Thursday, August 17, 2006

Tories: Let's Name a Hospital After Ralph

My head darn near exploded when I read this headline in the Calgary Herald today: 'Tories back naming hospital after Kleins'.


Look, if some obscure farmer living near Manure Pile, Alberta wants to name his outhouse after Ralph Klein, that's fine with me. Or how about a toxic waste dump? That works too. But to name a hospital after a man who closed 3 of them in Calgary while he was busy gutting the health care system in Alberta for years, threatened continually to privatize it and continued to charge Albertans health care premiums despite huge oil patch revenues while ignoring the horrendously long waiting-lines and bed shortages that caused continual anguish (I can personally attest to that)? Who in their right (not right as in Tory, but right as in sane) mind would even think that renaming Calgary's new children's hospital after Ralph would be anywhere close to being appropriate? What the hell are those 10 Tory MLAs who suggested this ridiculous insult to Calgarians smoking?

Have they forgotten this?

Tory-sponsored implosion of the Calgary General Hospital (1998)

Most Calgarians haven't filed that one away. I can tell you that.

In response, Klein said he was 'flattered' by the suggestion, but that it was 'unecessary'. That sure isn't the word I'd use.

He added this:

Klein said he prefers the existing name for the new hospital, and isn't really keen to see buildings named after him.

"That’s very flattering and very humbling. But my intention, of course, is not to leave legacies of brick and mortar," said Klein.

When I moved to Calgary during the early 80s when Klein was the mayor, you couldn't walk a street downtown without seeing concrete pillars proudly marked with 'Another Ralph Klein Erection'. No, I'm not kidding. He was pretty damn proud back then about his legacy of bricks and mortar.

That was also back in the days when he insulted easterners as 'bums and creeps' who had ventured out here looking for work in the oil patch. He sure isn't calling them that anymore since this most recent oil boom has forced Alberta companies to go to those eastern provinces to recruit workers because there aren't enough here.

As is the present government's habit, they are most likely sending this idea out there as a trial balloon to gauge public reaction to naming a hospital after Ralph. They do that frequently with unpopular issues. Well, let's make sure that balloon bursts very quickly and that Klein and his mindless minions get the message: No hospitals named after Ralph Klein. EVER.

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