Well, I think Calgarians just got the first slap in the face of many we will see in the coming months. Mysteriously, the The South Calgary Hospital is suddenly too expensive to build.
Construction costs have pushed the facility's price tag to $1.7 billion, but the hospital only has $1.4 billion of funding, so it's been forced to make changes to stay within budget.
As a result, the first phase of the hospital, near Deerfoot Trail and 196th Avenue S.E., will go from 325 beds to 293 when it opens in 2011, said Don Stewart, a spokesman for the Calgary Health Region.
The claim is outrageous from the outset. The Klein government delayed and stalled moving this hospital project forward for years, after closing several of Calgary's existing hospitals (The Holy Cross, The Grace and The Calgary General hospital had all been closed by the year 2000) - all in the name of "paying off the debt". Today, the Alberta government is awash in money, but mysteriously a hospital that Calgary desperately needs is suddenly "too expensive"?
Why have costs escalated so much? Delays on the part of the government, gross mismanagement of Alberta's growth in the last ten years which have resulted in a massive labour shortage in the province - driving wages, and inflating all sorts of capital project costs because various parts of the markets have gotten horrendously out of balance.
Now, today, the province mysteriously "doesn't have the money" all of a sudden? Horsefeathers. If you take that claim seriously, then I've got a business proposition involving a bridge to discuss with you. I claim that this is another piece in Liepert (and Stelmach's) ideological drive to do what Ralph never did - privatize the health care system so that Albertans can pay the same exorbitant insurance premiums that are seen in the US - to the same money grubbing insurance companies and "Health Management Organizations", making treatment a matter of "economics" rather than people.