Alberta Election

Check out party position on issues of health and wellness. In an effort to make this an unbiased as possible, all of these positions are taken directly from the platforms published on their websites listed below, as well as their responses to a survey done by the City of Calgary.

The Green Party platform did not have enough detail to be included.

Opioids

Alberta is one of the provinces most impacted by the opioid crisis with 2 Albertans a day dying from opioids.

ABP: Will declare public health emergency and increase funding for
opioid response from $45 million to $68 million. Existing supervised consumption sites will be maintained but new sites will only be built in areas of high drug use with community support. Take home Naloxone Kits will be made more available to community organizations. There will be work put in to create standardized programs for drug treatment court programs.

Lib Will declare public health emergency and increase the number of supervised consumption sites. They will also make suboxone and addictions counselling free and decriminalize drugs.

NDP: Will launch lawsuit against manufacturers of of opioids and expand access to addiction treatment programs with a $5 million investment each year.

UCP: Believe surgery wait times have been a large contributor to creating opioid addictions. Will appoint minister for mental health and addictions and invest $40 million over 4 years for an Opioid Response Strategy. This will include opioid treatment centres, detox beds, mobile detox programs and a new virtual Opioid Dependency program. Faith based models will be funded. $10 million will be allocated to an Opioid Enforcement Team to deal with manufacturing and dealing. $20 million will be allocated to drug treatment courts over 4 years. They will push the federal government to restore a mandatory minimum sentence for drug traffickers. New consumption sites will only be supported if there have been extensive consultations with communities and a robust analysis of the socioeconomic impact. OD prevention sites will be endorsed only if they have plans to provide treatment services. Existing sites will be evaluated to determine if they are optimal.

FCP: Want to treat drug addicts as healthcare patients and not criminals.

Mental Health

The Mental Health Commission of Canada recommends 9% of total health spending be put into mental health. Alberta is currently at 6% with long wait times for mental health treatment. This is something that is a Canada wide problem.

ABP: Will fund new mental health treatment beds

Lib: Will increase funding by $600 million over 4 years with $150 million provided immediately and the rest of the money redirected gradually. Schools will receive more mental health funding and students will be taught about emotional and mental wellness. Primary care providers role in mental health will be expanded.

NDP: Pilot storefront mental health clinics in Edmonton and Calgary.

UCP: Will invest $100 million over 4 years. Mental health access will be increased through primary care centres and home care will also be expanded to mental health concerns. There will be increased access to mental health services for those in the criminal justice system.

Healthcare Infrastructure

Alberta has a shortage of healthcare infrastructure though there are many projects currently being built or in the works. A new superlab is the most contentious as some lab work in Edmonton is currently being done by a private company called Dynalife who will be bought out.

ABP: Will complete Edmonton South Hospital, Grande Prairie Regional Hospital, Calgary Caner Centre and Red Deer Hospital Expansion. Review superlab with aim of cancelling it. Add more non acute care beds and clinics and 3,500 new long term care and dementia beds.

Lib: Create 2200 new long term care spaces with non profit and faith based providers. Invest $150 million into home care and assisted living.A

NDP: Ensure funding for Calgary Cancer Centre, Edmonton South Hospital and Red Deer Hospital Expansion. Add 2000 long term care and dementia beds.

UCP: Cancel superlab

Healthcare Services

Currently the majority of nurse practitioners are employed in hospital settings in Alberta while in other places they are employed in community settings and have a larger role in primary care.

ABP: Expand use of technology for routine matters. Expand scope of practice for nurse practitioners, paramedics and pharmacists

Lib: Cut AHS middle managers. Investigate moving to primary care clinic model.

NDP: Develop online tools for remote access, prescription refills and referrals

UCP:Increase scope of nurse practitioners, opticians, optometrists and paramedics. Increase number of nurse practitioners.

FCP: Reduce AHS managers by 1/3

Vaping

Alberta and Saskatchewan are the only provinces without legislation on vaping products. E cigarettes are not currently taxed under the Alberta Tobacco Tax. As we have all probably seen, vaping is very popular in teens and can also lead to more teens smoking.

ABP: Would introduce tax on Ecigarettes.

Lib: Would amend regulation so that vaping products can’t be targeted to children.

UCP: No tax. Already a law against minors purchasing these products.

NDP: Tobacco and Smoking Reduction Act will be reviewed in November.

Ambulance Services

Past governments have tried to take control of Calgary’s ambulance dispatch which Calgary has fought. An agreement was put in place in 2017 that Calgary would continue to maintain dispatch services for all calls made inside the city limits.

ABP: Would not change current dispatch system.

Lib: Implement 15 minute transfer time from ambulance to emergency. End City of Calgary ambulance dispatch. Increase number of community paramedics.

