Susan on the Soapbox: The Tory Airplane Scandal–Excuses, Excuses

“I am optimistic that your review will assist in securing Albertans’ continued confidence in their government and trust in their elected officials.”—Premier Redford’s letter to the Auditor General requesting a review of her compliance with the Travel and Expense policy, Mar 4, 2014 Ms Redford Ms Redford’s optimism quickly turned to ashes. Not only did ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Who Deserves A Severance Package: Ms Neala Barton or the AHS Executives?

 “de-mur: to make objection; especially on the grounds of scruples”—Dictionary.com Neala Barton has the uncanny ability to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and emerge unscathed. She was a communications staffer for Ontario health minister David Caplan—until he resigned over the eHealth scandal. She moved on to become Dalton McGuinty’s press secretary—until ...

Susan on the Soapbox: The Buck Stops Here — Privacy 101 for Minister Horne — A guest blog by lawyer Brian Thiessen

Susan on the Soapbox welcomes her first guest blogger.  Employment and privacy lawyer Brian Thiessen has a few words to say about a privacy breach that impacts 620,000 Albertans.  The title says it all.  The Buck Stops Here–Privacy 101 for Minister Horne–Incompetence is not a defence Like most Albertans, I have been reading, with interest ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Wolves and Rabbits: The $3 billion RFP for Lab Services

I was slogging through Alberta Health Service’s Request For Proposals (RFP) for a 15 year $3 billion contract to provide lab services in the Edmonton area when the words of a former boss popped to mind…The world is divided into wolves and rabbits. Wolves or rabbits?  Care to guess what we are.  Hint: we look ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Running with Scissors: Another AHS CEO Bites the Dust

It’s like running with scissors.  It’s only a matter of time before someone gets hurt. On Oct 17, 2013, Duncan Campbell took over as interim CEO of Alberta Health Services, replacing Dr Chris Eagle who abruptly resigned with two years left to go on his five year employment contract. Duncan Campbell Mr Campbell eagerly took ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Edmonton’s $3 Billion Super Lab: Where’s the business case?

Is there anyone left in the PC government with a lick of common sense? Last week the NDP revealed that the government intends to outsource lab services to a private corporation and has initiated a Request for Proposal (RFP) process to award a $3 billion, 15 years contract to a single provider.  Health Minister Horne ...

Susan on the Soapbox: “Show me the money”: The Alberta Medical Association Channels Jerry Maguire

Dr Giuffre & Minister Horne To borrow a phrase from Renee Zellweger in the movie Jerry Maguire, Dr Michael Giuffre had me at hello.  He battled Health Minister Fred Horne for months, finally getting the Health Minister’s signature on the AMA Agreement settling doctors’ compensation.  We were pleased.  Tensions eased… …and then Dr Giuffre sent ...

Susan on the Soapbox: The Home Care Consolidation Debacle: Fred Horne’s Mission Impossible

Like Tom Cruise in Ghost Protocol, Health Minister Horne is tearing through the building trying to stay ahead of the explosives he’s set to detonate.  The big question is will he make it out in time. So far Fred has successfully blown up the AHS board, slashed the number of RNs by 200 and jeopardized ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Health Minister Fred Horne: The Puppet Master

The Google search engine connecting a reader to the Soapbox spat out this query:  “Is Fred Horne as stupid as he looks?”  Yikes!  That’s bit harsh.  But I must admit the question had crossed my mind (without the reference to Mr Horne’s looks—Ms Soapbox tries to maintain a modicum of decorum on the blog). Short answer?  ...

Susan on the Soapbox: “You’re fired!” Health Minister Horne Sacks the AHS Board

Last week Health Minister Horne out-trumped Donald Trump by firing not one but all 10 members of the Alberta Health Services Board—the board his government created in 2008 to deliver healthcare under a centralized delivery model. One expects such theatrics from Donald Trump, after all he’s a showboat;  but not from Mr Horne, the cabinet ...

Susan on the Soapbox: A Trip to the Mayo Clinic: Your dime or mine?

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 ...

Susan on the Soapbox: What Would It Take to Make you Plead Guilty? Alberta Revamps Traffic Court

What would it take to make you plead guilty to a crime you didn’t commit?  One hundred dollars?  One thousand dollars?  Need more information? Okay, what if the crime isn’t serious?  And if you plead guilty you can avoid the hassle of driving downtown, parking in an expensive lot, going through airport-style security and lollygagging ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Alberta Health Services Executive Bonuses: The joy of friends in high places

Ogden Nash To paraphrase Ogden Nash (actually Mr Nash did not utter this famous phrase, but for some reason we all think he did), “Spring has sprung, the grass is riz, I wonder where my bonus is?” It is indeed bonus time.  Executives in the private sector watched their bonuses shrivel as the oil and ...

Susan on the Soapbox: And Now…A Message from your Premier-In-Waiting: Mr Lukaszuk

We interrupt our regular programming—the PC spin on the cause of the $4 billion budget shortfall—to bring you an important public service announcement from the Premier-In-Waiting, Mr Lukaszuk. Mr Lukaszuk steps up to the microphone and says:    Listen up you pesky union types, and this includes all you doctors who aren’t in a union but ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Who do you trust? Premier Redford or Alberta’s Doctors?

“How can you trust a man who wears both a belt and suspenders?  The man can’t even trust his own pants.”—a line from the spaghetti western Once Upon a Time in the West. If the government’s attacks on Alberta’s doctors are any indication, anyone up for contract renewal this year will have a more luck ...