July 20th, 2024

Hope is not a strategy, real investment is

By Lethbridge Herald on February 24, 2024.

Shannon Phillips – NDP MLA for Lethbridge West

Surgeries are being canceled, doctors are planning their exit from the province, nurses’ hours are being cut, and approximately 800,000 Albertans don’t have a family doctor. What will it take for this government to invest in healthcare?

As we brace ourselves for the unveiling of this year’s budget, what’s front of mind for many Albertans is the stark reality we’re all facing when it comes to this province’s healthcare system — a system that is currently hanging on by a thread…of duct tape.

Currently, the government’s status quo for healthcare is characterized by neglect, underfunding, and chronic understaffing. And things are only getting worse.

Right here in Lethbridge, Chinook Regional Hospital has a shortage of anesthesiologists. The situation has become so dire that the Department of Anesthesia anticipates having less than 50 per cent of the staff required to operate by April of this year.

This will mean not only the cancellation of elective surgeries, but it will mean that residents of Lethbridge who require emergency or obstetrical services will need to be transferred to another hospital, hours away.

Albertans deserve better.

They deserve better than endless wait times, canceled surgeries, and the uncertainty of whether their loved ones will survive the journey to another city for emergency care. They deserve better than duct tape.

And let’s not forget our medical professionals, because they deserve better, too. They deserve better than being u

nder-resourced, they deserve better than being burned out, and they deserve better than being constantly ignored by their government.

This situation is in no way isolated to Chinook Regional Hospital or the City of Lethbridge. All across this province there is clear evidence of a crumbling healthcare system.

A recent study showed that more than 60 per cent of family doctors are considering leaving Alberta due to their practice not being financially sustainable. At the same time, more than 800,000 Albertans do not have a family physician.

The UCP’s vision for Alberta’s future seems mired in maintaining the status quo — a status quo that is untenable for our healthcare system and detrimental to the well-being of Albertans.

Serious investment in our healthcare system is not an option, it is a necessity, and if that is not reflected in the upcoming budget, it will represent a monumental failure by this government.

Simply put, the current budget allocations are failing to meet the basic needs of Albertans, and that needs to change.

In order to sustain the current trajectory, we would require a minimum of a five percent increase in the budget. 

But no one wants to sustain the current trajectory — not the physicians struggling to keep their practices afloat, not the nurses facing slashed overtime, not the 800,000 Albertans without a family doctor, and certainly not the residents of Lethbridge losing access to surgeries and care.

We need urgent intervention through a budget that prioritizes the needs of everyday Albertans. We need a budget that prioritizes the recruitment and retention of medical professionals. We need a budget that works with frontline staff and not against them. We need a budget that supports healthcare in rural communities.

But it doesn’t stop at the budget, because a budget is just numbers and words on a page; it’s a promise, and this government has a long history of broken promises. 

Just this week the Premier paid for air time on TV to tell you she won’t be delivering on the key promise the UCP made in the election: a personal tax cut. She also made it clear that her government is fine with the chaos in public services. 

Instead of taking meaningful action, the UCP will just sit back and hope for the best.

I am keen to hear from you about the Budget and what is missing from it. Please call 403-329- 4644 or email Lethbridge.West@assembly.ab.ca.

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Southern Albertan

Again, what may make every other issue in Alberta pale in comparison, is the Alberta drought. A suggestion is to have a look at Phillip Meintzer’s Twitter feed today. The photos of the Oldman River reservoir are disturbing and the pie chart showing how water is allocated to different users is interesting, largely agriculture. Commentary includes how this drought could render Smith’s budget moot. This disaster re: water, is already happening.


There must be lots of water out there. After all, there is enough water to push another coal mine at Grassy Mountain to the regulator.

Southern Albertan

Or, will the UCP/TBA expect agriculture to ‘water-share’ with coal? We could well see which voting base is the most important.


The new causes of the week. No doctors, despite it being a Canada wide problem, it is centered in West Lethbridge. Next up, the Caribou crisis, and then of course the drought. There is no end to those living in the fear of the next crisis. Anybody look at the CBC story in 2003, Doctors are a 20 year issue. Anyone ever go back and look at the dust bowl 30’s. History and facts don’t apply to the eco warriors. Yes, Drought may be an issue, but what is the solution other than what we should have been doing all along, conserve and kicking the kids out of the shower after 5 minutes. Short of asking the Blood and Pikani to to a rain dance, what is your solution. Heaven forbid we pray for rain, lol.


you continue to present irrational and nonsensical examples and extremes to support a faulty outlook. we have many problems that require attention, and, seeing as many problems are caused by our actions, and lack of, they can be addressed.


