Health-care report gives Tories failing grade

People have to wonder why Premier Ed Stelmach is trying so hard to defeat his own government, says a Red Deer man who helped the NDP create its new report on health care.

People have to wonder why Premier Ed Stelmach is trying so hard to defeat his own government, says a Red Deer man who helped the NDP create its new report on health care.

Floyd Van Slyke was among a group of about 45 people, including social work, nursing and political science students, gathered at Red Deer College on Tuesday evening to hear NDP leader Brian Mason give his report, titled Alberta Health Care: What People Want.

Red Deer is one of seven cities in which the NDP visited people to seek input for the 32-page report. Mason is touring those cities again to present the report, which will be given to MLAs when the new session of the Legislature opens on Thursday.

“The things we advocate will save money,” said Mason.

Albertans want four things from the health-care system, he said: they want their care to be of good quality, they want it accessible, they want it to be affordable and they want treatment in a timely manner.

Van Slyke, a former member of the Central Alberta Council on Aging, was among the group that participated.

After hearing Mason discuss the report and its conclusions on Tuesday, he said it has become apparent that the premier is bowing to pressure from international corporations that want to reap financial rewards from Alberta’s health-care system, including privatization of elder care.

Mason spoke about “misleading language” that has appeared in government statements and discussions about health care since the 2008 provincial election, Stelmach’s first as leader.

For example, when Stelmach’s government says it wants health-care professionals working to their full potential, that actually means licensed practical nurses will take over responsibilities that had been performed by registered nurses, said Mason.

While there was a severe shortage of RNs a few months ago, nursing students are now being told that there will be no jobs available for them in Alberta, he said.

One suggestion made during the discussions was creation of a planning secretariat to work with post-secondary schools and professional associations. The secretariat would ensure that the number of people graduating from various programs actually meets the system’s needs.

“We need to do better. It’s not acceptable that you graduate hundreds of nurses at great public expense and have them make a major commitment to their lives and then tell them that we’ve changed our minds, there are no jobs,” said Mason.

Severe problems developed after the 2008 election, when it became quite apparent that, if Stelmach’s government had a health-care plan, it was a closely guarded secret, he said.

Mason also touched on the impact of closing acute care beds and shifting long-term care beds to assisted living programs operated by private corporations.

Bed closures have created unacceptably long waits in emergency centres because hospitals have run out of room to put people.

Assisted living comes with extra costs that seniors and their families have to cover on their own, above the cost of accommodation, said Mason. His examples include $65 a month for four loads of laundry, $100 a month for help bathing, $300 a month for help getting to meals and $175 a month for people on oxygen.

Pharmaceutical and insurance companies will continue to pressure the province for a health care system that improves their profit margins, said Mason. Premier Stelmach has already backed down on some proposals, but privatized health care will always be waiting in the wings as long as PCs and Liberals are willing to accept donations from the companies that stand to profit from such a system, said Mason.

A publicly-owned and operated health-care system would actually work better and cost less, he said.

bkossowan@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The future of Westerner Park continues to be plagued by many unknowns, including when city council will make a decision about financing its operations. (File photo by Advocate staff).
Red Deer city council delays making decision on Westerner Park financing

It will mean missing the next opportunity to apply for a provincial loan

Nineteen-year-old Amanda enjoys a ride during a visit to Spirit’s Respite Ranch near Stettler. photo submitted
Busy days at Spirit’s Respite Ranch near Stettler

The ranch, which launched operations last summer, provides support through animal interaction

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer at the announcement that the city will be getting a drug treatment court Thursday. Jason Luan, associate minister of mental health and addictions, looks on.
Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
Veer concerned about rising COVID-19 cases in Red Deer

The City of Red Deer is reminding citizens to protect themselves against… Continue reading

Rode
Volunteering played major role in RDC awards

Under normal circumstances, the RDC Red Deer Bottling Athlete of the Year… Continue reading

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said on Thursday that the province has seen its first case of the B.1.617 variant. (Photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Red Deer nears record number of active COVID-19 cases

Alberta reports 1,857 new cases of COVID-19, 1,326 new variants

Curtis Labelle (second from left) and his band are planning a cross-Canada tour in 2022. Meanwhile, Labelle is continuing to host his weekly livestreamed talk show, Chattin 88. (Contributed photo).
Red Deer rock pianist takes on a talk show role

Curtis Labelle’s Chattin 88 gets views from around the globe

Toronto Maple Leafs' Nick Foligno (71) and Mitchell Marner (16) celebrate Marner's goal on Winnipeg Jets goaltender Laurent Brossoit (30) during second-period NHL action in Winnipeg on Thursday, April 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
Leafs end five-game winless skid with 5-3 win over Jets in North Division battle

Leafs end five-game winless skid with 5-3 win over Jets in North Division battle

Taylor Pendrith from Richmond Hill, Ont. salutes the crowd after sinking a birdie on the 18th hole to come in at five under par during first round of play at the Canadian Open golf championship Thursday, July 24, 2014 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
PGA Tour Canada splits into Canadian, American circuits for 20201

PGA Tour Canada splits into Canadian, American circuits for 20201

Like father, like son: Floreal emerges as one of Canada’s top sprinters

Like father, like son: Floreal emerges as one of Canada’s top sprinters

Toronto Blue Jays center fielder George Springer (4) walks on the field during a team workout, Wednesday, March 31, 2021, at Yankee Stadium in New York. The Blue Jays face the New York Yankees on opening day Thursday in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Injured Jays OF Springer to play in intrasquad game Friday

Injured Jays OF Springer to play in intrasquad game Friday

Toronto Raptors' Khem Birch (24) defends against Brooklyn Nets' Blake Griffin during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 21, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
Raptors ride strong 3rd quarter to 114-103 win over Nets

Raptors ride strong 3rd quarter to 114-103 win over Nets

Team Canada's Jocelyne Larocque celebrates her goal past the U.S.A. with goaltender Embrace Maschmeyer during first period of Women's Rivalry Series hockey action in Vancouver, Wednesday, February 5, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Stunned Canadian players head home after women’s world hockey cancellation

Stunned Canadian players head home after women’s world hockey cancellation

Health Minister Patty Hajdu is shown at a COVID-19 press conference in Ottawa on Friday, Dec. 11, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Kawai
Health Canada proposes new restrictions on talc in some personal care products

Health Canada proposes new restrictions on talc in some personal care products

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady passes under pressure from Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Alex Okafor during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 55 football game, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. Lawmakers are debating legislation to legalize single-event betting as a bill reaches final reading in the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Mark Humphrey
Bill on single-game sports betting on cusp of passing — but not for first time

Bill on single-game sports betting on cusp of passing — but not for first time

Most Read