'All this amounts to is a premier shifting the deck chairs on the Titanic.' - HSAA president Elisabeth Ballermann.
Edmonton (15 Jan. 2010) - The cabinet shuffle this week by Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach is nothing more than "window dressing" for a failing government that refuses to listen to Albertans, says the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA/NUPGE).
"Without question, this government has lost touch with the quintessential component of successful governance - acting on the wishes of those who elect them to power," says HSAA president Elisabeth Ballermann.
"They fail, however, to acknowledge the real issue - Albertans' outrage with their mismanagement of important policies such as health care, education, natural resources and the province's finances."
Ron Liepert, the province's confrontational health minister, a magnet for growing public dissent, was moved out of his portfolio to energy. He has been replaced by Edmonton-Mill Creek MLA Gene Zwozdesky.
Meanwhile, in another move of significance to HSAA and other unions in the province, Edmonton-Castle MLA Thomas Lukaszuk has replaced Hector Goudreau as minister of employment and immigration. His responsibilities include labour issues.
"Albertans are smart enough to recognize when they're being ignored," says Ballermann. "All this amounts to is a premier shifting the deck chairs on the Titanic."
Ballermann said the shuffle betrays Stelmach's fear of what has been happening politically in Alberta with the faltering of his own Conservative party and the rapid rise in public support for the rival Wildrose Alliance Party.
"I think he should fear more the repercussions that will be brought to bear by a lack of voter confidence in his leadership," she added.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE