Albertans need a Premier who will protect and strengthen public health care

Albertans need a Premier who will protect and strengthen public health care

May 19, 2022

Albertans need a Premier who will protect and strengthen public health care

Last night, Jason Kenney announced his decision to resign as UCP Leader after receiving 51.4% in his leadership review. Details of a process to replace him have yet to be announced.

This change in leadership is happening at a time when Albertans are struggling with a health care system in chaos; surgeries are again being cancelled due to short staffing, families are having to line up outside of Emergency Rooms to get in, EMS red alerts are becoming increasingly common, and tens of thousands of folks are struggling to find a family doctor.

“Our public health care system is in urgent need of leaders who understand the principles of public health care and who are committed to acting quickly to ensure its success,” said Chris Gallaway, executive director of Friends of Medicare. “Albertans want leadership and a health care system that’s there when they need it. Unfortunately, we have not had that leadership the last three years.”

Under Jason Kenney, the government has moved quickly on their ideological push to increase the presence of private, for-profit delivery in our health care system. Hardly a week goes by without an announcement of further cuts or privatization in the system, most recently ophthalmology services.

“Throughout the pandemic, Albertans have watched over and over as our leadership has abdicated their responsibility to protect our public health, never wavering from their agenda of prioritizing private profits over the public good,” says Gallaway. “Under Jason Kenney’s leadership, it was always too little too late, and it’s the patients and the health care workers in the system who continue to suffer the impacts of those short-sighted decisions.”

The timing of the departure on the part of Premier Kenney is also a concern. As Albertans head towards a provincial election, we hope that this does not serve as a means to deflect some of the responsibility for our current health crises that have been precipitated by his ongoing lack of leadership.

“This is a political decision that we hope will not distract from the urgent, multiple health care crises this province is facing,” said Gallaway. “Albertans have been outspoken about their opposition to the cuts and privatization that have been imposed on our health care system under this government, and we will continue to do so. Regardless of who is Premier, or which party is in power, Albertans need to see concerted and decisive action from all of our leadership if we are going to get our public health care system back on track.”

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