In her bid for the PC leadership, Alison Redford stated unequivocally that she would definitely call a judicial inquiry into allegations of queue-jumping based on political favouritism, doctor intimidation and other issues of corruption. Former Premier Stelmach and former Health Minister Gene Zwosdesky both insisted that a judicial inquiry was not needed, and that the Health Quality Council could handle any necessary investigations. It seems that now that Alison is Premier, she’s backing away from her promise of a judicial inquiry.
Some say all the “fuss” around health care is just opposition party posturing, stirring the ire of the people to poach votes. Some say the processes that are in place, up to and including the Health Quality Council, are more than adequate to determine issues of hospital mistakes, doctor intimidation and political queue-jumping. What is fact and what is cover-up, or politically expedient rhetoric?
How is the average Albertan supposed to know where the real truth lies? How can Albertans regain confidence in both the system and their leaders? Many people express a wary sense that they are not getting good information from any where, because every player in the game has a vested interest in having things viewed through their particular lens.
For this very reason alone, whether or not there proves in the end to be any merit to the accusations, a judicial inquiry must be called. A completely independent body without skin in the game must give Albertans an unbiased, unvarnished picture of what is transpiring behind the scenes in our health care system so that we can either get on with things or know what needs fixing. Yes, it costs money, but it’s our money. Why don’t we get a say?
In fact, the whole situation begs the question of why in the world we would NOT submit health care, the single largest portion of the provincial budget, to an independent inquiry. One would assume that government would be highly motivated to make every effort to ensure that each dollar spent is done in a fair, impartial, good faith manner, a core value in Canada’s public health care system, and that any suggestions of impropriety would be subjected to the utmost level of scrutiny. If Albertans need, want and ask for an independent judicial inquiry, a responsive government has a responsibility to provide it.
Perhaps Premier Redford believes, from the inside looking out, that things in health care are okay and a judicial inquiry is not warranted. However, from the outside looking in, Albertans have far too many questions and far too little trust. We don’t trust the Health Quality Council to deliver an unadorned assessment. Albertans, I think, want something, someone, they can trust. The Premier made a promise, and a promise is a promise. If we can’t trust in something as basic as that, how can we trust anything?
Tell me what you think.