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PC’s plan to pledge more support for STARS

April 19, 2012, Grand Prairie, Alta. - Progressive Conservative Leader Alison Redford pledged $10 million in additional funding for STARS air ambulance at a campaign stop in Grande Prairie Saturday afternoon.


April 19, 2012
By The Edmonton Journal

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“This PC government is committed to ensuring the Grande Prairie
region has a seamless web of emergency and medical support services,”
Redford said.

“I think all Albertans know just how special STARS
is. … A PC government in budget 2013 is committed to tripling the
amount we fund (STARS), adding $10 million annually.”

The Shock
Trauma Air Rescue Society is a non-profit charity organization that
provides emergency transport for critically ill patients.

The
funding pledge would increase the government’s contribution to $15.5
million annually, up from $5.5 million each year. STARS total operating
expenses in 2009 were $27 million.

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Redford said the addition money is central to the party’s plan to provide health care for rural and remote communities.

STARS
spokesman Cam Heke said that while the organization isn’t endorsing any
political party, they were pleased with the Tory announcement.

“We
are grateful for any government contribution,” Heke said. “We are in
continuous conversation with governments, and … in Alberta
approximately 25 per cent of our funding comes through government.”

He
said the money would benefit patients by helping to maintain the
bigger, faster W-139 helicopters that will be coming to Edmonton and
Calgary this year and next.

“There are higher maintenance costs,” Heke said, “so the timing of this announcement is good.”

Redford
is heading back to Calgary for a full slate of events on Sunday,
including a photo opportunity with former Alberta Premier Peter
Lougheed, who announced Saturday he would be backing Redford.

Former Premier Don Getty also endorsed Redford this week.


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