A Simple Question (well, three simple questions)

Something is happening with Alberta’s anesthesiologists and it’s not clear what.

Last week, David Shepherd, NDP health critic, asked Jason Copping, the UCP health minister three simple questions:  

  • will surgeries in AHS publicly funded hospitals be postponed because AHS is redeploying anesthesiologists to for-profit chartered surgical facilities (CSF)?
  • has AHS given CSF guarantees to supply anesthesiologists?
  • will CSF do the simpler procedures for patients with fewer complicating factors (allowing them to bill for higher volumes) leaving the more complex surgeries to AHS  hospitals?

Mr Copping’s short answer was “no”.

Mr Copping

His long answer was a mishmash of words to the effect that:  

  • CSF are part of our publicly funded health care system, no different than going to your doctor or previous governments had done with CSF and  
  • AHS will continue to schedule surgeries with the most urgent and those waiting the longest going first, either at a hospital or a CSF whichever is most appropriate,

In other words: Nothing to see here folks, move along.


AHS signed four CSF contracts for orthopedic surgery since May 2021. The earlier contracts were for one to two year terms, renewable for 6 months. They did not compel AHS to deliver a minimum number of surgeries and could be terminated with relative ease.

The latest contract with Canadian Surgery Solutions was signed on Jan 1, 2023. It has a 6 year term, requires a minimum number of surgeries per year and has the most onerous termination clauses I have ever seen.

Complex cases not welcome

All four contracts state that patients (they’re called “clients”) must meet two criteria before they’re accepted for surgery.

Clients must: (1) provide informed consent and (2) be medically stable and show no evidence of any contraindications that may put the client at risk for surgery in the CSF.

In other words Mr Copping misspoke. The CSF is free to keep the simple, uncomplicated cases and reject the more complex cases.  

Has AHS guaranteed a supply of anesthesiologists?

Some CSF contracts do not obligate AHS to provide a minimum number of surgeries, so it stands to reason that AHS would not allocate more surgeries to CSF than its anesthesiologists could handle.

However, this is not the case with the Canadian Surgery Solutions Ltd. contract which stipulates a “volume floor” (defined as the minimum number of surgeries AHS must allocate per year).

If AHS doesn’t have enough spare anesthesiologists floating around, it would have to pull some out of the AHS public hospitals and put them into the CSF operating rooms so it would not be in breach of its “volume floor” contractual obligation.

AHS may not call that a guarantee, but it’s pretty damn close to one.   

So again Mr Copping was less than forthright.

Postponing AHS surgeries?

All the CSF contracts require the for-profit surgical facility to collaborate with AHS on staffing to ensure the pool of doctors and other health care professionals required to staff AHS hospitals is not “materially adversely impacted.”

If the CSF’s staffing needs materially adversely impact the AHS pool, the CSF must stop recruiting.

So far, so good, but…

AHS agreed to a minimum volume floor of surgeries in the Canadian Surgery Solutions contract in January 2023 when it knew full well that its pool of doctors, including anesthesiologists and other health professionals was stretched to the limit; to the point where Alberta is actively recruiting across Canada and the world to make up the shortfall.  

Perhaps Mr Copping can explain how AHS will redeploy staff out of its public hospitals to work at CSFs without having to resort to postponing and cancelling surgeries.   

Then there’s this

The Canadian Surgery Solutions contract and the Alberta Surgical Group – Heritage Valley contract appear to allow surgeries to proceed even if the physician administering the IV sedation is not an anesthesiologist as long as there are two staff members certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support present in the surgical suite.

I’m not a doctor, maybe this is fine, all I know is this was not an option under the other CSF contracts which also specify that anesthesiologists administering a general anesthetic on children must be assisted by RNs experienced in venipuncture and airway management and that the recovery room nurse must be certified in Paediatric Advanced Life Support.

What’s all this going to cost?

Mr Copping said CSF were part of our publicly funded health care system, no different from going to your doctor.

That’s not quite right.

A CSF, unlike my doctor, will receive a service fee when it treats orthopedic patients…sorry I mean, clients.

The service fee under the four contracts that have been posted to the AHS website run to a minimum of $167,115,856.

That’s $167 million in tax dollars going directly out of our pockets into the pockets of the shareholders of these for-profit CSF companies.

So Mr Copping is wrong. AHS provides publicly funded and publicly delivered healthcare, whereas CSF provides publicly funded privately delivered healthcare.

There’s a $167 million difference.

Mr Copping says the Alberta’s government is committed to ensuring everyone has access to the care they need, where and when they need it.

What he hasn’t explained is how CSF will shorten wait times for Albertans with complex medical histories who do not meet the CSF’s criteria for admission.

Or why CSF will not negatively impact wait lists for all surgeries, not just orthopedic surgeries, in AHS not-for-profit public hospitals.

Over to you Mr Copping.

This entry was posted in Alberta Health Care, General Health Care and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

70 Responses to A Simple Question (well, three simple questions)

  1. Sharon says:

    Magicians call this sleight of hand…and the research show these public funded private clinics save the system no money. Jason Cop Out gave the simple answer “no” because he can’t think of lies fast enough to cover this up. A more expensive debacle than children’s Tylenol.

