Alberta Election 2019

Working People Are Fighting for a Pro-Social Direction for Alberta

Alberta has a population of 4.3 million, a million people are next door in Saskatchewan and another million in Manitoba, all interconnected with the Prairie. A natural region perhaps, which could even include the north.

Just imagine the human and natural resources this region possesses: vast agriculture, oil, natural gas, coking coal for steel, uranium, timber, diamonds, potash, wind and sun galore and who knows what else replete with an educated working class. Why the recurring crises? Who or what is blocking the development of the New and why? The possibilities are endless for the region to develop an independent diverse economy with resource extraction, manufacturing, social programs, public services and modern infrastructure, an economy that has as its motive to guarantee the well-being and security of the people and the humanization of the social and natural environment.

This is not the agenda in the provincial election scheduled to take place on Tuesday, April 16. On the contrary, the agenda has been set by the ruling elite and the people are supposed to take sides for one version or another of an agenda which they do not set and which does not represent their interests and claims on society. For instance, the ruling elite in Alberta persist in privatizing health care despite the broad opposition of the people. They refuse to increase public investments in health care, which would resolve persistent problems of wait times in acute care and the lack of a modern and humane seniors' care system with adequate staffing.

Health care and other public sector workers continue to face wage freezes, growing workloads and the refusal of the ruling elite to recognize that their working conditions are the living conditions of patients and seniors in their care.

The working people have long laid their claim to health care as a right. Despite massive disinformation campaigns over balancing budgets, pushing private control and ownership of health care, the expansion of two-tier medicine, and putting all economic eggs in the same old resource extraction sector, the ruling circles have failed to blunt the working people's demand for a pro-social alternative. The people of Alberta have always met the anti-social campaigns with resistance. They are facing the problem of how to empower themselves politically to build the New in a decisive way with no turning back.

The long-standing demand of the working people is that those in government must take up their social responsibility to organize the productive forces to guarantee the right of all to the highest quality health care and seniors' care, as well as education and other aspects of public services which affect their lives. Albertans reject policy objectives and electoral platforms full of platitudes from the cartel parties, or the obscurantism of balancing a budget through austerity where those in power control what is being balanced or not balanced and who benefits.

Albertans do not let up on their demand for concrete results, beginning with increased investments in social programs in the here and now. More broadly, they require a new direction for the economy away from reliance on natural resources controlled by outside forces not interested in building a modern all-sided Albertan economy based on manufacturing, resource extraction, agriculture, public services and social programs to meet the needs of all and guarantee their rights and well-being.

Albertans demand accountability from governments as to what is being done to restrict and eliminate private control and ownership of social programs where enterprise and interest profit sap the lifeblood of the health and education sectors. The aim of private ownership and control is not the well-being of the people but enriching wealthy private interests and taking value out of the economy to be used elsewhere. Value produced in Alberta must remain in the economy and be invested in ways that build its self-reliance in opposition to the destructive grip of the global oligarchs, in particular the oil barons.

A Pro-Social Alternative Is Right Before Our Eyes

The cartel parties vying for power in the Alberta election all represent to one degree or another the neo-liberal line that the right to health care cannot be guaranteed because of a "lack of money." The budget plans of the New Democratic Party (NDP) and the United Conservative Party (UCP) both reject increased investments in social programs and public services. Instead they call for cuts to spending on social programs and public services with only the degree marking any difference. The working people are told that the only choice is to accept "compassionate austerity" or be faced later with massive cuts, two-tier medicine, and more privatization to serve the rich.

The alternative of mobilizing the modern productive forces in a pro-social direction is staring us in the face. It can be seen in the fight of health care workers and professionals and teachers and education workers who know what is needed to guarantee health care and education as a right. They raise the real issues they and the people face which puts the lie to the neo-liberal jargon of experts who make a mystery of everything. One example is the refrain of "throwing more money at it does not guarantee a solution." Of course, when money is thrown at something not to solve problems but to line the pockets of private interests this guarantees failure.

In this issue of TML Weekly, several articles testify to the people's struggles in defence of the rights of all which will be pursued irrespective of who wins the Alberta election.

This article was published in

Volume 49 Number 13 - April 13, 2019

Article Link:
Alberta Election 2019: Working People Are Fighting for a Pro-Social Direction for Alberta


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