After months in apparent seclusion, Premier Ed Stelmach recently emerged for a rare interview with Medicine Hat’s CHAT Television (an interview that was a much less scripted production than what is expected in his upcoming pre-taped televised address). The interview doesn’t give any new indication to the direction that the Premier would like to take Alberta, but he did touch on the topics of of Education, the Wildrose Alliance, the provincial deficit…
…, and Health Care.
While poorly communicating changes in Alberta’s Health Care system has more recently become the exclusive domain of Health Minister Ron Liepert and Alberta Health Services CEO Dr. Stephen Duckett, it now appears that Edmonton-Rutherford PC MLA Fred Horne is the new third wheel in the group. After vocal public pressure emerged against Duckett’s announcement that he was closing mental health beds at Edmonton’s Alberta Hospital, Horne was appointed to co-chair the “implementation committee” that will now oversee a slower closure of the beds.
I expect Horne to be a competent appointee, but I am curious what his elevation to this committee means to the internal politics of the PC caucus. Given that Edmonton-Meadowlark PC MLA and parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Health Raj Sherman has a unique insight into the medical world and has been very honest about his past challenges with mental health, I find it very curious that he wasn’t chosen to be the “Premier’s eyes and ears” on this committee.