Taking health care seriously: a politician finally looks in the mirror

By DJ Kelly January 25, 2008

While I’m on the topic of health care… I wanted to draw your attention, dear reader, to something that I believe is unprecedented.

Certainly no one who works in the health care system, or for that matter who uses the health care system, will say things have been great over the past decade. For example, the idea that Saskatoon – pop. 208,300 – has the same number of hospitals as Calgary – pop. 1,019,942 – is more than a little ridiculous. The problem in Alberta is systematic and, most importantly, ongoing. But could this be a sign that things are finally changing.

After MLA Dave Hancock was named Minister of Health last year by the premier, he realized if he was going to focus on fixing the overweight problem Albertans are facing he had to start with himself. Practise what he preaches. Lead by example. So over the course of 2007 the minister set himself to task and lost 76 pounds.

It’s small, I know, but to see a minister acknowledge his hypocrisy and go out of his way to do something about it is a breath of fresh air.

Sure, it does nothing to fix the problems all of us face when we go to the doctor or clinic or hospital, but at least it is a sign of a politician wanting to fix a problem and possibly having the willpower to do it. And compared to what we’ve seen since the 1993 budget cuts to health care at least this is SOME kind of progress in the right direction.

We need more ministers who take their jobs as seriously as Minister Hancock. If we had them in the past, maybe we wouldn’t be in this mess.