A week ago, Canada’s prime ministers concluded a meeting in Halifax by agreeing that they should not poach health-care workers from each other.
There is a shortage everywhere, they seemed to say: let’s poach from poor countries rather than each other!
Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston appears to be the one who started this idea. “I’m not a fan of trying to go to another province and try to recruit some of their health professionals. » he told reporters at the provincial legislature days before. “I think there are other places to recruit.”
To be fair, not all of the places Nova Scotia is looking for nurses and other health professionals are considered third world yet, a term that is starting to sound seriously out of fashion these days .
When the prime ministers met three days later, there seemed to be a great atmosphere of friendship on the subject.
Mr. Houston, who appears to be a Progressive Conservative from here in the wild rose country, was of the opinion that the prime ministers should just try to get together, smile at each other, love each other, right now.
“Trying to poach workers from another jurisdiction is not really mutually supportive,” he told the closing press conference of the meeting. “Actively recruiting health care workers who are already working and engaged in a health care system is something Nova Scotia will not do. »
“There was significant unity among us to prevent an aggressive act of recruitment drive in each other’s backyard,” admitted Andrew Furey, a Liberal from Newfoundland. “We all recognize that healthcare professionals are in high demand right now. They are mobile. But Canada has an absolute imperative to continue providing top-notch care in its own jurisdiction, and robbing Peter to pay Paul does nothing to advance that agenda. (Note to readers: robbing Peter to pay Paul is a biblical metaphor and has nothing to do with PayPal.)
Canada’s new Prime Minister, Wab Kinew of Manitoba, a New Democrat, also seemed to agree with the idea. “In the absence of this type of collaboration, we risk competing against each other in a future in which none of us can afford to staff our health systems, in which none of us can afford to staff our health systems. ‘among us we won’t be able to do it in a sustainable way,’ he told reporters at the press conference. journalist.
Not counting Danielle Smith, who we’ll get to in a moment, Saskatchewan’s Scott Moe was the only other provincial premier to talk about this topic on the news before the moderator shut him down, and he really had nothing useful to say. .
Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s not going to be as easy to do as it seems around the table with all those friendly provincial and territorial premiers.
It is true that not only in Canada, but around the world, there is a shortage of nurses and doctors – with the possible exception of the Philippines, where the government seems to view nurses as an export. So until we get serious about training more nurses and doctors here in Canadaand seeing the results as graduates enter the job market a few years later, provinces will find themselves competing with each other no matter what their premiers say.
This will require more spending, and perhaps more taxes, which the modern Canadian prime minister, regardless of the political party or philosophy with which he is supposedly associated, will resist – often to the point of causing real damage to the common good. .
The health policies of a province are therefore also very important. Even intangible issues, such as expressions of respect for health care professionals, can be important.
So whether or not Manitoba starts posting ads on bus shelters near hospitals in Calgary and Edmonton – or better yet, holding job fairs in Red Deer – it will have a considerable advantage in recruitment compared to Alberta, particularly in the field of nurses.
Mr. Kinew campaigned and won on a platform aimed at repairing the province’s broken relationship with its health-care workers. “We are in the process of resetting the relationship right now,” he told a news conference. one of his first press conferences after the provincial elections of October 3.
Appearing with his new health minister, Uzoma Asagwara, he promised Manitoba would hire more nurses and doctors and end mandatory overtime for nurses. He said he has a recruiting timeline in mind.
“We look forward to providing front-line healthcare providers, doctors, nurses and allied health professionals, with the opportunity to bring their voices and respected expertise to the table and be part of how we approach things in the future,” Mx said. » said Asagwara.
“If we want health professionals, nurses and doctors to continue working on the front lines, we need a comprehensive approach that includes, of course, remuneration,” Kinew said at the conference closing in Halifax. “This includes better working conditions.”
Alberta just can’t compete with that. Here, the government is embarking on a massive and incoherent reorganization of the health system that appears primarily designed to get back at Alberta Health Services for enforcing public health regulations during the pandemic and to facilitate the sale of fragments of the public system. to the private sector in the future.
And there was No consultation with nurses – only “briefings”.
Let alone the medium-term future, many nurses are unsure right now who they will be working for in a few months’ time – Alberta Health Services, as is the case now, or one new bureaucracies put in place by the government.
Confusion reigns in a health system in great difficulty and chaos awaits.
Oh, and the United Conservative Party government also wants to destroy the Canada Pension Plan, having already hit public service pensions, so the pensions of Alberta’s health care workers look less secure, too.
And what does Ms. Smith have to say about it? (Aside from promising Albertans exactly what the creators of AHS promised them fifteen years ago – that everything will be fine… Ultimately.)
Well, in Halifax, she seemed to try to blame past AHS policies and nurses themselves for the nursing shortage, saying that in Alberta “we only have 38 percent of our nurses ready to work full time.
This is a misrepresentation of the real situation. It is true that mandatory overtime, canceled vacations, threats of pay cuts under Jason Kenney, and workplace abuse by anti-vaxxers encouraged by the UCP government have all contributed to some nurses’ desire to be able to have more control over their own lives.
But that doesn’t mean they aren’t willing to work full-time in jobs that offer reasonable time off, market-appropriate pay, and a degree of respect. Almost everyone understands that the seemingly unforeseen chaos currently being introduced by the UCP will only make things worse.
If you were a nurse on the Prairies, where would you prefer to work? Wab Kinew’s Manitoba or Danielle Smith’s Alberta?
No no-poaching agreement from the Prime Minister will be able to stop health professionals from talking to each other!
Danielle Smith’s Alberta: Where Bad Ideas Live Forever
Service Alberta (and Red Tape Reduction) Minister Dale Nally is traveling to Texas today to attend the 2023 North American Blockchain Summit.
This crypto collapse? Sam Bankman-Fried’s massive crypto fraud? Don’t worry about them!
You’d think a red tape-cutting minister would be needed in the country to persuade his cabinet colleagues not to put in place massive new bureaucracies to replace Alberta Health Services, but Mr. Nally will instead be talking to “blockchain experts” on how “to attract blockchain technologies to Alberta.”
On Tuesday and Wednesday, he will tour cryptocurrency “mining” operations – which use large amounts of energy to magically generate electronic currency that appears to have no purpose other than to encourage crime and evasion tax.
On Thursday, he will participate in a panel discussion on cryptocurrencies at the trade show.
In other words, above all else, the UCP is not abandoning crypto agitation.
Yes, Alberta is where bad ideas last forever.