The Alberta Legislature.
The UCP government is following through on its campaign promise to conduct a comprehensive review of Alberta Health Services.Health Minister Tyler Shandro said Thursday his ministry is seeking bids from the private sector to conduct the review.“It’s going to be a fresh set of eyes from the outside, the first time in 10 years since AHS was created,” Shandro said.The main thrust of the review is to find efficiencies, but evaluators will also look for ways AHS can improve its service performance.Alberta’s $22-billion health system is the most expensive in Canada on a per-capita basis. AHS accounts for $15.2 billion of that spending.Premier Jason Kenney said during the campaign there was “enormous waste” and a “massive bureaucracy” within AHS. Critics countered that Alberta’s health system has the lowest administrative costs in the country at 3.3 per cent of overall spending, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information.Kenney has floated a $200-million saving. Asked if that’s still the goal, Shandro said he didn’t want to prejudge the work.Motor dealer donors distress New DemocratsThe opposition has questions over the Motor Dealers’ Association of Alberta’s recent registration as a government lobbyist.The group popped into the news late last year, when a letter to members suggested each dealership cough up a $5,000 cheque for Shaping Alberta’s Future, a UCP-aligned political action committee.The letter outlined how Kenney and the UCP would address dealer concerns if elected to government. Association president Denis Ducharme said at the time the UCP didn’t trade political promises for money.At a press conference Thursday, NDP Service Alberta critic Jon Carson said the MDA’s registration as a lobbyist — coupled with the UCP announcing plans to implement the first three policies promised in the letter — amount to a “textbook conflict of interest.”Carson said his party would consider taking the matter to the Ethics Commissioner if the UCP doesn’t give them some answers.If nothing else, he said, the government should disclose any meetings it has had with the MDA to avoid the perception of a bought-and-paid-for firstname.lastname@example.org/EmmaLGraney