By Letter to the Editor on January 22, 2021.
Editor: Below are a few comments about current health issues and the United Conservative Party of Alberta:
a) Per capita, Alberta has had amongst the highest number of COVID-19 infections in Canada. This can be largely attributed to Mr. Kenney’s reluctance to make the wearing of masks in public mandatory and to impose a timely full lockdown during the second wave of COVID-19 infections.
b) The proposed outsourcing of community laboratory testing to the private sector makes no sense. At present, Alberta Precision Laboratories, a subsidiary of AHS, provides an integrated and highly cost efficient service. Implementation of this policy will result in disruption, staff layoffs, very expensive equipment made redundant, and questionable savings.
c) The confrontational and amateurish approach adopted by Mr. Shandro during negotiations with physicians and the Alberta Medical Association is counter-productive.
d) Coal mining on the eastern slopes of the Rockies is going to cause air and water pollution, which will adversely impact public health and result in irreversible environmental degradation.
e) The government’s recent discontinuation of an integrated EMS dispatch service in Lethbridge, Red Deer, Calgary and Wood Buffalo has very little local support and is strongly opposed by the respective mayors. The current partnership between fire and ambulance services saves lives.
f) Recent out of country travel by UCP politicians and staffers shows an arrogant disregard for the provincial COVID-19 public health measures.
The UCP government is putting political expediency, narrow party ideology and short-term economic gain ahead of sound public policy, and there appears to be a reluctance to seek and use impartial expert advice. Health Minister Tyler Shandro should be replaced and Mr. Kenney held accountable.
Michael P. Greeff