McGowan urges voters to reject both conservative parties and, instead, support parties that will "go to the wall" to keep Medicare public
Alberta voters are clearly turning away from the Conservatives, but a massive poll conducted for the Alberta Federation of Labour over the past two days shows that most Albertans don't support one of the main platform promises made by the front-running Wildrose party (click here for poll results).
At the heart of Wildrose's so-called Wait Time Guarantee is a promise to use public funds as seed money to facilitate the expansion of corporate, for-profit health care. Wildrose leader Danielle Smith has said that a Wildrose government would consciously and deliberately encourage the development of a parallel, for-profit health-care sector.
She says such a sector will improve health care by introducing more choice and competition – even though experience and research from around the world (and even right here in Alberta) shows that for-profit delivery of health services costs more and delivers lower quality care.
"We were concerned that in all the enthusiasm to get rid of the Conservatives, who clearly have been in power far too long, Albertans haven't been looking closely enough at what the Wildrose has to say about health care. That's why we decided to do the poll," says AFL president Gil McGowan.
"Well over 26,000 Albertans from all over the province responded to the survey, and the vast majority – 57 per cent – told us that they are opposed to using tax dollars to expand profit-driven health care. Only 15 per cent support the Wildrose idea of funding for-profit care with public money. Twenty-eight per cent were undecided. If we look at just those who have made up their minds on this issue, 79 per cent are opposed to public money going to for-profit health care. What the poll shows is that there is no meaningful support for the Wildrose prescription for health care."
In addition to releasing the poll results, McGowan is also circulating an open letter to Albertans, urging them to reject both of Alberta's conservative parties and, instead, vote for parties that actually believe in Medicare and will "go to the wall to defend it."
"The notion that people should vote for the Conservatives to stop the Wildrose and defend Medicare is ludicrous," said McGowan, explaining the rationale for sending the letter.
"This is the party that brought us Bill 11 and the Third Way. More importantly, if the Conservatives lose, as they seem likely to, then the party will almost certainly move to the right to chase the supporters they've lost to the Wildrose. They will also almost certainly turf Alison Redford and replace her with someone much more conservative. Do you really want to rely on someone like Ted Morton to stand up for Medicare when it's under attack? Frankly, that's a nightmare situation. When the fight to preserve Medicare comes, as it almost certainly will with a Wildrose government, then we need parties and MLAs who will stand up to the Wildrose, not join in the carnage."
The AFL's province-wide survey was conducted April 17 and 18 by the firm Public Polling. 26,487 Albertans from all regions completed the questionnaire, meaning the survey has a very small margin of error (plus/minus 0.6 per cent 19 times out of twenty).
For more information call:
Gil McGowan, President @ (780) 218-9888 (cell)