I am a firm believer in voting in any election I am eligible for, but in pondering Greg Neiman’s editorial about shopping our vote around, I think I am starting to understand why voter apathy is on the rise in every level of the democratic process.
It is almost impossible to take candidates at their word when a campaign is a progression of rosy promises punctuated with damage control on perceived missteps or unflattering accusations made by opponents.
Apparently health care is right up near the top of the priority list for Albertans and rightly so. No matter who you elect on April 23, the end result will be similar because health care is more of a math problem than a political issue.
The people who provide our health care are well paid (and rightly so), the facilities and diagnostic equipment required are expensive and constantly improving, we are steadily increasing the workload through our sedentary lifestyle and less than optimum diet. Our population growth will continue to exceed the average and, last but not least, the baby boomer generation is set to provide the tsunami that will swamp the system as it exists now.
This would indicate that, private or public, there will be a large increase in spending in that area and we will pay either through taxes or insurance premiums in order to provide those people and facilities.
Or we can choose to ignore it and see just how long a waiting list can get.
All the parties claim they have the answer at hand but none are willing to confront the fact that if we are to recoup the backlog created by the slash and burn economics of the 1990s and add capacity for the future, it will probably equate to half of our provincial budget by 2020.
Just once, couldn’t a candidate or party come out and say, “We can have a top flight universal health-care system or we can have low taxes, we just can’t have them both at the same time.”
We are all grownups here, we can deal with that.