Out of all the sectors in Alberta for the provincial government to start spending cuts in – front-line health care workers shouldn’t be on any list, especially after a chaotic, turbulent, catastrophic and deadly pandemic that tested the Alberta front-line workers from all walks of life.
So many provincial government employees have put their lives on the line to help their fellow Albertans survive and/or make it out without many scrapes and bruises – because of the unrelenting and indiscriminate COVID-19 pandemic and everything in-between and afterwards.
Earlier this month, there was talk once again about the province asking Alberta nurses to take a pay cut. It’s bad enough many Alberta doctors have decided to pull up roots and move elsewhere with a better health care program and without the government’s wishy-washy attitude about Alberta’s health care practitioners.
Obviously, there’s a disconnect with health care and the powers that be – even though the government has worked alongside health care professionals throughout the pandemic, previously and will continue, moving forward. And money or lack thereof, as always, is at the root of the problem on both sides.
Let’s face it, governments like citizens, make bad investments from time to time. Just look at the recent provincial government’s investment in gas and oil and its continued efforts to keep corporate taxes low with benefits for corporations (or sponsors). It’s like investing in Blockbuster Video after online streaming services became one of the most popular things since sliced bread. You’d think someone in government would have been a wingman and tell the head honchos not to invest taxpayer money into pipelines in the United States, especially within the current volatile climate. Oil and gas investment is an extreme risk, while the world has been turning its back on fossil fuels for decades – looking at alternative energy investments instead. The current Alberta government must have not got the memo.
Did you know Alberta has other sectors across the province rather than oil and gas? It’s true. There’s agriculture, which is pretty big in southern Alberta, to name one. But, as many governments before it, provincial politicians seem more concerned about the players in the oil and gas game and its toxic overbearing nature over Alberta’s political elite. But, most Albertans rely on oil and gas for travelling, heat and etc. – it’s a given, oil and gas is here to stay, in some shape or form. But, that doesn’t mean alternatives shouldn’t be explored, accepted, adapted and invested in (for the Alberta government to make more money, so it doesn’t have to cut the wages of front-line workers).
It would seem, the taxpayer and employees of the provincial government continuously need to bail out the government for its mistakes. Here’s a notion, perhaps more corporate taxes or even the idea of a sales tax might cover expenses if the money is used wisely and for the right things. If it’s not health care, it’s education. Yes, purse strings need to be tightened, but to what extent and to whose detriment? Yes, Alberta Health Services does have excess like any other organization – present government included.
Do public officials really need an entourage of staff? And/or travel to so many photo ops and press junkets? It’s not the good old days when a public official needed to tour the land to meet with others and conduct government business. Today, there’s a myriad of ways to connect without having to resort to spending money, which is apparently lacking. Then there’s the outdated and archaic ways of government. It simply needs an overhaul. If anything, the pandemic has proven work can be done remotely, without many expenses and with gusto.
Perks, bonuses, raises, tax breaks, expense accounts, honourariums and the like – most Albertans don’t get these little extras, why then should elected officials? It’s just like any other job. What’s next, expected tips? If anyone should be getting tips, it’s the front-line workers like nurses that continue to work in the trenches set for battle – while the provincial government continues to threaten pay cuts.
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This editorial originated in the Sunny South News