EDMONTON — This afternoon, Danielle Smith tabled her first Speech from the Throne as Premier. It promises disappointingly little in terms of protecting and improving Alberta’s public health care, continues to push an agenda of privatization, and provides no indication as to how the government plans to repair the damage they have wreaked on Alberta’s public health care system.
“Rather than taking this important opportunity to prioritize our public health care system for all Albertans, today’s Throne Speech continues the government’s ideological push to see more of our public health dollars going to boost private profits,” said Chris Gallaway, Executive Director of Friends of Medicare. “This Speech from the Throne and the agenda they’ve laid out for the coming legislative session will do little to help our struggling public health care system.”
Despite calls on the government to address the staffing crisis in health care, they have taken no action to improve working conditions for Alberta’s health care workers, nor to mitigate the public health factors that continue to put colossal pressure on our public health care system.
“We are in an urgent situation that requires urgent action with a workforce plan to deal with the widespread short-staffing, worker burnout, and closures impacting our entire public health care system,” said Gallaway. “Empty platitudes from this government are nothing without action. We need to put an end to the government’s failed privatization agenda which is only adding chaos to the system, and worsening the dire staffing situation facing our public health care.”
The government also continues to persist with their so-called "treatment first” approach to the ongoing drug poisoning crisis, in spite of repeated calls from the community to act to save lives – including a protest outside the legislature before today’s speech began.
“Albertans are dying in alarming numbers, yet the government refuses to waver in their resistance to ensuring evidence-based, life-saving health care and community supports are available to everyone who needs them,” said Gallaway. “This is a tragedy and an ongoing crisis that cannot continue to be ignored by this government. We can’t keep letting ideology get in the way of action that is so urgently needed to save lives.”
“After listening to today’s speech, Albertans should be very concerned about the direction that Premier Smith is taking Alberta when it comes to our vital public health care system,” concluded Gallaway.
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