Tuesday morning the UCP government announced massive cuts to AHS.
Side-stepping the swelling public support for doctors and nurses, the UCP are going after workers in less high-profile roles: support staff like housekeepers, laboratory workers, and laundry workers.
In total the cuts amount to 11,000 layoffs--that’s 11,000 good, stable health care jobs eliminated in the middle of a pandemic.
The government plans to outsource this work to the private sector. They claim privatization will create $600 million in savings for the province. I have my doubts that these savings will materialize. Historically, privatization of services in Alberta has tended to make things more expensive, not less. CEOs and shareholders dipping their hands into the pot is going to mean less funding for services and less pay for workers, as always.
What’s worse is that these 11,000 layoffs are just the beginning. CBC acquired a copy of AHS’s draft plan and it proposes nearly an 8% cut across the board to public health care funding in Alberta.
Here’s just a few of the proposals from the AHS draft plan:
- Eliminating up to 1800 full-time nursing and clinical support roles
- Raising fees for seniors’ continuing care and putting a fee on home care
- Reducing pay for nurses, and
- Bringing in legislation to break collective agreements with health care workers
And this is what the UCP government plans to do in a pandemic in the face of overwhelming public support for health-care workers. If this is what they think they can get away with now, imagine what they’ll try next.
The privatizing and layoffs announced today are expected to reach their peak in 2022-2023, ahead of the next election. We can’t stop them by voting. If Alberta’s health care workers strike to protect their jobs and their patients, are you ready to join them on the picket line?
Following the example of virulently anti-harm-reduction Harper administration, the Kenney government has been dismantling safe consumption services in Alberta all year. But the Alberta model isn’t a path to recovery, writes Corey Ranger for the Progress Report--it’s harm production in action.
Not content to just feud with doctors, the UCP’s Finance Minister Travis Toews tried picking a fight with nurses last week.
Move over, Calgary--Edmonton is the province’s new COVID-19 hotspot with cases skyrocketing. Premier Kenney continues to advocate a mostly hands-off, honor-system approach, though it clearly isn’t working.
The UCP government may not have created a lot of jobs for working-class people, but the political staffer business is booming. The latest hire: Stephen Harper’s 24-year-old son Ben Harper, who now enjoys a six figure salary as a policy advisor to the premier.
- In case you missed it last week--researchers at the Canadian Anti-Hate Network caught members of the ‘Alberta Separatist Youth League’--and prominent organizers in the Wexit movement--discussing their plans to sneak literal Naziism into Alberta’s Wexit parties. Duncan interviewed the author of the report for the Progress Report podcast last week, and we’re working on a followup story with responses from the Wexit leaders--I read the draft this weekend and what they had to say is wild. Keep an eye on our social media for that story later this week.
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