CALGARY More than one month after the Klein government promised a plan for a dialogue with Albertans on health care, no evidence of any consultation exists. In fact, the governments own website insists that there are currently no consultations going on in the ministry of Health and Wellness.
On June 23rd, the Premier announced that the province was backing off on radical plans to introduce user fees and challenge the Canada Health Act. At the time, and just after the federal election, the government insisted that those proposals were still on the table, but only after a consultation with Albertans.
Now, according to the section of the Alberta government website dedicated to public consultations (http://www.gov.ab.ca/home/Index.cfm?Page=637), no plans are in the works to listen to Albertan views on the subject of health care.
CUPE Alberta President Bruce McLeod says the lack of any evidence that such a consultation is taking place, or about to take place, shows the government is not willing to listen to the views of Albertans.
Polls have consistently shown Albertans to be strongly opposed to the privatization of health care, said McLeod. And nobody wants user fees and private insurance plans. So the lack of any real mechanism to listen to citizens is telling.
McLeod, whose union represents about 6,000 health care workers in Alberta, said he expects the government to proceed with its agenda after an election is out of the way.
Watch for Klein to tell us that the cards and letters have been calling for reform, said McLeod. But without public hearings, polling or other formal surveying techniques, Albertans will recognize it for what it really is: a cash grab and a sham.
Contact: Lou Arab