Ramey: Stephen McNeil’s super bureaucracy costing taxpayers millions in Alberta

June 13, 2013

NDP MLA Gary Ramey is calling on Stephen McNeil to explain to Nova Scotians why he continues to support creating a health super board in Nova Scotia.

“Stephen McNeil has pointed to the super board in Alberta as the model that Nova Scotia should follow,” said Ramey. “On Tuesday, the Alberta board was under fire from both the province and taxpayers for deciding to give 99 executives almost $3.2 million in bonuses – despite being told by the Minister that they should not hand out bonuses. This is happening at the same time that they are tightening funding for home care and freezing pay for front-line staff.”

Things have gotten so bad in Alberta that yesterday Health Minister Fred Horne fired the entire board, saying, “Regrettably, the Premier, my cabinet colleagues and I were forced to consider whether Albertans can continue to have confidence in the board’s ongoing ability to direct change in the health-care system.”

While Alberta struggles with super board bonuses, the NDP has made Nova Scotia the first province in Canada to ensure that ratepayers don’t pay for any corporate bonuses.

Ramey noted that Stephen McNeil has been selling his health super board at meetings across Nova Scotia for more than a year. The implementation of the super board in Alberta created an emergency room crisis – with patients calling 911 from inside ERs, widespread doctor intimidation and unreliable ambulance response times.

“Stephen McNeil needs to do some more research. It’s been five years since Alberta moved to one super bureaucracy and the result has been an $80 million increase in administration spending, longer emergency room waits, reduced staff moral and the departure of a number of doctors from the province.”

“In contrast, our government has the best record in Canada for reducing health administration spending over the last four years at the same time that we’ve reduced ER closures,” added Ramey. “And we’ve managed to do that without throwing the entire health system into chaos.”