We must stop the UCP plan to turn our health care into an American-style for-profit system
EDMONTON – As Canada’s premiers ramp up their Canada Health Transfer campaign, Alberta’s largest worker advocacy organization, the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL), launches a letter-writing campaign to the Prime Minister, encouraging more federal health-care funding, but urging federal dollars must be tied to publicly-delivered services.
In a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, AFL president, Gil McGowan says “our public health care system needs more capacity, and it is the job of our government to add that capacity, not erode it to satisfy investors in the private market.”
The AFL is responding to recent moves by the UCP government to privatize Alberta’s health services, including the switch to private delivery of lab services and laundry services. Additionally, a recent AFL blog points out the contradiction between Premier Kenney’s claims about Alberta’s level of health-care spending compared to other provinces and the data showing that Alberta is, in fact, spending less on health care than most other provinces. The AFL raises questions about the impact of the UCP’s cuts to health-care funding, battles with doctors and nurses, staff layoffs and sweeping privatization on the quality, accessibility, and public oversight of health care in our province.
The AFL shares the concern of several public advocacy groups that “siphoning money into private clinics and care facilities that duplicate services and reduce oversight is simply not in the interest of Albertans.” McGowan notes that “not only are profits skimmed from the wages of workers, but the quality of care is often lower, workplace conditions are often poor, and there is less public accountability.”
“Let me be clear – Albertans do not trust Premier Jason Kenney and the UCP to have untethered control over our health-care system” says McGowan. “We know the current Alberta government has a strong desire to use the pandemic as a cover to carve up our health services and give our public dollars to corporate shareholders. The majority of Albertans, like the majority of Canadians, believe that our health care should be funded and delivered publicly, as has always been intended by the Canada Health Act.”
McGowan warns that Alberta’s health care system has been impaired by the same people who now use that impairment as a means to drive their privatization agenda saying “the facts speak for themselves; the UCP are misleading Albertans.”
Director of Communications, AFL