While some are celebrating the Alberta government's decision to reinstate funding for gender reassignment surgeries, official opposition leader Danielle Smith says it's not in line with the health care priorities of Albertans.
“We have unacceptable wait times for medically-necessary surgery, growing backlogs of seniors waiting for long-term care, seniors in long-term care being fed inedible food and a bureaucracy that prevents money from getting to the front lines,” she said in a release.
“If the government is going to pay for additional health care, it should consider things like dentistry, insulin pumps, and hearing aids for seniors first. While we respect the freedom of individuals to seek this procedure, it is clear there are more pressing priorities and needs for Albertans that must be put first.”
But others are applauding the province's decision to reinstate the funding that was cut about three years ago.
Mercedes Allen and April Friesen celebrated in their High River home in southern Alberta on Thursday after hearing the news.
“We're pretty happy about things ... everybody is jumping for joy,” said Friesen.
Both women have had the surgery which was paid for by the province at a cost of about $18,000 each.
And both have been fighting for this day since the surgery was delisted. Friesen figures they've made about 70 trips to Edmonton for that fight.
“When the funding was cut, there were an awful lot of people who were absolutely devastated,” she said. “They didn't know how they were going to get on with their lives and when we went to the support groups that room was so full it was standing room only.”
The couple says they know two transgendered people who've traveled to Thailand for the surgery and it's not clear whether they'll now be reimbursed for that.