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QP: CORRECTING THE REDORD: PCs offside on hawk nesting sites, seniors' driving fees and bridge inspections

EDMONTON, AB (November 5, 2012):   PC CLAIM: Responding to Wildrose Environment Critic Joe Anglin who stated that the Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (ESRD) Minister Dianna McQueen refused to take responsibility for the removal of ferruginous hawk nesting sites by blaming ATCO for their removal, McQueen said, “What I did say is that we are working with ATCO and ESRD to make sure we are taking care of endangered species in this province.”

FACT:  According to Hansard, ESRD Minister Dianna McQueen did pin the blame on the removal of the nests on ATCO, “I will say that a mistake was made by ATCO.”  The Minister again today failed to clarify communications made with ATCO to remove the nest, which would be in violation of the Species at Risk Act.  

PC CLAIM: Responding to questions from Wildrose Seniors Critic Kerry Towle on the pilot program DriveAble, a program that charges seniors $200 to take a faulty supplemental driving test, Transportation Minister Ric McIver said, “The honorable member needs to understand that all drivers at certain times are subject to the DriveAble test.”  

FACT: The DriveAble program is a pilot-project designed to service, “clients with impairments where their ability to safely drive is questioned,” and is not applicable to all Albertans.  

PC CLAIM: Responding to questions from Transportation Critic Drew Barnes as to why the latest Auditor General report indicated there were 150 bridges not inspected on time, Transportation Minister Ric McIver said, “Mr. Speaker we would never be able get to keep up if the opposition was in government because they wanted to cut infrastructure spending for the next four years.”  

FACT: Despite the Wildrose correcting the record four times before on this issue, Transportation Minister Ric McIver continues to push through on his misguided talking points.  The fact is the Wildrose has long advocated stretching out (not cutting) the capital plan an extra year in order to lessen the annual budgetary burden of infrastructure projects, Finance and Treasury Board Minister Doug Horner himself has advocated such an approach, and has been quoted as saying if energy prices don’t rebound, “capital spending plans can be deferred.”  Failing to ensure bridge inspection and safety are properly taking place is a failure to prioritize resources.  

PC CLAIM: On further questions on the Auditor General report from Barnes as to why the Transportation Minister has failed to prioritize funding on bridge inspection and how long it will take to properly coordinate bridge inspection, McIver said, “done and done.”  

FACT: The AG report was released last Thursday and since then Alberta Transportation has only indicated that they have welcomed recommendations made by the Auditor General.  There has been no indication that spending has been prioritized to ensure bridge inspection and safety is taking place.