My fellow Albertans,
Our publicly funded and publicly delivered healthcare system and the principle of universal access to quality care have come under attack in this election.
Albertans, like all Canadians, place great value on the idea that all citizens deserve the best possible care, regardless of income or status. Stories of families losing homes to pay for medical bills are not limited to the United States. Many older Canadians can still recall the same thing happening right here in Canada.
It is almost incomprehensible that some people want to lead us back to those days. Yet recent proposals of Danielle Smith’s Wildrose Party do just that. The creation of a two-tier private health system, where wealthy individuals can pay to get better treatment, and get it sooner, is the foot in the door for American-style private healthcare. Allowing taxpayers money to be used to subsidize preferential, private health care just adds insult to injury.
We can’t count on Allison Redford’s PCs to stand up for public healthcare. In fact, the Conservatives have created chaos in our health system through constant reorganizations and repeated attempts to introduce more privatization.
They mislead voters about their real intentions before elections, only to reveal new health care “reforms” after being safely re-elected. Remember Ralph Klein’s “Third Way” plan for two-tier private health care after the 2004 election? Or the bed closures and nurse layoffs of Ron Liepert’s disastrous corporate style reorganization after the 2008 election?
Allison Redford wants to hand new senior’s care facilities over to private developers who will charge seniors more for daily living costs. She is careful to say that the Conservatives stand for “publicly funded” health care, but what she means is taxpayer support for private, for-profit health services. We just can’t trust the Conservatives to stand up for public healthcare.
In this election, the future of our healthcare system is on the line. What the Wildrose is publicly proclaiming they will do, the Conservatives will continue to try to accomplish by stealth.
Publicly funded, publicly delivered healthcare produces the best outcomes, at the lowest
cost, of any system. It also ensures fairness and equity in access to health services, something that’s critically important to Albertans. Properly funded and run, it is still the best health care system in the world. Join me in standing up for public health care, part of our heritage as Albertans and Canadians.
Leader, Alberta’s New Democrats