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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

stelmach chats in medicine hat.

After months in apparent seclusion, Premier Ed Stelmach recently emerged for a rare interview with Medicine Hat's CHAT Television (an interview that was a much less scripted production than what is expected in his upcoming pre-taped televised address). The interview doesn't give any new indication to the direction that the Premier would like to take Alberta, but he did touch on the topics of of Education, the Wildrose Alliance, the provincial deficit...


..., and Health Care.

While poorly communicating changes in Alberta's Health Care system has more recently become the exclusive domain of Health Minister Ron Liepert and Alberta Health Services CEO Dr. Stephen Duckett, it now appears that Edmonton-Rutherford PC MLA Fred Horne is the new third wheel in the group. After vocal public pressure emerged against Duckett's announcement that he was closing mental health beds at Edmonton's Alberta Hospital, Horne was appointed to co-chair the "implementation committee" that will now oversee a slower closure of the beds.

I expect Horne to be a competent appointee, but I am curious what his elevation to this committee means to the internal politics of the PC caucus. Given that Edmonton-Meadowlark PC MLA and parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Health Raj Sherman has a unique insight into the medical world and has been very honest about his past challenges with mental health, I find it very curious that he wasn't chosen to be the "Premier's eyes and ears" on this committee.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Silence.......

Anonymous said...

tumbleweed......

Craig said...

I watched the health care clip 5 times and I still don't understand what Stelmach was trying to say.

Lorne said...

Yes, where indeed is Sherman? I hope all the people that voted for him are filing this away for next election. They obviously bought his message about bringing an insider's approach to healthcare. I did not realize that, as a emergency room physician, he wanted more psychiatric cases in emergency and clogging up the hospitals.

Horne is far more articulate but I don't think being a good communicator is going to help him relay a bad message.

Anonymous said...

I think what Stelmach stuttered and mumbled was fairly clear:

*7 billion dollars for capital expenses is sitting in the provincial coffers, completely unspent.

*Stelmach and co are waiting and hoping to get the lowest bids possible before committing to any specific projects

*Announcements related to large capital projects can't be expected until early 2010 at best. Those are just the announcements mind you. Any actual building of new hospitals is therefore at least a year or more away from even breaking ground. Probably much further out than that.

I think Grande Prairie, Fort Mac, Lethbridge and Red Deer can all expect similar treatment to what Medicine Hat was just told. The underlying message here is that the PC party takes these smaller cities votes for granted.

And perhaps rightly so? It's not like these areas ever threaten the PC hegemony.

Anonymous said...

I've heard that while Sherman has not been very critical of Ron Liepert and Alberta Health Services publicly, it's a much different story at the Tory Caucus table and in the back rooms. Perhaps that is contributing to his invisibility at the moment.

That's Ed! said...

It's not only worth watching the Wildrose Alliance video clip for the babbling Stelmach answer and the anchor's retort that he yet again didn't answer the question asked. Well worth the wait for Ed Stelmach's sly zinger at the end. A booyakasha! moment in Ed has ever delivered one.

And on the subject of Horne, he was EA to Hancock when he was a do-little-flashy-but-ban-smoking health minister. Before that, he spent many years on health consulting and before a failed MLA run in 2004 he was Alberta Health's "director of sustainability.
And what a fun buzzword that has become.

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Ken the Rat said...

Anyone who runs for office is a "failed" MLA! That's right, despite the fact that Horne was picked to run in Kevin Taft's riding.
Remember, if you run for office and don't win, you are a loser!
John Diefenbaker, biggest political loser in history (ran how many times before winning?)

Colin F. Specter said...

Ed Stelmach will putz along until Ted Morton and his supporters have enough of the mushy middleground and they will strike and sell 100000 new members. Danielle Smith will join the PC Party and be Deputy Premier and Finance minister to Premier Morton.

Progressive Conservatives will unite behind Jim Prentice. It is our only hope.