Kenny’s first step in Privatization! Chaos!

Expert reports on the state of medical lab services in Edmonton make for grim reading.

Seventy per cent of major health decisions are based on a lab result, but Edmonton’s facilities are aging and outdated.

It’s not just the private DynaLife headquarters, which are crowded, stuck in a downtown office tower never designed to host a state-of-the-art lab. Equipment in Edmonton’s public labs is obsolete. More than three-quarters of the lab equipment owned by Alberta Health Services is considered to be at the end of its useful life, according to a 2017 report by the Health Quality Council of Alberta.

In that same report, experts call lab services the “fastest changing area of health care.” Scientists are constantly finding more precise tests, now using gene analysis to diagnose patients more accurately and earlier, with the promise of reducing overall costs.

But Alberta’s current system for regulating lab services is so fractured and political, decisions around new tests drag on and on, physicians say. It’s “as hard or harder” to get an outdated test removed. Even a simple decision, like moving all Alberta labs to the same test requisition form, had been under discussion for three years when the 2017 report was written. Alberta is falling behind.

I hope that puts UCP Leader Jason Kenney’s promise to cancel the new superlab and its new equipment in perspective.

Heavy equipment is on the construction site of the Edmonton Laboratory Clinical Hub, or “Super Lab,” east of the South Campus LRT station, 11330 65 Ave., in Edmonton on Wednesday, April 10, 2019. DAVID BLOOM /POSTMEDIA

Construction started on the $590-million project last month. Backhoes and bulldozers are preparing the site and retaining walls are being built beside the South Campus LRT station in Edmonton.

Kenney says he’ll save $640 million by also cancelling the $50-million contract to buy out DynaLife. But does he think the status quo with end-of-life equipment is an option? Public labs across Alberta need reinvestment whether it goes into a single new building with DynaLife included or not.

The lab situation has a long and tortured history.

In the mid-1990s, Alberta went through mass consolidation and former premier Ralph Klein cut laboratory services by 40 per cent. In Calgary, that led to a new public-private partnership, a centralized Calgary lab service.

In Edmonton, that didn’t happen, likely because two major hospitals are run by a separate provider, Covenant Health. Lab services stayed fractured, and eventually Alberta Health Services signed a 15-year contract to have DynaLife handle all the community-based lab work.

In the 2010s, Alberta Health Services decided to contract with a private company to create something like the Calgary lab in Edmonton, with consolidated hospital, academic and community lab services. It was going to be a 15-year, $3-billion contract with significant reinvestment.

Major multinational corporations bid on it, seeing little Edmonton as a toehold into the Canadian market. Three were shortlisted and an Australian corporation was picked. But DynaLife took the province to court in frustration and won. A judge ruled the bidding process was compromised.

In May 2016, a new government, the NDP, announced the public superlab model as one part of a plan to integrate services across the province. The Edmonton hub would work in partnership with Calgary. The common lab network, with a shared information system, would give researchers access to a vast quantity of population-level data, something unthinkable in the fractured, private network of American hospitals.

Superlab and Kenny's BS, Superlab,

Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman unveiled the location for a new integrated public lab facility in Edmonton on Dec. 21, 2017. LARRY WONG / POSTMEDIA NETWORK

Kenney says he supports the new information sharing system, but is undecided on whether to keep the new oversight body, Alberta Public Laboratories. He argues Alberta will get better results through choice and competition with private players, rather than one public monopoly.

At the end of the day, both public and private models have benefits. Private companies are more likely to prioritize capital investment as key to ongoing success. In Calgary, for example, the private-public central lab was eventually bought out by Alberta Health Services and saw its capital budget decrease to 10 per cent of what it had been. Now 60 per cent of its equipment is considered end of life.

University of Calgary pathologist Dr. Jim Wright watched the NDP plan with some trepidation. In a 2018 opinion piece for Academic Pathology, he wrote about the benefit of the public model: province-wide integration. It promised to come with a strong, science-based board to take politics out of decision making. That could make it nimble, allowing Alberta to invest in new technology to cut expenses and increase patient care, while capitalizing on research potential.

