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I look southward and see the swirling Health Care debate in the United Stated and (still) marvel at the public system we have set up here in Canada.  Yet, the Alberta Tories seem to think that Health Care is a bad thing.  I quote from David Eggen’s Op-Ed from the Edmonton Journal:

[…] As it happens, health expenditures in relation to gross domestic product in Alberta have stayed at between five and seven per cent for the last 15 years. We continue to compare favourably to other jurisdictions. The Canadian average is about 10 per cent, France and Switzerland are at about 11 per cent and the United States is at 15 per cent. To me, this sounds pretty sustainable.

This helps to reveal the real agenda behind Liepert’s and Duckett’s draconian actions. It is not about “saving medicare” or responding to the recession. People don’t stop getting sick when the economy is weak.

The Alberta government’s real plan is to destabilize our health-care system so it can implement private, for-profit experiments to “fix” medicare. They are purposefully breaking the health-care system so they can hire private contractors to repair it at inflated prices. […]”

Eggen is right on the money when it comes to the model of first breaking the public system, and then rebuilding it with private contractors reaping the profits.  They tried that in Bolivia; it did not work out so well.

The problem here is the Zombie Electorate which would happily vote a frakking can of beans into office as long as it represented the Progressive Conservatives.

If you would like a non governmental view of what is going on with the Health Care system in Alberta check out the Friends of Medicare Web page.

Let’s Dial the Way-Back machine to September 18th, 2007.  Alberta’s Royalty review was released for all to see and read.  The contents of the report indicated that we as Albertans’ were getting a raw deal on the Royalties being extracted by the various private energy companies that had taken up residence in Alberta’s Tar Sands.  See the whole document here. (Catch a critique of the Royalty Review here)  This is from page 7 of the Executive Summary.

alberta-tar-sands-before-afterAlbertans do not receive their fair share from energy development. The royalty rates and formulas have not kept pace with changes in the resource base and world energy markets. Albertans’ own the resource. The onus is on their government to re-balance the royalty and tax system so that a fair share is collected. This must be done within an equitable and flexible administrative framework that maintains Alberta’s competitive edge for energy investment.

The total government take (Alberta and Canada, taxes and royalties) can be increased with Alberta still remaining an attractive investment destination. The Alberta Royalty Review Panel recommends that the total take for the energy sector be increased by sector, as shown in this table.”

Current Sharing Recommended Sharing

Current Sharing Recommended Sharing
Albertans’ Share Developers’Share Albertans’ Share Developers’ Share
Oil Sands 47% 53% 64% 36%
Conventional Oil 44% 56% 49% 51%
Natural Gas 58% 42% 63% 37%

Okay, nothing unreasonable going on here.  Consider Norway or even Alaska for successful royalty planning.   Comparatively speaking, Robert Sheppard in his Reality Check article says: “Norway’s technique seems to be to throw virtually everything it gets from offshore oil into the fund and to try to live off the cream. Alberta’s has been to live off its royalties and, if there’s any cream left over, toss some of it into the fund.”

The Results?

In 2004 the Alberta Heritage Trust Fund stood at 12.4 billion.

In 2004 Norway’s Petroleum Fund was valued at 133 billion.

Way to go Alberta Tories.  Squandering our money seems to be the mission possible of the day or more succinctly,  preserving the profits of the heroic oil companies that rape our land.  Of course when we hear it from our rightist lapdog media in Alberta, the Royalty Review is virtually proposing the absolute destruction of the energy industry forever and ever.  Which of course, is utter horsepucky, but not particularly surprising considering how politically addled we are as a province.   But really, I needed to tell you about this story tell you about this one.

Hundreds of Alberta hospital beds to close.

Last Updated: Wednesday, September 16, 2009

CBC News

Alberta Health Services CEO and president Stephen Duckett speaks to reporters Wednesday in Edmonton. (CBC)Alberta Health Services CEO and president Stephen Duckett speaks to reporters Wednesday in Edmonton. (CBC)

Alberta will move hundreds of hospital patients to newly created community-based spaces over the next three years, the provincial health authority confirmed Wednesday.

Alberta Health Services told union representatives on Tuesday that 350 hospital beds in Calgary and Edmonton will be closed and patients moved to 775 community-based spaces.

The province has now confirmed the breakdown of bed closures in the two cities — 160 in Edmonton and 190 in Calgary. Of those beds, 20 in Edmonton and 40 in Calgary will be kept open this year to help with what officials called “emergency room pressures.”

The government also revealed that 246 beds will be closed at Alberta Hospital over the next three years. {…}

Do you think possibly that maybe if we had decided to actually get a reasonable amount of return for the resources we have in Alberta would we have to be closing acute care beds?  If the Alberta Government did not actually have the the Oil Patches procreating member lodged firmly in its posterior we might be able to pay for the necessary Health Care of the citizens of Alberta.

So what does the enraged populace of Alberta do??  Do we march on the parliament buildings to protect our healthcare?  Do we write our MP’s angry letters? Do we say to ourselves maybe we should elect a viable opposition to the governmentHELL NO!! We elect Paul Hinman of the Wild Fraking Rose Party of Alberta in a by-election to show our displeasure.  The Wild Rose Party is batshite-crazy further to the right than the current Alberta Tories.  Make sure you check out their platform; or more succinctly,  imagine every wrongheaded neo-liberal fascist clusterfrack policy debacle… their platform gives a wild-eyed thumbs up to them all.

The crazy is strong here today, and I am not liking it.

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