An open letter to the Honourable (?) Premier Jim Prentice

Dear Jim:

Let’s dispense with the formalities, shall we? I’m not one to wade into political matters but I am terribly discouraged over your recent decision to put the new Calgary Cancer Centre on hold. I understand that in times of austerity there must be cutbacks, but this? The new building was slated to open in June 2020, and I was hoping to be at your side at the ribbon cutting ceremony. (God knows the Conservatives will still be in power in Alberta.)

crowded waiting roomI’ve written before about how overcrowded our current Cancer Centre is. There just isn’t enough room for all of us cancerous folk in this building, which forces some cancer care programs out to other sites in the city. Cancer patients are so cramped for space that we’re hanging from the rafters. Why, just last week, I was seated in a crowded alcove beside a chair with barely enough leg room to accommodate a Smurf. Thankfully, two of my ailing co-waiters brought their own chairs–wheelchairs, that is–and two others came alone, so no one had to sit on the floor.

Your job isn’t easy, Jim, especially since oil prices started tanking so soon after you took office. Have you considered nixing a few promised new schools instead of the Cancer Centre? I understand that suburban parents may be angry, but from my work I know that children are highly resilient. Sick adults, not so much. Maybe you guys could take a look at your own salaries and pensions and kick in a bit as well. And what’s that Heritage Trust Fund for if not a pressing project like this? You could always delay that darned south Calgary ring road, if you believe cancer trumps traffic.

Don’t get me wrong, Jim. I’m grateful for my free provincial health care and for your government’s willingness to cover the expense of my prohibitive cancer drugs. I know not all provinces provide such generous medical coverage. Still, I’m a bit upset that the drop in oil revenues has resulted in the delay of this essential building.

I also understand that Albertans aren’t so happy with the possibility of a provincial sales tax. (Does anyone ever welcome a tax hike?) Just so you know, I’m in the minority on this one; I welcome such a tax. I don’t have the time–too many medical appointments–or energy–that’s cancer for you!–or bucks–disability pension and all–to shop much anymore, so I doubt I’ll even notice it. Maybe you could earmark that revenue for this building.

Also, I’d welcome the redirection of my hospital parking fees to the building fund. I’ve been visiting the Cancer Centre quite a bit this month, and by month end, you’ll have earned close to $100 from me in parking costs. The inevitable appointment delays in an overcapacity building help me reach the absurd daily maximum at every visit. So feel free, Jim, to use the money I’m giving you toward the new building. You’re welcome.

Thank you for your kind attention to my concerns.

Sincerely in cancer,



2 thoughts on “An open letter to the Honourable (?) Premier Jim Prentice

  1. Good for you (us)!!! Now where else can we send this? I would be happy to hand out copies at the Tom Baker Centre for people to mail in. Let’s get this show on the road! What can I do?


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