I’m not impressed with Kenney’s plan to cancel the deal, especially when he has no plan but the status quo to replace it.

He accuses the NDP of being ideologically motivated — stuck on the idea that health care must be entirely public. I hope his own ideology doesn’t blind him just as much.

Sure, it makes a good campaign speech to announce $640 million in savings. But that’s a fantasy. Fixing Edmonton’s medical labs is much more complicated.

UCP/Kenny List of Lies.

Stacie Jaye Leppky shared a post.

17 hrsTrish HorobecApril 12 at 12:00 AM

One more election related post because it’s important – and then sleep.

From a very impressive friend regarding the lies and bs slung by the UCP in Alberta.

UPDATE: This post has been edited to add references, just in case anyone asks for them. A lot of this information has been gained through months and years of following this stuff so not every single thing I mention has been sourced, as I can’t always retrace my steps to find it all. But the references I have added should do the trick.

So I’ve been on a tear lately digging into lots of facts and statistics to counter a lot of misinformation I’m seeing during this election. I thought some of you might be interested in seeing this collection of disparate but loosely connected corrections.

1) Misinformation/Obfuscation #1
We currently have only 46% of the oil rigs we had in 2014 and it’s all Rachel Notley’s Fault. I’ve seen this one attached to a bar graph which “demonstrates” that drop.

Truth #1: While we do currently have 46% of the number of oil rigs in Alberta that we had in 2014, the drop happened pre-NDP. As of April 10, 2015, there were only 60 active oil rigs in Alberta. This is immediately preceding the NDP taking power. A better way to detail our current state is to say that, with 144 oil rigs and counting, our current government has increased the number of oil rigs in the province from PC days by more than 200%.

2) Misinformation/Obfuscation #2: The NDP took a province with no debt and built a debt of $70 billion dollars.

Truth #2: While yes, our debt in Alberta is currently hovering around that number, the province was not debt-free when the NDP took over. In fact, in the 12 months preceding the NDP taking power in 2015, the PC government accrued close to $12 billion worth of debt. This is a very similar debt load to that accrued each year by the NDP. Certainly this level of debt is not ideal, but the economic challenges being faced by the NDP have been unprecedented. During their 4 years in power, they faced the largest and most expensive natural disaster in Canadian history. (Fort Mac)…/the-history-of-albertas-debt-posit…/…/alberta-wildfires-costlies…

3) Misinformation/Obfuscation #3: The NDP have destroyed industry while increasing a “bloated” public sector in way that has never happened before. I have often seen this comment attached to a statistic (from the Fraser Institute) of something like 85,000 new public sector jobs during the NDP’s tenure.

Truth #3: For that statistic to be true, the NDP government would need to be creating 60 public sector jobs every single day for the entire four years they have been in power.

In actuality, a total of 28,000 full time equivalent positions were created between 2015 and 2019. Which is pretty much in line with the average increase during PC days. Between the years of 2008 and 2012, around 25,000 public sector jobs were created in Alberta.

You may need to adjust the data parameters but:…

4) Misinformation/Obfuscation #4: The NDP is terrible at fiscal management and can’t budget.

Truth #4: The NDP made a conscious decision to accept the economic consequences of prioritizing social service supports instead of balancing the “budget”, in the face of the largest recession this province has seen in decades. But, to get down to brass tacks, my research has indicated that for each year the NDP have been governing this province, their actual expenses have been within about 1% of their projected budget for the year.

This one takes a bunch of digging into budget projections and comparing to end of year spending reports. Let me know if you need data on this and I will try and help.

5) Misinformation/Obfuscation #5: The NDP introduced a carbon tax that they did not campaign on, and they did it for no reason.

Truth #5: This is mostly true, except (!) they didn’t campaign on it because they weren’t planning on it. When faced with negotiations over the pipeline with the federal government, the NDP was basically given no choice but to introduce a carbon tax if they wanted to get federal support for the pipeline.

