It’s time to call in the military to help the “overwhelmed hospitals,” says the Alberta Federation of Labour.
The leaders of Alberta’s largest health care unions are calling on Premier Jason Kenney to ask the federal government to immediately deploy the military, the Red Cross and all other available medical resources from across the country to assist the province’s hospitals.
The leaders of the United Nurses of Alberta, the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, the Health Sciences Association of Alberta and the Canadian Union of Public Employees say Alberta’s health care system is not just on the verge of collapse – it’s actually collapsing right in front of our eyes.
On Saturday, the leaders of the four unions sent a letter to the premier, asking him to formally request help from the federal government.
Five months ago, three military medical units were deployed to support hospitals in Ontario. The federal government also paid for the Red Cross to be deployed and helped co-ordinate assistance from other provinces.
“There are no more nurses in our province who can be deployed. There are no more paramedics. There are no more respiratory therapists. There are no more support staff. The tank is empty. The well is dry,” the letter to Kenney said.
The letter concludes by reminding Kenney of his “constitutional” responsibility as premier to formally ask the federal government for assistance.
“They cannot act unless you ask them to act. So please, on behalf of our beleaguered members on the front-line of this crisis, and on behalf of all Albertans, we are officially asking you to request help from the federal government,” the letter said.
“The hour is late and the situation is grim. By itself, federal deployment of resources will not be enough, to see us through. But it will help. The bottom line is that we need more aggressive action from your government to reduce the viral transmission that is driving this crisis.
“But, in the meantime, we need more people on the frontlines. Before we can get the help, we so desperately need from the rest of the country, we need you to ask for it. So, please, ask.”