By Barbara Cape
I spent my Tuesday evening watching the recent leader’s debate for our provincial election and I’ve got a few thoughts I wanted to share with you.
First of all, a true Leader’s Debate should include the leaders of all political parties: SaskParty, NDP, Greens and Liberals. Each have valuable points of view that we should all hear, regardless of the ‘market share’ outcome. I am disappointed that the media coordinated this debate and created rules to limit the participants.
I don’t know who ‘won’ or ‘lost’ this debate, but I did think that it was interesting that Mr. Wall wanted to ‘fact check’ Mr. Lingenfelter’s comments. I’d like to do the same. I’m not sure if they realize but the majority of the work being done in the healthcare system is done by the whole team – and that team includes technologists, LPN’s, special care aides, environmental and food services workers, admin and maintenance staff… it’s all of us who make up the healthcare experience.
I once heard a surgeon say, in response to a question about who he relies on most in his job, that it’s the person who cleans and sanitizes his OR and surgical instruments that he relies on most – because without a sterile environment, he can’t do his work! Interesting… So back to my point: there hasn’t been an increase in the staffing levels for healthcare workers other than Dr and RN… in fact, all other healthcare workers are working short-staffed: shifts aren’t replaced and our members have to run to provide the most basic care. I would challenge any politician to walk a day in the shoes of one of our members so he/she can understand the environment that we work in every single day.
I appreciated the comments made about the education system, but I feel compelled again to provide a reality check on the issue of Educational Assistants in our classrooms. The reality is that Education Assistants provide invaluable one on one learning support to students who have different abilities. In a classroom of 28 – 30 students, the EA allows the teacher to provide a rich learning environment and direct support to individual students. Sure, there are other professionals that have been hired, but they aren’t in the classroom providing that one on one support daily. And not all schools have those resources of a speech therapist or psychologist… but all schools that I’m aware of had Educational Assistants. Please note my emphasis on the past tense. For the parent who is trying to get the best possible education experience for their son or daughter with autism – the cuts have proven a great hardship.
This election is about what the people of this province want to see Saskatchewan become. Regardless of what ‘political stripe’ you are, it’s important to ask the tough questions, learn about the issues and make sure you get out and vote. It is a right and a privilege that should never be taken for granted.