Wednesday, April 11, 2007

FAST EDDIE'S NIGHTMARES ON (WHAT USED TO BE) EASY STREET

Fast Eddie 's nightmares mount.

First, there was the Calgary Holy Cross Health Centre. The Centre was formerly the Holy Cross Hospital. Founded in 1891 by the Order of the Sisters of Charity known as the Grey Nuns, the Holy Cross Hospital successfully attended to the health needs of the people of the City of Calgary and Southern Alberta for over 100 years. In its hey-day it was a major active treatment hospital, known for excellent care, outstanding surgical facilities, a highly rated School of Nursing, and a staff that took pride in their work. It delivered a very high standard of health care until it closed in 1996 when it fell victim to the Klein Government's misguided reorganization of health care services. Since then its been down hill all the way for the Holy Cross.

In 1997 the building was sold for a song to the Huang family, some of which members were close friends of the Premier's. The purchase price for the buildings and the 9 acres of prime inner city land it sat on was 4.5 million dollars. The hospital had just had a 20 million dollar renovation before its closure.

Since the sale, the buildings have housed medical offices, some out-patient treatment facilities, and an assisted living housing facility. In addition, the owners entered into a contract with the Calgary Health Region to operate a private nursing home or long-term care facility on the property.

The assisted living residents were recently greeted with rent increases as high as 42% - at a time when Calgary faces a critical lack of affordable housing together with wide-scale chronic homelessness.

Yesterday the Calgary Health Region announced that due to allegations of fire code violations, and inadequate wound care in the nursing home, as well as the failure of the owners to address those concerns, it was terminating its contract with the owners. The result: 42 chronically ailing and disabled Albertans have to move and 30 staff are without jobs.

That has been the fate of the venerable Holy Cross Hospital which until the Klein years, provided quality health care for 106 years. Operated privately by the friends of Ralph, its management turfs poor people who can't pay the rent increases out onto the street. Worse, because of managment bungling, the chronically ill in the nursing home are forced to move elsewhere because of a lack of adequate care.

The days of the Teflon Tories are over. Fast Eddie was a Big Stick in the Klein Government and he is the one who is now called upon to pay the political price for this catastrophe by the inspired Taft Grits in the current session of the Legislature.


And if that nightmare isn't enough for the Premier, what about the strange case of Bob Maskell?
Maskell was an Edmonton Tory MLA who was defeated by a Grit in the election of 2004. A couple of months later the Government's Aboriginal Affairs Department signed Maskell to a contract which was to be effective from two days after the election. The contract provided that the Department would pay Maskell 38 grand a year to chair a committee to approve aboriginal projects for the province's 2005 centennial celebrations. Maskell also picked up an extra 80 big ones as a transitional allowance to which he was entitled to ease himself back into private life.

Maskell's actions were similar to the unseemly actions of his former boss Premier Klein, who days after he was eligible to pocket the $600,000 or so severance from the Province, took a cushy job as a lobbyist with the esteemed law firm of Borden Ladner.

But there's more on the Maskell file. A perusal of his bills for services that he submitted to the government and which were paid, show that he once worked and billed for 50 hours in one day. Another had him working and being paid for 30 hours for one day. And another for 28 hours in one day. Some of the itemized services rendered were cutting ribbons, raising flags, and presenting blankets to elders. I kid you not.

And the Premier is defending Maskell.

Taft and his gang are screaming blue murder in the Legislature about this nightmare too. And the papers are screaming headlines. They aren't swallowing the swill that Fast Eddie and his hayseeds are something new and the 'that was then and this is now' routine the Tories are famous for.

'Nope,' as Eddie might say. This time the buck ends with Eddie.

14 comments:

uriel said...

Daryl:

This is all old information that the Liberals are trying to tie the Premier. Stelmach never approved these contracts, the Klein government did. To blame this on Stelmach is disingenious. If Taft wants to make an allegation against the Premier and Maskell, I suggest he step outside the House and make the same allegations that he is making under the immunity of the Legislative Assembly.

uriel said...

Oh by the way Daryl, can you explain to me the mathematics of how Taft can call for all these spending increases while at the same time suggesting that he is going to hold spending to rate of population growth and build a Heritage Savings Trust Fund of $120 million by 2021. This is what I call vodoo budgeting.

Darryl Raymaker said...

Uriel
Don't you read my blogs? Eddie was Ralph's Big Stick and you know it! He's not going to wriggle out of that one. The Tory 'That was then and this is now' baloney is over. Even the newspapers are on to you guys.
And don't worry about Taft. Unlike Eddie and his pals, Taft and his Grits have brains, policy and they plan, plan, plan. "P-L-A-N" is a 4 letter word the meaning of which, is unknown to present-day Tories like yourself and the Preem.

GritPatriot said...

uriel, your "step out of the legislature" schtick is silly. Darryl just said it "out of the legislature". In any event, these bills were truly submitted by fat cat Maskell. It's all true and despicable. It is surprising that you do not condemn this cronyism.

All of this was done under the auspices of the PC government. Mr. Ed must have been horsing around instead of paying attention at the cabinet table when these money for nothing contracts were dished out to Tory cronies.

