PROGRESS ALBERTA: PROGRESS REPORT #202

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Your weekly update on Alberta politics for February 4, 2020

A review released by Alberta Health Services could open the door to big cuts and privatization in our health system.

The review, released yesterday, proposes a menu of options for reducing the provincial health budget, which include

At a total of nearly $2 billion, these cuts would amount to about 10% of the entire AHS budget–though it’s not accurate to say there are $2 billion of potential savings, as the recommendations vary in feasibility, are generally not free to implement, and may not all be followed by UCP Health Minister Tyler Shandro.

The United Nurses of Alberta have expressed serious concern and opposition to the report, urging Shandro not to use it as a cudgel in upcoming negotiations. But it’s unlikely that the UCP will hold back, given that privatizing the system and getting belligerent with union workers are two items already at the front of their agenda.

Sundries

  • A quick correction: in last week’s Progress Report we mentioned Kevin Libin as a founder of the Extendicare private-sector senior care company. Actually, that’s Alvin Libin; Kevin Libin is the very right-wing political tsar at the Postmedia papers.
  • The anti-safe-consumption-site rhetoric pushed by the UCP and some of their proxies last week set the stage for an announcement of $4.3 million in new annual funding for addictions recovery. The funding–just under one-seventh of an anti-environmentalist war room, if you’re counting–will go to centres focusing on abstinence-only treatment. The Premier continues to attack the existing and proven safe consumption sites, which he calls ‘illegal NDP drug sites.’

That’s all for this week. Please share our newsletter with any friends or family who you think would like political news and commentary from a progressive point of view. If someone forwarded this newsletter to you, you can sign up for it here. Donations to support our ongoing work are always welcome and if you’re interested in volunteering with us, just reply to this email.

Jim Storrie
http://www.progressalberta.ca/

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