Dear Mr. Kenny Stop Demonizing the Public Sector

Dear Mr. Kenny,

I was disappointed with your and Mr. Shandro's press conference on the Covid-19 pandemic updates on Friday March 13. This is not a time to play politics. This is not the time to try to get your horrible budget approved by the opposition. It's the time to rip it up and start again. Not a time to postpone job cuts to nurses or leave doctors with uncertainty of how they will be paid.

We need to continue to fund health care. We do not need to add more now while during a pandemic to simply continue on with layoffs the minute this crisis is over. This crisis may end, but another will come up. We can't have our doctors or nurses leaving. We can't lose critical health infrastructure in rural areas. It will end up costing so much more to attract the lost professionals down the line than any minor savings you might be able to conjure up now.

We cannot and must not move towards more private healthcare. We need our public system. That public system will save lives. I fear for the death rates we will soon see in the States as Covid-19 takes hold. Italy's doctors have been forced to make difficult choices of who to save given that their system has collapsed under the magnitude of the outbreak. How will this play out in the States where so many people don't have insurance. Will they be denied treatment? Are we going to see higher mortality for the elderly and uninsured? Or only the uninsured as hospitals are forced to choose who to save. We should not be moving towards anything like their system.

For the moment our schools are remaining open. I'm not yet sure how I feel about this as a parent. During a time of crisis, especially one involving a potentially deadly pandemic, I want to have my little ones close to me, to know who they are with and their risk of exposure. I do trust the advice of our public health officials and CMO. It seems like sound advice. Keep the kids in situations where hygiene is enforced and there is a newfound intolerance for any illness. These new rules are going to mean that a large proportion of students will be missing every day. Teachers are going to be working over time to ensure all students are keeping up. I whole hardily supported teachers before this outbreak believing that schools needed more funding not less, but now we need to continue to add more. We need to ensure our class sizes remain small. Kids deserve the attention of their teachers as well as a bit of space around them to avoid another pandemic. Class sizes of 30+ are no way for kids to learn and a major risk going against all current public health regulations during a pandemic.

Now with the additional impact of crashing oil I think you need to re-work the entire budget. We definitely can no longer afford to lower corporate taxes and lose that much needed revenue. It was a bad idea when oil was at $30 a barrel and a horrendous thought at $17.

I am grateful that you have started to consult with the NDP and incorporate ideas that will protect all of us through increasing sick leave benefits. We cannot have anyone going to work who might be sick because they cannot survive two weeks without pay. As a society we need everyone to work together. Instead of imploring the NDP to help pass the budget, rip it up and start fresh. Our world has changed in the last two weeks. It is completely understandable to have to change things. We might need to move away from austerity measures when the global economy is crashing down around us. We likely need to focus on stimulus, diversification, concrete climate change action, maybe even that dreaded sales tax to ensure a sustainable revenue source. If not I feel Alberta will face a horrible recession.

I believe our province will come together to do our part to slow the spread of Coronavirus, even as it impacts us all financially, but we need your leadership and reassurance that you are protecting our vital health and education infrastructure not dismantling it. Passing that budget as it stands will start to induce panic as people literally begin to die because we you have caused cuts to resources that could have saved more people.




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