October 30th, 2020

Notley calls on Kenney to suspend health-care cuts


By Lethbridge Herald on March 11, 2020.

Opposition leader Rachel Notley, alongside finance critic and Lethbridge West MLA Shannon Phillips, speaks to reporters Wednesday calling for a moratorium on changes to the health-care system introduced in the recent provincial budget. Herald photo by Ian Martens @IMartensHerald

Tim Kalinowski
Lethbridge Herald
tkalinowski@lethbridgeherald.com
The NDP is calling on the Kenney government to immediately suspend job cuts and changes to front-line health care in Alberta to deal with the pandemic COVID-19 outbreak.
Opposition leader Rachel Notley, flanked by Opposition Finance Critic Shannon Phillips, was in Lethbridge on Wednesday to call for a moratorium on broad-based changes to Alberta’s health-care system introduced in the recent provincial budget which will cause “disruption and chaos” at a time when the province’s health system needs clarity and certainty as it ramps up to deal with increasing instances of COVID-19 in Alberta in the coming weeks and months.
“We are concerned about problems with respect to understaffing,” Notley said, “and not having people or additional staff ready to supplement the work those folks have. We also know, of course, there will be struggles with them having them quarantined should they become infected. So we are actually going to find pressures on our current staffing levels as a result of the virus itself.”
Notley said any disruptions to the health-care system at this critical time could lead to greater instances of outbreak and infection.
“This is not the time to be injecting instability and chaos, and a reduction in resources, into our health-care system. We must have the complete backs of all our front-line health-care providers. They should know their government and their province is behind them as they get ready to go through a very hardworking and focused phase in the work they do (due to COVID-19). We need to be investing in the additional supports that will be required in our health-care system. The fact of the matter is, in the last two months, we have been in the midst of the opposite of that under the leadership of this government.”
When asked if the NDP could be perceived as being opportunistic in the face of a crisis as they have called for such reverses all along, Notley stated the outbreak of COVID-19 merely reinforced what front-line health workers, physicians and service providers have been saying all along about the negative impacts by disruptions the Kenney government has brought to health care in the province by stretching resources too thin and imposing unilateral changes which affect how doctors and other medical professionals can deliver their care.
This current crisis has simply borne out what the province’s medical professionals have been saying; advice, she says, which has largely been ignored by the Kenney government to date.
“It was always the case that we disagreed, for a number of good reasons, with the strategy adopted by the UCP to subsidize their $4.7-billion corporate handout by cutting the health-care services that are available to Albertans,” confirmed Notley. “However, that does not, in any way, shape or form, negate the very clear situation we are in now, where there is not a single expert who does not acknowledge that there is going to be a significant amount of pressure put on our health-care system in the weeks and months to come.”
Notley also called on the province to take action to introduce emergency economic measures to offset the effects of the COVID-19 shock to the world economy combined with a devastating drop in oil prices in recent weeks, including stimulus spending, forming a dual-party committee to deal with the crisis, and by immediately reversing $4.7 billion in corporate tax cuts introduced in last fall’s budget.
And finally, she called on both the federal and provincial governments to take strenuous actions to protect workers who may have to self-quarantine as the possibilities of a broader outbreak grow, including suspension of employer demands for doctors’ notes when people decide to self-quarantine, expanded EI benefits for those who may face layoffs as the crisis potentially grows, and the setting up of an income replacement fund for those who are self-employed or unable to access EI benefits while in the midst of a quarantine.
Follow @TimKalHerald on Twitter

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Dennis Bremner

Math by these two was obviously not there strong suit in School.
They continually harp on the $3 billion in tax relief to the Oil Companies yet if they were still in power mathematically this group would have us another $15 billion in the hole over the $58 billion that they put us in.

Notley and Phillips have now become the poster children for “oppose for opposing sake” much like SCS they will use and say ANYTHING to keep their Union Jobs or Union like jobs even if misleading! If Kenney reversed the reductions, then the NDP will claim victory and go after the deficit climbing as a result.
If there are signs the best move is to cancel some of the proposals I am sure the UCP will figure it out, unlike the NDP who never cancelled a Union Job in their life no matter how broke a province was, because its their electoral base, so $58 billion is a far better idea, then attempting to reduce Gov liability with falling revenues????
So its easy to preach from the holier than thou position but had UCP been in power for the last 5 years and not the NDP for the previous 4, we probably would have $58 BILLION to spend on COVID that we don’t have now because of this group of mathematically challenged clowns!!!

Southern Albertan

With due respect, and it made me smile, re: had the UCP been in power for the last 5 years…..It is a reminder that the AB Conservatives, in power, for 40 + years after Lougheed, did not follow Lougheed’s ‘Six Principles’ for resource development: “Behave like an owner, Collect your fair share, Save for a rainy day, Add value, Go slow and Practice statecraft.” It possibly could be said if they had followed the ‘Six Principles,’ there might have been $100 billion + in the Heritage Trust Fund by now.
The Notley NDP did the right thing with deficit budgeting because Alberta was in recession when they took power in 2015.
Now, we have to worrry, not only that the Kenney UCP austerity program would push Alberta into recession, now, because of COVID-19 and the global oil pricing issues between Russia and OPEC, we can expect Alberta to, for sure, be in recession. Austerity is the wrong thing to do during recessions.
Here is another perspective on things, including the issue of “effective public health policy and neoliberal economic doctrine being incompatible,” which includes having enough public health care professional folks on the front lines.
“It’s Almost As If The New Coronavirus Has Evolved To Exploit The Vulnerabilities Of The Modern Neoliberal State”
http://www.albertapolitics.ca
Rachel Notley and David Climenhaga would both be getting expert information on adequate staffing and treatment of COVID-19 from their trusted colleagues at United Nurses of Alberta, the union for Registered Nurses, who if you get COVID-19 and need acute care, one or more of those RNs might just be responsible for saving your life. Cut staffing and well…..the result might not be pretty.

Dennis Bremner

Considering the first case of COVID was reported out of China in Dec 2019 and the Budget that started the thinning out of Public Servants with the Budget Oct 24 2019 the suggestion would be the UCP should be fortune tellers.
Based on what we all see, I am sure the UCP will adjust to the changing times and of course this little rant by the NDP Duo is a headline grabber and thats all.

No idea what your perception of how you stimulate the economy but its no different then operating a household but on a grander scale. So if your liabilities prevent boosting the economy there is not much you can do about it.

It would be reckless and a death knell for Alberta to now go on a spending spree when our income was literally halved by the plummet in oil and now COVID

If you had a crystal ball and could tell us all when COVID would be over, one could then guestimate the amount of stimulation we could handle and still pay the bills. But you, nor I or anyone else can tell us that. So do you hunker down for the longterm managing your money responsibility in hopes the stimulus later does achieve something?

The only crystal balls belong to the Gals of the NDP who can criticize everything and if wrong can then just move onto the next criticism, but the only people they are really fooling are diehard NDPers

If Kenney gets significant help from the Feds suddenly Notley and Phillips look a tad foolish to say the least. Its pretty hard to claim popper and go on a spending spree before compensation is settled. Their is logic to all this but of course you have to take the NDP sunglasses off to see it!

Southern Albertan

What will probably need to happen for an Alberta recession is stimulus spending. The federal government might have to do this too re: COVID-19 and the global oil price issue. Even in the day, ’08, the recession year, the Harper regime went into deficit and did stimulus spending.
Stimulus spending for both Alberta, and Canada, means higher deficits.