In what reality is it acceptable to bill 50 hours for 1 day of work? Only hopeless partisans try to defend this profligate theft.

It is time for the Tories to be defeated. Their ridiculous days at the trough are at an end.

uriel said...

Grit Patriot:

Who cares if Daryl Raymaker said it outside the Legislature. If you read my post, I challenged your "esteemed" leader Kevin Taft to make the allegations outside the Legislature. If the Liberals want to get to the bottom of this, put their money where their mouths are, let's get it into the courts and then the Liberals can get access to every document that they want on the Maskell contract.

And Grit Patriot, I been involved in politics for nearly twenty years. I have forgotten more than you will ever know. I know a lot more about your party than you can even imagine. Be careful when you call me a mindless partisan. I have worked on some of the most complex issues in Alberta politics over the past 20 years. My record is in the Alberta Legislature Library if you care to take a look.

uriel said...

Daryl:

I do read your blogs, unfortunately. You've been around long enough to know not to always believe what you read in the newspapers, particularly from a lazy reporters like Archie MacLean of the Journal, Jason Markusoff of the Edmonton Journal and Jason Fekete of the Calgary Herald.

And when I read Braid's column on the Maskell issue, I had to laugh because I know exactly who is feeding him information and I think you know as well. I know a lot more about what is happening within your party that you can ever imagine.

When it comes to plans, I written a few myself and they are far more detailed than anything that Taft has ever come up with, I can assure you of that.

I have been involved in the business of politics for nearly twenty years, and your leader's fiscal numbers don't add up. I asked you how the Liberals can go around demanding the goverment spend money on everything and yet their own plan to build a $120 billion Heritage Fund is predicated on holding spending to the rate of population growth. Something has to give. What spending are you going to cut and don't give me that schtick about the horse racing program because that's only $60 million. I want to see your Finance Critic Rick Miller's plan to constrain spending to the rate of population growth.

Darryl Raymaker said...

Uriel:

The only reason provincial Tories would like a lawsuit is to give their lawyer pals some pork. I'm reminded of the Lorne Goddard v. Stockwell Day lawsuit, when the Tories shelled out 800 grand to a lawfirm to grind the plaintiff down by stalling the inevitable. Did you have anything to do with the planning of that?

And if you have been involved in politics for 20 years, I must assume that you have been a Tory. If you have been a Tory, then the plans that you brag about must have been Tory plans.

Ralph admitted the obvious in the Legislature - that the Tories had no plans. Therefore you didn't do any work. The Grits should also peruse your bills along with Maskell. Did you spend 50 hours in one day thinking about plans?

uriel said...

Daryl:

You'd be surprised who I have worked for nearly twenty years. In fact, some of those people you have even met personally, highly respected and were you're friends.

I got my start in this business in the late 1980s and early 1990s and my political mentors, one of whom you knew very well, believed in presenting the facts in the public, not cheap political shots behind the cloak of legislative immunity.

Did you read your "esteemed" leader's comments in Don Martin's column today about Premier Stelmach: "I sat across from him (Stelmach) for five years and he was bar none, the most clumsy and weak performer. We didn't ask him any questions because you felt bad for him." What sort of person, what sort of leader, would take a cheap personal shot like that.

My political mentor, who you knew well, would never have indulged in such cheap political gamesmanship. Premier Stelmach would never stoop to the level of insulting someone else's intelligence. That goes beyond the bounds of political decency. What level of gutter politics will the current crop of Liberals stoop to?

Dr. Taft will pay for that comment I can assure you of that. I have forgotten more about his party than he will ever know. I like to stick to the facts, but when someone insults a person's intelligence with not one scintilla of evidence to back it up, that makes me cross a line I do not like to cross. Remember Lee Atwater...I am very adept at using his methods when I need to.

And by the way, I would be pleased if the Grits perused my bills, in fact I would encourage and welcme them to do so. They should not have much trouble doing so. It's all in the public record. I think if they did peruase my bills, they would be reimbursing me for the additional time I put in without pay during evenings and on weekends. I used to pull 90 hours weeks and I never received a dime of overtime for it. I did it because I was and am committed to public service. And I did think of plans during my 90 hour work weeks. I'm was not a former lawyer like you, Daryl, so I wasn't pulling down the same money for my 90 hours weeks. I was not permitted to bill by the hour, otherwise I would be a very rich man today.

So, Daryl, give it your best shot. Get Taft and Co. to peruse by bills. Start back in 1989 and work your way forward.

BTW: You still haven't answered the question about the Liberal's fiscal platform. I have to assume that there is no answer!

Darryl Raymaker said...

Uriel -

1. Your such an honest guy (or gal) why don't you be brave (like myself) and tell us who you are. Or are you ashamed? Perhaps your frightened that the Grits really will find your padded bills.

2. By the way, I'm still a dues paying lawyer.

3. The Grit fiscal position can be found on its website. In fact, during the last election the Tories didn't have a fiscal position and do not have one now. The Grits had a comprehensive one -and you know it.

