EDMONTON – Today, NDP Leader Rachel Notley released a letter in which Alberta Auditor General Merwyn Saher advised Notley he would be proceeding with an investigation into the province’s methodology for calculating and reporting the conditions of healthcare facilities and the process for determining condition ratings of hospitals.
“Documents uncovered by the Edmonton Journal before Christmas suggest that the safe and secure medical facilities upon which Alberta families rely for good healthcare are in jeopardy as a result of either PC politics, PC negligence or both. Albertans deserve to know how healthcare infrastructure decisions are being made so I am pleased the Auditor General will be investigating this issue,” said Notley.
In December, allegations arose that the PCs might be basing funding decisions for hospital capital projects on inaccurate information about the condition of the facilities, and in some cases, on the basis of partisan political calculations. Notley pointed to the case of Whitecourt’s hospital, its unexplained move up the priority list and the promises made by the PC MLA during the last election where the hospital’s construction was an important issue in a very close election race.
“This is an issue that has serious implications for the health of Albertans. It appears that the PCs are both understating the condition of disrepair of hospitals and in some cases, using their power to move projects up the priority list in order to benefit the political interests of PC caucus members at the expense of the health of those living in more needy communities” said Notley
In a written response to a request from NDP Leader Rachel Notley, the Auditor General has committed to an audit of the government’s capital planning process.
The audit was already a part of the AG office’s 2015-2016 business plan, but will now include a sharper focus on healthcare infrastructure.
Saher went on to write that the Auditor General’s office would not be proceeding with a separate request from the NDP to audit the expenses of each member of Premier Redford’s cabinet.
"On one hand, we're pleased that the Auditor General will be looking into expense procedures on an ongoing basis. On the other hand we disagree that potentially inappropriate behaviour of cabinet members in the past is irrelevant to Albertans,” said Notley.