Prime Minister Stephen Harper, not pictured because he’s pretty well disappeared, has heeded the touristic lure South America, illustrated above. Below: Canadian Parliamentarian Joan Crockatt and U.S. Representative Davy Crockett. Note to Globe and Mail: There is a difference! Below them: Allaudin Merali.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper was apparently grinding away at his Conservative caucus yesterday morning about the need for Senate reform.
An interesting strategy, his!
First you pack the place with self-entitled cheats and porkchoppers like Mike “The Puffster” Duffy, then you argue that their misdeeds are proof the institution needs reform!
If nothing else, this suggests (Read more…)
Mayo Clinic seen from Cafeteria
This past January Mr Soapbox and my youngest daughter (let’s call her Mini) went on a pilgrimage to the Mayo clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Unbeknownst to them they were following in the footsteps of Ms Michele Lahey, former Chief Operating Officer of the former Capital Health Region, who’d made the trek almost six years to the day before them.
Ms Lahey was advised by her Alberta oncologist that she was cancer-free. But her boss, Sheila Weatherill, CEO of Capital Health, told her to get a second opinion from the Mayo.*
Mini (Read more…)
Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne, right, helps Premier Alison Redford get ready to face Opposition questions about Alberta Health Services expense accounts. Alberta politicians may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Health executives Michele Lahey, Sheila Weatherill, Alison Tonge.
The clueless ineptitude of the Redford Government dealing with Alberta’s continuing health system expense account brouhaha is matched only by the belligerence of the Opposition in portraying the situation as an outrage and a scandal.
Since mainstream media now routinely refer to the matter that way – “Redford, opposition trade barbs over Alberta Health Services expense scandal,” is how the (Read more…) Journal headlined the story yesterday – it’s fair to say the opposition strategy is working.
Whether it’s in answers to questions in the Legislature, management of issues by Premier Alison Redford’s newly hired phalanx of former Ontario spin doctors, the juvenile quality of a stream of . . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Redford Government just can’t seem to stop fumbling health care expenses frenzy
10-4 Good Buddy! Why is Stephen Lockwood, above, getting to drive this truck, while Chris Eagle’s got the airbrakes ticket? Just wondering. Senior Alberta Health Services officials may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: The real Stephen Lockwood; Stephen Duckett, with his politically fatal cookie.
The newish chairman of the board of Alberta Health Services, this province’s massive public health agency, was in the media yesterday advising elected representatives to keep their paws off day-to-day operations of the health care system.
A culture of political interference is creating big problems, Stephen Lockwood complained to a local newspaper, and Something Must (Read more…) Done. Probably a lot of Albertans nodded their heads in agreement with this without thinking too carefully about what Mr. Lockwood was actually saying.
“If you guys want to set the policy, OK, but you can’t be interfering in the daily operations,” Mr. Lockwood told Alberta’s . . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: AHS chair to politicians: Do as I say, not as I do!
Alberta Health Services Board Chair Stephen Lockwood demonstrates how to trim a provincial health care budget. Actual AHS board members may not be exactly as illustrated. Below: The real Mr. Lockwood in his official AHS portrait.
Two pernicious and slightly dissonant myths that cloud discussion of public health care are the idea that to get the best public-sector managers we must pay excessive private-sector style salaries and perks and the plainly preposterous notion the private sector always does everything better.
So it was interesting how Stephen Lockwood, the apparently cold-eyed and pragmatic trucking company executive from Okotoks picked by the
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Alberta Health Services trimmers toss out a couple of market-fundy myths to save cash
Dr. Ron Bridges of the Helios Wellness Clinic testifying yesterday in a screen grab from CBC’s broadcast. Below, Dr. Ciaran McNamee, who hasn’t been called to testify.
What are we to make of the fact Alberta’s preferential health care access inquiry has failed to call a witness who was at the centre of one of the most spectacular allegations of medical queue jumping in recent years?
Really, yesterday’s report by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. that the often strangely passive inquiry has decided not to bother asking Dr. Ciaran McNamee to testify about what happened to his lung surgery patients simply
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Why is Alberta’s medical queue-jumping inquiry uninterested in dramatic 1990s case?
Fresh air and yogurt might have helped these guys live to be 160, but if they’d lived in Alberta, instead of Russia, where could they afford to sleep? Below, seniors care in Calgary, back in the day, before oldsters all carried tennis racquets, rode bicycles and looked like fashion models, only with white hair.
Do you remember that promise by the Alberta government to build 3,000 seniors’ beds? It turns out they only planned to rent them!
