carmangay confusion puts tory southern alberta prospects to the torch.

Ian Donovan David Eggen MLA

Little Bow Wildrose MLA Ian Donovan and Edmonton-Calder NDP MLA David Eggen at a rally in front of Premier Alison Redford’s constituency office in Calgary on August 14, 2012.

Confusion about the closure of the Little Bow Continuing Care Centre in the tiny southern Alberta village of Carmangay has triggered a backlash by local residents against the Progressive Conservative government.

Fred-Horne-Alberta

Fred Horne

The closure of the facility, which houses local residents and is the main employer in the community, has also united politicians from across the political spectrum.

At a rally in front of Premier Alison Redford‘s constituency office in Calgary-Elbow, Edmonton-Calder NDP MLA David Eggen, Little Bow Wildrose MLA Ian Donovan, Innisfail-Sylvan Lake Wildrose MLA Kerry Towle, and Calgary-Shaw Wildrose MLA Jeff Wilson stood with more than 80 people in opposition to the facility’s closure. At a previous rally, Highwood MLA and Wildrose leader Danielle Smith and Alberta Union of Provincial Employees president Guy Smith stood with local mayor Kym Nichols, who works at the facility.

While the decision to close the Little Bow facility would have made by Alberta Health Services, the final approval for the closure must be made by Health Minister Fred Horne. This is because, as an Approved Hospital, Section 28 of the Operation of Approved Hospitals Regulation states:

28 Every hospital shall require prior approval of the Minister for
(a) any proposed major change or termination of an existing service provided by the hospital, or
(b) the introduction of a new service.

Since the Wildrose Party swept rural southern and central Alberta, electing 17 MLA’s across the province in the May 2012 election, the long-governing Progressive Conservatives have faced the first rural MLA dominated official opposition since the early 1970s. Minister Horne has visited the community and apologized for the confusion, but the apology appears to have only confirmed the feelings held by some people that the big city Tories do not understand the needs of small rural communities.

The confusion around the closure of the facility has led more than a few members of the community wonder if a recent change in their voting patterns have affected their political influence on this issue. In the recent election, residents of the community voted overwhelmingly for Wildrose candidate and now-MLA Mr. Donovan over PC candidate John Kolk. Previous to that election, Carmangay had been a reliably Tory voting area.

If the Tories are trying to win back the hearts and minds of voters in the rural south, their grand strategy is beginning with a rough start.

9 thoughts on “carmangay confusion puts tory southern alberta prospects to the torch.

  1. Barbara Scott

    If there is confusion, it is the government’s own making. Having given the Carmangay facility a positive assessment in March, in July AHS abruptly announced that it would be closed within three months. The Minister (and the Premier through her communications staff) both advise that (1) there is no time limit and (2) patients will be moved to facilities of their choice. BUT some have already been moved, not necessarily to their, or their families’, choice. AHS never had the courtesy to even consider negotiations – – for example, could Carmangay raise funds for repair? But what is of even more concern is the direction – – muddy – – the Province intends to take continuing care… a direction that blurs lines between assisted living and nursing home care. (See the draft report, “Moving Continuing Care Centres Forward: A Concept Paper” of June 2012.)

    Reply
  2. North Darling

    Great article. I am getting lots of chatter from bureaucrats about the “Green Line”, and none of them seem worried. The opinion is that three WRP hit its high water mark, and the “rurals” can have them. This definition of “rural” is one I should write a column about. Thanks for your continued hard work at covering Alberta politics.

    Reply
  3. Neal

    Isn’t it funny how the Wildrose has turned into Liberal-esque mush in their role as Official Opposition? Shouldn’t they be holding true to their own party’s ideology and calling for more privatization of elder care?

    And what’s Danielle Smith doing hob-knobbing with the likes of AUPE president Guy Smith? On what planet do those people share anything, other than a dislike of Redford’s PCs, in common?

    Reply
  4. bartinsky

    Neal, Wild Rose started out with good intentions because of the ineptness of stumbling E.D.. After electing little Miss Look at at Me Look at Me, things were not about policy anymore, these flakes and clowns will stand on a podium with Chavez if they thought the Herald would front page it. The business of running Alberta efficiently, should always come first, judging by our position in Canadian provinces, for the most part it has, it was E.D. who messed up a well oiled machine and there will need to be some minor repairs but once the broken parts like Leipart are all gone, there will be no need once again for an opposition like these banjo pickers.

    Reply
  5. Martin Levenson

    Bart, there is ALWAYS a need for an effective opposition, “banjo-pickers” or not! The lack of an effective opposition in Alberta is what has brought us to the rather messed up (democracy-wise) position we find ourselves in, where everyone jumps on one party’s bandwagon and become cheerleaders. Where asking legitimate questions leads one to be accused of being a “traitor”, or a “left-wing nut”, or being dismissed as “disloyal”.

    If you believe in accountable government, you have to believe in the value of an effective opposition to KEEP that government honest.

    I don’t support the current opposition in any way, but I value the role that they play.

    Reply
  6. Kevin S

    Calling WR supporters “banjo-pickers” is your own form of racism. That pretty much clear up who the true rascists are.

    Reply
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