An election campaign is upon us and that means that each day will be filled with announcements, attacks, ideas, stunts and mistakes. It makes for an interesting time as Albertans spend 4 weeks discussing a wide variety of public policy issues (in theory). With so little surprise as to the day the campaign would start each party had a good opportunity to plan for it and ensure that they started with their best foot forward. For me, the strategies and the tactics are the most compelling thing to watch. There were no flubs, but which party and which happening was most notable on Day One?
My vote has to go to the Alberta Liberal party.
While the other parties held news conferences from the legislature with their leader surrounded by candidates attempting to set a narrative in motion, it was Raj Sherman who decided to do things a little differently. He launched his campaign from the Fairmont Hotel MacDonald of all places.
Dr Sherman started out with a stunt that reinforced the issue on which he is most knowledgeable and for which most Albertans describe as their top priority: healthcare. The message being delivered: a night in acute care is more costly than a night in the most expensive hotel in Edmonton. Point well delivered and well punctuated.
Albertans are finally starting to realise and accept generally that the biggest problem with our healthcare system is the waiting times for extended care beds for seniors. Unfortunately, these people who do not require acute care treatment (what most of us consider to be a general hospital bed), are stuck in acute care beds until the longterm care spaces open up. The log jam here is clogging the hallways down to and out the emergency room doors.
Emergency wards are full of people who are ready to be moved to acute care, but have to wait and the waiting rooms are full of people waiting to see a doctor in the emergency ward. Unfortunately, a good number of the people waiting to be seen in Emergency are being attended to by paramedics and the stress gets passed on to our ambulatory system.
Dr Sherman delivered a solid blow on day one by effectively showing that a little bit of money spent on seniors long term care will save money in all other parts of the system while simultaneously fixing some of the biggest problems.