Responses from the Electoral Candidates
Responses are arranged according to the date we received them. The first response received in each party appears at the top of that section.
Alberta Green Party (GPA)
Individual candidate responses
Jenn Roach – candidate for Leduc – Beaumont
Cass Romyn – candidate for Morinville - St. Albert
Chris Alders – candidate for Edmonton - City Centre
Thana Boonlert – candidate for Calgary Mountain View
Date: March 31, 2019 at 1:03:36 PM PDT
Subject: Re: Arthritis Consumer Experts Survey for Alberta Election 2019 - Arthritis in Alberta
From: Jenn Roach
Good afternoon Cheryl,
Please find attached my answers to your survey.
Thank you for the opportunity to respond to the concerns of your organization.
Have a good day,
ACE Joint Health Election Questions
The Green Party of Alberta (GPA) supports publicly funded healthcare and I believe that publicly funded healthcare is important to providing the structure and support needed to standardize care for easy accessible to all Albertans, no matter where they may be situated. In dealing with arthritis specifically, I would support discussions with organizations like yours, and any others, as well as Albertans afflicted with arthritis, and get to know what the issues are and what the suggestions are for improvement. Taking that back to the legislature, we would look to determine systems/regulations that address and remedy the issues. Working closely together, a review of the system could be on an annual basis to tweak/ fix any new issues created or overlooked.
Patient education and exercise programs would be included in the standardized care model and once we have the standardized care model in place, as well as the guaranteed annual income, people afflicted by arthritis will not have the financial stress added to the already hard, painful days they endure, which should help improve the mood and energy to keep up with the exercise programs and attend the education classes/seminars. I would also like to see education on preventative measures.
The guaranteed annual income (GAI) is something the GPA advocates for and would help to reduce the out-of-pocket expenses incurred by arthritis patients. I personally support using natural remedies such as exercise and diet as a start, with the view to use the medications if the natural ways are not working. I would definitely like to see any type of natural alternatives used first, but if necessary, medications should be available to the individual and the medication should be publicly funded so all Albertans have access to what they need, when they need it.
Aboriginal Albertans would also receive the GAI, which would help with any issues they have accessing help with arthritis care, for example travelling to appointments, etc. They would receive publicly funded healthcare and medications as well. I would also like to see research done into why Aboriginal Albertans are suffering at a higher rate/higher risk in order for preventative measures to be addressed and implemented in order to help to reduce the future numbers of people afflicted with arthritis and change the statistics as they currently stand.
Establishing better prevention programs starts by doing research into what is causing the arthritis to begin with so that would be an initial step to take. Once we know (and it might be known already, which would speed up the process) we could implement the prevention programs within the standardized care models.
Flexible work arrangements are a great way to ensure the person with arthritis has a job, but knows if they aren’t well, they can take the time needed to get better, or know they won’t be required to work long hours, without fear or additional stress. I would definitely need to consult with the experts in this area, but I would imagine that if an employer can prove they suffered economically because of the reduced workforce due to employee health issues such as arthritis, maybe their taxes could be reduced a little bit to help with the lost productivity, or perhaps a central organization could have substitute or replacement workers available on call to help the business out until the person with arthritis can come back to work. The GPA would definitely work with all parties to come to a mutually agreeable action plan.
Date: Monday, April 1, 2019 2:06 PM
Subject: re: Arthritis Consumer Experts Survey for Alberta Election 2019 – Arthritis in Alberta
From: Cass Romyn
Dear Cheryl & Anita,
Thank you so much for bringing this important issue to my attention. I cannot believe there is no standardized model of arthritis care within the province, and I find it extremely disconcerting that the rate of Albertans being diagnosed with arthritis is steadily increasing.
As a rural andidate for the Green Party of Alberta, I recognize the need for much improved healthcare beyond our two major cities, as many Albertans struggling with various pathologies seem to have to uproot themselves from their communities and support networks in order to receive viable treatment within the city. This is not universal healthcare for all. The Green Party of Alberta encourages not only universal pharmacare, dental etc. to provide Alberta with actual universal healthcare, but a transition to preventative healthcare, which of course requires investing in research and development.
As someone who deals with a musculoskeletal disorder personally, I understand the frustration when dealing with the lack of understanding in regards to symptoms, etc. among the general public and many healthcare professionals, and the limitations that lack of education can lead to within our society. I have also seen, first hand, the benefits of exercise, proper diet, and overall healthy living, compared to the effects of inactivity and pharmaceutical relief of symptoms - there is no comparison in terms of quality of life. As someone who studied anatomy, physiology and pathology, I appreciate the need for more education regarding arthritis, as well as the need to invest in the development of such exercise programs, as our understanding of this disease develops. These are all key steps in evolving a more preventative method of healthcare in the province.
A Green government would advocate for universal pharmacare, etc. while also encouraging the introduction of a guaranteed annual income, which would help reduce the strain of Albertans living in poverty, in turn, reducing strain on our healthcare system. These steps, in conjunction with the expansion of healthcare-related education, research and development, along with self-care through exercise and diet, will help evolve our current healthcare system into one focused on preventative measures.
Indigenous and aboriginal Canadians need equivalent healthcare, in terms of arthritis, and obviously more focused research and development, to find out why rates are higher among their specific population, just as we need to determine what the factors are behind the overall increase in Albertans diagnosed with arthritis. This type of research is extremely important, be should be invested in throughout the province.
Along with better education around arthritis, and a better understanding of the disease and its symptoms, our government should be encouraging improved ergonomics in the workplace, along with alternative, variable scheduling methods, even incorporating telecommuting, etc. for employees that require sporadic flexibility with their schedules. Ideally, preventative measures are again the best way to reduce costs in relation to arthritis, promoting healthy physical activity, while discouraging poor ergonomics and repetitive movements in workplaces throughout the province.
