Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Wildwhat A-who-now? Part 2

I am just about to hand in one of the most schizophrenic papers I have ever birthed and I have very little clue as to whether it satisfies the conditions that it needs to meet because I have only the vaguest notion of what those are. I've re-read the outline sheet a million times - I could still make the case for an "A" and an "F". Needless to say I'm cranky, irritable, and looking to start a fight; As Spider Jerusalem would say, I'm in the perfect mood for journalism. (Which is what I like to tell myself I am doing, no matter how much it feels like rolling in a tub of political margarine while hollering about semantics.)

But you aren't here to read about my personal irritants, are you, Dear Reader? Not unless it's Ed Stelmach exfoliating my heels, which I sent a letter regarding even using the phrase "Win-win-win" but so far I haven't heard anything. So I am back at them with fresh vigor and a whole new lease on life that only a freshly snorted turkey soup can bring. (No, that's not a euphemism. I fricken love turkey soup.)

I'll start off with some praise; the Wildrose Alliance is in favor of municipal government, which puts them ahead of the Sovereign Dictatorship (Or "Veiny Dic" party for short) by a wide margin. The flavor that their support takes is that they want to put the control for government financing back in the hands of the municipal governments, because they feel funding shouldn't be a popularity contest. I'm not sure I agree. The process has definitely turned into a matter of giving money to the metaphorically 'prettiest' whiner, but no matter what system you conceive, either you are going to bleeding money left and right to cities who are all of the opinion that their project is the most important one or you are going to have to *gasp* judge them. It's sad that the province must play the bad-guy and double-tap the occasional "bad idea" and we've seen that ugliness here in Edmonton because of our Expo bid but that's the nature of the system: not everyone can get all the money they want and someone who is disinterested in the results should be weighing the options. Plus, the leader slags on the provincial government's carbon capture program, saying "no one asked for [it]". Technically Kyoto is not a "someone" so she is correct, but I don't see her volunteering any carbon emission programs to replace this one. (Which really isn't a long-term solution, but at least it's something.) They really bring the whole issue together with a promise to conduct a massive inquiry of provincial tax revenues and required infrastructure projects, topped with a list of "funding criteria" that will apparently help allocate funding to where it needs to be and I think it sounds stellar, assuming it is needed. I am an optimist in that I find it hard to believe the province has no idea how much money they get from taxes, or where it is really needed, but this has been a complaint from many people, so if you find yourself in this camp, this might be your party.

I had not realized the last three sections I had postponed included health-care so this behemoth might become three posts, especially as I find myself drawn in to her description of the health-care crisis. It is damn hard to find a family doctor in Alberta. The fact that health-care spending is over 40% of the provincial budget, however, is trivial. That's just how it is; that's not unusual so don't hold it up like we're freaks. Their main plan is to encourage alternate forms of medical care. They want to encourage out-of-hospital care facilities, like old-folks homes etc, but the form that I am concerned about is alternative medicine. Their paradigm heavily suggests loosening the restrictions on "sanctioned health-care" methods, and although I support the idea, I have no health problems (and arrogantly assume that I never will. I am much like a teenager still.) But to people with dangerous conditions who are sometimes scared and looking for a miracle fix, this can be dangerous. Just think of the young man who underwent a controversial treatment to open his veins to relieve his MS symptoms, but when he returned and suffered complications he could not find a doctor who was willing to see him and he died.
The other portion is they plan to encourage a surge of medical staff by forgiving students loans, etc, but this is counter-productive to the plan to loosen health-care restrictions. It is risky for medical staff to treat people who have been treated with methods they may not be familiar with or trust. Few doctors will be willing to risk their malpractice premiums just to waive some loans, and live here.
The party says others will try to convince us that we should not listen to the naysayers who label their plan as scary, but I will be honest, it  is scary. Despite the fact that our health-care is sick, we should not be pushed into exploring alternative medicine because we are scared; we should explore it because we want to. But to do so we must have a functioning, healthy system in place first.

On the other hand, I do agree with their plan to set up tax-free medical savings plans and establish greater access to our personal health-care history (See When we Used to Play Bang Bang for my thoughts on government created file systems, however), but I think their plan to publish wait times and costs for various procedures is useless ("Oh I have to wait a year for chemo? Well, never mind then, I'll get it another time.")Worse, their plan to publish statistics (times and success rates for procedures) on various hospitals will just lead to a polarizing effect when successful hospitals are overemphasized, and under-represented hospitals are "ghettoized" and stigmatized. We don't need to make our health-care workers feel like losers for working at a  particular hospital. ("You work at Such'n'such Hospital? Maybe if you'd studied harder...")

Finally, for those who have been with me since the Edmonton Municipal Election, this dog and pony show is old hat but for the Newcomers; Welcome to the "Everyone Wants Democracy, so Shut Your Cake-Hole" Dance!
The leader is encouraging MLAs to form their own opinions, and I must admit, I was burned pretty badly when someone (Not naming names) forced their representatives to vote against scrapping the gun registry. I was pretty irked. But I am not convinced that they are advocating the best course of action. If people band together they can accomplish things that the majority desire. Imagine a million people all voting for different things: nothing gets done. A coherent message is sometimes better than five small ones. I can not believe I am going to draw this comparison, but in households where unorthodox, unusual, or strange values are taught, children have a better recovery rate if the message, however backwards, is consistent. If we're going to be screwed up, it is better if it's consistent. It's not the best system, but it might be the least bad for a massive government like Canada's.

They're also trying to push increased citizen involvement but again, those familiar with the Edmonton Municipal Election know what happens when you lean on "pleblecites" and citizen-initiated referendums - you don't get elected. Hell, we can barely pull in 50% of citizens to vote on major elections such as who is going to steer our little ship for the next term, let alone a vote on whether the ballots should be mauve or puce.

Good on them for backing MLA Sherman, who is alternately portrayed as a rebellious upstart or a maniac wild-dog depending on who you talk to, (I haven't made up my mind about Mr. Sherman yet, but I love any political scandals that might revolve around how "that bitch wore my colors to the latest party" and this certainly smells like potential) by invoking his name and advocating empowered government watchdogs, but their plan to publish MLA's expense accounts will be quietly ditched the first time someone actually looks at them, I am willing to guarantee, and the "independent review board" to determine MLA's wages would swiftly be either corrupted and vilified or vilified and ignored.

That, in a nutshell, seems to be the policies of the Wildrose party. I can't say whether or not anyone SHOULD vote for them, just that I won't be surprised if they don't win too many seats come next election whip round. We don't take kindly to strangers 'round these parts, especially if they come with a gold-wrapped feel-good basket that says they hear us and they understand why we've had such a tough go, poor us. It's too damn patronizing. If a party really wanted to gain ground here in the Texas of the north, they better come packing a steak the size of a smart car, promise a shot of whiskey if you agree to not clog up the emergency room with stupid crap (If you resist the urge to go when you have the sniffles, they just mail you a bottle) and vow to suck all the oil out of the earth into giant pools so it's environmentally friendly and profitable. Then we'll talk.

1 comment:

andrea-miccaver said...

My search for a family doctor is taking more convoluted paths than ever before. I have asked Beloved to ask his coworker to ask his wife (who is a GP on maternity leave) to ask her friends if anyone has room for me on their time tables.

If this line of inquiry pans out, want to join in the ho down?

I'll take your word for it that you are already housebroken and have your first round of shots.