"A recent poll shows that the vast majority of Albertans reject cuts to public services and agree that there should be an increase on taxes for the wealthy and corporations."- Elisabeth Ballermann, HSAA President.
Edmonton (08 March 2013) – Sick and injured Albertans are being forced to pay the price for decades of Conservative fiscal mismanagement, says Elisabeth Ballermann, President of the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA/NUPGE), the union of health-care professionals.
“Earlier this week, Finance Minister Doug Horner warned this was going to be a lean, mean budget and he’s delivered one that is worse than mean – it’s a bullying budget, and the victims are, as always, those least able to speak for themselves, including sick Albertans,” says Ballermann, who represents more than 23,000 health-care professionals.
This health budget represents a cut of more than $200 million from the increase promised by the ‘predictable five-year funding plan’ that was to allow the system to recover from Ralph Klein’s devastating cuts.
“The government has failed to match funding to population growth and inflation. That means that front-line services will be cut. Expect wait lists to mushroom and quality to suffer. We simply can’t find those kinds of savings by looking for efficiencies in administration. We can’t lay off our patients or downsize the elderly,” says Ballermann.
“When health-care funding is cut, patients bleed. The minister needs to explain how many surgeries will be cut, how much longer Albertans will have to wait for an ambulance, for home care or rehabilitation, or to be admitted to hospital in an emergency because of this budget,” says Ballermann.
“Instead of meanness, Albertans wanted fairness. They wanted to fix our broken revenue system to make wealthy corporations and individuals pay their fair share, so we can afford the services we need. To be in one of the richest jurisdictions in the world and be unable to afford basic services is indefensible,” she says.
“Unfortunately, the Conservatives figure it’s easier to download their mistakes onto working Albertans than to ask the wealthy to pay their fair share. A recent poll shows that the vast majority of Albertans reject cuts to public services and agree that there should be an increase on taxes for the wealthy and corporations. It is shameful that the government is ignoring Albertans while pandering to the elite.”
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE