In response to Mark Milke’s opinion piece on February 18, 2015 concerning how Ralph Klein “saved” Alberta health care and education, I would like to point out that he may have missed some factors in his analysis.
Talking about being “narrowly focused” and being “self-interested,” Milke pays attention to only one factor of the 90’s cuts: getting out of debt and how that has helped free up money. While that is one factor that is good and has helped our province, it is certainly not the only factor that we should be focused on.
Further, the Fraser Institute is well known to support small government and privatization, so seeing the self-interest there is apparent. I only point this out not to discredit his opinion but to illustrate how he tries to dismiss the other side of the argument with conjecture and not with facts.
Milke’s assumption that Klein’s cuts to the health care system had no damaging effect because the government rid itself of most of its debt is not only short-sighted, it is ignorant. In fact he refuses to mention the cuts to the programs itself.
For instance, there were plenty of cuts to post-secondary institutions, which in turn forced universities to tighten their belts, by reducing the amount of seats available for nursing and education students or reducing the amount of faculty that can instruct those students (doctors included). The result, in about four or more years, the province had a shortage of health care professionals and teachers. With this shortage of health care professionals, the province experienced a decrease in quality care with increased wait times.
Does it matter if we are debt free when we damaged the system in the process? Does it matter if the entire increase in the money is used on the damages that were created in the first place? I have not done a complete objective analysis, but I do know that proper research, with all variables at play, should be completed before we repeat the cuts to programs that disproportionately affect Albertans. I know we should not be telling voters only half of the story, because that is not only irresponsible, it only serves to further one’s agenda.