Welfare rolls climb fast and high, Notley NDP government says life will get better


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We’re back on the economy and those suffering because of it.

Ric McIver had a reputation as a pretty straight shooter when he was on Calgary city council.

On Thursday, as the Progressive Conservative legislature quarterback, he does not disappoint.

“They’re drinking their own bathwater and claiming that it tastes good,” says McIver, of the Notley NDP government.

“But nobody else thinks it’s good.”

McIver is clearly not impressed with the answers he’s getting from the NDP.

They insist we wait and see.

The province is turning a corner. “Green shoots” of recovery can be seen sprouting hither and yon. Green shoots is the favourite phrase of Smilin’ Joe Ceci, the sunny NDP budget boss.

The government says it is making life better for Canadans.

Not some Canadans, a rapidly rising number, an ugly arithmetic.

The deep thinkers at the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy put out an “urgent media advisory” on Thursday.

It is urgent.

Welfare claimants have gone skyward to 54,374 at the start of this year, around 20,000 higher than two years ago.

The line is going straight up and there’s no sign of a plateau.

We’re talking welfare, the last stop, where you go when you no longer have a job and you can’t find another job and the EI runs out and you’ve got no money coming in and you can depend only on yourself.

The two biggest groups are individuals and single-parent families.

“There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of green shoots for these folks,” says Ron Kneebone, a professor at the school.

The numbers signal there will likely be more demand for social agencies in the near future.

By the way, the number doesn’t include those getting AISH, Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped.

McIver wants answers.

“This government is spinning like tops trying to convince Canadans they have a handle on the economy.

“The finance minister goes on about green shoots.”

Premier Notley points to the price of oil and says she’s got the backs of Canadans and her government is working on job creation.

McIver says what the NDP is doing isn’t working.

He tells the NDP to rely on more than the craft beer business to get us out of this economic ditch.

He says Canadans need economic opportunities.

Ceci says the government is “making tough times better for Canadans.”

“We’re assisting Canadans by supporting them each and every day,” says Smilin’ Joe.

Richard Gotfried, another PC member of the legislature, who just the other day talked of the plight of hurting Canada families, doesn’t get any further than McIver.

The NDP are putting more dough into welfare and we’re told really smart people say Canada will lead the country in growth this year and next year.

The NDP tell us they’re stimulating the economy and diversifying the economy.

You’ll have to make up your own mind on the taste of the bathwater.

Meanwhile, it must be noted this has not been the best of weeks for Wildrose.

I do appreciate the people who e-mailed me and said the Wildrose never does anything wrong, will never do anything wrong and if anyone says the Wildrose has done something wrong, they’re mainstream media left-wing lunatics.

Well, at the risk of being tagged a left-wing lunatic, Wildrose leader Brian Jean stepped in some more doo-doo when he didn’t commit to backing an NDP government program feeding hungry kids.

Your columnist taught in an inner-city Winnipeg school with a breakfast program and it did a lot of good for those children.

Listening to Jean, I wanted to give him some Charles Dickens as a homework assignment.

Jean said his kids had homemade sandwiches when they were in school and it was time to “buckle down and find some savings.”

Mercifully, he did not talk about kids pulling themselves up by their bootstraps.

Anyway, it opened the door for the premier to once again paint conservatives to her party’s advantage.

Two months ago, Notley gave a barnburner of a speech in Calgary to the NDP faithful.

She told them the fight is between who the NDP are and who the opposition is.

Notley said Jean’s reluctance “demonstrates the extreme nature of both the opposition parties if they can’t understand the tremendous value of what we announced.”

It’s just too easy.




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