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Ralph Klein has gone and it is time to retire Ralph's World. Thanks to all of you who have supported this venture by contributing material and through your comments. It has been fun.

Should we get another blog underway? Let me know your thoughts by e-mailing me at johnnyslow@gmail.com.

John Slow
January 1, 2007

Sunday, March 05, 2006

SENSIBLE HEALTH CARE #5 

(EXPLODING KLEIN'S POLITICAL MYTH)

Politically created myths can be very powerful and are often socially destructive forces when widely disseminated and unquestioningly believed.

By far the most sensible way to provide timely access to medical services on an equal basis to all of Alberta’s people is by strengthening the public system financially and by increasing its efficiency.

Significant steps are already being taken in that direction within the public system even while attempts are being made at syphoning off resources into private facilities.

Progress is being made by essentially undoing practices like overloading operating rooms and understaffing hospital wards, practices that the Klein government, through its short sighted and irrational obsession with saving money, has forced health care workers into doing.

Why, then, are the Premier and his Minister of health now so obsessed with selling the public system even more short by manipulating numbers, distorting findings, mouthing half-truths, withholding information and accusing everyone who questions them of telling lies or talking “crap?”

The answer is: that this government’s propaganda machine (a.k.a. Public Information Bureau reporting only to the Premier), has created a political myth that they’ve repeated so often they seem to actually believe it themselves .

KLEIN’S POLITICAL MYTH TEACHES THAT: IF YOU ARE A TRUE “ALBERTAN” YOU DEEPLY RESENT AND HEARTILY DISLIKE PAYING TAXES TO YOUR GOVERNMENT.

Aided and abetted by a major portion of a subservient media this, irresponsible and unproven half truth, goes on to preach that, EVEN IF IT COSTS MORE, TRUE “ALBERTANS” WOULD, IF GIVEN THE CHOICE, MUCH PREFER TO PAY MONEY TO SOME MULTINATIONAL COMMERCIAL ENTERPRISE THAT CLAIMS IT WILL INSURE YOU AGAINST HAVING TO WAIT FOR MEDICAL SERVICES.

This myth is being imprinted on the unthinking and poorly informed public by the constant repetition of fear-loaded language; incessantly repeating words like “unsustainable”; “spiraling costs”; “out of control spending” at every opportunity.

Our Premier even claims that the health districts are demanding “billions” (once he had it up to $100.6 billion). That, he claims, threatens to soon use up the whole provincial budget because all the health authorities know how to do is "spend,spend, spend".

We must somehow rescue the language of public discourse from the conservative think tanks, the senseless right wing radio talk shows and the newspaper columnists who are often little more than irrational rabble rousers.

For starters, let’s begin talking about what we contribute to governments, not as taxes but as INVESTMENTS IN PUBLIC SERVICES; not as tax burdens to be shirked if possible but AS SHARED CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE NEEDS OF ALL CITIZENS WHETHER RICH OR POOR.

The truth is that we, the citizens of Alberta, already INVEST handsomely, in the finest kind of medical insurance a society can provide for meeting the medical needs of its people.

We, for example as one family, willingly INVEST more in what the medical services our health system provides us than we do for car insurance, fire insurance and theft insurance for our property.

In turn we have a right to expect that our government will invest the millions we, as a people, place at their disposal in hospitals, training programs for doctors, nurses and all necessary support staff.

We have a right to be genuinely angry, disgusted and critical, instead of proud and pleased when this government guts our hospitals, understaffs them, withdraws support for some services and then tries to get us to throw our system open to exploiters and opportunists in the commercial world.

Time we blew the myth Klein has created to justify undermining public health care out of the waters. Eh?

Blair McPherson

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