Alberta Throne Speech signals more of the same

Sandra Azocar, Executive Director of Friends of Medicare, issued the following statement today regarding the Alberta Government's Speech from the Throne:

"In the government’s Throne Speech today, Albertans heard a very similar tune to the Redford government’s speech in March 2014. Being under ‘new management’ translated into new wording and rhetoric to describe the same things we have seen and heard year after year when it comes to the delivery and governance of our health care.

Highlighted again was the ‘tremendous’ population growth that Alberta will see in the next decades, however the Prentice government indicated that it plans to hold spending below inflation and population growth – meaning less money spent per person on health care. All these individuals moving into our province come here to work, so they pay taxes and, like all Albertans, they deserve access to timely and quality public health care services. Health services are essential for the recruitment and retention of a healthy and productive workforce.

The Throne Speech made brief reference to seniors’ care, but failed to specifically address the need for long-term care beds to address the long-standing shortage. An immediate expansion of long-term care is necessary to relieve pressures in emergency rooms and acute care hospitals.

When it comes to health care policy, the speech was little more than a reiteration of announcements already made by the government. This government may be under new management, but Albertans don’t need managers; we need leaders. The status quo won’t do."