Issues to consider before voting

Written by ECA Review

I firmly believe that there are a whole lot of issues that Albertans ought to consider before they vote on May 29/23.

Here are my list of concerns:

Public education vs private education
How much money does the provincial gov’t actually spend on private schools and on charter schools?
How come we don’t receive an annual report on the actual cost to support private businesses?
Why has the gov’t lowered academic standards to graduate from high schools (at one time the Diploma Exams counted for 50 per cent of a student’s marks. Now it’s down to 20 per cent. Why?   Why do we have so many different marking systems? Do we want to copy the Americans? If so, then we don’t want standards. Get rid of them! Allow individual teachers, individual schools, and individual school boards to establish their own standards. Bottom line: No standards.

Alberta Heritage Trust Fund:
How come we don’t get quarterly reports on this provincial trust that was created by Premier Lougheed? After all, all major companies/corporations must do so with their shareholders, and we, the people of Alberta, have a right to know how our fund is being managed or mishandled.
Is that the reason the UCP usurped the teachers’ pension fund to cover its losses?

Women’s shelters:
Such facilities, including children, are more than full with victims of domestic violence. How come we don’t see more money being spent to help women and children instead of spending money buying votes?

Victim Services:
We need to see the gov’t spend more money on supporting victim services. We haven’t heard very much since the pandemic even though level of domestic violence and crimes have been increasing for quite some time.

Human trafficking:
How much is the gov’t spending fighting this growing problem?

Provincial police force:
How much money has the UCP spent on this proposal despite opposition from municipalities and from the public?
It never mentions any negative consequences for establishing such a police force.
It’s now circumventing the opposition to a provincial police force by bribing municipalities to establish their own police forces. Nearly 80 per cent of the local governments and the public support the RCMP, yet our gov’t wants to imitate the American model.
Why “re-invent the wheel” when we can see that local police forces in America are having major problems, and they cost the American taxpayers a “ton of money”.
Why do we want to be “saddled” with the high cost of maintaining local police forces?

Health care:
I am pleading with Albertans! Do not allow our politicians to take us “down the rabbit hole” to private health care.
It’s a total failure for many Americans, especially poor people. However, it’s “the goose that lays the golden eggs” for private doctors, clinics, hospitals, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and the lawyers that defend them (it’s a three-plus trillion dollar cottage industry that benefits them, not the consumer.
It’s a privilege to have good health in America, not a right like we have with our universal health care system.
Plus, private health care is more costly, and over 60 per cent of all bankruptcies in America are due to medical costs. Yes, a person can go broke getting private health care in America. Plus the whole system there is plagued by corruption and scandals.
Plus, the system there was not as effective in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic as in our system.
Don’t be “conned” into believing that private health care will be better and cheaper than our system. It’s not!
For the “old timers” (70 and over): Do you remember what it was like to have health care before our universal health care system was established? Just remember this: Many Canadians will go broke if we allow our politicians to undermine our system (our system is not perfect, but we won’t go broke receiving it).

Red Tape reduction:
How much does our gov’t actually spend on this program? Who benefits and who actually loses?
Just look south of the border to see what I am talking about. The U.S. gov’t deregulated the rules governing banks and mortgage companies, established after the Great Recession debacle in 2008 and 2009. Guess what happened? Several major bank failures occurred.
They de-regulated the railroad industry. Guess what happened? Over a thousand railroad mishaps occur per year. (Cutting rules for safety inspections, etc.)
Remember the Boeing Max 737s Scandal? Two of those planes crashed resulting in the death of over 300 people. Why did the scandal happen?
Self-regulation of that company to produce that plane was like having the fox guarding the chicken coop. Did anyone go to prison for those disasters? Cost to the taxpayers?
Rules and regulations are created to protect the people from unscrupulous businesses. Whenever I hear of a politician proposing “cutting red tape”, I hear the “sound of dollars” going into the pockets of the business community.
“Beware of the wolves in sheep’s clothing”.

An American term associated with the extreme right wing of the GOP, the conservative party of America. They have captured all the “red states” (states dominated by conservative politicians). The movement started roughly 20+ years ago by the John Birchers, the Tea Party folks, the white Christian nationalists, separatists and racists and bigots (like the KKK and Neo Nazis), and by TV and radio pundits such as Alex Jones (infowars), Tucker Carlson on Fox News) to undermine democracy under the pretext of “saving our society” from liberals, commies, pinkos, tree huggers, and socialists. We should do “our own thing”; ignore rules, regulations and laws that we don’t like!

I have a fear that some of our politicians are supporting such ideas, and we should be very careful not to go down the same “rabbit hole” that has divided Americans. In my opinion.

George Thatcher
Olds, Alta.

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