Well it has been just an insane week for anyone who is a news junking like me. The issues I have been tracking have been sidelined by all of the tragedy south of the border and I must add my heart goes out to all of the people in the Boston area as well as West, Texas. I don’t think anyone reading this needs those two examples explained. However with stories like these headlining the news it becomes difficult to get attention on other equally pressing issues. So with all of these heavy news stories it became difficult to pick a topic and stay focused.
What helped me decide a direction was the irony of these incidences leaving so many victims with lifelong disabilities. The Boston Marathon highlights over 140 injuries with a large amount of human damage resulting in lost lower limbs. And at the fertilizer plant in West, Texas another 200+ have been injured. The irony of these incidences is not lost on me at a time when governments are cutting disability related funding like madmen.
I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to understand that when a government cuts $42 million (or 45% of the current budget) from the program aimed at providing supports for the more severely disabled there will be a drastic impact on the disabled community. Then you take another $7.7 million in funding for mental health programming and home care impacting an already crumbling system. How many times in the past year have we heard how more has to be done to solve some community mental health problems? No where have I heard or seen any indication that we should be chopping programs!
Take another $155 million out of planned capital spending including the development of care facilities may help today but what will it do in the long term. We already have a health care system under siege so you can’t convince me that things like long wait lists and medical errors will improve. And the ones that pay the most for these cuts are those who are already medically marginalized.
The Alberta government maintains these cuts will help increase efficiencies and show improvements in the system. Well if this government is really as concerned for their citizens as they report to be then maybe they should look at the 81 vice-presidents positions within Alberta Health Services. Who the hell needs 81 vice-presidents? Rather than cutting 53 positions from places like the Bethany Care Centre’s get rid of some of those vice-presidents. I am sure that if you get rid of half of them you could probably hire four times as many caregivers.
Oh I forgot there might not be many caregivers left. With the current cuts also happening to education post secondary training programs are disappearing and where do you think we are getting hit the hardest, health related programs.
Mount Royal University is cutting their two-year diploma course in disability studies as well as perinatal care and aging studies certificate program. Now is it only me or does anyone else see the folly of discontinuing studies focused on aging and care with a tsunami of baby-boomers heading into retirement years.
We have been bombarded recently with ads about how 1 in 4 Canadians will spend the last ten years of their life in poor health. Meanwhile we have governments peeling away the supports programs designed to deal with health related issues including problems associated with aging.
What kind of messages is government sending? Any one of these topics by themselves can be explained quite easily. However when you get out of your silo and look at all of them together it starts to paint a much different picture.
So I appeal to everyone out there, look at the details (when available) so you have a better understanding of how these things interact. So people learn how to pack your own chute because tomorrow you may need it. After all using a wheelchair may constitute a disability, being willfully stupid doesn’t. As much as people may argue being stupid has not made it onto the list of recognized disabilities YET.
Just one man’s opinion.