I will hold my MLA responsible for this loss

Dear Editor,

By and large, politics is akin to screaming in a vacuum. It may be that the issues are not worth debating, I mean who really cares about road bans and utilities, chickens and bylaws? Presumably the council does, but what purpose can the council serve or how much do they really care if there is no debate and every motion receives near unanimous support? I am not writing about our county council, I am speaking of our provincial legislature. Debate is the only means by which some ideas receive their test, but in some cases it is apparent that the lack of opposition has really hampered our health care.

It is hard to believe that our politicians care about us or our future when they seem uninterested in expressing dissenting opinions even if large segments of the population do. They are scared to represent the interests of their riding against the party; it is unity at all costs.

If I lose my family physician I will hold my MLA responsible for this loss. All across the province small rural practices are scaling back service and personnel to compensate for the provincial government’s unilateral action changing their billing schedules. Physicians now earn less and rural stipends have been removed. Tyler Shandro accused doctors of misleading the public, and then tried to undo a fair amount of the damage that he did to rural health care. My understanding is that at least one doctor in Three Hills is packing up once the pandemic is resolved and there are many more in rural areas across the province. The provincial government has essentially legislated itself to unilaterally go back on any contract it has signed and it can change the terms of any agreement it has made with Alberta doctors without them. It is the first province ever to sign into law the ability to negotiate in bad faith. I don’t know anyone who would put up with an employer who reserves the right to reduce pay without negotiation. If you were a desperate person with no job skills and opportunity then perhaps you would, but these are doctors that we need in rural areas and they are leaving.

So I am calling out my MLA, Nathan Cooper who supposedly represents a rural riding. I did not vote for the UCP only to have you represent Jason Kenny and defend Tyler Shandro in this riding. I had hoped that you intended to represent the interests of those in your rural riding to our legislature. It is in our interest to have our doctors stay here and looked after, it is not enough to publicly applaud them while quietly reducing their compensation. The party may be calling for a unified front but the constituents deserve better than your solidarity.

Christopher Morton

Swalwell, AB