Sometimes the problem of Alberta’s failing health care system seems insurmountable. Like a tangled ball of yarn I wonder where does it start—ER waiting times, shortages of acute care beds, adding long term care beds—and where does it end? It feels like we’re stuck in the movie Ghostbusters waiting for the guys in hazmat suits to show up with nuclear powered vacuum cleaners to save us. But unlike the hapless citizens of New York City we do know who to call—Health Minister Zwozdesky. He said as much in the Legislature on February 23, 2010. In response to a question about dissatisfaction with the decision to centralize all decision-making power in the Superboard Mr. Zwozdesky replied: “Mr. Speaker, people at the local level have every opportunity to speak to their MLAs to bring those issues forward. They have every opportunity to speak with their local health advisory councils…They have every opportunity to pick up the phone and call my office.”
So on Oct 27, 2010, I did. But instead of exercising my “opportunity” to call Mr. Zwozdesky I sent him an email with a cc to my MLA. Mr. Zwozdesky ignored my letter but my MLA responded the next day and asked if he could table the letter in the Legislature. It was tabled on Nov. 1, 2010 after an intense Q & A period in which MLAs from all parties (except the Conservatives, of course) continued to press the government on what it intended to do about the health care crisis.
It’s now Nov. 7—still no word from Mr. Zwozdesky, not even a computer generated non-response which, honestly, is all I expected. I also wrote to Premier Stelmach—deafening silence on that front as well.
Nevertheless, I urge you to exercise your “opportunity” to use this communication channel if you have any concerns about the government’s progress on fixing the health care system. Mr. Zwozdesky can be reached at email@example.com. If you don’t know who your MLA is (I didn’t) check out the link here.
So who are you going to call?
Mr. Zwozdesky, in no uncertain terms, stressed that the public could call numerous people with respect to the health problems being felt in Alberta. In my attempts to deal with a problem, a one sided conversation never seems to bring about a resolution. When you encourage people to call you are committing yourself into a conversation. It is time for Mr. Zwozdesky to stop making statements and start answering questions.