Thursday, 5 April 2012

Progressive Conservative Election Platform

The PC platform, like many election platforms, promises some generous policies. The PC website presents a huge list of reforms. Major areas of reform include healthcare, education, and community focused initiatives. This platform uses both social welfare spending, as well as liberalization of regulations, to meet their policy goals.

To meet healthcare demands, the conservatives plan on opening 140 family care clinics. This initiative will aim to provide better access to health care for both rural and urban areas. However, the cost of these clinics is not as openly discussed, and could prove to comprise the PC position. Especially, for a government who, like the Wildrose party, promises to have balanced budgets. 

However, for many Albertans who cringe at the idea of public expenditures, the PCs offer non-expenditure solutions for healthcare challenges. The most prominent being the relaxing of regulations on a pharmacist’s role. The conservatives plan to allow pharmacists to refill prescriptions by their own accord, taking pressure off doctors in the rest of the medical systems. Allowing doctors to only focus on diagnosis and initial prescriptions could allow Albertans faster access to their medicine and less barriers to refilling those prescriptions. This is an inexpensive way to increase healthcare quality in the province.

Education also has a huge spending area for the PCs. They plan to build 50 new schools, as well as renovate another 70, within four years. The price tag combined for both new buildings and renovations will be approximately $2.4 billion. These improvements will be made to both rural and urban centers. The PC’s see the new schools as a necessary investment because the student population in Alberta is projected to grow by nearly 100,000. They also plan to develop an online resource for parents to extend the education process into the home. This might change the education system to be similar to both German and Japanese systems, where a larger emphasis on education is reinforced at home, lessening the costs of improving education on the government.

Finally, the PC’s are focused on a number of community based initiatives. For example, the PCs want to continue increasing the funding for Alberta libraries. Also $1 million commitment to community based anti-crime initiatives. Furthermore, there will be increased funding for Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH). There are even more announcements of what PCs are offering Albertans on their website.

There are a lot of expensive items being offered by the conservatives. The PCs want to make a significant tax dollar investment. Can they do all this while balancing the budget? Whether the PCs get the opportunity to do so, will be up to Albertans this election.

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