"We decided that we could not stay silent in the face of a serious threat to a health care system Albertans cherish and upon which they rely. We have a responsibility to speak out." — Mike Parker, HSAA President
Edmonton (07 May 2018) — In the face of political threats, Alberta's union of health care professionals has launched a campaign to raise health care as an issue in the next provincial election.
The United Conservative Party looks to privatize parts of health care system
"If anyone understands Alberta's health care system, it's the 25,000 members of the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA/NUPGE)," says Mike Parker, HSAA President.
"We're your trusted experts who work on the frontlines every day. We're there for you in your scariest, hardest and happiest moments. We know the system is already struggling, but we fear it could get much worse after hearing comments and seeing policies debated and passed at the United Conservative Party (UCP)," he says.
Among the resolutions passed a the UCP's founding convention were calls for privatization of certain health services and private delivery schemes for others. Earlier, suggestions of cuts up to 20 per cent to the health care system had been floated.
Health Matters campaign to highlight importance of public health care services
"We decided that we could not stay silent in the face of a serious threat to a health care system Albertans cherish and upon which they rely. We have a responsibility to speak out. That's why today, we're launching a campaign called Health Matters to raise health care as an issue in the next provincial election in 2019," says Parker.
"That decision was reinforced by what we heard coming from the UCP convention in Red Deer on the weekend," he continues. "We understand that there are many issues on the minds of politicians and voters, including jobs, the economy, climate change, human rights and revenue reform. We tend not to think about how important our health care system is until we need it, until we get diagnosed with cancer, until we're in a serious accident or have a heart attack, until a baby is born."
"We want to ensure that Albertans remember health care when they think about voting, instead of thinking of it only when they need it in an emergency or when they're sick. We want them to talk about health care with their families, friends, and colleagues. This is too imporant an issue to be ignored by politicians," Parker says. "In the next election, let's elect a premier and a provincial government that protect health care and keep it public."
The campaign will include television advertising, as well as online and social media elements.
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