Health spending deal shows a rare bit of good sense

Finally, Ottawa appears to be dropping out of the Health Care business. It is 40 years overdue! Health care is legally under provincial jurisdiction but past federal governments, for decades, have used it as a political football. And what has it got us? Excruciatingly long wait-times for a specialist, and more importantly, an unaffordable health care system for every province in Canada.

Finally, Ottawa appears to be dropping out of the Health Care business. It is 40 years overdue! Health care is legally under provincial jurisdiction but past federal governments, for decades, have used it as a political football. And what has it got us? Excruciatingly long wait-times for a specialist, and more importantly, an unaffordable health care system for every province in Canada.

The Canadian Press story in the Jan. 9 Advocate, Provinces worry about having no health accord, is the best news ever to come out of Ottawa regarding health care costs.

According to the article, federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is giving the provinces a 10-year funding package for health care with no policy strings attached. It is a very creative way of “suspending” the formal, national health-care accord to find out if the provinces have enough smarts and courage to clean up their own health system mess.

It is a beautiful move by Ottawa! I am hopeful that it will show how overspending municipal and provincial politicians, who have been using health care as a pork barrel, will be exposed and held accountable. Alberta is a worst offender.

Why do I say that? Because for decades, the way to get elected in any municipality is to promise the voters a health-care goodie — a new health clinic, a new hospital, and addition to the existing facility, a heli-pad, another doctor, more beds, and on and on.

The way to get unelected is to tell the voters that the province must cut back on health-care spending, which will mean that dozens (hundreds?) of seldom-used local health clinics will need to be closed down and consolidated into a larger town or city.

Is there anywhere in small-town Alberta a mayor or an MLA who has the economic sense and political courage to make such a proclamation? I think not — yet it must be done.

Alberta Health Services officials (including former CEO Stephen Duckett) have identified the changes that need to be made to streamline our system and bring spending in to line. Are these changes being implemented? No! Because pork-barrel politicians (and their voters) will not allow it.

So I guess we just keep on paying taxes into a bottomless pit.

Jim Swan

Red Deer

Just Posted

Last-minute entry: Jason Kenney will be part of Wednesday’s Westerner Days parade

Premier Jason Kenney is a late addition to Wednesday morning’s Westerner Days… Continue reading

Two men arrested on drug charges in Blackfalds

Blackfalds RCMP say they expect to lay more charges after two men… Continue reading

Edmonton-Red Deer-Calgary bullet train waiting for provincial blessing

A high-speed train project between Edmonton and Calgary, proposed in April 2018,… Continue reading

Home selling and building markets reflecting a tough economy, but hope in sight

Real estate sales and new home builds still lagging 2018

Former Sylvan Lake bank employee sentenced to three years in prison for $1M fraud

Red Deer woman was ordered to pay nearly $830,000 in restitution

VIDEO: Reports say Lashana Lynch is the new 007

Daniel Craig will reprise his role as Bond one last time

Hernandez, Gurriel lead Blue Jays to 10-4 win over Red Sox

Blue Jays 10 Red Sox 4 BOSTON — Teoscar Hernandez hit a… Continue reading

New head coach Nick Nurse preparing Canada for long FIBA World Cup run

TORONTO — Nick Nurse is going to prepare Canada’s men’s basketball team… Continue reading

Court of Appeal dismisses Paradise Shores arguments

A court will not hear arguments; sticks with appeal board’s ruling

Schitt’s Creek’ and its stars among Canadians with Emmy nominations

TORONTO — Eugene Levy thought the highlight of his Tuesday would be… Continue reading

Singh sees Quebec as ‘fertile ground’ for NDP as he hits province for tour

OTTAWA — The province of Quebec offers the federal New Democrats fertile… Continue reading

Airline confirms three dead after float plane crashes in Labrador lake

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Four occupants of a downed float plane remained… Continue reading

New developments in text-messaging controversy involving Manitoba chief

WINNIPEG — The women’s council of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs says… Continue reading

N.S. minister holds off comment on wrongful conviction case due to past as Mountie

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia’s justice minister — a retired Mountie — says… Continue reading

Most Read