The Friday Focus is a weekly blog post from Interim Leader John Roggeveen. It covers some of the pressing political issues of the week.
The signs of strain are increasing for Alberta’s healthcare system. This week Edmonton zone hospitals were told to take extra inpatients to ease emergency room pressures. Meanwhile, the South Calgary Health Centre urgent care facility has had to cut back hours. Staff shortages are putting Albertans’ health and safety at risk.
Successive governments, conservative and NDP, have failed to deliver the kind of long term planning that could have prevented this crisis. We need a forward-looking approach to healthcare staffing that includes:
- Modern and flexible retention strategies
- Increasing mental health supports for healthcare workers to reduce burnout
- Improving the ability of foreign trained professionals to become accredited
- Fostering a culture of respect and trust between the government and healthcare workers
- Making education more affordable for future healthcare workers
- Expanding the use of Nurse Practitioners
This is what we would have seen under an Alberta Liberal government.
Penny smart and pound foolish
In the face of rising costs of living, the UCP has slashed the maximum Alberta Student Grant from $375 a month for full-time students to $250. They’ve also tightened the eligibility criteria.
When Alberta faces a skilled labour shortage increasing the challenges to students is foolish. Alberta needs people with the skills to build successful careers and grow our economy.
While the UCP are taking funds from students, they are more than happy to give out a massive bonus to the Chief Medical Officer. The salary sunshine list reveals that Dr.Hinshaw was paid a whopping $228, 000 bonus, bringing her total salary to just shy of $600,000.
This exorbitant bonus is out of step with other jurisdictions and the largest bonus for a civil servant in Alberta’s recorded history. When the UCP are making punishing cuts that hurt everyday Albertans they have no business awarding record-breaking bonuses to highly paid civil servants. A full inquiry into the handling of the pandemic, including the basis for this enormous bonus, must happen.
If you share my concern about the direction of our province and have ideas on how Alberta can correct the course it is on then I need your help.
We’re looking for Liberal members to bring their ideas forward to create policy proposals for our December 18th policy convention. If you’re interested in getting involved you can learn more here or at our August 10th Policy Workshop.