Jason Kenney betrays Albertans with plan to privatize lab services

“Their decision to move forward with privatizing lab services in Alberta is asinine and will lead to worst outcomes for future outbreaks.” ― Mike Parker, HSAA President

Edmonton (22 June 2020) ― “Jason Kenney and the UCP seem to have learned very little during the current pandemic,” says Mike Parker, President of the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA/NUPGE) President. “Just a few short weeks ago, the premier was praising the work of our public lab workers during the worst health emergency we’ve experienced in decades. Today, he wants to sell them off to the highest bidder.”

Public labs correlate with COVID-19 containment

Alberta’s public labs have been directly responsible for the containment of COVID-19 at low levels. Alberta has been recognized as a world leader in the pandemic response because of their public labs and the highly trained professionals who make them run. Selling off labs to private providers just does not make sense and puts profits ahead of health.

We are seeing stories from around the world where private health operators refused to test and treat COVID patients. In countries like Ireland and Spain the government had to take over the private companies for the good of their people. Elsewhere, like the U.S., testing was limited due to the personal costs to patients, including those with insurance.

“At a time when resources in Alberta are limited, how does it make sense that public dollars would go toward profits for private companies?” says Parker.

Privatization protects profits, not people

Friday’s announcement goes even further than the pre-COVID MacKinnon report and calls for even more privatization and profiteering of Alberta’s health-care system than was recommended.

“Kenney lied to Albertans when he promised to protect our public health-care system,” Parker continues. “Today it’s our public labs. What’s next? Albertans should be very concerned.”

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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