Alberta Politics

queue jumping for political insiders could unleash the wrath and fury of albertans.

The beginning of a slow news week, the rantings of an angry fall-guy, or the first tremor of an earthquake that could shake the foundation of a 40-year political dynasty?

Queue Jumpers

As reported by CBC, former Alberta Health Services CEO and President Stephen Duckett told the audience at a May 5 conference in Toronto that some of his predecessor CEOs under the old Regional Health Authorities “had designated ‘go-to guys’ for discrete waiting list adjustments on request from MLAs.

If true, this is a bombshell that would unleash upon each Tory MLA the wrath and fury of every Albertan who has ever had to watch a loved one suffer in pain while waiting in queue for a medical procedure. Accusations like this would cause parties in most jurisdictions to easily lose elections, in Alberta it could awaken an electorate that has supported the PC Party for nearly 40 years.

Dr. Duckett served as President and CEO of AHS from March 2009 until November 2010, he became a liability for his political masters after a turbulent fall session of the Assembly. He was unceremoniously dumped after spending 2 minutes refusing to answer media questions while eating a cookie.

With his recent employment history still fresh in our minds, no one should doubt that Dr. Duckett has an axe to grind with his former political masters, but taking into account that grain of salt, we should not immediately discount his words.

Are these allegations true? An Alberta Health spokesperson’s response to CBC was telling: “[Dr. Duckett made] vague allegations about what may or may not have occurred in the past.” Dr. Duckett did not provide the names of the CEOs, MLAs, or “go-to-guys” involved in arranging the alleged queue jumping, but as the week continues I imagine that the tiny spotlight shone by CBC today will grow wider into a spotlight of political commentary and intrigue.

UDPATE: The Edmonton Journal’s Karen Kleiss posted this June 11, 2009 memo from Dr. Duckett to the executives of the then newly created Alberta Health Services in regards to requests for expedited care.
Duckett Memo on Expedited Care

6 replies on “queue jumping for political insiders could unleash the wrath and fury of albertans.”

To answer the final question in your first paragraph……………… Nothing can shake this dynasty, because the fear of any other party/way of thinking will always trump the disdain of what the PCs will do/have done. Even if it’s proven that they sacrifice small children.

Duckett is just an angry old man who likes stale cookies. If he’s got any evidence, he should say which MLAs went and jumped the queue and we go from there. Otherwise there’s no evidence and let’s move on.

That is certainly an interesting memo. Were it not for the one line near the bottom instructing all expedition requests be sent to Duckett, the memo would be a pretty decent counter-argument to the claims of queue-jumping. As it stands however, this will take some looking into. Good post (if a little over-dramatic 😉 )

I think if you look at the larger picture, include things like the wiki-leaks on the power issue, how they cover up foster care issues… such an endless list really. Logic says, there is a lot going on that seems questionable. Not trying to insult anyone but the concept of “Ignorance is bliss” does nothing to solve the issues. And there are issues. Especially in Duckett’s case, some very large legal issues such as being sued by the Government for breach of contract conditions. When it comes to “bad things” happening anywhere, and indeed even more so within the political system, we have to stand up and demand the TRUTH. The current Alberta Government doesn’t appear to be giving us this, and we have to fix that.

I don’t dispute the political significance, if the story turns out to have legs. However, anyone who is shocked! shocked! at this latest hint that the sacred Canadian health care system isn’t perhaps as ideologically pure as the driven snow is either naive or willfully blind.

The health care debate in this province/country would benefit greatly if the elephant in the room – we have never had, nor will we ever have a “one tier” health care system – was acknowledged. What would also be helpful is for socialized medicine zealots to explain how a health care system that begats corruption and graft of the sort Duckett is referencing is nonetheless superior to one that operates on the basis of free market principles.

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