FILE – Alberta Premier Jason Kenney holds a media conference at the Alberta United Conservative Party Annual General Meeting in Calgary, Alta., Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley

FILE – Alberta Premier Jason Kenney holds a media conference at the Alberta United Conservative Party Annual General Meeting in Calgary, Alta., Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley

UCP members pass resolution at AGM calling for privately funded health care option

Just under 53 per cent supported the resolution in favour of allowing a privately funded health option

Members of Alberta’s governing United Conservative Party have narrowly endorsed a resolution at their party’s annual general meeting that supports the option of a privately funded and privately managed health-care system that would operate parallel to the public one.

The policy resolution was one of 30 that members approved during voting on Saturday, but it passed with the slimmest majority.

Just under 53 per cent of the 793 who voted supported the resolution in favour of allowing a privately funded health option.

Premier Jason Kenney and his UCP government have previously proposed privately delivered care for minor procedures, but have said any changes would still be funded publicly.

The resolution says that patients given a choice between public or private service would be able to divert themselves from public waitlists to the benefit of all patients.

Christine Myatt, a spokeswoman in Kenney’s office, says the platform the government was elected on in 2019 states the UCP will maintain a universally accessible, publicly funded health care system.

“It is the 2019 electoral platform which has a direct democratic mandate, since that is what all Albertans were able to vote on,” Myatt said, also saying that platform pledges to maintain or increase health spending.

“Policy resolutions passed this weekend will help inform the development of the 2023 electoral platform. We will of course be consulting with many groups in the development of the 2023 platform.”

Myatt also noted that platform policies must also be consistent with Canadian law, including the Charter and the Canada Health Act.

Last month, the B.C. Supreme Court ruled against a doctor calling for the right to pay for private health care, saying it validates Canada’s universal health-care system.

Alberta’s Opposition NDP called the weekend resolution “American-style for-profit health care” and said Kenney and Health Minister Tyler Shandro should immediately reject it.

“If Kenney and Shandro won’t denounce this policy, it is because privatizing health care was their plan all along,” the party’s health critic, David Shepherd, said in a news release Sunday.

Shandro announced last week the province’s health delivery agency would cut 11,000 jobs, partly through contracting out of laundry and lab services. He estimated the cuts would save up to $600 million a year, but said no front-line workers or nurses would lose their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He also said every dollar saved will be reinvested in patient care.

Myatt said the Alberta government’s priority is “improving Albertans’ access to publicly-funded health services.”

The party’s annual general meeting was a “virtual” event and members took part and voted online due to pandemic restrictions.

UCP members passed other resolutions that include a call for the government to make Alberta a right-to-work jurisdiction, so that no worker be required to join a collective bargaining unit in order to be hired. That resolution also included in its rationale that no employer should be compelled to deduct union dues without the prior written confidential consent of the employee.

Other resolutions called for the province to establish its own provincial police force, collect its own taxes, and to improve care for the elderly.

When Kenney ran for leadership of the recently merged UCP in 2017, he made a “grassroots guarantee” to listen to party members on policy decisions.

But a year later when party members passed a contentious resolution that would have required parents be notified if their children joined gay-straight alliances, he suggested the guarantee was more of a pledge to consult.

Rob Drinkwater, The Canadian Press

AlbertaHealthcareUCP

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta has 3,651 active cases of COVID-19. (File photo)
432 new COVID cases sets another record Friday

Central zone holds steady at 126 active cases

"We are looking seriously at the spread and determining what our next steps should be," says Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, as the daily number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb.
427 new COVID cases is highest in Alberta ever

Central zone has 126 active cases of COVID-19

RCMP. (Black Press File Photo)
Calgary man dies in two-vehicle collision near Sylvan Lake

A semi truck collided with a SUV just east of Hwy. 781 on Hwy 11.

Shaelynn Decock and her dog Taco, who has been missing since Aug. 26. Photo Submitted
Sylvan Lake woman looking for closure for her stolen dog

Shaelynn Decock says it has been two months since she last saw her dog Taco

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw updates media on the Covid-19 situation in Edmonton on Friday March 20, 2020. nbsp;Alberta is reporting it's highest daily number of COVID-19 cases, with 364 new infections. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta confirmed 323 COVID-19 cases Tuesday

Central zone active cases at 145

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)
VIDEO: One day until B.C. voters go to the polls in snap election defined by pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan’s decision to call an election comes more than a year ahead of schedule and during a pandemic

Ryen Williams, 11, with a lost miniature horse at JJ Collett Oct. 23. Photo by Don Williams
UPDATE: Owners found

Father and son found him while out for a walk at JJ Collett

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

U.S. border officers at the Peace Arch crossing arrested two men on California warrants this week. (File photo)
Ottawa predicts system delays, backlogs unless court extends life of refugee pact

Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection

Conservative member of Parliament Michelle Rempel Garner, left to right, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and Conservative Deputy Leader Candice Bergen arrive to hold a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No-confidence showdown over sweeping Tory motion on government handling of pandemic

The Conservative motion is to be put to a vote Monday and has the support of both the Bloc Québécois and NDP

From l-r., first lady Melania Trump, President Donald Trump, moderator Kristen Welker of NBC News, Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden on stage at the conclusion of the second and final presidential debate Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020, at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Trump, Biden fight over the raging virus, climate and race

Republican president declared the virus, which killed more than 1,000 Americans on Thursday alone, will “go away.”

JJ Collett Natural Area Foundation held its AGM on Oct. 19 at the Ponoka Legion. (Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)
De-listing Alberta parks creates ‘risk’ for coal mining: CPAWS

Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society speaks at JJ Collett AGM

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Temporary COVID-19 testing sites coming to Wetaskiwin and Ponoka

The Wetaskiwin location will open Oct. 23, 2020 and the Ponoka location will open Oct. 29.

ACC President and CEO Ken Kobly spoke to Ponoka Chamber of Commerce members over Zoom on Oct. 20. (Image: screenshot)
Alberta chambers are ‘411’ to members, government: ACC president

Changes to government supports, second wave and snap election

Most Read