Lots of articles on this but here’s one I found:

6) Misinformation/Obfuscation #6: If Kenney is voted in, he will get rid of the carbon tax immediately.

Truth #6: This one is especially egregious because it’s not a real thing that can happen. If Kenney cancels the provincial carbon tax, the federal carbon tax will come into affect. Which means that instead of all of that levy money coming from Albertans going back into Albertan projects and Albertans’ pockets, the levy moneys will be paid to the federal government. And while the federal government is supposed to distribute those funds back into the province they came from, do Albertans who already don’t trust the federal government truly believe that the federal government will send that money back to us?…/trudeau-says-will-be-cash-back…/amp

7) Misinformation/Obfuscation #7: Kenney will be able to successfully challenge the federal carbon tax.

Truth #7: Nope, he won’t.

Actually though, Albertans will pay a lot of money to a lot of lawyers (some estimate upwards of 1,000 lawyers) to launch this lawsuit. But ultimately, the federal government is well within their jurisdiction to introduce a federal tax, and the legal challenge will ultimately be unsuccessful and a huge waste of our money.

Here is a very lengthy analysis of the constitutional validity of a carbon tax. Enjoy:…

8 ) Misinformation/Obfuscation #8: Kenney will hold a referendum to determine if Albertans want him to challenge equalization payments. This will then make the federal government reconsider and treat Albertans better.

Truth #8: Wanna buy some magic beans?

He is promising to spend a bunch of money to ask Albertans a question and then tell the federal government to do as we ask. I thought we don’t trust the federal government?

But also, if Kenney didn’t like the formula for equalization payments when the federal government decided on it, maybe he should have put up a fuss about it when he was part of the sitting federal government that chose it!

This is not the best source for this, but it is a quick rundown of the history of equalization payment evaluation, and Kenney’s role in it:…/the-equalization-history-that-jason…/

9) Misinformation/Obfuscation #9: Alberta spends more per capita on health care than almost any other province and it’s all the NDP’s fault.

Truth #9: While it is true that we do rank among the highest in health care spending, there are a ton of reasons for that. Doctor’s salaries in Alberta being higher than almost any other provinces – this is a fact that has been true for a very long time, going way back into PC days.

Also, while we spend the most per capita on health of all the provinces, we typically have the lowest percentage of our provincial GDP spent on health, and we are average when it comes to the percentage of our overall provincial expenditures that goes to health care.
Health care stats:…

Click to access Physicians_in_Canada_2016.pdf

What I find more interesting is that we consistently have a below average percentage of physicians who are women compared to the rest of the country. But I digress.

All of this very long post is to say, there is a ton of misinformation out there right now and I implore you to just google and confirm the things you read. Find the statistics in their original home, not biased interpretations like the Fraser Institute. And if you want to talk politics with other people in the hopes of swaying someone’s opinion, please arm yourselves with real, confirmed facts and figures.

A Conservative Disaster unfolding.

The Conservatives are building on their hate carbon tax program.  In Alberta, Kenny is pulling numbers out of his hat and it appears at least for now people are eating it up.  The NDP responded to his promise list.  It would take 2.4 billion dollars to fill those promises!  Outright lies!

In Ottawa Scheer is doing much of the same thing. 

While in Ontario Ford has hired a new board of directors for the power company and is paying them 150% of what the previous directors were getting. 
By trashing all the Green initiatives in place by the previous Liberal Government. He has lost 3 billion dollars in income from the Cap and Trade.  This is an annual figure and will continue.  Being cash short he is cutting programs for the most vulnerable!

Moe in Saskatchewan was all for the carbon tax until visited by Scheer and Ford.  His quick turn around was outstanding!.

If the Conservatives get 6 provinces, they will be in a position to rewrite our constitution and, if you have spent any time thinking about those implications you will know it is dangerous and will basically turn control over to the US,  even more so than they have now.

Think about it just a bit. Do you want the Mormons and LDS thinking to invade our school systems? Kenny is pushing on that agenda now.