Wednesday, September 23, 2009

This just in (updated)

Health and Community Services
September 23, 2009

Cabinet to Make Sacrifices to Help Health Care

The Department of Health and Community Services announced today that Cabinet will make sacrifices to assist the sustainability of the province's health care system. Honourable Paul Oram, Minister of Health and Community Services, said that the entire Cabinet has unanimously agreed to a 25% pay cut and an immediate freeze on all unnecessary travel and expenses.

“Our government works to balance quality with long-term sustainability. And, sometimes this means that politicians need to make sacrifices to find this balance,” said Minister Oram. “Our government faces a difficult decision to make regarding the types of services we can offer in the long-term, how much we can continue to pay politicians, and identifying how we can improve the quality in our programs and services across the province.”

The Provincial Government spends more per capita on Cabinet Ministers than any other province. “While our investments are significant and important to the quality and accessibility of care, this rate of spending is not sustainable over the long term,” said Minister Oram. “Our government is working to ensure rural healthcare services are sustainable so we never go back to the previous ways of unsustainability. It is important for us to make the right decisions today to ensure a strong future for our healthcare system."

"During a week when the Provincial Government announced subsidies for Rolls-Royce, Wally Andersen pleaded guilty and VOCM is reporting a grassroots movement against MHA's salaries, it is important to take stock of our priorities. We have to face the reality that our bloated political system of pay, perks, and pork is simply unsustainable," Minister Oram said.

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2009 09 23 9:30 a.m.

This just in again (you cannot make this stuff up version):

The provincial government is defending the indefensible salary raise given to MHA's (never mind the perks and expense accounts) by claiming that it's justified because others got a raise, too. For the full version of this me-tooism, see the hot-off-the-presses TASS communiqué.

The learned Minister not only throws in the ignoratio elenchi of pension costs as a go forward justfication of the salary piece, but he offers this little gem that veers into tu quoque: "To fully index the Public Service Pension Plan and the Teachers’ Pension Plan on a go forward basis [could it be indexed on a go backward basis?] would increase the plan obligations by almost $2 billion. Even an ad hoc increase of four per cent would increase plan liabilities by $160 million. Many, many seniors in this province do not have any pensions at all and the Provincial Government has a responsibility to all senior citizens."

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