Alberta government’s declared savings from health-care cuts do not add up

Alberta government’s declared savings from health-care cuts do not add up

Math, apparently, remains hard.

Other than, possibly, calculus of a political sort.

On its face, Health Minister Tyler Shandro’s claim that firing 11,000 low-paid public sector health-care workers will save about $600 million makes little sense.

Others have actually done the same estimation and develop similar results, but it is a matter of simple arithmetic that if we divide $600 million by 11,000 workers, we’ll see a ballpark “cost conserving” of approximately $54,500 per staff member.

A take a look at the Alberta Union of Provincial Worker’ health-care general assistance services cumulative arrangement reveals the salaries of the workers who are most likely to be affected by these changes in black and white.

Annual pay for a full-time lab assistant, among the job categories targeted for layoff and privatization by the United Conservative Celebration federal government would work out to about $54,800 under the present AUPE contract. Yearly spend for many food service and laundry workers is now about $38,700

So even if their tasks are be entirely gotten rid of from the general public sector, even if we add all possible advantages including those apparently abundant public service pensions, it won’t be possible for Alberta Health Services to come up with anything like the guaranteed cost savings.

This is undoubtedly due to the fact that the work done by lab professionals, laundry workers, food service workers and so forth can not simply be made to disappear. Patients still have to consume; healthcare facility rooms need to still be cleaned, and those blood samples our physicians keep asking us to quit will still require to be analyzed for sugar, cholesterol and the 4 humours.

Shandro backhandedly acknowledged this throughout Tuesday’s news conference by pretending that the staff members in question won’t be losing their tasks– they’ll just be changing companies.

That stays to be seen. Even if it turns out to be so, it is a given these workers will be paid less than they were as public workers– as we can assume among this particular government’s goals is limiting their rights in the workplace by making it difficult for them ever once again to be members of a union.

However, they are still going to need to be paid something

After all, we have abolished slavery in Canada– if not wage slavery– so these newly privatized workers are still going to need to be spent for their efforts.

Let’s imagine that their new private-sector employers can get away with paying them 25 per cent less.

In other words the conserving is specific to be illusory.

And who is going to pay that? Why, AHS, naturally, through their agreement with the brand-new private-sector service suppliers.

Simply put, at finest this is a shell video game in which the government pretends to be conserving cash on salaries while investing more on services contracted from for-profit corporations.

Given the normal behaviour of big corporations, the first-year contract might be an offer. But costs will rise in subsequent years. In the long run, we will end up paying more.

Shandro declared there will be no layoffs amongst scientific front-line health-care workers. This is almost certainly not true, given that AHS says it is proceeding apace with plans to lay off at least 600 nurses in the short-term, and perhaps as numerous as 5,000 over the longer term.

However it is likewise a deceptiveness on the health minister’s part, considering that the majority of the workers the UCP intends to remove are front-line health-care workers too. That Shandro comprehends this is exposed by his mindful use of the word scientific to indicate members of regulated professions.

This is making a great deal of people unhappy, and not just unions as Premier Jason Kenney’s concerns supervisors pretend.

Even Brad Wall, back thens he was Saskatchewan’s premier and not just another Calgary oilpatch nobody, used to take notice of what his citizens wanted. And what Alberta citizens absolutely don’t want is a health-care system when again in chaos– which is exactly where the UCP seems intent on sending it.

There are even rumbles of discontent from among Kenney’s own handpicked panel members.

So what Premier Jason Kenney depends on with this rolling catastrophe is something of a mystery.

Maybe he arrogantly believes that no matter what he does, Albertans will never desert Conservative government as long as there is just a single dominant conservative celebration.

Possibly he’s wanting to provoke a strike or similar crisis from which he can emerge in a Trumpian law ‘n’ order gambit as the strongman who can conserve the country, or at least the province.

Or perhaps he puts ideology so far ahead of sound judgment he merely doesn’t care what will happen when he’s broken all the dishware. Admit it, Kenney is going to have a great retirement on his parliamentary pension no matter what occurs to the rest people.

Or possibly he’s in fact not all that smart and he’s still searching for an oil-price miracle.

It’s difficult to say. Something that’s clear is that the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic hindered any plan the UCP needed to do its worst in the first year of its required.

The electoral window throughout which damage like this can be committed by any federal government that hopes to be re-elected will be closing quickly. If Kenney is to implement his ideological program in his federal government’s first term, the crucial he deals with is to march or pass away.

Of course, with Kenney at the helm, the option dealt with by the UCP’s increasingly anxious MLAs in Calgary and even some rural ridings might be march and die!

Meanwhile, in B.C., John Horgan plots a various course

Meanwhile, over the Rockies and not so far away in British Columbia, where the NDP government will go to the surveys on October 24, Premier John Horgan is taking a drastically different method to the very same hard file.

Premier Horgan stated yesterday that cuts made by B.C.’s so-called Liberals (who are actually conservatives) during their years in power left the province vulnerable to COVID-19, and he pledged to keep making development on the B.C. NDP’s efforts to repair the mess the Liberals left.

” The B.C. Liberals passed laws that ravaged long-lasting care and resulted in the layoffs of 10,000 workers, most of whom were ladies,” said Horgan, a description that would surely sound bells in Alberta if our regional media was paying attention.

A number of the health-care workers laid off under the Liberals had to reapply for their old tasks at less pay, he noted, and lots of needed to work numerous tasks, helping the spread of COVID-19 when the pandemic gotten here in Canada.

So, Horgan stated, if the NDP is re-elected, ” We’ll make sure that the pay increases we put in place to survive the pandemic are made long-term.”

What’s more, he pledged his government will press ahead with its strategy to work with 7,000 more long-lasting care employees, and it will construct brand-new public long-term care centers throughout the province.

Not in Alberta? Pity.

David Climenhaga, author of the Alberta Diary blog, is a reporter, author, journalism teacher, poet and trade union communicator who has actually worked in senior writing and editing positions at The World and Mail and the Calgary Herald

Image: Tyler Shandro/Screenshot of Twitter video

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