4. If you need more info on the lack of qualities in Special Ed, you need look no further than the way he has treated the cities since his election as leader.

5. Now, as far as Atwater goes, that you brag about using his methods tells me of the kind of politics you have embraced. Atwater was one of the sleaziest operators ever to hit American politics. When he discovered he had terminal brain cancer, his conscience bothered him so much, he begged forgiveness from all of the people he had maligned, including Michael Dukakis who was vilified by Atwater on the Willie Horton ad. Or do you remember?

6. As far as Taft's comments are concerned, from the information that I have gathered, Special Ed's performance in the Legislature has been now and in the past, underwhelming.

7. Uriel - the Tories are going to bite the dust this time and you know it. And you know its about time they did. There is so much grime and sleaze around them that even Paul Jackson in a lead Sun editoria this morning is expressing dismay. And when that happens you know its over, baby. Its really over!

uriel said...

Darryl:

This is fun....

1. If I told you who I was, would you insult my intelligence like Dr. Taft insulted the intelligence of the Premier? I believe if I told you who I was, you would regret what you have said about me. If I reveal who I am, will you commit to having the Liberals compensate me for all the extra hours I put in without pay. If so, I could retire today a very rich man.

2. By the way, I still work many many, many hours beyond my specified limit, with very little pay because I am committed to public service. I don't get paid by the hour like in some professions.

3. I have read the Liberal fiscal plan. It is predicated on holding spending to the rate of population growth. That would mean they would have to cut spending by billions of dollars off the 2007/08 base alone in order to start building up the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund. Can you or Rick Miller indicate to me where you will cut those billions of dollars?

4. The Premier is committing $1.4 billion over four years to municipalities as recommended by Mayor Bronconnier and has agreed to fund the entire cost overrun for the Calgary south hospital. There are three Edmonton and area ministers in cabinet (Hancock, Evans, Horner) and Zwozdesky is in charge of the capital planning initiative. 4 out of 5 or 80% isn't too bad a ratio, don't you think. In Calgary and area, there are 5 cabinet ministers. As well, Carol Haley sits on the Agenda and Priorities Committee and Treasury Board, Cindy Ady and Hung Pham sit on the Treasury Board. Wayne Cao and Yvonne Fritz chair cabinet policy committees. Harvey Cenaiko is chair of AADAC. That's 11 of out 25 Calgary and area
constituencies or 44%. Not bad once again.

5. I said I don't cross the line unless I am provoked by a personal attack which cannot be backed up by the facts. Your leader has personally insulted the Premier's intelligence in the print media, so he is already engaging in the Atwater tactics that you find so disgusting. How does Dr. Taft know how intelligent Premier Stelmach is? Has he seen his IQ scores? Table them in the Legislature on Monday. As well, as I recall, in the 2001 provincial election it was Nancy McBeth and the Liberal Party that put out that distasteful negative TV ad showing Ralph Klein's ring in a meeting with electricity industry executives. That ad sure worked well, didn't it Darryl....



6. I would rate the performance of your leader as somewhat underwhelming and he has had three years to get better. Perhaps Dan Backs can shine some further light on that, as well as other disgruntled members of the Liberal Caucus. Maybe that is why Dr. Taft sits at about 15-20% in the public opinion polls and Blakeman is hungrily positioning herself to take on the job after Dr. Taft loses the next election.

7. I don't think there is one chance in a million that a party led by Dr. Taft will win an election in Alberta. I would remind you that Paul Jackson, that fine columnist and huge fan of Stephane Dion and the federal Liberals, supported Jim Dinning during the leadership. Judging by his 2006 leadership campaign, Jim Dinning would be more at home in your party than he would be in the Conservative party. Perhaps he will do what his friend Nancy McBeth (Betkowski)did-- run for the Liberal leadership after Dr. Taft is booted after the next election.

Back to you, Darryl.

Darryl Raymaker said...

Uriel

I have more important things to do.
Bye, Bye!

uriel said...

Darryl:

Case closed as they say. I love the give and take of political discourse but as you can see I always stick to the facts and I have an extensive institutional knowledge of Alberta politics. After all, I have worked in the field for nearly 20 years. I have acquired the skill over the years to dissect political rhetoric with a multitude of facts drawn from my vast direct experience in the political field. My bread and butter is fiscal policy and I can assure you I will dissect the Liberal fiscal platform and tear it to shreds.

GritPatriot said...

Uriel, you must be a short man. You have this inferiority complex that requires medical intervention.

Your holier than thou attitude cracks me up. You can not with a straight face and any amount of honesty attack the integrity of Kevin Taft. ESPECIALLY, as you obviously were, a Ralph Klein supporter. You obviously stood by while that immoral little drunk made Alberta a laughingstock. Klein skipped out on a national conference to go to the casino. He abused the provincial aircraft. He took an obscene $600,000 payment on his way out the door. The Multicorp shares and endless political favours at taxpayer expense.

I know exactly what you are about if you were a Klein booster.I dismiss you as a sycophant and as irrelvant. Stay anonymous. No body cares. and no body wants to relive or evisit Klein's sorry premiership.

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