UCP: Maintain Calgary EMS dispatch.

NDP: Implement new ER procedures to get ambulances out of ER faster. Committed to maintaining current model of dispatch.

Reproductive Health

Surgical abortions are currently only offered in Edmonton and Calgary. The abortion drug Mifegymiso is free but it may be hard to find a doctor to prescribe it in some towns. In vitro fertilization is funded in various degrees in Ontario, Manitoba, Quebec and New Brunswick.

Lib: Make sure all women have access to abortion. Birth control will be free and 1 cycle of invitro fertilization will be funded.

NDP: Invest $10 million each year to expand access to reproductive health in rural areas.

UCP: Lift cap on midwives

Privatization

UCP: Invite private clinics to bid on providing surgeries. Save $200 million by outsourcing laundry.

NDP: Strengthen regulations around private clinics.

FCP: Contract out non core elements. Expand private health systems and insurance.

Dental Care

Alberta is known for having high dental fees with little help for those that can’t afford it. Alberta dentists also have to contend with strict advertising rules set by the Alberta Dental Association and College.

ABP: Government will cover annual dental checkups for children under 12 with 2 free xrays at age 10. Expected cost $38 million

Lib: Will work towards universal dental care with federal government and other provinces. In the meantime will make dental fee guide mandatory for essential services while allowing dentists greater advertising freedom. $50 million will be allocated for affordable community care.

FCP: Allow dentists greater advertising freedom.

Fluoride

Calgary decided to stop water fluoridation in 2011 and studies have attributed this to an increase in cavities in children. Red Deer and Edmonton continue to fluoridate their water. Some members of Calgary Council say that water fluoridation should be taken care of by the provincial government since it is a health measure.

ABP: Towns and cities with a population of 10 000 or more must ensure children have fluoridated water. $30 million will be allocated to support municipalities with this.

Field House Support

One of the major sports and fitness facilities that’s been in the works in Calgary is a fieldhouse. With costs estimates around $300 million, it’s something that Calgary would be looking at provincial and federal funding for.

ABP: Would consider targeted investment in fieldhouse.

Lib: Acknowledge funding is needed from other levels of government and are open to discussion.

NDP: Previously committed sports infrastructure funding dependant on Olympic bid, would still consider funding field house.

UCP: Will implement a process for infrastructure projects, Calgary’s fieldhouse would rank highly on the list.

Surgery

NDP: Lower wait times for cataract, heart and cancer surgery

UCP: Reduce wait times to no more than 4 months

Drug Coverage

Lib: Work with federal government on pharmacare plan.

NDP: Remove prescription drug copayments for seniors making under $75 000 per year.

Healthcare Card

Because as any Albertan knows keeping an unlaminated, poor quality piece of paper that you have to carry around for your whole life is hard work .

ABP: Wants to have an integrated picture and/or digital ID with driver’s license, identification and health card all in one.

UCP: Combine health card with drivers license

Vaccination

ABP: Would create policy that children must be up to date on their vaccinations to attend publicly funded school.

Massage Therapy Regulation

5 provinces currently regulate massage therapy. Alberta is not one of them, something that has been criticised by massage therapists as it allows registered massage therapists to be freely used and there is nowhere for people to go to lodge complaints against massage therapists.

ABP: Would establish regulatory college for massage therapy, similar to other health professions.

LGBTQ

Lib: Full fund hormone treatments and fund medical procedures for transgender. Ban conversion therapy

NDP: Ban conversion therapy

Prevention and Education

Lib: Create healthy lifestyle program for schools and ban junk food in schools. Invest $100 million into preventative care and create preventative care task force. Launch proper ER usage campaign

Read more about it:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/alberta-party-fluoride-election-1.5069322

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/revised-dental-fee-guide-lowers-fees-2018-1.4413917

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/alberta-vaping-products-tax-1.5076279

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/massage-therapy-unregulated-alberta-1.4359405

https://www.thestar.com/calgary/2019/04/03/alberta-harm-reduction-groups-grade-political-parties-response-to-opioid-crisis.html?fbclid=IwAR2jMZ723SG0Uz4Gsiks_wdTxkn2mZ8FlU6cQvwY39GKABdVkk-i__eqJZo

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/mental-health-system-cracking-seams-1.4827319

Public Health Party Forum:
https://www.facebook.com/obrieniph/videos/410475612843689/

Party Platforms

https://www.albertaparty.ca/position_statements

https://www.albertastrongandfree.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Alberta-Strong-and-Free-Platform-1.pdf

https://rachelnotley.ca/platform

https://www.albertaliberal.com/2019_election_platform

https://www.freedomconservativeparty.ca/platform

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