Premier accused of ‘vanity’ over doable health-care job cuts

Alberta NDP Opposition Chief Rachel Notley accused Premier Jason Kenney of vanity Monday after public sector unions have been placed on discover final week that 1000’s of staff might lose their jobs over the subsequent three years.

At a joint Edmonton information convention with the United Nurses of Alberta (UNA) and the Well being Sciences Affiliation of Alberta (HSAA), Notley mentioned the job losses may have an effect on 8,000 paramedics, lab technicians, registered nurses, licensed sensible nurses and different health-care staff.

Kenney did not say he meant to fireplace nurses, shut hospital beds and privatize lab and ambulance providers through the election marketing campaign, Notley mentioned.

“The outcry since Friday is real.”

On Saturday, tons of of academics, nurses and different public sector staff protested exterior the Calgary lodge the place Kenney’s United Conservative Social gathering was holding its annual basic assembly. 

Kenney made a quip concerning the protest in his keynote speech to UCP members hours later, remarking, “I’m reminded of what premier Ralph Klein used to say. ‘If a day goes by and there’s not a protest, I’m wondering what I’m doing wrong.”

Kenney was ridiculing and diminishing protesters, Notley mentioned.

“To Jason Kenney, I will say, ‘This is not a joke,” she mentioned. “And the arrogance of laughing away people who may lose their jobs … that is a new level of arrogance, a new level of disregard for the majority of Albertans.”

UNA president Heather Smith mentioned Friday’s letters to the unions exhibits the UCP authorities needs to denationalise some components of the health-care system.

Within the letter to the nurses’ union,  Alberta Well being Providers (AHS) raised the prospect of “reconfiguring services provided at some smaller sites.”

“What smaller sites are those?” Smith requested. “I’m sure some people in rural Alberta would like to know, Mr. Premier. What sites are being targeted and what services are being targeted?”

The HSAA was advised AHS subsidiary Alberta Precision Laboratories plans to contract some public lab providers to non-public suppliers, which may have an effect on no less than 850 jobs. The federal government additionally advised HSAA it’s taking a look at privatizing ambulance providers. 

HSAA president Mike Parker mentioned 3,000 EMTs could possibly be affected if the federal government goes forward with that change. Parker mentioned union members will resolve whether or not to take labour motion towards their employers. 

“Our members are afraid. They have gone to school for many years to prepare for their careers to help Albertans,” he mentioned. “In no way did they prepare to harm Albertans. And that’s what these job actions will do following cuts that are so extensive coming from this government.” 

The Alberta Union of Provincial Workers additionally obtained phrase on Friday of doable job cuts: 2,500 staff of the Authorities of Alberta, as much as 3,000 basic help staff employed by Alberta Well being Providers, and 400 licenced sensible nurses and health-care aides employed by Alberta Well being Providers. 

AUPE president Man Smith mentioned his members are making ready for the opportunity of a strike early subsequent yr if collective bargaining shouldn’t be profitable.  

“Obviously our goal is to get negotiated agreements at the bargaining table,” Smith mentioned at a information convention Monday afternoon. “But to be perfectly frank, what we’ve seen from this government … they’re obviously looking for a confrontation. I don’t think we’ll be able to get a deal at the negotiating table.”

The NDP launched a movement for an emergency debate on the cuts however did not get the required unanimous consent of the Home.

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