

    A place in the country, with caring, well paid, generally happy staff, is not only preferred, it should be required. No questions asked.

  5. It is essential that Edmonton reduce taxes and slash wasteful spending. Nothing else will bring Edmonton to the place it needs to be at. That’s why we need a Wildrose candidate. Vote Wildrose. Vote Kerry Diotte.

  6. I wonder if folks who complain about the level of service of institutions that help vulnerable Albertans, such as PDD, or who speculate that their workers and administrators of said institutions are just “lining their pockets” at the expense of people they serve (and draw this conclusion because of weak services), ever stop to consider the very obvious and common sense answer.

    It is clear that previous rounds of funding cuts (or inadequate annual increases relative to Alberta’s population increase) have reduced these institutions to a relatively bare-bones level of service.

    You all must realize that at a certain point, even if a social institution is receiving millions of taxpayer dollars… if that amount is inadequate to the task at hand, the taxpayer is actually worse off than if the institution was properly funded. Right?

    But if you’re focussed on paying the lowest possible tax bill rather than good social outcomes with your tax money, I can see why you’d miss this completely obvious point.

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