As we end 2020 we reflect on a year that, though it has presented us with personal, social and economic challenges, has also provided us with a very real opportunity to reassess our priorities as individuals, families and members of a society at large. COVID-19 and its tragic consequences have shone a light on the importance of a well-funded, staffed and resourced public health care system on which we can all rely. Despite the challenges, this time has only strengthened our resolve to continue to fight to protect and expand our vital public health care. Healthy people make for a healthy economy.
Throughout the turmoil of the past few months, Friends of Medicare has been at the forefront of this unprecedented challenge for our province. We have held virtual rallies, press conferences, and webinars, and we continue to be an oft-quoted organization in the media, helping to focus the political discourse on the importance of our public health care. Nationally, we have worked with the Canadian Health Coalition and the other provincial and territorial health coalitions, collaborating to address our shared commitment to protecting and strengthening public health care across this country. We have engaged with new and old allies to push to change our province and country for the better. Our shared vision is one where our health care system is responsive and well-resourced; where our front-line workers are respected and valued; and most importantly, where we see political will to expand and improve a publicly funded, delivered, and accountable health care system.
It is also crucial that we recognize that the success of our health care system is due to the people who work in it: those front line Albertans who know exactly where the areas of improvement are, and who continue to perform admirably despite being face-to-face with the realities of COVID-19. Thanking and recognizing them is not enough—we need to ensure that the political will to support them, fund them and resource them is there as we continue to navigate this pandemic and beyond.
It is our sincere hope that this pandemic has at the very least served to create the consciousness necessary to make changes that are needed to improve and expand our public health care, so that society as a whole can emerge stronger and kinder. We cannot and must not go back to the status quo. We owe it to our front line workers who have stood between COVID-19 and ourselves, to all Albertans who have lost their lives, and to the families and communities who are grieving.
On behalf of the board and staff of Friends of Medicare, I wish you all a restful and healthy holidays, and hope that you can join us for what will surely be a busy year as we resist all those who attempt to undermine our public health care.
— Sandra Azocar, Executive Director
Friends of Medicare