BY EDITH PERRY
Recently, NDP P.E.I. Leader Joe Byrne and women’s representative Susan MacVittie delivered a health care petition which was presented to the legislature by MLA Bush Dumville.
It had been signed by over 1,000 citizens concerned by the P.E.I. Liberal government’s decision to give federal funding intended for health care initiatives to a private business to deliver home care nursing already provided by government services.
This is very concerning because by doing so our federal and provincial governments are further privatizing and eroding Canada’s public health care system and using our tax dollars to do so.
It also lessens the ability to provide regulating oversight by governments.
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What governments fail to recognize is how Canadians, including Islanders, feel about our public health care system. Sure, we grumble and complain about wait times, emergency room closures, not enough doctors, and so on. But we also realize that this is a system that when all is said and done, ensures all will get health care attention no matter what our economic status is. It does not mean that our wallets determine when we seek medical attention.
In the case of the recent decision to give home care nursing to a private company, it isn’t about one front line worker group against another but rather the why. Why bring in a new group when government already has staff very adequately doing the job? Why did they do so with so much secrecy is another issue many signers were angered by. Where was the consultation? Front-line workers were not told anything until mere days before the deal was being put into action.
Certainly, the public was not consulted. Some of us heard rumours. Some of us tried to make it public but elected and department officials and indeed even the media were silent.
Islanders see this as another act of arrogance by this government as in “we know what’s best for you!” This is one of several complaints I and others circulating the petition were hearing. The other observation was the lack of reluctance and fear usually displayed by people asked to sign a petition. We deserve better.
– Edith Perry of Millview is a member of the Working Group for a Livable Income