The problem with renting beds from private companies, of course, is the same as with any form of privatized medicare: it ends up
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Renting seniors’ beds is a formula for failure – and it’s time for Alberta to stop doing it
When Richard Nixon told David Frost than an illegal activity is not illegal “when the president does it” he confirmed what we’d all suspected: the “tone at the top” as far as the 37th President of the United States was concerned was hopelessly corrupt.
Richard Milhous Nixon, 37th President of the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Most breaches of good governance are not as dramatic as Watergate, but the consequences of poor governance, even on a small scale, can be devastating.
Bearing that in mind, let’s turn our attention to the governance of Alberta Health Services (AHS).
. . . → Read More: Susan on the Soapbox: The “Tone at the Top” from two perspectives: Richard Nixon and the AHS
Alberta’s perpetually mismanaged boom-and-bust economy makes homelessness worse, as hopeful immigrants flock here in hopes of a better life, and find nowhere to live. At least this guy has warm boots. Below: Dr. Stan Houston and Dr. Mat Rose.
Welcome to Alberta, the Richest Place on Earth, where body lice are showing up on residents of homeless shelters, an affliction normally associated with Third World refugee camps.
Earlier this week, University of Alberta infectious diseases specialist Dr. Stan Houston warned colleagues in an email of “a very powerful health indicator of the kind of poverty we are seeing (and creating)
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Edmonton’s homeless shelters home to body lice, ‘refugee-camp-like conditions’
Who’s in change here? Progressive Conservative MLAs get ready to supervise the work of an Alberta Health Services medical team while Alberta voters look on. Health officials, physicians and electors may not be exactly as illustrated. Below: AMA President Dr. Michael Giuffre; a space invader
Is the increasingly bitter fight between Alberta’s government and the province’s physicians just about money? It’s said here it’s more about who gets to control the health care system.
If you need evidence for this assertion, look no further than the fact just two and a half months ago Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne said
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Is Premier Alison Redford’s bitter fight with the docs about money, or control?
Coming soon to seniors’ centres in Alberta, a new model of elder care? Below: Health Minister Fred Horne.
On Monday, Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne announced a year-long project to study seniors’ residential centres and figure out the best way to fund and run them.
Sounds good, lots of Albertans must have concluded, before getting on with their business confident the administration of seniors’ care under Premier Alison Redford is in good hands.
But if Mr. Horne and the provincial Health Department are really serious about assessing the financial sustainability of the 400 or so seniors’ facilities, weighing various funding
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Why is Alberta studying seniors’ care at the same time as it’s privatizing it?
Wheeling and dealing: Staff of private clinics use advanced clinical techniques to decide which patients go to the front of the line for quick medical tests. Alberta medical insiders may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Retired judge John Vertes, Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne.
What appears to be the first confirmed example of methodical and systematic queue jumping uncovered by Alberta’s Health Care Preferential Treatment Inquiry emerged this week and, lo and behold, it involved the operations of a private medical clinic.
This should not surprise us. After all, in a fair and well-run public health care system, what
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Inquiry testimony suggests pricey private clinics – nudge-nudge, wink-wink – really can engineer preferential access
The Dagny Taggarts, a synchronized skating team from Ottawa get ready to do their popular routine, “Where Is John Galt?” Defence Minister Joan Crockatt is in the front row, second from right. Below: Senator Tom Flanagan; U of C economics student Kim Jong-un, in full Calgary drag; Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk, ecstatic for his boss; and Nobel Prize winner Raj Sherman with the author. Actual events may not turn out exactly as predicted.
Why wait for 2013’s headlines when you can read them here on Alberta Dairy right now? In a spirit of transparency bordering on clairvoyance, Alberta Diary
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Why wait? Read 2013’s shocking political headlines right now on Alberta Diary!
Will the wheels fall off the Alberta Health Services case for not paying severance to former CFO Allaudin Merali? At any rate, it sounds as if Mr. Merali, in blurry photograph below, hasn’t given up the fight.
Former Alberta Health Services Chief Financial Officer Allaudin Merali today issued a stout defence of the propriety of his conduct in a previous job as CFO of the Capital Health Region.
