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Throne Speech: Premiers Should Not Play Partisan Politics with Health Care; Concrete Commitments Needed From Provincial & Federal Governments

Throne Speech: Premiers Should Not Play Partisan Politics with Health Care; Concrete Commitments Needed From Provincial & Federal Governments

Health Coalitions across Canada were pleased with Throne Speech promises to expand public health care to create a universal comprehensive public pharmacare program and to set national standards for long-term care. However, concrete commitments are conspicuously absent. 
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Government must take responsibility for the outcome of Alberta’s other ongoing public health emergency

Government must take responsibility for the outcome of Alberta’s other ongoing public health emergency

Yesterday, while the media was focused on the federal throne speech, the Alberta government quietly released their much anticipated Opioid Response Surveillance quarterly report. Harm reduction advocates, including those whose lives have been personally impacted by overdose, have been pleading for Jason Luan, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions to release the latest report since the quarter ended in June. Now that it is publicly available, the report confirms what those close to the issue have feared. The most up-to-date data shows that 449 people have died from apparent unintentional opioid poisoning in just the first six months of 2020.

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Sawhney must protect the health of Albertans with disabilities and stop privatization

Sawhney must protect the health of Albertans with disabilities and stop privatization

Friends of Medicare are calling on Minister of Community and Social Services Rajan Sawhney to listen to the advice of guardians and a physiotherapist and stop any movement towards privatization of disability services.

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Friends of Medicare responds to the Cambie decision

Friends of Medicare responds to the Cambie decision

Today, the BC courts made a historic decision on the infamous Cambie Case, ruling that provincial laws which limit a two-tier health care system do not contravene the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. 

Public health care advocates and proponents in British Columbia and all across Canada have long been anxiously awaiting the decision, which held the potential to drastically alter the direction of the future of our public health care system. With this 880 page ruling, the court has fortified the central principle that underlies Canada’s public health care system—that care should be available based on our need, not on whether we have the ability to pay. Today, we have witnessed a major win for public health care, and for every Canadian who relies on it.

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AB government doubles down on the sale of seniors’ care to profit

AB government doubles down on the sale of seniors’ care to profit

Today’s announcement by Premier Kenney and Health Minister Shandro, boasting a ‘new approach’ to creating continuing care spaces featured nothing of the sort. Instead, what we’re seeing is this government perpetuating the same old system that has been in crisis for decades. A crisis that is the direct result of rampant privatization, and a funding structure that creates incentives for both not-for-profit and especially for-profit providers to underpay their staff, and understaff their facilities.

“It is beyond comprehension as to why this government refuses to learn from the ongoing public health emergency that is COVID-19, despite the glaring light it has cast onto the long-existing cracks and weakness in our senior’s care system,” says Sandra Azocar, Executive Director of Friends of Medicare.

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International Overdose Awareness Day

On International Overdose Awareness Day Albertans must also mourn the loss of Lethbridge's SCS

Today, on International Overdose Awareness Day, we remember the Albertans who have died of overdose, and send out our solidarity to the parents, grandparents, children, families, and friends of those who have lost their lives. 

Ironically, while we remember and mourn, we must simultaneously watch this government move ahead with the closure of ARCHES, North America’s busiest supervised consumption site (SCS). ARCHES, located in Lethbridge, was recently audited by the Alberta government, which found evidence of misallocation of public funds. In response, rather than to address the issue directly, the government has instead elected to cease all funding to ARCHES, and close the facility altogether. ARCHES’ SCS, which opened in early 2018, sees up to 800 visits a day, and provides many additional services including needle pickup, community outreach, and referrals to addictions treatment and other supports. The facility has been replaced for the time being by a mobile site with a 3 person capacity.

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Backroom deals, political influence are dictating Alberta's health care

Backroom deals, political influence are dictating Alberta's health care

Today’s CBC story highlights the lengths that this government will go to in order to push their privatization agenda on Albertans. A new private orthopedic surgical facilitythe largest ever in Alberta—has been proposed on the site of Ericksen Nissan, next to the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton, and has already gained the Minister of Health’s “tentative political support.” 

5 orthopedic surgeons, the Principal Advisor for the Minister of Health, lobbyists, and representatives from Ericksen Nissan have all come together, hired an architect and have had ongoing ready access to the Minister of Health. “This deal shows unequivocally how ideologically driven health care delivery objectives are mixing with political influence and interference in this province,” states Sandra Azocar, Executive Director of Friends of Medicare. “Behind closed doors, away from any public accountability, scrutiny, or oversight, the Minister of Health has given ready access to those who seek to profit from the poor health of Albertans.”

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Open Letter: Defunding Lethbridge ARCHES SCS

If you or your organization would like to add your names as signatories to this open letter, please email fomcampaign@gmail.com.
 

 
Original Sent: July 16, 2020
 
To:  Jason Luan Minister, Tyler Shandro
Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, Minister of Health
Calgary.foothills@assembly.ab.ca, health.minister@gov.ab.ca
CC: Premier Jason Kenney
Premier of Alberta
premier@gov.ab.ca
 

 
Open Letter: Defunding Lethbridge ARCHES SCS

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Bill 204 openly advertises the sale of blood in Alberta

July 09, 2020 11:52 AM

Bill 204 openly advertises the sale of blood in Alberta

On July 8, 2020 MLA Tany Yao introduced Bill 204: Voluntary Blood Donations Repeal Act. This work-shy, mere 3-page bill simply calls for the repeal of the Voluntary Blood Donations Act (2017). It offers no alternative to address our current dependency on US plasma-derived products, and no reason to necessitate this repeal, except to further this government’s never ending quest to privatize our public resources.

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Friends of Medicare’s initial statement on Bill 30

July 06, 2020 4:48 PM

Friends of Medicare’s initial statement on Bill 30

The announcement of Bill 30: Health Statutes Amendment Act, made by Health Minister Tyler Shandro today, highlights this government’s demonstrated lack of commitment to Albertans’ public health care. If passed, the omnibus bill would make sweeping changes to Albertans’ health care, including repealing or changing 9 pieces of existing health legislation.

“Bill 30 represents yet another step in the systemic process of privatization that this government has been committed to since prior to the election,” says Sandra Azocar, Executive Director of Friends of Medicare. “It signals that this government is unable or unwilling to learn the necessary lessons from a pandemic that has made abundantly clear the importance of a responsive public health care system.”

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