Friday, November 21, 2008

Another chance to get it wrong

There's always a silver lining: For the market ideologues running the Alberta government, an economic crisis is just another excuse to take another run at public health care.

As provincial Liberal leader Kevin Taft put it, within weeks of oil prices dropping the government is already talking about slashing away at health care again and hiring private health care proponents to run the Alberta Health Services board.

Most of the governments new appointees to the board that replaces the regional health boards are oil men with no experience in the medical system - no actual health care professionals of course - plus appointees with links to American private health care corporations.

Most of the board members have extensive business backgrounds in the oil and gas, financial and legal sectors, and as developers. While a few members previously sat on health region boards, critics questioned why there were no health professionals included or people with direct expertise in delivering care.

The list of board members includes Edmonton's Tony Franceschini, president of developer Stantec Inc., which the NDP highlighted has several contracts with Alberta Health.

The appointment of Jim Clifford, an Alberta native now working for a communications firm in New Jersey, also raised some eyebrows. Clifford's company has several clients with private-sector interests in the health system, the opposition noted.

NDP Leader Brian Mason claimed the composition of the board is "the clearest signal yet" the government intends to move toward an American-style private health-care system.

Never mind that most rational economists consider an economic downturn to be the time to put more money into public spending and never mind that Albertans have signaled over and over again that they expect the public health care system to stay public.

Any opportunity to undermine it will always be gleefully jumped at by the callous profiteers running Alberta.


theo said...

Traitorous ideologues each and every one of them. Alberta seems to produce an inordinate amount of this toxic scum branch of humanity.

Andre said...

The number of oil men on the board is not encouraging. In the oil business, executives have no problems making massive cuts and downsizing when business is slow. I worked in a Health Region in Alberta in which the existing CEO was ousted by the board and replaced by an oil company executive--massive cuts followed very quickly.

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