“Get ready for the fight of your life.” ― Mike Parker, HSAA President
Edmonton (29 Oct. 2019) ― Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA/NUPGE) believes the current premier and government are being incredibly dishonest with Albertans about the new budget. While Premier Jason Kenney and Finance Minister Travis Toews claim to be protecting key services in health and jobs, a quick comparison of Budget 2018 and Budget 2019 numbers shows what is happening.
Comparing Budget 2018 and Budget 2019
- By 2021, the overall health budget is now targeted to be nearly $6.6 billion less: -10.7%
- By 2023, the budget target for health facilities and equipment is $876 million less: -30.3%
- By 2021, the budget target for ambulance services is $152 million less: -10.2%
- An average of 1,100 staff were added annually to Alberta Health Services over the past 4 years. With the freeze in the budget, that’s 1,100 lost jobs every year and that means fewer dedicated health care professionals on the front lines to care for Alberta’s growing (236,000 newcomers expected over the next 4 years) and aging population.
- South Edmonton hospital funding is eliminated.
- $297 million in construction investment for the new Calgary Cancer Centre is being held back over the next 2 years.
- Edmonton lab is canceled.
Agenda of cuts and privatization made clear
“Cuts to investment, cuts to facilities and equipment, construction delays and cancellations, and fewer front-line health care workers . . . What we are seeing is groundwork to justify a transfer of vital public services to the private sector,” says HSAA President Mike Parker. “With these funding cuts and job reductions, the current government has made it clear it intends to erode the public health system. Then it will claim a shift to private providers is necessary to better serve Albertans.”
“The Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA/NUPGE) is more than 27,000 trusted, highly skilled and expertly trained health care professionals who are motivated by caring for Albertans when they are at their most vulnerable,” continued Parker. “We put patient care first. I want Albertans concerned about their health care to know their health matters to us. We won’t allow it to be put at risk and we will continue our efforts to make it better.”
And Parker had one more thing to say to the current Premier. “You’ve made your cuts-and-privatization agenda clear. You’ve decided to attack front-line health care workers by going after our pensions. And, you’ve made it clear patient care means nothing to you. Well, it matters to us. Get ready for the fight of your life.”
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