While it sounded like some progress was being made in the talks
going on in Saskatoon between the Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan
and the mediator, who in turn is talking to the Saskatchewan Association of Health
Organisations, the two sides are still not negotiating with one another.
Louise Simard and the strike causing SAHO simply refuse to budge and the
strike is simply going on one endless day after another.
Here in Tisdale there are six workers who are on strike and they were out picketting
this morning in the -2º weather.
The sad part of a strike like this one is that the medical care system actually saves
money the longer the strike continues. Since their failure to provide services to
the public is of no consequence to the adminsitration of health care, and since they
are all accountants and business administrators, they prefer the strike to continue
as long as possible.
Meanwhile, the serious injury of a young Regina woman (suffered a broken back after
jumping from the roof of the Regina Sears parkade) has drawn national news coverage
to the Saskatchewan strike. The mother was on CTV news today explaining how
she had taken her eighteen year old daughter to a Regina hospital for treatment of
severe depression and four times they were turned away. A spokes person for the
Regina health authority was interviewed and stated that no one was turned away from
their facility. The mother stated that it seems very bad when a person must do grevious
harm to oneself in order to receive treatment for mental illness. The Saskatchewan
minister of health has promised to look into this case.
Meanwhile, the people that could have provided that young woman with care, are walking
up and down the streets because the SAHO refuses to pay them at the same rate
as the nurses in the hospitals.
Just to help understand the situation a little better we need to understand that
the members of the Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan have been
working for the past year and half without a contract. In May the nurses union reached
an agreement but SAHO refused to make a similar deal to the other professional
workers. The simple concept of fairness just seems beyond the comprehension of Louise
Simard and her organisation.
If the strike were to be miraculously over this afternoon the affects of this government
agency created work stoppage will last for at least a year and perhaps much longer.
The people who are on strike are now drifting off to work in the private sector,
or in other states and provinces, so that when the strike is over, this group, who
were already severely understaffed, will be going back to work with a much smaller
work force. To make matters even worse, the longest waiting lists for elective surgery
in Canada are here in Saskatchewan, and they are now all more than a month longer
However, none of this makes any difference to the Saskatchewan Association of
Health Organisations, the administrative organisation charged with the responsibility
for negotiating with Saskatchewan health care workers. For them, they are doing
what they were trained to do, cut costs and look after the bottom line.
After talking to the strikers this morning, I went into the health region office
for the third time to try and talk to Gordon Denton who heads up this health
region. The receptionist told me he was not in today as he was attending a board
meeting. The regional health board is an appointed organisation which obviously
does not meet in Tisdale and at least Mr. Denton is looking after their needs. My
question for him was a simple one. I wanted to know what input the local health
region, either its director or board, might have in influencing the obstruction of
medical care delivery in the province by the SAHO headed by the form NDP
cabinet minister Louise Simard.
( Ms. Simard is the wife of former
deputy premier Dwaine Lingenfelter who left politics last year to become a
member of the board of directors of some oil company. An unconfirmered rumor indicates
that Ms. Simard and her spouse have experienced some difficulties, but Mr.
Lingenfelter is back in Regina and very active in political circles.
Perhaps, the recent reduction in royalties to be paid by oil companies is one of
the former Deputy premier's achievements.)
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Editor : Timothy W. Shire
Faster Than Light Communication
Box 1776, Tisdale, Saskatchewan, Canada, S0E 1T0
306 873 2004