Commentary – Rural Alberta hosed again

Jeff Burgar

Should people paid $100,000 or $200,000 per year, or more, know better?

I’m talking upper level government employees. That pay doesn’t mention the gold-plated pensions, fringe benefits and entitlements that go along with being highly paid servants of the public.

Someplace, I am sure, there are people worth every penny. One such fellow is Stephen Duckett, the so-called “cookie monster.” Duckett was hired to run Alberta Health Services. He lost his job 10 years ago for, among other things, not being able to get along with Alberta’s media. Such scum they are!

Possibly, he had a long list of shortcomings. But the man still stood head and shoulders over the intelligence level of so many of we lowly scribblers. He towered in intellect over most politicians. Was also at least twice or four times as smart as most bureaucrats toiling away in the bowels of government office. Which means, much smarter than an average two-by-four.

They ran him off anyway.

Which brings us to this inane, but completely understandable, comment by our Alberta politician responsible for Alberta Health. This was over doctor shortages looming in Alberta this summer. Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro replied to NDP opposition accusations.

More or less, Shandro said, “Gosh gee whiz. Staffing is always a challenge this time of year. It’s always harder in summer months when people take vacation.”

And of course, he also blamed the pandemic.

Got that, folks? Edmonton Misericordia, Grey Nuns and Royal Alex Hospitals will be closed for parts of the summer. You know, because it’s “always a challenge this time of year.”

Just kidding! It’s business as usual in big cities!

But just for openers St. Paul beds will be restricted. Same with Elk Point. The Emergency Department at Elk Point won’t have a doctor on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Schedule your accidents accordingly.

Bed closures are also happening in Edson. More ER closings at Boyle, Rocky Mountain House and Fairview.

The real problem here isn’t the pandemic. It isn’t a few bed closures. It isn’t shutting down a handful of emergency rooms. It’s the whole idea this is some kind of normal. It’s OK, folks, nothing to see here, burbles our minister of health.

This is not unavoidable. This is just another step on the continuing downward path of bungling and misguided health leadership of the past 20 years. In a word, total incompetence. OO, that’s two words.

No doubt, somewhere, there are investigations and reports and conclusions how this shambles should be addressed. If there isn’t, a lot of people in power should be strung up by their pensions and paycheques. Because one thing we sure don’t need is another two-year long study learning what is wrong. Which basically is, useless people.

Two more words!

“Absolutely unacceptable” in rural Alberta.

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