"NDP government has already budgeted for 3 per cent increases in the next 2 years, so the freeze suggested by Kenney will take those increases off the table. That means a cut of $621 million in 2019/20 and a cut of $636 million in 2020/21." — Mike Parker, HSAA president
Edmonton (21 Feb. 2019) — The UCP’s health-care guarantee released by Jason Kenney this week could result in $1.2 billion being cut in health spending over 2 years, says the President of the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA/NUPGE).
“This was a classic performance from a political actor, full of hypocrisy, denial and dodges. The 26,000 members of HSAA/NUPGE have heard this kind of thing before and can see through it,” said Mike Parker, HSAA President.
Kenney's spending plans likely to mean 3% a year rollback in health care spending
“Kenney only committed to maintaining spending on health — any increases will only come if they can find savings elsewhere. The NDP government has already budgeted for 3 per cent increases in the next 2 years, so the freeze suggested by Kenney will take those increases off the table. That means a cut of $621 million in 2019/20 and a cut of $636 million in 2020/21. Slashing that much will inevitably lead to front-line cuts as the system struggles to keep up with population growth and inflation,” said Parker.
Promise of no layoffs not credible
“Kenney said there were no plans for lay-offs, echoing the language of his fellow Conservative hero Ralph Klein in the 1990s. Klein broke his promise and thousands of health-care workers lost their jobs after seeing wages rolled back by 5 per cent. There is simply no reason to believe Kenney this time."
“Kenney cites the amount Alberta spends on health care per person (while ignoring that spending as a percentage of GDP is one of the lowest among Canadian provinces), but blames that on the NDP instead of where it belongs — at the feet of successive Conservative governments. It was the Conservatives who failed to build the thousands of long-term-care beds Albertans needed, who blew up a hospital in Calgary and failed to build or repair facilities in Edmonton, Red Deer and across the province,” said Parker.
Kenney copying Doug Ford and Brian Pallister
What's happening to health care in Manitoba and Ontario provides a good indication of what Albertans can expect if Jason Kenney is in control of the health care system. Both Doug Ford and Brian Pallister promised to protect services before getting elected. But once they were sworn in, the knives were out for health care.
Dangers of privatization ignored
“Kenney talks about the problems created by continual reorganization, but forgets to mention that it was the Conservatives who created that chaos. He talks about privatization without acknowledging the risks that private companies suck money out of care, that they treat only simple cases while leaving costly ones to the public system and that they put patients at risk when they go out of business,” Parker said.
“Quite simply, Kenney and the Conservative party have zero credibility on health care," said Parker."HSAA/NUPGE members and the public know that health matters. They were fooled by Klein before. We won’t be fooled again.”
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 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