Never let a good crisis go to waste!

Written by Brenda Schimke

There are three kinds of leaders in a crisis.

There are those who are able to pivot, stop politics, turn to experts and make bold decisions, even though they are not always the right decisions.

There are those who freeze and strive hard to keep the past as present. And finally, there are those who seek personal and political advantage when a population is fearful.

The Government of Canada, with the support of all opposition parties, postponed their budget approval and shut down Parliament to stay focussed on cooperatively fighting COVID-19.

Premier Kenney instead pushed through a controversial budget based on fairy-tale revenues.

Finance Minister Toews and Premier Kenney justified passing the budget in order to approve money to fight COVID-19.

That is simply bulls**t. There are many legislative spending vehicles to use in an emergency.

This approval simply allows Kenney to re-start public service cuts immediately after the pandemic.

It may not happen, but there is also now public money approved for private corporations to build and upgrade surgeries, potentially strengthening their relative position, while the public system struggles with a medical crisis.

Despicably, Premier Kenney continues to agitate doctors. Kenney gave notice to the province’s radiologists that he will unilaterally cancel their contract next year.

Ironically, that contract was just renegotiated by the UCP government and signed by radiologists accepting a 12 per cent decrease in their fees.

The telehealth app rolled out by government to triage patients remotely by an unknown doctor rather than a family doctor was yet another example of unending attacks on health care providers.

Kenny allowed teachers to work with their students online from home with full pay two weeks ago.

Until this past Monday, doctors were not allowed to charge equivalent in-person fees to work with patients online.

Patients need to talk to their doctors; doctors want to help their patients, and social distancing is imperative.

We don’t want our doctors and nurses getting COVID-19 unnecessarily.

Unlike teachers, doctors are independent businesses with staff, rent, equipment and supply costs.

Kenney’s hate-on for doctors has already harmed our public health care system.

Rural doctors are boycotting certain services as witnessed in Stettler with reduced emergency room coverage, a number of specialists have already left the province and family clinics are going bankrupt.

Kenney’s push to privatize even more of our public health care system may be on pause, but it’s still his priority.

At the time of writing this column, Kenney has kept the Legislature open with the express purpose to push through more industry-friendly legislation.

A bill of much concern is one that approves private no-fault insurance.

If passed, it is a cash windfall for industry and financially disadvantages the insured.

That’s why no-fault insurance is traditionally found only in government insurance programs which focus on coverage and cost control, not denials and profits.

With the press and others focussed on the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no better time for Kenney’s leadership type to slide in under the radar and pass controversial legislation that disproportionately aid powerful lobbyist’s agendas.

It’s not the 2008 economic crisis where greed led to a financial crisis and economic stimulus saved the day, sort of.

It’s a health crisis where survival is the priority.

We only need look south of the border to see how dismal the for-profit health care system, market competition and distrust of government is at responding collectively to a nationwide pandemic.

Premier Kenney, to date, has shown himself to have the worst type of leadership qualities in a crisis.

His ‘business as usual’ is a crass example of self-serving politicians “never letting a good crisis go to waste”.


B. Schimke

ECA Review

About the author

Brenda Schimke

Schimke is a Graduate with Distinction from the University of Alberta with a BCom degree. She has lived and worked in Alberta, BC and Ontario.