Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day and the Alberta Death Sentence

It's Mother's Day and for me, living in Alberta, that's a reminder of the way that my 44 year old mom died here during the Klein Revolution of the 90s. As the provincial government slashed healthcare expenses in order to remain, as they called it, fiscally responsible, people suffered and died. While under care and direct supervision in hospital for Aplastic Anemia, my mom suffered not one but two strokes as side effects of her treatment. The strokes went un-diagnosed and it wasn't until 8 months later that she got an MRI which showed the brain damage. It was, of course, months too late for any treatment or rehabilitation of the damage.

She changed hospitals once she had been bankrupted and the insurance company withdrew benefits and, under care in the new facility, contracted the flesh eating bacteria that actually killed her. The medical system in Alberta at that time was simply not staffed and equipped well enough to provide real care.

Looking at the landscape now, we see lots of writing on how the situation in Alberta has improved. That's a lie. Per capita healthcare spending has still not reached the levels of the 80s and a friend's recent trials highlight the lack of progress we see here. She's been ill all winter and finally, at the beginning of May, got to see a specialist who told here there's a good chance she has Multiple Sclerosis. He then scheduled a follow-up appointment for September, five months away.

My friend is lucky. She was born in Quebec. She went back three days after the specialist's appointment, had an MRI that exposed the brain lesions causing her suffering two days later and, less than a week after her diagnosis, is now under treatment. Less than a week. There are many people who say that Alberta's stance on healthcare, on the environment, on collecting taxes from corporations to pay for social programs, is an embarrassment.

It isn't. It's a threat. My friend said, when she left, that she cannot feel safe here. How could she? The administration in Alberta is a sociopathic enterprise that treats corporations better than it does citizens and people who aren't even citizens receive what might actually be called psychopathic treatment. A sovereign nation like, say, China can invest directly into our resource development and have the option of paying tax. How often do these sovereign entities actually pay? Never. Why would they? They don't live here and don't need the money to live healthy, fulfilling lives.

Write your MLAs. Pressure them to start collecting taxes from corporations and sovereign entities at the same level they do citizens. Pressure them to put that money into healthcare, into education, into the arts and social programs that make life possible and desirable. The myth of conservative fiscal responsibility is a lie and a threat to their social responsibility. It must stop. Whose mom will die next?