Thursday, May 7, 2015

qotd: What does NDP's landslide victory in Alberta say about single payer?

Calgary Sun
April 29, 2015
Alberta's health care system needs new prescription, NDP leader Rachel
Notley tells Calgary crowd
By Dave Dormer

Restoring a $1 billion cut to funding and eliminating personal levies is
the prescription to fixing an ailing health care system, NDP leader
Rachel Notley said Wednesday.

"That is a private clinic behind me and that is what Jim Prentice has in
mind for you and your family," she said while campaigning in southwest

"That is what a billion-dollar health care cutback leads to and I have a
fundamental problem with private clinic health care.

"Private clinic health care is about building a two-tier system where
the wealthy, the people who Jim Prentice and his friends represent, can
pay to jump to the head of the line instead of treating people on the
basis of need."

Notley said private clinics draw resources away from the public health
care system, ultimately undermining it.

"Instead of more of these clinics, I'm proposing we reverse the
billion-dollar cutback to health care Mr. Prentice is asking you to vote
for in this election and I'm also proposing that we get rid of the
regressive health levy," she said.

"And I'm proposing that we improve our public system with better
diagnostics, better long-term care, better mental health care and just
plain better health care overall, including better cancer care here in

"On this issue, there's a stark contrast between the vision I'm putting
forward and what Mr. Prentice has to offer."


CBC News
May 6, 2015
Alberta election 2015 results: NDP wave sweeps across province in
historic win

It's a massive shock that turns Canadian politics on its head: the NDP
has won a majority government in Alberta.

"I think we might have made a little bit of history tonight," (NDP)
leader Rachel Notley told her supporters Tuesday night. "Friends, I
believe, that change has finally come to Alberta. New people, new ideas
and a fresh start for our great province."

The long-governing PC Party dropped to third place. The outgoing premier
Jim Prentice told his supporters late Tuesday that he had resigned as
party leader and had resigned his seat.

The NDP won just over 41 per cent of the popular vote, the Wildrose got
24 per cent and the PCs were at about 28 per cent.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper congratulated Notley on her win.

"I look forward to working with future Premier Notley on issues of
importance for Albertans and all Canadians, including creating jobs,
economic growth and long-term prosperity across the province and
country," Harper said in a statement issued Wednesday. He also offered
thanks to Prentice, a former minister in his cabinet, and wished him
well in his future endeavours.

2015 results - Number of seats won (Number of seats at prior dissolution
in parentheses)

10 (70) - Progressive Conservatives

1 (5) - Liberal Party

53 (4) - New Democratic Party

21 (5) - Wildrose Alliance Party

1 (0) - Alberta Party

1 - Undecided


Comment by Don McCanne

The landslide victory for the New Democratic Party (NDP) in Alberta
appears to represent not only a shift to supporting progressive values
and away from Prime Minister Stephen Harper's conservative politics, but
it also appears to be an endorsement of NDP's strong support of
Alberta's single payer health program, with a rejection of recent trends
in privatization of their system.

Lest the victors not become too smug and complacent, it should be
pointed out that the progressives (New Democratic Party) received 41
percent of the popular vote, whereas the conservatives (Progressive
Conservatives and Wildrose Alliance Party) received a combined 52
percent of the vote. (This may represent an oversimplification since
some would label Harper's PC party as "neoliberal.")

Nevertheless it is reassuring to see a vote in one of Canada's most
conservative provinces that seems to support their single payer public
health system, while rejecting privatized two-tier health care.

What lessons might there be here for the United States?

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