3.06.2012

Health Care Inquiry Witness List Should Prove Interesting

The pieces of Alison Redford’s ‘all-encompassing’ inquiry into alleged health care queue-jumping are falling right into place, the latest being the naming of retired Northwest Territories judge John Vertes to head up the sideshow.

As critics, opposition parties, and a public growing ever more disgusted by endless broken promises continue to voice displeasure, I thought I’d change my focus to the inquiry itself. We now have a Justice in place. The interest then becomes the possible individuals requested to give testimony.

Put aside your cynicism as to how legitimate and fair the process will be and perhaps any belief that the outcome has already been decided, and let’s give the benefit of the doubt that this will be an even and open hearing.

So who will be the witnesses?

Perhaps the obvious starting point would be the current and recent-past Ministers of Health and Wellness. We’d have to know what Fred Horne knows. Gene Zwozdesky should take the microphone, as should Ron ‘I Swear When I Like’ Liepert, Dave Hancock, and Iris Evans.

And of course, Gary Mar, which is the perfect segue into the area of those who may have been privy to information the inquiry needs to hear. Calling Kelley Charlebois would be a must, considering he was the recipient of an untendered $389,000 contract from then-Minister of Health Gary Mar (don’t ask me to prove that with copies of the reports Charlebois made for the government. According to what Mar said in the Legislature, they don’t exist.)

It is interesting that Charlebois was Mar’s executive assistant before becoming a ‘consultant’.

All of the ‘insiders’ must be vetted. All of the P.A’s who may have been in on some conversations, associates, even other party members if necessary.

Next up is Alberta Health Services. Past and present executives need summoning.

Then, of course, there is Stephen Duckett. The man was brought in all the way from Australia to save our cash-bleeding health care system. One extremely generous payday (and several parting shots) later, Duckett was back in the Land Down Under and our problems grew deeper. Given his warnings in between the verbal quips, Duckett must be called to reveal all that he experienced from the top.

We’ve known for years of various deep-seeded problems in all areas of our health care system. The Health Quality Council warned back in 2010 that Ron Liepert’s move to dismantle the nine health regions and create his Superboard “changes were so disruptive, and happened so quickly, the shock waves still resonate…”

Whether or not the allegations of doctor intimidation and queue-jumping will be proven by this inquiry will be a matter of discussion long after the final report has been released. The curious part is seeing who will be on the stand.

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