3.16.2013

Sherwood Park Upset at P.C. Government’s Broken Promise

Citizens of Sherwood Park and Strathcona County were upset to learn their long-promised and long-awaited new hospital would be re-jigged into what will essentially be an expensive, one-floor medi-centre.
 
Spun as a necessary change because of the (self-inflicted) economic turmoil, local MLA’s finally emerged from hiding to issue a statement in the Sherwood Park News.  Titled ‘Not giving up on Phase 2’, P.C. Strathcona-Sherwood Park MLA Dave Quest did his best to convince the people that he was just as ‘disappointed’ as the rest of us, and promised to continue to ‘advocate’ on our behalf.
 
 
He fills the page with the benefits of the scaled-down project, which comes across as a badly-performed bait-and-switch.  It’s like waiting years for your promised Cadillac, watching the first parts of the vehicle being assembled, then being told ‘sorry, pal – you’re getting a Yugo’, and being told of the great features.
 
It comes fully loaded with speedometer AND 8-track player!
 
Quest then starts the blame game, dusting off the old progressive favorite of claiming we have a revenue problem, ignoring any suggestion of expensive and misguided government policy (carbon capture) or outright waste of our tax dollars (London calling).
 
And what Alberta P.C. press release would be complete without the required shot at the opposition?  Quest checks off that box, stating: We all know that not even this facility — never mind all the other health care projects that are being built around the province — would be built if the opposition had its way.”
 
In short, Quest is saying the Redford government’s broken promise is a good thing, and nobody else would do better.  Nice sell.
 
Perhaps the real reason for the scale-back has more to do with the just-proposed $275 million pay cut for the province’s doctors?  Maybe the P.C.’s are anticipating a sudden shortage of medical professionals, who are being asked (told) to take an average cut of 22.5% to their take-home pay?
 
After all, why build a hospital if there are no doctors to work in it?
 
To her credit, Strathcona County Mayor Linda Osinchuk spoke up, reflecting the opinion of her constituents:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
…and asking our maladroit Health Minister for an explanation:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
In reality, there is little hope the residents of Sherwood Park will ever get a direct and honest answer as to the hospital decision.  The woman in my doctor’s Fort Saskatchewan office agrees, and offers up a much-too-late alternative.
 
“Fort Saskatchewan is growing rapidly, especially south.  Sherwood Park continues to grow north.  Instead of a new hospital in each place, why didn’t they build a huge, super-hospital somewhere in between?  It would’ve served the entire county.  But then, forethought isn’t this government’s strong suit.”
 
“Come to think of it, neither is honesty.”
 
 

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