Further Investigations

Each day we look for meaning in what we do, in what happens to us. This weekend reminded me of how important and rewarding it is to have great friends, to laugh and be silly, to meet friends and just talk about whatever, to eat good food, and to care about those less fortunate. A close family member has been struggling for a year to find meaningful employment, and a favorite cousin, dealing with Krohn’s disease for years, had another major surgery this past week. I keep them close to my heart, and when I step back for a moment, can easily see how incredibly fortunate I am to be in Edmonton, with great friends and colleagues, a great job, clean air, food in my belly, and warmth in my home when the temperature hits -40C/F, like it did yesterday. No, I’m not going to suggest you hug someone you love, but please permit me this moment to wax eloquent about what’s important to me at this time. And if you do hug someone, more power to you! Thank you.

We are looking forward to breaking through to the plus side temperatures by Friday, when the mercury is forecast to rise from -23C on Thursday to +13C on Friday. I’ll believe it when I feel it.

The lead story in our newspaper today decries the impending shortage of doctors and nurses in Alberta, and in Canada. The blame for this in Alberta falls squarely on the shoulders of our provincial government, which cut enrolment in medical schools in the late 80s by 10%, and then, subsequent to the election of Ralph Klein, rolled back and froze the wages of public sector workers, and proceeded to lay off thousands of nurses and teachers, sending them a clear, intractable message that they were not wanted nor needed in Alberta. (The Government would have you believe that they did nothing of the kind, that the bad news was delivered by our hospital boards, but the boards get their funding from the Province…)

The Alberta Government, in power for decades, and in power with its current leader since 1993, has become arrogant and uncaring, not that it cared before. To borrow a friend’s phrase, they have liquid nitrogen coursing through their collective veins. Consider that Advanced Education is not important enough in this province to warrant its own ministry, but gambling is. Consider that my university, and other post-secondary educational institutions, have been promised a 2% increase in funding for 2003-2004, which doesn’t cover inflation, and obviously allows for no growth without budget cutbacks or deficits. Our salaries at the U of Alberta rose 1.5% between 1991 and 2001, when adjusted for inflation.

In 1993, Klein told us, as he rolled back our wages and froze them for three years, that “short term pain for long term gain” was important. It’s 9 years later, and nothing has changed.

One Response to “Further Investigations”

  1. steve 40 Says:

    Gordon (hic) Campbell is trying very hard to catch up to and pass Klein. We in BC are in for a rough ride. He is even going to kill our apprenticeship program for tradesmen-he is trying to introduce partial tradesmen with training in sections of their trades-no one else in North America will recognize their qualifications. Our nurses and teachers are allready in trouble and UBC is behind picket lines. I just hope that his term is a short one term premier. I realize how lucky I am everyday, just by some of the people I hang around. I too am happy to live where I am and wouldn’t change it (except if I become rich enough by some miracle I would go to warmer,sunnier climes in the winter.

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