Saturday, 28 November 2015

Alberta's "Health" Mafia at it Again!

Alberta Health Service’s decision to terminate the contract of Airdrie’s beloved physician & head of Airdrie Urgent Care, Dr. Julian Kyne, was not a personnel decision as AHS claims. 

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Dr, Julian Kyne - Airdrie's Head of Urgent Care
It was a mafia-style hit job of an individual who has advocated tirelessly for a 24-hour urgent care centre for Airdrie.

Earlier this year AHS brass were furious when Dr. Kyne, Mayor Brown, a group of local philanthropists and investors, the Airdrie Health Foundation and yours truly, went around the heel draggers at AHS to secure the commitment of government support (including a $4 million down payment) for a new 24-hour health centre. Then Health Minister Stephen Mandel was entirely committed to the project and had the political muscle to ensure it happened.

Big-hearted local family, Hugh and Loreen Hamilton, recently donated the land to the project and everything seemed set to go.

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Dr. Kyne, Minister Mandel, Mayor Brown, AHF chair Michelle Bates
and yours truly announcing 24-hour health centre for Airdrie last Spring
One problem, a few months ago the voters elected an NDP government, and all of a sudden Dr. Kyne no longer had political cover from a supportive minister, mayor and MLA in government.
That is when AHS took its revenge on Dr. Kyne.

AHS will of course deny this, but they are lying. And they should be ashamed. 

*Published in the Airdrie Echo and Airdrie City View (November 2015)

Sunday, 22 November 2015

NDP's Anti-Capitalist Ideology Trumping People's Health

When the NDP won the last election, the thinking went that since we were in Alberta after all, the Notley Government would be smart enough to realize that if they were to succeed long term, they had better govern pragmatically rather than inhabit the outer realms of reality that so many New Democratic faithful seem to live in including various ideological dogmas such as “corporations grow their money on special trees fertilized by the remains of abused workers” and “we can power our cars with unicorn farts”, etc, etc.

Well, it hasn’t turned out that way thus far.

The latest example of NDP ideology trumping logic is our health minister, Ms. Sarah Hoffman’s recent meltdown on the Airdrie 24-hour health care file.

As many of you know, the Airdrie Health Foundation, City Council, local health professionals, generous philanthropists, entrepreneurs and hundreds of community stakeholders and volunteers have been working relentlessly towards establishing a 24-hour urgent care centre for Airdrie. Earlier this year, our community broke through and secured the agreement of the provincial government to partner with local philanthropists and businessman to build a 3-floor health centre that would include 24-hour care, dozens of doctor’s offices, a pharmacy and other health services.

Then voters made – shall we say – an interesting choice in the last election and voted in an NDP government. Following the election, hopes were still high the promised Airdrie health centre would continue its progress. At last month’s Airdrie Health Foundation gala, for example, over $100,000 was raised and several acres of prime real estate was donated by the Hamilton family to the cause.
However, it seems increasingly apparent the NDP may not be in the mood to assist our City of 55,000 people to obtain 24-hour health care. 

This is evidenced not only by Alberta Health Service’s new found lack of enthusiasm for the project, but by the words of the health minister herself. When asked by Airdrie MLA, Angela Pitt, regarding the status of the 24-hour health centre, our health czar bizarrely began attacking not only the project but the Hamilton family who donated the land, stating “What we’ve done is worked with Alberta Health Services to have evidence based decision-making so that we can make sure that we’ve got assurances for all Albertans, not just individuals who can afford to donate land, that they will have health care when and where they need it.”

First off, I’ve been around enough to know the blurb about “evidence based decision making” is AHS code provided to the Minister with the meaning “Airdrie isn’t big enough and is too close to Calgary to justify 24-hour health care.” 

But secondly, what in hell is Hoffman saying here? Is she inferring this donation of land is tainted because it was made by a wealthy individual who would be able to afford private care if needed? Huh…ok. Or is it a thinly veiled threat that because the actual building would be constructed privately and the main floor leased or sold to AHS – that it is therefore not worth pursuing because...gasp…private money would make the project possible? Or is Ms. Hoffman being run by her ministry and AHS bureaucrats, and frankly has no clue what is even going on here (do you miss Minister Mandel yet? I do!)  

Frankly, who knows what she’s saying? But if this “star” cabinet minister supports Airdrie’s drive for 24-hour health care, she (and AHS who she oversees) better make it a bit more clear, and soon.