Last Friday and Saturday, I was once again in Saskatoon supporting PC candidate Dave Prokopchuk in the Meewasin by election. On Friday, I was knocking doors in a couple of residential areas on the north end of the riding and on Saturday morning, I was downtown between 24th and 25th in some of the high rise apartments there.
Arm River PC candidate, Raymond Carrick, was with me in this one particular 14-story building and as we neared the top, we took the opportunity to look out over the city. Directly to the north was City Hospital. When you looked across the river, you could see the construction occurring on the new Children's Hospital. Raymond is the Party's health critic and as such, has often commented on the waste and mismanagement of our health care dollars.
During this campaign, many residents had commented on the fact that City Hospital - the newest hospital in Saskatoon - was way underutilized and in fact did not have 24 hour emergency care a lot of the time. City Hospital sits in an area that has extensive open areas around it with lots of parking and the ability to add more as well as potential future expansions.
RUH is on the crowded University of Saskatchewan campus where parking has always been an issue and now the government is cramming another building in right beside it. Many people have commented to me about the deteriorating conditions of RUH and the lack of dollars to bring that infrastructure up to modern standards. It's very hard for the average person to get their head around what is really going on in health care but when Ray and I stood at the top of that 14-story building and looked at the panorama spread out before us, it would seem to me that there is a large disconnect between the taxpaying public and what our politicians and bureaucrats have been up to for a very long time.
The Meewasin by election will not solve this issue and I am sure no one is going to tear down the concrete that has already been poured on the U of S campus. But I really have to wonder if the current plan was really thought out. I think everyone believes that providing the most up-to-date health care to very ill children is something our society would wish to accomplish. Can this only be achieved by building a new building with wealthy donor's names attached to it in a prestigious location?
As I walked through that building knocking on doors and talking to residents, many of whom were elderly, some of whom who had disabilities and some who have faced social and economic challenges most of their life, it seemed a terrible shame to have a hospital - a five to ten minute walk away - that wasn't fully up to standard to provide 24 hour care all the time. What is more of a shame is that half the space in there was taken up with bureaucratic functions of that particular health region and meanwhile, right across the river hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent.
As you have heard me say many times, our government is only as good as the opposition across from it which makes it respond to the people it is governing on behalf of. The people of Meewasin could do this province a great service by sending someone other than a Sask Party or NDP MLA to the Legislative Assembly and making them both do their jobs in a more productive way.
Please stay tuned as Party President Grant Schmidt will be doing the commentary for the next two weeks.
These issues must be debated for “The Right Reasons”