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Statement on the Current Situation by Alberta Committee of the CPC - August 10

Kenney wants to Privatize Everything


Since coming to power less than 15 months ago,  Jason Kenney and the UCP government have been on a rampage of cutting and privatizing - reducing or eliminating necessary services, laying the burden on individuals or downloading them onto already cash-starved municipalities,  forcing tens of thousands of layoffs,  creating problems that can only cost more to fix in the future.   

Direct privatizations already carried out or announced include:
Housekeeping, food and laundry services in hospitals
 Surgeries
 Emergency departments
 Opening the door to non-medical corporations hiring doctors
 Continuing care facilities
 Medical labs
 Blood donations
 Administration of 164 provincial parks
 Selling off crown lands

Indirect privatizations,  that is cuts to services that will force people to pay non-government providers include:

Support services for special needs in education
 Reduced coverage of medical prescriptions for seniors and their dependents
 Reduced per capita budgets for public education and Increased subsidies to private schools

Besides directly selling off or giving away essential public services,  the government has been reducing spending on health and education,  which also has the effect of pushing people towards private schools and medical services out of desperation.  

Privatized services cost more than public services.  Instead of paying the costs of the service, either the government pays the costs plus an additional bundle for profits to companies providing the same (or worse) service,  or else people wind up paying the costs plus an additional charge for profits out of their own pockets.   In the second case there is the added problem of distribution of services according to ability to pay instead of need.  This can only lead to the poorest going without the necessary services,  and this can only lead to more serious and more expensive problems later on.

Furthermore, either the government abandons its role of monitoring the quality of services,  or else besides all this additional cost there is yet another additional cost of monitoring the private agencies and companies.   Governments like the UCP tend to choose the abandonment option -  monitoring is often haphazard, infrequent and ineffective.   The Corona virus has brought into focus what was already well-known to families of frail seniors - private, for-profit nursing homescan get away with truly horrible conditions and levels of neglect,  and this is truly a question of life or death.  

So in many cases, privatization of human services results in more suffering and increased long-term costs, without even creating any short-term savings.  

So why do they do it?    We know that balancing the budget is not a consideration, because they have cheerfully announced corporate tax cuts and billions in unconditional subsidies for pipelines, and put the Alberta tax payer on the hook for billions more of liability in the future.  The only possible explanation is that they aim to create profit-making opportunities, and guarantee profit levels no matter what.   We can only assume that the UCP is a party blinded by ideology, ready to sacrifice everything to profit margins of the corporation in defiance of logic, humanity, their own promises, and standard accounting principles.

What would a rational government do?  With a pandemic raging in the world,  it would increase funding and extend public services in health,  not just to provide current necessary services, but to maintain a margin for possible future emergencies.    It would greatly increase spending on education,  allowing school boards to hire a lot more staff to improve maintenance and greatly decrease class sizes - the only possible route to a safe re-opening.   It would pump billions in subsidies into the most advanced technologies, i.e. green energy and green transportation systems,  not the obsolete and complacent fossil fuel sector,   and only tied directory to job creation and environmental responsibility up front and enforceable.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has made a world wide economic crisis more extreme.   Governments at all levels will be pouring billions into recovery plans.  Will it be a recovery based on corporate greed or human need?   Alberta’s working people have a big struggle ahead of them to answer that question.



Communist Party - Alberta 2019 election platform:  https://www.facebook.com/CommunistPartyAlberta/posts/2142788515808749

Alberta:  for a People’s Recovery - online presentation from May 25
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgsxZrGbUtc&t=12s





 
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