Friday Focus: Red Alert!
Red Alert on Red Alerts
There were 135 red alerts across Alberta in the last 50 days, says HSAA, the paramedics’ union. A red alert means no ambulances are available in the event someone needs one. The frequency of red alerts is a long-standing problem in Alberta. As HSAA president Mike Parker pointed out, successive governments have failed to take action on this issue.
In 2018 the Alberta Liberals uncovered disturbing statistics around emergency medical services in Alberta. Our party put forward several solutions including hiring more intermediate staff, streamlining handover procedures, and incorporating new technologies. Our suggestions, and those coming from paramedics, have sadly been ignored by the current Alberta government and its NDP predecessors. The consequence is yet another avoidable healthcare crisis that puts Albertans at risk. Reliable EMS services are a necessity for all Albertans This must be fixed before an Alberta family suffers an avoidable catastrophe.
There is good news on the COVID-19 front in Alberta. Cases are down and projections suggest they should continue to decline. Albertans should be relieved to hear this news, I know I am. Hopefully, the UCP has learned the importance of restrictions and protective measures in battling this pandemic. The last thing we need is another “open for summer” moment that undermines all the sacrifices made by Albertans. We must not let our guard down prematurely again.
Jason Kenney has once again embarrassed Albertans on the international stage. The Premier said Alberta’s government will not partake in the COP26 climate summit, referring to the conference as a “gabfest.” Put aside how flippant Kenney is about tackling climate change, this also just doesn’t make sense as a strategy for defending Alberta’s oil and gas industry.
Albertans may disagree with some of those at this summit, but that is all the more reason to engage in a respectful dialogue and bring alternative points of view to the table. Instead, Jason Kenney is isolating Alberta. We can strike a balance between addressing climate change and protecting our oil and gas industry but we can’t do it with obstinate rhetoric. Albertans need a mature and diplomatic approach. Childish insolence is not the answer.
Premier’s Office Work Culture
A disturbing report came out this week alleging a disrespectful and toxic work environment at Alberta’s government offices. The claims come from a former high-level UCP government staffer and include allegations of sexual harassment. This is a reminder that sexual harassment remains a persistent problem in workplaces. One that must be eradicated. Everyone deserves to be treated respectfully. Our government and its members should be a model of good behaviour. The “old boys’ club” that allows men to behave badly toward others, particularly women, urgently needs to end. Respectful and equitable workplaces demand nothing less.