Mr. Merali’s personal response to a statement issued Thursday by AHS Board Chair Stephen Lockwood, which defended the expense account practices of other AHS executives, amounts to a scathing commentary on the
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Time to move on from old Alberta Health Services expense claims? Not just yet, thanks, says Allaudin Merali
Lynn Redford, the Alberta Premier’s sister, stars in Scenes from an Inquiry, directed by Ingmar Bergman, or someone with a similarly Nordic directorial touch. Below: Former Alberta health minister Ron Liepert chooses his colour for a game of chess with retired justice John Vertes. Actual inquiry participants may or may not be exactly as illustrated. Below them: The actual Mr. Liepert at the inquiry, in a screen shot taken from the inquiry’s live-stream.
Ron Liepert, Alberta’s outspoken Alberta health minister back in 2008 and 2009, once called the $10-million inquiry called by Premier Alison Redford’s Progressive Conservative government into preferential
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Scenes from an Inquiry: No fireworks as Ron Liepert and Lynn Redford testify
The executive of the Alberta Medical Association, shown here, may not be exactly as illustrated. Below: the offending advertisement.
With contract talks between the Alberta Medical Association and the provincial government back on again, after a fashion, a polling firm is out there now trolling to see how voters are reacting to the messages from Alberta’s physicians and the AMA – which acts like the province’s most powerful labour union.
There’s even a “Who Do Ya Trust” question in the survey that wonders if ordinary Albertans believe what doctors tell them when the Alberta Medical Association speaks on their
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: What’s wrong with the Alberta Medical Association’s message? A technical primer
Your blogger with Alberta Liberal Leader Raj Sherman, the former Conservative Parliamentary Secretary for Health. Below: Former Alberta Health Services CEO Stephen Duckett.
In other medical news, Alberta seems to be suffering an epidemic of mild memory loss. Not just Alberta, either. The problem has cropped up Down Under as well!
The Health Services Preferential Access Inquiry, known to most Albertans as the Queue-Jumping Inquiry or words to that effect, completed its second day in Edmonton yesterday with a couple of star witnesses on the stand – or whatever the stand called when it isn’t technically speaking at a judicial
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Well, somebody thought there was queue jumping, that’s for sure!
As a perfect storm blows, Alison Redford’s strategic brain trust parries Opposition attacks about the conduct of her government. The premier is in the centre of the boat, wearing a cowboy hat. Actual Alberta politicians may not be exactly as illustrated. Below: Your blogger with Paul Martin; queue-jumping inquiry chief John Vertes. As the political … . . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Everythinggate: Perfect storm lands Alberta premier in shark-infested waters!
Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne, at right, and a representative of the media go inside the Cone of Silence to discuss the latest health care expense account revelations. Alberta politicians may not appear exactly as illustrated, but, boy, Maxwell Smart sure looks like Dalton McGuinty! Below: Premier Redford’s sister Lynn, CBC reporter Charles Rusnell and … . . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Cone of Silence won’t make Albertans any less angry at expense account shenanigans
Transparency, Alberta style, with Gloria Stuart as Alison Redford, William Harrigan as Dr. Chris Eagle and Claude Rains as Fred Horne. Below: Don Scott, yesterday’s Invisible Man.
Alberta’s mainstream media finally got around yesterday to acknowledging the obvious, that Alberta Health Services may have left itself (and the rest of us who pay its bills) wide open to a costly lawsuit by tossing former CFO Allaudin Merali under the bus and then denying him severance without so much as a tip of the hat to due process.
In other words, to summarize the message from a law professor consulted by
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Alberta’s Expensesgate scandal: Just saying it’s over doesn’t mean it’s over
Back in the days of Capital Health… Very little may be exactly as illustrated. Below: Dr. Chris Eagle, Alllaudin Merali, Fred Horne, Sheila Weatherill.
Alberta Health Services CEO Dr. Chris Eagle announced categorically in a news release today there will be no buyout for Allaudin Merali, the health care agency’s former chief financial officer whose controversial expense account practices in a previous job were at the centre of a storm of controversy last week.
But are we seriously expected to believe a man who would claim a single loonie plugged into a parking meter is going to say goodbye to
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: No buyout for former Alberta Health chief financial officer? Really?
Village of Carmangay: Sorry, your nursing home will have to close. Below: Former Capital Health CEO Sheila Weatherill, Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne.
Let’s cut right to the chase: If Alberta Health Services can afford to buy out Allaudin Merali, again, it can afford to keep the doors open at the Little Bow Continuing Care Centre in Carmangay.
The Little Bow centre in the village of 275 souls way down in Wildrose country is home to 18 elderly dementia patients. AHS says that at 54 years old, the building just too expensive to renovate and too rickety to keep
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Understanding AHS: Carmangay nursing home repairs? We need the money for Allaudin Merali!