Yesterday the Wildrose Party raised questions about a $7,233 expense claim for a 3day trip to the Mayo clinic in Rochester Minnesota made by a former Alberta Health Services senior executive. Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith alleged in the legislature Lahey billed taxpayers for medical treatment abroad, circumvented Alberta’s Out-Of-Country Health Services Committee and jumped the queue for health-care treatment.
The PCs went into full spin mode in the Alberta Legislature trying to dismiss the allegations even though they had no idea of what happened. Watch Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk as he says that the expenses
“probably are legitimate.” calling the suggestion that taxpayers paid for private care for a health executive “irresponsible and wrong.” even though he had nothing factual to back up his statements. (misleading the house?)
Also of note were Premier Alison Redford's comments where she used her favorite catch all line to spin bad news "It did happen in the past." as if anything that 'happened' could have possibly taken place somewhere else but in the past. I can't blame her for trying to use the line though as it makes great cover for everything from outrageous AHS expenses to her own (now broken) election promises from last year. They all were in the past so....
Flash forward to today and it turns out that the allegations were correct and that AHS did pay the expenses for Lehey to go to the Mayo clinic, but not for treatment, as can be allowed in certain circumstances but you do have to jump through AHS hoops to do so, but for a second opinion!
Wow, way to show confidence in the health system you are running AHS. You know, the one that the rest of us have to use because our bosses won't cover our expenses to circumvent the system like AHS clearly did in this case. Keep up the good work AHS and keep earning those 'at risk' bonuses.
I can't wait to see how Redford's PCs will try and spin this one but given their history I suspect they will again try to lay blame and smear the Wildrose for doing their jobs by bringing up such waste to our attention and asking questions in the legislature.
Wildrose Press release from April 16th.