Alberta outlines education funding to train 3,400 more health-care workers
By Ritika Dubey in Edmonton
Alberta has promised $200 million in funding for post-secondary health-care programs as a part of its latest budget.
Health Minister Jason Copping said in a news conference Monday at the University of Alberta in Edmonton that the funding would help train an additional 3,400 health-care professionals.
“Our ability to recruit and retain doctors is a top priority for our government,” Copping said. “One of the best ways to do this is to make sure that there are more opportunities for Albertans to train and work closer to where they live.”
Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides said many students in his constituency aren’t being accepted into physician programs in Alberta, despite having mid-90 per cent grade averages.
“The reason they sometimes can’t be accepted is that program demand is very high,” he said. “We end up losing many prospective medical students to other universities because our programs are at capacity.”
The United Conservative Party government’s funding would help add more seats in physician training programs at the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary, Nicolaides said,
Copping said $113 million of the funding, announced in last month’s budget, would be spent over three years toward at least 100 medical residency positions.
The health minister said it is part of a long-term plan while leveraging a qualified immigrant workforce in the short run.
“The medium-term … is increasing spots for international medical-trained graduates,” Copping said.
He said his ministry is also canvassing to welcome international doctors, while the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta continues to work toward “streamlining their process to be able to recognize (international graduates’) credentials.”
Copping said the funding would help expand training for doctors in regional centres and rural communities.
“If we train more Alberta medical students here in our province, they are more likely to stay once they have completed their training,” he said.
The funding, if approved, would also support 30 international medical graduates to secure residency positions in Alberta for further training.
He added the province supports a team approach in the health-care system.
“It’s not just about doctors, nurse practitioners (or) physician assistants,” Copping said. “It is (also) pharmacists, right, who have the largest scope in the country here in Alberta, who can have the ability to write prescriptions (and) extend prescriptions.”
Alberta Opposition NDP health critic David Shepherd said the province requires more than new funding to encourage people to work in health care.
“The UCP’s war on doctors drove many out of the province, increasing the workload and pressure for the doctors still here, and have made careers in practising medicine far less stable and predictable,” Shepherd said in statement Monday.
“Prospective medical students see this chaos and question their future in Alberta.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 13, 2023.
United Conservatives jump out to early lead in tight Alberta election
By Dean Bennett
Alberta’s United Conservative Party jumped out to a lead over the NDP in early returns Monday in what was forecast to be a tight race in the provincial election.
Danielle Smith’s UCP was holding strong in its traditional rural strongholds while Rachel Notley’s NDP was faring well in Edmonton, where it won all but one seat in 2019.
Early results were still mixed in the key battleground of Calgary.
The UCP is seeking a second mandate while the NDP is fighting to regain the majority government it lost to the UCP in 2019.
Polling have suggested a close contest between the two parties, with support for smaller parties falling off.
Advance polls set a record of 758,540 votes cast, eclipsing the previous record of more than 700,000 in 2019.
The campaign has taken place alongside a record-breaking spring for wildfires in Alberta. Ten communities were under evacuation orders Monday.
Elections Alberta set up alternate voting locations for those displaced. Evacuation was added as an eligible reason to vote by special ballot and mobile voting stations were placed in evacuation centres.
Calgary has been seen as the campaign’s battleground and half of the top 10 advance polling stations were in that city. Two were in Edmonton suburbs.
To win, the NDP would have to continue its dominance in Edmonton, flip the majority in Calgary and hope for some help in smaller cities, while defeating scores of UCP incumbents including cabinet ministers.
The NDP needs to swing 20 seats in the 87-seat legislature.
The UCP won 63 seats under then-leader Jason Kenney in 2019 to 24 for Notley’s NDP.
Polls suggest the UCP should continue its near total domination in rural areas and smaller centres, giving it a cushion of up to 40 or so seats to reach the 44 needed to form a majority government.
The month-long campaign has been dominated by the economy and health care.
Albertans are struggling with high costs for consumer goods, a shortage of family doctors and long waits in emergency rooms.
Smith has promised to keep Alberta the lowest-tax regime in Canada.
Her government, she says, would introduce a law to mandate a referendum before any personal or corporate income tax hikes. There would also be tax changes to benefit those making more than $60,000 a year, at a cost of $1 billion annually to the treasury.
The NDP promised to maintain Alberta’s status as Canada’s lowest tax regime. It pledged to end the tax on small businesses and raise the corporate income tax to 11 per cent from eight per cent, which it says would help pay for investments in health and education while keeping the books balanced and maintaining the lowest corporate rate in Canada.
The NDP also promised legislation to counteract UCP policies that hiked the cost of utilities, auto insurance, a range of fees and tuition.
Both leaders promised to preserve the publicly funded health system while creating more primary care teams — physicians accompanied by related specialists such as nurses and therapists — so more Albertans are able to access a family doctor and not clog emergency wards for care.
Polls showed trust was a key issue, with Notley viewed more favourably than her party and vice versa for Smith.
Smith was dogged during the campaign by past comments she made comparing those who took the COVID-19 vaccine to credulous followers of Adolf Hitler. A report also came out mid-campaign from the province’s ethics commissioner that concluded Smith undermined the rule of law by pressuring her justice minister to end the criminal court case of a COVID-19 protester.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 29, 2023.
Police looking for these 3 suspects after Super 8 Motel in Innisfail robbed early Monday morning
Innisfail RCMP investigate robbery
Innisfail Ala. – On May 29, 2023, at approximately 4:10 a.m., the Super 8 motel in Innisfail was the victim of an armed robbery. Three male suspects entered the hotel, two of which had firearms. Money was demanded from the manager. All three left the motel in a vehicle which is described as:
- Chevrolet Dura Max truck
The suspects are described as:
Suspect #1: Caucasian male, tall and muscular. Wearing jeans and a grey Under Armour hoody. He was carrying a pistol.
Suspect #2: Caucasian male, short. Wearing all black. He was carrying a sawed off shotgun
Suspect #3: Caucasian male tall with a chubby belly. He was wearing a grey hoody, jeans and a black ball hat.
If you have information about this incident, please call the Innisfail RCMP at 403-227-3341 or call your local police. If you want to remain anonymous, you can contact Crime Stoppers by phone at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), by internet atwww.tipsubmit.com, or by SMS (check your local Crime Stoppers www.crimestoppers.ab.ca for instructions).
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