On Monday, Alberta-i'm-not-a-liberal-i-just-hate-Stephen-Harper-Liberal Deputy Leader and former radio blowhard Dave Taylor was leading the charge in Question Period. Rather than the usual "Mel Knight must resign" line of questioning, the Alberta-liberals?-where?-Liberals were going on about affordable housing and rent controls.
In his second supplemental question, Taylor, who sometimes fancies himself as Fort McMurray's MLA, brought a recent report on youth homelessness in Fort McMurray into his preamble. Here is the question in its entirety:
Mr. Taylor: This is so important, and the results of not having a home can be devastating. A new report on youth homelessness from the regional municipality of Wood Buffalo reveals that somehomeless youth in that area are so desperate that they are trading sexual favours for a place to sleep. Fort McMurray has beenpleading for help from the province for years to deal with growth pressures, and this, Mr. Speaker, is the government’s answer. To the Premier. No more rhetoric; no more saying you’re doing a job, because you’re not. What are you going to do right now to fix the housing problems in Fort McMurray so children don’t have to trade sex for shelter?
The Premier was at a loss for words at this outrageous statement, as was I. Naturally, I was intrigued by this highly explosive statement... and my ears always perk up when I hear "Fort McMurray" anyway, so I decided to investigate.
With little effort, I was able to find a complete copy of the report Mr. Taylor referenced HERE. The contents certainly show that things need to be done to address the issue. In yesterday's Fort McMurray Today, I was pleased to read that the process of addressing youth homelessness in Fort McMurray started long before the Comrade from Currie brought it up in the Legislature (unfortunately, the links aren't archived).
What I found most interesting was that nowhere in the report was I able to find specific reference to "sexual favours" or "trading sex for shelter".
The report does talk about a percentage of homeless youth "providing favours for a place to stay". It does not, however, define "favours" as being sexual in nature.
This is not to say that this behaviour is not occuring, but it also does not indicate that it IS occuring.
For Dave Taylor to read things into this report that are not, in fact, there is more than just typical opposition sensationalism. Its irresponsible.
If Taylor had made these claims on his radio show, there would be clear grounds to haul him in front of the CRTC or the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council to explain himself.
Sadly, Members of the Legislative Assembly are immune from prosecution based on comments made on the floor of the Legislature.
He'd better be careful, though, about what he says beyond those walls.
On the nomination front, congratulations to Mr. Verlyn Olson, the next PC MLA for Wetaskiwin-Camrose! Olson won a close race against Wynn McLean, edging him out 918 to 743.
Based on the congratulatory statements on their respective websites, it appears that both gentlemen are truly class acts and are a credit to their community and to our party.
As promised, i've done some digging on the other races coming up this weekend. The one I was able to find the most on was the hotly contested race in Grande Prairie-Wapiti to replace retiring MLA Gord Graydon.
This race has attracted an impressive slate of 5 nominees. While few of them seem to have websites, I was able to get a snippet on each of them thanks to the archives of the Grande Prairie Herald-Tribune.
Vying for this open seat are Trenton Perrott, Jack O'Toole, Wayne Drysdale, Mike Frey, and Tammy Day.
From the little one can learn from a newspaper article, i'd say these are all fine individuals. Of the 5, though, i'd go with Jack O'Toole. I've met Jack at a number of PC functions and he's always been a fine ambassador for the people of Grande Prairie-Wapiti.
Given that I have family in this riding, i'll be watching this race closely.
Finally, in nomination news, it seems that the Alberta-no-the-liberal-is-silent-Liberals are once again becoming a home for PCs who don't take losing in their own party so well.
Today, they announced that Debbie Cavaliere will run for them in Edmonton Meadowlark.
Aside from being a former Edmonton Catholic School Trustee, Ms. Cavaliere was also recently a contestant in the PC nomination for Edmonton Meadowlark. She was in the race right up until it became clear that there was no way she could sell enough memberships to win the race, at which point she quit.
Of course, the official spin is that she didn't find the party to her taste. Interesting. I wonder if she felt the same way when she was attending PC functions or door-knocking for former MLA Bob Maskell?
Amazing what a free ride to the ballot will make a person say, isn't it?
Ms. Cavaliere will face off against emergency physician Dr. Raj Sherman... the guy who sold enough memberships to win the race she quit.
The Edmonton Meadowlark race is an open one after one-term MLA Maurice Tougas decided that he'd rather be back writing his gossip column at the Edmonton Examiner.