Alberta’s woes can be traced to previous governments: writer

Naloxone kits save taxpayer dollars in the long run

Dear editor,

After reading Mr. Wurban’s response to MLA Hinkley’s column this past week, I feel compelled to respond. By no means would I diminish what Mr. Wurban feels. However, I do think it is necessary to address some of the misconceptions that he has brought forward.

Before I begin, I do believe it is important to identify that I live permanently in Calgary, though I was born and raised in Wetaskiwin and am working and living in Wetaskiwin for the summer. I have also worked in the social services sector for over six years and am currently enrolled at the U of C taking a Bachelor of Social Work. I acknowledge that because of my employment history and education, I see social issues through an inclusion-based framework based on the principals of dignity and respect, equality, comprehensiveness, and belief in the importance of social dialogue. This lens is non-partisan and focuses on the individual or the group who are affected rather than a political orientation.

With this, I think it is important to discuss the facts regarding addiction, opioid overdose and supervised safe injection sites so that Mr. Wurban’s personal opinion is not assumed to be truth. Mr. Wurban states that he would like a government who “cares about our healthcare”. However, Mr. Wurban contradicts this statement in the same sentence as he continues “not a government that’s enabling drug addicts by spending millions of taxpayer dollars for Naloxone to revive drug addicts who want to get high”. This statement is problematic for various reasons. Perhaps the most obvious is that engaging in a strategy to combat opioid addiction and overdose deaths is, in fact, part of a government’s healthcare portfolio – both in offering quality healthcare to all citizens (including those with mental health and addictions) as well as doing so in a cost-effective manner. Certainly, the government is spending healthcare dollars on providing Naloxone kits to the public, but if the concern is about the cost-effectiveness of this policy, there have been several academic studies that indicate that spending on both the Naloxone itself as well as the training for service professionals will save taxpayer dollars in the long run (Coffin et. All, 2013).

I am not writing this letter to shame Mr. Wurban or others who hold views similar to his, but instead, I am doing so to correct misinformation and remind rural Albertans that a government can have both your interests in mind and those of vulnerable populations when creating policy. I think it is important to note that until the recent government change, not only did highest-income earners in Alberta pay the lowest taxes in the nation, but that social spending was tremendously underfunded seeing only 13.4 per cent (combined provincial and municipal spending) of the GDP in the social services sector. To put this in perspective, the average expenditure for other OECD countries in the same period was 21 per cent (ACSW, 2010).

I understand that Albertans would like to continue to live with low-taxes with high services/rewards, but we are no longer living in a world where $100 a barrel of oil exists. The harsh reality is that if the government of the day were looking to the future, there would have been policy and systems in place to protect Albertans from the economic downturn that the 2008 recession produced. They would have been investing in clean energy technologies, investing in programming for the most vulnerable populations including addiction treatment and prevention programs, and investing in post-secondary education in hopes of preventing the collapse of the economy that has given so many of us a privileged lifestyle for so long. Before we condemn our current government’s response to the opioid crisis and erroneously correlate it to a spike in crime, we ought to consider how the neglect of this funding by previous governments for decades facilitated the crisis that we are experiencing today.

Selby Quinn


Just Posted

NASCAR coming to Wetaskiwin July 28

Luxxur 300 featuring NASCAR stock car racing, plus guest speaker, barbecue and more

Pro wrestling coming to Wetaskiwin

Prairie Wrestling Alliance coming to Edmonton International Raceway July 21

Writer says NDP government ignores Albertans they don’t like

Government obsessed with ‘victims:’ writer

Wetaskiwin man facing more charges after second raid in two weeks

RCMP execute search warrant at same senior citizen’s Wetaskiwin residence

France doubles up Croatia 4-2 to win World Cup

Played in Moscow Russia, latest Fifa World Cup marks the highest scoring final since 1966

Trudeau asks transport minister to tackle Greyhound’s western pullout

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s asked Transport Minister Marc Garneau to find solutions in Greyhound Canada’s absence.

Hawaii volcano boat tours continue after ‘lava bomb’ injuries

“An explosion occurred near the shoreline hurling hot lava rocks towards the boat and injuring several passengers.”

Trump returns from summit with Putin to forceful criticism

“Shameful,” ”disgraceful,” ”weak,” were a few of the comments. Makes the U.S. “look like a pushover,” said GOP Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee.

Obama to deliver Mandela address in likely rebuke to Trump

Former U.S. President Barack Obama Monday praised Kenya’s president and opposition leader for working together but said this East African country must do more to end corruption.

Missing B.C. Serval cat creates buzz online, pleas for help

Aquila, an African Serval, disappeared from a Fernie, B.C. backyard sometime on Friday, July 13.

Trudeau’s youth council divided over Trans Mountain pipeline purchase

A letter signed by 16 past and present members was made public today, asking the federal government to reverse course

Hulk Hogan reinstated into wrestling Hall of Fame

Hogan had used racial slurs caught on video when talking about his daughter sleeping with a black man

Storm rips through Central Alberta

Hail pelts region causing damage to farmland, plus communities in Ponoka, Bashaw and Stettler

Most Read