Talks after a meeting in the Miramichi last night are suggesting that those at the meeting were told by the health minister that there would be a loss of 36 hospital beds as well as the Trauma 3 status for the hospital.

This is getting beyond outrageous and starting to get to criminal negligence.

During the election all parties repeated over and over that the Cons had cut and/or tried to cut many rural hospitals during their last tenure and that there was little indication that they would do any different this time around.

During the election Alward repeatedly said “There will be no cuts to hospitals” He repeatedly promised that health care would be left alone.

The first budget the Finance minister released ordered (not requested, ordered) ALL departments to reduce their budgets by 2% this year and again next year.

You can not cut 2% out of either Health or Education without cutting frontline services and even likely closing doors.  While as of yet the Education department has avoided doing much in the way of closing schools, the health department has seen almost the entire value of the 2% cuts showing up in the front line services. From the drastic cuts being made to front line services, it appears to me anyway that these cuts are almost exclusively on the backs of the front line workers and much of that in the rural areas. This is unnacceptable. At no time should any cuts in health or education end up damaging the front lines.

Many reports list our province as among the most obese in Canada, our literacy scores are middle of the road at best. These are both serious reasons to not decrease funding. We may perhaps need to improve some programs so our health is not as serious an issue and the same to our education system to raise our literacy and math scores, but we should never be cutting front line services in two programs that are so vital to the population as these.

There is not likely sufficient room for a 2% cut in administration levels however there is likely room for efficiencies in the way various things are done and any and all cuts realistically need to be made through efficiencies not through layoffs and shutdowns.

All Political Parties in this province warned people that the Cons would attack health care again, We all warned that hospitals would be closed and services would be downgraded. And rather unfortunately, regardless of any of the lies that Alward told us, We are well on the way to being completely right and that is going to hurt us as a province and us as a people extremely badly. They may not be worse then the Liberals but they are also no better and there are other options. Now is the time to take these options into account.