Alberta government’s declared cost savings from health-care cuts don’t accumulate

Alberta government’s declared cost savings from health-care cuts don’t accumulate

Mathematics, apparently, stays difficult.

Other than, maybe, calculus of a political sort.

On its face, Health Minister Tyler Shandro’s claim that shooting 11,000 low-paid public sector health-care staff members will conserve about $600 million makes little sense.

Others have actually done the exact same estimation and come up with similar results, however it is a matter of easy math that if we divide $600 million by 11,000 employees, we’ll see a ballpark “cost conserving” of roughly $54,500 per staff member.

A take a look at the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees’ health-care general support services cumulative contract shows the incomes of the workers who are likely to be affected by these modifications in black and white.

Yearly pay for a full-time laboratory assistant, among the task categories targeted for layoff and privatization by the United Conservative Celebration government would exercise to about $54,800 under the present AUPE contract. Yearly spend for numerous food service and laundry employees is now about $38,700

So even if their tasks are be totally eliminated from the general public sector, even if we add all possible advantages consisting of those allegedly abundant public service pensions, it will not be possible for Alberta Health Providers to come up with anything like the promised expense savings.

This is obviously since the work done by laboratory professionals, laundry workers, food service workers and the like can not just be made to disappear. Patients still need to eat; healthcare facility spaces should still be cleaned up, and those blood samples our physicians keep asking us to give up will still need to be evaluated for sugar, cholesterol and the 4 humours.

Shandro backhandedly acknowledged this during Tuesday’s press conference by pretending that the workers in question will not be losing their jobs– they’ll simply be changing employers.

That remains to be seen. However even if it ends up being so, it is an offered these workers will be paid less than they were as public staff members– as we can presume amongst this particular government’s objectives is restricting their rights in the office by making it tough for them ever again to be members of a union.

Nonetheless, they are still going to need to be paid something

After all, we have actually abolished slavery in Canada– if not wage slavery– so these freshly privatized workers are still going to need to be spent for their efforts.

Let’s picture that their brand-new private-sector employers can get away with paying them 25 percent less. That’s still going to result in a direct expense to their companies in the order of $450 million a year. Add in the expense for corporate profit, corporate accounting services and corporate borrowing at higher interest rates for brand-new facilities– for instance, for industrial washing devices for the laundry– and about the best you could expect is that the expense would be about … $600 million.

Simply put the saving is particular to be illusory. The advantage to the province will be minimal, if not negative. (And it may well be negative, given that decently paid Canadians tend to spend their minimal dollars at home, on regional services, unlike foreign billionaires.)

And who is going to pay that? Why, AHS, naturally, through their agreement with the new private-sector service suppliers.

Simply put, at finest this is a shell game in which the federal government pretends to be saving money on salaries while spending more on services contracted from for-profit corporations.

Provided the normal behaviour of big corporations, the first-year contract may be an offer.

Shandro declared there will be no layoffs amongst medical front-line health-care employees. This is likely not true, because AHS says it is proceeding apace with plans to lay off at least 600 nurses in the short term, and potentially as numerous as 5,000 over the longer term.

But it is likewise a deception on the health minister’s part, since the majority of the workers the UCP intends to eliminate are front-line health-care workers too. That Shandro understands this is exposed by his cautious use of the word scientific to mean members of managed occupations.

This is making a great deal of people dissatisfied, and not just unions as Premier Jason Kenney’s issues managers pretend.

Even Brad Wall, back thens he was Saskatchewan’s premier and not just another Calgary oilpatch nobody, utilized to take note of what his voters desired. And what Alberta citizens emphatically do not desire is a health-care system once again in mayhem– which is precisely where the UCP seems intent on sending it.

There are even rumbles of discontent from amongst Kenney’s own handpicked panel members.

So what Premier Jason Kenney is up to with this rolling disaster is something of a secret.

Maybe he arrogantly thinks that no matter what he does, Albertans will never abandon Conservative government as long as there is just a single dominant conservative celebration.

Maybe he’s hoping to provoke a strike or similar crisis from which he can emerge in a Trumpian law ‘n’ order gambit as the strongman who can conserve the country, or a minimum of the province.

Or maybe he puts ideology up until now ahead of common sense he just doesn’t care what will occur when he’s broken all the dishware. Face it, Kenney is going to have a great retirement on his parliamentary pension no matter what occurs to the rest people.

Or perhaps he’s actually not all that clever and he’s still searching for an oil-price miracle.

It’s tough to state. One thing that’s clear is that the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic thwarted any strategy the UCP needed to do its worst in the first year of its mandate.

The electoral window during which damage like this can be committed by any federal government that intends to be re-elected will be closing quickly. If Kenney is to implement his ideological program in his federal government’s first term, the essential he deals with is to march or die.

Of course, with Kenney at the helm, the option dealt with by the UCP’s progressively worried MLAs in Calgary and even some rural ridings might be march and pass away!

Meanwhile, in B.C., John Horgan plots a different course

Meanwhile, over the Rockies and not up until now away in British Columbia, where the NDP government will go to the surveys on October 24, Premier John Horgan is taking a dramatically various technique to the very same difficult file.

Premier Horgan stated the other day that cuts made by B.C.’s so-called Liberals (who are truly conservatives) during their years in power left the province susceptible to COVID-19, and he promised to keep making development on the B.C. NDP’s efforts to repair the mess the Liberals left behind.

” The B.C. Liberals passed laws that ravaged long-term care and resulted in the layoffs of 10,000 employees, most of whom were ladies,” said Horgan, a description that would certainly sound bells in Alberta if our regional media was taking note.

A number of the health-care workers laid off under the Liberals needed to reapply for their old tasks at less pay, he noted, and numerous needed to work multiple jobs, helping the spread of COVID-19 when the pandemic shown up in Canada.

So, Horgan stated, if the NDP is re-elected, ” We’ll make sure that the pay increases we put in location to make it through the pandemic are made irreversible.”

What’s more, he vowed his government will push ahead with its plan to employ 7,000 more long-lasting care workers, and it will construct new public long-lasting care centers throughout the province.

Not in Alberta? Pity.

David Climenhaga, author of the Alberta Diary blog site, is a journalist, author, journalism instructor, poet and trade union communicator who has operated in senior writing and modifying positions at The Globe and Mail and the Calgary Herald

Image: Tyler Shandro/Screenshot of Twitter video

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