My friend Shannon Phillips is running for the Alberta NDP nomination for the Lethbridge West riding. I’ve put together a website to help get her message out.
Super Health Board, Not So Super
About nine months ago the Government of Alberta decided to fire the boards of the nine regional health authorities in the province and create a new “Super Health Board” they claimed would better serve the public.
Critics of the move predicted that it was a giant leap toward privatization of our health services. It hasn’t taken long but already the new board has begun dismantling our working public system.
The Super Board has announced plans to replace the Cytology Lab at the Lethbridge Regional Hospital with a private lab. The current Cytology Lab has an excellent record with excellent staff. No one locally wants this change, yet our shameful government wants to push forward with its privatization efforts at the cost of women’s health.
From a letter by Bev Muendel-Atherstone:
Our current Cytology Lab was started in 1951 by Dr. Ray Bainborugh, who is still alive today. In fact on Monday, March 30th, 2009, he was waiting outside the CRH parking lot to speak with the two fact finders for the Super Board. Dr. Bainborugh was able to tell reporters that the lab samples were previously sent to Calgary and Edmonton provincial Labs when he first started.
However, there were so many mistakes made, that he requested to be able to do the tests himself locally in Lethbridge. This was granted. He indicated he saved a woman from a Mastectomy as he redid the analysis on results he deemed “suspect.” Why would we in Lethbridge wish to go back to a system that did not work 58 years ago? That would be retrogressive.
If that weren’t enough to get you outraged, perhaps I should mention that the new Super Board (remember, they’ve been around for less than a year) just voted themselves a 25% raise. They’ll now make around $50,000 annually, plus an additional $750 per meeting that they attend (they meet about four times a month).
Not only are they dismantling a working system, they’ll take more money to do it. How can I feel anything but outrage? Please Alberta, stop voting for the party that cares more about money than public welfare.
In the meantime, I hope the Super Board comes to realize that the people don’t want privatized medicine in Alberta.
Update: Some great news from the local NDP office. Yesterday, Monday, June 1st, 2009, the Lethbridge City Council voted to support the NDP’s presentation and will write to Premier Stelmach to request that the Gynocological/Cytology Lab remain in Lethbridge.
Mayor Bob Tarleck indicated that he has been very concerned about the erosion or services in the rural areas and the “hollowing out” of the rural areas with services centralized in Calgary and Edmonton.
Of course, this does not mean that this issue is finished. But now we do have the municipality on side. This moves the entire issue into a bigger political field with the city complaining to the province. The province must respond and then it is in the city’s court from there.
Here is a screen shot of the Lethbridge NDP website that I recently designed.
I incorporated design elements from both the Federal and Provincial NDP in order to convey the message that the Lethbridge office exists for both sides of the party. Although I originally used the lime green of the Federal party, ultimately the shade of green that the Provincial side uses is much easier on the eyes.
The Canadian Election 2008
I went to the Environment & Education Forum at the Lethbridge College yesterday evening for the “last chance to grill [my] federal election candidates”.
I was unimpressed with the fact that only three parties showed up to debate (how does the green party expect to be taken seriously, when their candidate doesn’t show up).
The NDP’s Mark Sandilands was clearly the top candidate, with his well considered responses and comprehensive knowledge of the issues.
Incumbent candidate Rick Casson on the other hand, did not fair so well. The other candidates, specifically Mark Sandilands, poignant questions had him stumbling time after time. I can’t believe the polls indicate that Casson is going to be re-elected, his campaign basically consisted of admitting that his party has made lots of mistakes and that, “that’s something we should do better at”. It’s like he’s not even trying because he knows that running in a conservative stronghold means it doesn’t matter what he says.
The Conservative Party is destroying our environment, wants to reduce funding to the arts, gives tax cuts to the rich, and they refuse to support the Kelowna Accord which was intended to improve the lives of aboriginal people.
And they don’t want to let the Canadian people know their plans, refusing to publish their platform until a week before the election. Local candidate Rick Casson told us last night, a week is plenty of time to talk about the plan, and besides, it’s basically like our previous plan anyway. He didn’t notice any changes worth mentioning. As I mentioned, tonight was THE LAST PUBLIC FORUM WITH THEM BEFORE THE ELECTION.
Why would the people of Lethbridge vote for such a callous uncaring party?
One more thing that bothers me is their desire to introduce copyright legislation that is harmful to everyday citizens making the copyright system here more like the one in the US—even though the US law is seriously out of touch. The new law would, among other things, bring into action a fine of up to $500 for copying legally purchased CD’s onto MP3 players, not to mention it would make it illegal to try and circumvent anti-copyright software, making it illegal to engage in the practise of Fair Dealing (Fair Use in the USA).
The conservatives want to remain in Afghanistan. In 2006 they made it a campaign promise to be out by 2009—I learned last night that they’re now planning to wait until at least 2012, even though the Senlis report on Canadian development in Afghanistan has stated that we are “making no headway. On the ground in Kandahar… CIDA’s efforts are non-existent.”
I could go on!
But I won’t. I’ll just hope that when Canada goes to the polls on Tuesday that we vote for the party most likely to beat out the conservatives.
The NDP Bike
Lethbridge artist and activist Andy Davies shows his support of local MP candidate Mark Sandilands with his modified bike.
Andy is a friend of mine and asked me to shoot a few photos for him.