Message from the UNA Local 115 Executive (Apr / May 2012)

Message from Secretary Ruth Duffy

Spring is in the air and politics are everywhere!

Alberta is facing a Provincial Election in the very near future. The writ was dropped this morning. The election will take place on April 23rd.

As one would predict, the political par-ties are making some very outrageous promises in order to garner support. Everything is on the table, from increases in spending on health care and education to new roads and schools, with no increase in taxes and still a balanced budget! Sounds impossible, it really is! All kinds of shenanigans are being used to gain time on the airwaves and space on the front pages of the major newspapers. Even inappropriate pictures on campaign buses are floated as means to get ‘free” publicity.

Alberta’s entire history is one of electing governments and re-electing them for many decades to follow. Sadly, this has led to a great deal of apathy in the elective process. Only about 40% of eligible voters cast a ballot, with very few young people becoming engaged. As a result the status quo is maintained, and the apathy increases.

The upcoming election will have a huge impact on all citizens and all levels of public services. The move to commercialization, privatization and deregulation of services from electricity to health care and education is moving rapidly forward with little opposition from the general public who frequently remains in the darkness imposed by the “spin doctors”.

Politicians love to use language to confuse the public. Right wing politicians love to use phrases such as “we fully support public health care”. What they do not say, is they support the public paying for healthcare, but the private sector delivering that care. That makes a huge difference. Privately delivered care looks at the bottom line, the profit margin, not a high quality of care. Medicare in the US is a prime example, where the costs to the public are the highest in the world, while the outcomes are among the worst.

It is our responsibility as citizens of a democracy to become informed and engaged in the democratic process. With-out the voters asking questions and holding politicians to account, new laws are passed that can adversely affect us all. A real example of this is the privatization of seniors’ care in this province. The recent scandal of an elderly woman with dementia who was “dumped” into the ER after her family had paid exorbitant amounts of money for care, is only one of many stories that happen weekly in Alberta. Private facilities have the ability to demand any amount of money from residents and families for care that is often appalling. Now, the present government is vowing to remove the “cap” on the amount such facilities can charge as an attempt to “encourage the private sector to build more such facili-ties”. Would it not be better for every-one if the government built and main-tained these facilities for public use? This is just one of the many issues fac-ing Albertans today. Without the active involvement of the public, these issues just continue to pile up.

With all of the “bafflegab” out there, how can an individual get to the truth? Again, it is by asking the hard ques-tions, face to face with the politicians.

Local 115 is working very hard to break through some of this confusion by sponsoring the delegate forum on.

April 16th at 7 pm, in the FH Auditorium.

We have invited candidates from all political parties to take part in this panel discussion. The delegates will have a few moments for introducto-ry remarks, followed by an oppor-tunity for participants to ask ques-tions and to challenge the responses.

I encourage you to become as engaged and informed as you can. Please come out to the town hall and bring your family and friends. It is only through this and other public debate that we can go into the voting booth knowing that we are fully in-formed.

Town hall was a great success! See our Facebook page for photos, etc.

Ruth Duffy
Secretary, Local 115
United Nurses of Alberta
Phone: 403-670-9960
Fax: 403-263-2908 e-mail: rduffy@una.ab.ca

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