2020 will be the year for fight back to protect our public health

Seasons Greetings from our Executive Director:

As the holiday season is upon us, we find ourselves reflecting on the past year and the events and changes that impacted us in 2019. This was a big year for FOM as we celebrated 40 years of advocacy. We celebrated all those who came before us; those who, from the inception of FOM, have organized, mobilized and helped to create a force to be reckoned with. We have garnered national recognition, and have over and over stood up to the forces of privatization that seem to return over and over again.

For the past four decades we have had many victories and many setbacks, yet through it all, it has been our conviction and understanding of the importance of public health care that has kept us going, and has strengthened our advocacy. Public health is a re-enforcement of the values that Canadians hold firmly: those of justice and equality.

Currently, Alberta is in a crisis of values. We have a government that has a deep hatred for the social state and public services; a government that celebrates individualism and the move away from the collectivism which embodies the caring and compassion necessary to advance our society. We have already seen the beginning of what seems to be an endless quest to privatize our health care.

This new political reality is not by accident, but by design. We have yet to see new or innovative ideas as to how to improve our health care, besides the same playbook of cuts to front line services. This government has a plan; one that has been around for years. It is not a ‘bold’ plan, but rather, an ‘old’ plan. They create a financial crisis, find the enemies on which they can blame their woes, then they under source, underfund and understaff our public services and our public health care, and offer the private sector as a solution.

Albertans elected this government, but they did not give them a blank cheque to do as they please. We are not prepared to accept policy changes on faith alone. We want to see the math; we want to see numbers that outline exactly how contracting out and privatizing our health care services will provide better services for Albertans or save money. We want to see real transparency as to how our health care dollars are spent. We need real commitments from AHS and the government about their agenda, especially when it comes to privatization, and not meaningless denials or fake promises scrawled on corrugated cardboard.

2020 will be a year of fight back; a year were we all must stand together to once again protect one of our most valued public services. We need to continue to remind our government that our public health system exists to provide health care for all, not to serve as a source of business opportunities for those who see Canadian health care as a fertile ground for profit.

We encourage you to start 2020 by calling your MLA. Leave a message, and let them know that we will not stand idly by while they undermine, underfund, undersupply and understaff our health care. We encourage you to join FOM, and help us mobilize and agitate for improved and expanded public health care for all Albertans.

We hope you’re able to take time during the holidays to relax and re-energize; to connect with your loved ones and reconnect with old friends. This upcoming year promises to be a big one for all of us, and we’ll need you to be fired up and ready to go in 2020.

In solidarity,

Sandra Azocar
Executive Director