Sunday, May 31, 2009

Calgary Is Being Punished By Stelmach

The mendacity of the Stelmach tories continues to unfold in Alberta. The latest example comes to us in the form of a refusal to fund a piece of equipment for prostate surgeries.

Two veteran Tory MLAs are taking issue with the government-created health superboard's move not to fund Calgary's only surgery laser for enlarged prostates, with one branding it a "dumb decision."

The specialized laser was packed up Friday at Rockyview Hospital after the Alberta Health Services superboard said it won't pay to operate the $100,000 machine.

At the Alberta Progressive Conservative policy convention Saturday in Calgary, several city MLAs --including Health Minister Ron Liepert--said it wasn't their role to micromanage the board.
There are two such lasers in the Edmonton area, and one each in Grande Prairie and Medicine Hat.

Liepert's attempt to sidestep by saying that it was a decision of the "Superboard" doesn't wash. That superboard is a bunch of appointees that Liepert and Co. brought together in the first place. Second of all, this Superboard is not running a crown corporation on behalf of the crown, it is running a part of the civil service, funded entirely by the government. As such it is unquestionably directly accountable to the government. To claim an "arm's length" relationship when no such thing exists is beyond obscenely dishonest.

Actions speak louder than words,and the Stelmach government's actions to date create a significant case for a governing party that was deeply offended when Calgarians sent something other than a branded conservative to the legislature. With respect to health care in general, Liepert has shown himself to be intransigent, dogmatic and arrogant - reflecting the attitude that Blackett showed us on election day when he mused that "with such a huge majority, they could do whatever they liked".

The unlike Premier Lougheed, who took a landslide majority in the late 70s, and rightly observed that such majorities are treacherous territory for any governing party, Stelmach and his crew have long lost sight of the wisdom of Lougheed's caution - and Albertans will pay the price for the arrogance and hubris we are seeing out of a government that is out of control.

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