Last week, Premier Redford shocked the media and Albertans when she flip-flopped on her commitment (made repeatedly during and after the PC leadership race) to call a full public inquiry into hundreds of reported cases of doctor intimidation and politically influenced health care queue jumping over the past several years. Instead, Redford announced her inquiry will only focus on whether queue jumping is still occurring…kind of like putting Bernie Madoff on trial for any fraud he is involved in starting today, but ignoring all fraud already committed…now there’s accountability!
After being blasted by virtually every reporter, columnist and health organization for not keeping her word, Premier Redford is now claiming she has kept her promise saying “I, in my heart, believe and know that the commitment that I made last June is the commitment that we honoured this week…I have not backed down one bit from what I said that I would do.”
Here are the direct quotes from what she said as recorded in the Calgary Herald, Calgary Sun, her own press releases, question period, and televised press conferences. You can decide for yourself whether she intentionally mislead Albertans.
“Dr. Duckett…stated outright that before his tenure as CEO of the AHS, people of the ‘political class’ were accustomed to being granted higher access in the system than those who were not as connected,” stated Alison Redford, candidate for leader of the PC party.
“This statement, when combined with earlier allegations of a culture of intimidation, has provided an impetus to call for an independent inquiry.”
September 14, 2011. Three days before the first PC leadership vote (to Rick Bell at the Calgary Sun):
She also wants the full-blown probe to look at whether docs who spoke out against screw-ups in the health care system were intimidated.
“If there’s anything to be discovered let it be discovered,” says the candidate.
November 21st, 2011. In Question Period, Wildrose Health Critic Heather Forsyth questions Redford about the reported bullying of Dr. Tom Magliocco; here is Redford’s response:
“I’m pleased to see that, in fact, if someone does have concerns with respect to doctor intimidation, they would be prepared to come to an inquiry. The legislation will be tabled in the House today to ensure that that can happen…physicians are going to be able to testify with protection.”
February 24, 2012. Redford press conference at the Legislature:
Calgary Herald’s Don Braid:”You said when you made your statement in the summer about the inquiry that it should – you’re talking about political interference, I believe you refer to that and intimidation. Are you going to make both of those issues part of the inquiry?”
Premier Redford: “It has to be.”
February 28, 2012. Government of Alberta News Release:
The terms of reference for the public inquiry will direct the inquiry to consider:
Whether improper preferential access to publicly funded health services is occurring;
As Dr. Linda Slocombe, president of the Alberta Medical Association, stated upon hearing about Redford’s flip flop:
“There has been evidence of severe intimidation and physicians not being allowed to advocate for their patients. How do you change that? You have to go back and see what was wrong in order to go forward.”
We agree; if elected next month, a Wildrose Government will immediately call a full public inquiry into the political bullying and intimidation of health professionals in our health care system.
There has to be accountability if we are ever going to be able to diagnose the problems in our ailing health care system.