EDMONTON – At a campaign stop this morning, UCP Leader Danielle Smith made a “Public Health Guarantee” to Albertans as we head into the provincial election. As Albertans will no doubt recall, this is the exact same campaign tactic former UCP leader Jason Kenney used before proceeding to privatize large portions of the Alberta health care system once in power.
“It felt like Groundhog Day watching UCP Leader Danielle Smith make another hollow public health guarantee,” said Chris Gallaway, executive director of Friends of Medicare. “Another provincial election is just around the corner, and the UCP are using the exact same political tactic as last time. Albertans shouldn’t be fooled – the truth is the UCP government’s record in health care is littered with failed privatization schemes, siphoning off our public health care dollars for the profit of private corporations.”
Since forming government, we’ve seen the UCP pursue privatization in our community labs, Emergency Medical Services, laundry & food services, ophthalmology, surgeries, seniors care, and home care—the list goes on. They even proposed an absurd scheme to send patients, along with their surgeons, to a for-profit clinic in British Columbia for their surgeries.
Danielle Smith’s recent first budget as Premier continued to accelerate the UCP government’s aggressive agenda of health care privatization, further fragmenting our health care system, and worsening the dire short-staffing situation it is facing.
“The privatization of our community labs to DynaLife continues to leave Albertans frustrated trying to receive their lab work, and the privatization of surgeries to for-profit surgical centres has only increased wait times as more and more workers are pulled from the public system,” said Gallaway.
But while evidence repeatedly shows that allowing private companies to profit from our health care system does not save money, reduce wait times, or improve patient care, Danielle Smith nevertheless continues to purport that for-profit health care delivery is benign so long as it is funded by our public health care dollars. In truth, every dollar spent on profit is one that isn’t going towards patient care.
“The UCP have already shown us that their 'public health guarantees' aren't worth the paper they're written on,” says Gallaway. “Albertans should think twice about whether they trust them with four more years of overseeing our public health care system.”
You can read more of Friends of Medicare's releases on health care privatization in Alberta here.
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