Transparency and consultation should be at the top of the government's key objectives for 2010.
Edmonton (4 Jan. 2010) - Transparency and consultation with all stakeholders, including its unions, are critical resolutions for the Stelmach government in 2010 if it hopes to regain the trust of Albertans, says the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA/NUPGE).
"The Stelmach government received lumps of coal from most Albertans for its performance in 2009," says HSAA president Elisabeth Ballermann.
"From health care to seniors' issues, education (advanced and K-12), social services and infrastructure, 2009 was marked by a litany of gaffes and mean-spirited policy decisions," she adds.
"HSAA respectfully encourages the premier and the Alberta government to consider the following resolutions for 2010."
Top 10 New Year's Resolutions
- Resolution 1 - Stop the chaotic slash and burn health care cuts and engage in meaningful consultation with all stakeholders. Hiring freezes, voluntary exit programs, and bed closures are just a few examples. Health professionals cannot provide quality services when caseloads grow and personnel numbers shrink.
- Resolution 2 - Honour contracts that have been negotiated in good faith, whether they are with public sector workers or the not-for-profit sector. If legally binding contracts are the justification for multi-million dollar severance packages for senior executives, why are those of modest wage earners and of organizations whose employees work for poverty wages fair game?
- Resolution 3 - Stop the assault on our most vulnerable citizens: the proposed closure of the Alberta Hospital Edmonton, funding cuts to services for the disabled, even cuts to modest comforts for mentally ill citizens (though we note these were reversed as a result of a public outcry). These are all examples of a government that has taken a page from Ebenezer Scrooge.
- Resolution 4 - Stop the privatization agenda: pharmacy services, rehabilitation, diagnostic services, long-term care and the list goes on. Like dripping water that erodes stone, individual privatization efforts, whether completed or contemplated, serve to shift public services to the private, for-profit sector. Ultimately they will cost Albertans more of their hard-earned money.
- Resolution 5 - Take responsibility for decisions that have undermined government revenues rather than demanding that the people who provide or depend on these services pay the piper. Flat taxes, royalty rates and corporate tax cuts, all reduce the pie. With a growing population and an economic recession created by unscrupulous financiers, it is inevitable that demands for services will increase, and will require a larger slice of a shrunken pie.
- Resolution 6 - Recognize the value of public services as a key economic building block and recognize the men and women who provide these services, wherever they provide them. They are there night and day, holidays or not, to ensure that our roads are cleared, emergencies are responded to, health care is delivered.
- Resolution 7 - Give young Albertans a reason to hope and to pursue higher education. Tuition hikes and hiring freezes combine to drive some of our brightest young women and men out of the province. We need them now and we will need them in the future. Once gone, they may not want to return.
- Resolution 8 - Utilize the skills, wisdom and insights of the people who have devoted their lives to providing services to Albertans when planning change. You may be surprised by the results.
- Resolution 9 - Recognize that sustainability is about more than money. It's about art, culture, equity and fairness. It's about making our communities livable and of ensuring a dignified quality of life for all.
- Resolution 10 - Take Albertans seriously when they say they are unhappy. Failing to do so may well lead to electoral change.
"Living up to these resolutions would go a long way to ensuring that Alberta is the kind of place that we can proudly claim as our home," said Ballermann. "I wish all Albertans - including our politicians - the best of the season, and hope that we will see a direction that is more compassionate, more just, and more visionary in 2010."
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