If the future of Alberta requires more rheumatologists and trained arthritis healthcare professionals, then we need to encourage more education programs in schools throughout the province, while continuing to research this disease, encouraging education, effective treatment and self-care, and overall promoting preventative solutions to this issue within our current system. We need to develop our standardized model of arthritis care, in order to reduce the overall cost this disease is inflicting on Albertans, not only economically, but physically and mentally on a personal level, as many arthritis sufferers can attest to.
I will be looking at writing policy within the Green Party regarding arthritis and the issues that surround it, and you can definitely count on my support regarding this unfortunate disease. I would love your organization's input when creating such policy, however, in the meantime, please let me know if there is anything else I can do.
Green Party of Alberta
Morinville - St. Albert
Date: Thursday, April 4, 2019 at 9:03 AM
Subject: re: Arthritis Consumer Experts Survey for Alberta Election 2019 – Arthritis in Alberta
From: Chris Alders
Greetings and salutations Ms. Koehn!
Many thanks for connecting and permitting me the opportunity to respond to the vital questions that you have raised in your survey.
Please find attached a document that provides response on these important issues.
2019 Green Party of Alberta Candidate
For Edmonton – City Centre
2354 27 Avenue NW
Question 1: What will your government do to bring a high quality, standardized evidence-based model of arthritis care for all Alberta residents?
A standardized evidence-based model of arthritis care is currently missing from provincial policy. Our government will form a special committee to investigate and develop best practices for arthritis care to ensure residents have access to the best care possible.
Question 2: What will your government do to introduce patient education and exercise programs, such as GLA:D, that have been proven to significantly reduce hip or knee osteoarthritis symptoms?
Patient education and exercise programs will be made available at all community recreation centers. This will ensure that all people will have access to the programs.
Question 3: What will your government do to improve the uptake of biosimilars and increase accessibility to life saving medications and reduce out-of pocket costs for Alberta residents living with inflammatory arthritis?
We will support the implementation of a national pharmacare program to ensure all Albertans have access to affordable prescriptions.
Question 4: What will your government do to improve the healthcare and lives of Aboriginals living with arthritis in Alberta?
We will increase the access to affordable healthy food, affordable prescription drugs, and exercise programs to those suffering with arthritis.
Question 5: How will your government establish better prevention programs and facilitate flexible work arrangements to help reduce the direct and indirect costs of arthritis to Alberta employers and the Alberta economy?
Prevention programs will be provided through workplace education. Implementing a universal basic income will help alleviate the financial burden of people needing to take time off work.
Question 6: Will your government take steps to increase the number of rheumatologists and trained arthritis professionals to ensure timely, specialized care for Alberta patients with arthritis?
We will build enough public healthcare infrastructure to accommodate the needs of all residents within the province.
Date: April 9, 2019 at 9:29:03 PM PDT
Subject: RE: “Arthritis Consumer Experts Survey - Share your plan for arthritis prevention, treatment and care in Alberta
From: Thana 4 YYC
Thank you for the opportunity to share how the Green Party will support Albertans living with arthritis. I hope you find the following responses demonstrate our commitment to improve our existing healthcare system and achieving better health outcomes for Albertans who live with arthritis.
1. The Green Party will work with the Canadian Rheumatology Association and hospitals across the province to establish a standardized model of arthritis care for all Albertans. The Canadian Rheumatology Association has established guidelines for both RA and OA but this information is not available to many healthcare practitioners, often only rheumatologists that operate only in major urban centers. We will work to create specialist networks that work with health care practitioners in underserviced areas to offer patients the access they need for diagnosis, education, and comprehensive treatment options. Through making use of technologies such as teleconference, health care practitioners can access specialists with the expertise they require to provide evidence-based and patient-centred care.
2. The green party is committed to achieving better health care through prevention and promoting fitness and active living as a means of improving health outcomes and the quality of life of Albertans. This includes funding and promotion of evidence-based programs such as GLA:D that can be easily accessed by Albertans no matter their geographic location. It is important to us to keep Albertans with arthritis comfortable and healthy, so that they can participate in the work force in a way that is meaningful to them, and contribute to and a stronger economy.
3. The Green Party believes that no Canadian should be unable to access an effective, sustainable, and personalized regime of medication for chronic conditions such. Recognizing that health care costs are rising most quickly in the area pharmaceuticals, we are motivated to advocate for the establishment of a comprehensive National Pharmacare program that ensures that effective and life saving pharmaceuticals are available to all who need them. This includes exploring viable and affordable alternatives to name brand prescription drugs, such as bulk purchase of generic medications, and working to provide access to other low- cost and evidence-based effective alternatives such as biosimilars.
4. As identified in the Truth and Reconciliation calls to action, the Green party will recognize and implement the health-care rights of Indigenous people as identified in international law, constitutional law, and under the Treaties. This includes advocating to the federal government to close the gap in the provision of healthcare between non-Indigenous and Indigenous people through improving the availability of essential, comprehensive, and quality healthcare services for indigenous persons that is culturally appropriate. This includes increased access to patient-centered heathcare for those living in remote locations throughout our province.
5. The Green Party will support funding to provide equipment such as accessibility tools to assist persons with arthritis to participate in work life; advocate for federal health transfer payments directed towards evidence-based programs that help to manage the difficult symptoms of arthritis; and to ensure that persons with arthritis have equal opportunity to employment and advancement.
6. The Green Party Supports the provision of funds for training of healthcare professionals to close gaps in healthcare and provide fast and effective healthcare for all Albertans.
Thank you again for this opportunity. Please feel free to reach out should you have any questions.
Sent from the general campaign team email account of the committee to elect Thana Boonlert for Calgary Mountain View MLA