Agreed Biff… Buckie’s rants have me imagine that he loads a shot gun shell with a load of those barely coherent and associated thoughts, shoots that up through his nostrils, into his brain, and those thoughts then ricochet around in there in utter chaos. Obviously no lifeguard was on duty for the gene pool the day Buckwheat was concocted.


Beautifully written! Kudos!


Oh Mrs. Phillips, ever the optimist aren’t you? We have sat back and witnessed your “nothingness” for past two terms in office “representing”???? us here in West Lethbridge. Are you for one second suggesting that Premier Danielle Smith and our UCP government is the route of all the evil of which you speak? Or rather is Premier Smith and the UCP subjectively repairing the damage(s) caused by you and your NDP counterparts (Notley) due to the flagrant irresponsible spending and the loading up of administration staff, patronizing “party faithful” and funding/endorsing failed/hurtful ventures like our Lethbridge “supervised consumption site” .

How much money (“$0.00”) did your government contribute to our “Heritage Trust Fund”? Rather, if your government sustained, we were in grave danger of depleating the fund due to wasteful spending.

A lady of your stature should consider the “depth of the water” before you jump in, as you have done in this instance, lest you drown.

Last edited 4 months ago by HaroldP

All in on the Heritage Trust Fund deception, Harold? Do you save money when you are not paying the bills? As for water, there is no need to measure when the rivers run dry.


Sophie your trust fund comment re deception is absolutely on point. Danielle is simply engaged in yet another shell game .
Speaking of dry rivers… it is obvious that H.P and Buckie are treading water in drought dry reservoirs.


Well my first thought is to cut off the Haig River to the Castle ski resort and divert what they can to Pincher Creek. Having children be able to drink water at school is far more important than making snow and flushing toilets at an elite ski resort. What do you think?
P.S hallelujah, its snowing.
Really Really


What do I think? I have never been to the Castle ski resort. I have never inspected their water management practises. But I suspect that a large percentage of water they use for snow making purposes runs off or permeates the ground water and I imagine other water uses a the facilities are disposed through septic fields and/or a smaller wastewater reservoir treatment system, then eventually ends back in that watershed.
Agreed, Hallelujah, it is snowing.
You have made remarks to “the 30s”, which I interpret as a reference to the “Dirty Thirties”. I catch your drift… an oversimplified drift regarding climate associated with drought. Much of the disastrous drought effects during that period were actually related to the inappropriate farming techniques practised by the colonial farmers from Western Europe ancestry, the Brits, French, and Germans as examples. These farmers practised land management that had proved somewhat efficiently in the moister climates of their ancestors, but caused massive erosion on the much drier North American grasslands and cleared parklands, as well as land that never should have been broken. In contrast the Ukrainian farmers as an example saw much less soil erosion on their farms as their ancestry taught them to not unnecessarily till the land (in fact this habit caused them to earn the title “lazy Ukes”. They should have been called “Those Bright Ukrainians”! Just as notably the indigenous farmers managed their tilled farmland equally as well given their knowledge of the prairies climates and soils.
Current farming practises are notably a part of our climate issues, the droughts. Drainage of wetlands, filling in pothole ponds and lakes, clearing of shelter belts as well as natural woody species, as well as mono-cropping are huge contributors to these drought problems. These land management practise have come back to shoot our agricultural industry in the foot… Big Time. “There is No Free Lunch” is a principle that is plainly at work in this regard.
Buckwheat I sincerely think if you want to relate climate to the 30’s you could do much better… you could use the example of the agricultural disasters of Mesopotamia as your reference. The study of this region and its history is a true view from above compared to the 30s. Lots to read though Buckwheat… an intensely studied bit of mankind’s folly.


well stated


So rant and ramble BEFORE you know what the plan is. It is well known the doctor shortage is Canada wide for decades, very heavily in administration in part thanks to your 4 year hiring binge. Please tell us once more what you did to reduce wait time during your four year tenure.


Hopefully Danielle doesn’t drop her Etch n Sketch before we all get to read that plan.


A comment someone would expect from the “intelligentsia” from no particular Uni. Why don’t you just wait for the plan and comment.