    • Sharon, like you I have to wonder what Copping was thinking. By all accounts he’s a reasonable person, but the combination of misstatements and half truths he offered in Question Period and again when the press office released his public statement leads me to wonder.
      The public would be so much better served by honest politicians (I know, everyone laughed when I said that).
      Tell us what it would cost to hire enough doctors and health care professionals to properly staff our hospitals and to whittle down the wait list for all surgeries. Then tell us about our sources of revenue: do we need to introduce a PST, higher taxes on corporations, higher taxes for individuals, higher royalties, what?
      Once we have the facts we’ll be in a position to make an informed decision.
      Anything less than that is disrespectful and deceitful.

      • pclipper2015 says:

        If I recall correctly, he was Minister of Labour and did NOT initially close down the High River meat packing plant when Covid first hit, resulting in at least one death.

      • Pclipper2015: you’re right Copping was the Minister of Labour when Covid hit the High River meat packing plant. If I remember correction he and the CMOH Hinshaw were of the opinion the workers had become infected not by working in close proximity to each other but because they lived in more crowded conditions and carpooled to work. Hinshaw said the same thing about kids in schools—it was the community, not the conditions in schools (ie. the failure of the government to supply HEPA filters) that made the kids sick. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it.

  2. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Thanks for another great blog. The UCP really does not care about the greater good of Albertans, and it shows. No respect for fiscal acumen, regardless of what they claim. So many big mistakes, all around, that impact so many people, in an adverse way. Why should anyone like this? I don’t. I’ll play some more fitting music. This is a country crossover hit, that was also big on the pop music charts, that was released around 1976, from Freddy Fender, a Texas musician, who passed away years ago. It is Wasted Days And Wasted Nights.

    • Dwayne, thanks for the music picks. I thought the lyrics of Wasted Days was especially apt for UCP supporters who should ask themselves the question Freddy Fender asked: “Why should I keep loving you/When I know that you’re not true?” The question with everything that Smith does is who benefits, so many times it’s not ordinary Albertans, it’s the corporations.
      I loved Ray Charles’ Hit the Road Jack, that one sticks in my mind for a long time.
      You mentioned Leonard Cohen, I can’t listen to Hallelujah without crying, but I’ll certainly be singing it from the rooftops when Smith and the UCP are defeated.

  3. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Here is my second song pick. It’s some live music, from Ray Charles, that was recorded live with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, in 1981. He is doing a Percy Mayfield composition, Hit The Road Jack. Ray Charles is in my music collection. There have been UCP MLAs who are not running again, and all of them should resign, before they do any more harm.

  4. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Here is my final song pick. It’s still fitting for what we see happening in Alberta, Canada, and the world right now. This is The Times They Are A-Changin’, from Bob Dylan. It was released in early 1964. Bob Dylan wrote this song when he was only 23. In May of 1964, Bob Dylan turned 23. I have this in my music collection, and I saw Bob Dylan live in 1990. He is my favorite songwriter, followed by Leonard Cohen, whom I also saw live, and have in my music collection.

  5. Linda Lee says:

    Enough bafflegarb. I would appreciate Mr. Copping replying without distorting the facts to tilt the scales to make the voting public believe they are being dealt a fair hand!

    • Mike J Danysh says:

      Aww, Linda Lee, be reasonable. If Mr. Cop-out (thank-you to Sharon, above) didn’t distort facts past recognition, he wouldn’t be a Con politician.

    • Linda and Mike: Are we asking too much? A modicum of honesty, even if it’s cloaked with partisanship?
      Copping’s press statement said “Chartered surgical facilities are part of our public health care system (TRUE) . These are surgeries paid for by the province, (TRUE) just like surgeries that happen in a hospital (FALSE: tax payers don’t pay a service fee for surgeries performed in hospitals), and they have been a part of our system since the 1990s (FALSE: while other procedures have been privately delivered since the 1990s, the first orthopedic surgeries contract listed on the AHS website is dated Feb 2021).
      The obfuscation continues.

  6. pclipper2015 says:

    Here’s another thing. On Thursday, March 23rd, I was asked by an organization to view legislative proceedings from 2:30-3:30 to watch a petition I had signed being presented (Concerning retaining membership in CPP). That happening was very brief and there was no discussion about it. There was, however, an opportunity to hear the Minister of Justice talking about getting the Feds to change the rules about the release on bail of persons charged under the Criminal Code. I then heard him say that he hoped that the onus would be reversed for repeat offenders. Could he really have said that? Does that mean what I think it means?

    • pclipper2015: I didn’t catch that legislative proceeding, I did a quick Google search on what the politicians mean when they talk about reversing the onus on people applying for bail. Apparently they want those accused of serious gun violence (and maybe other serious offences, I don’t know) to have the onus of showing why they should be released as opposed to onus being on the Crown to show why they should stay in jail. What I haven’t been able to track down is anything explaining why reversing the onus would be effective.
      I’ll look into this further.

  7. Linda says:

    Sadly, I’m not surprised. The UCP has clearly shown they are in favor of privately delivered, for profit health care. Tyler Shandro oversaw the delisting of services that “co-incidentally” happened to be services that were then brokered via the company owned by Mr. Shandro & his wife. As per the UCP, because Mr. Shandro’s interest in said company is via a blind trust there was no reason to believe any irregularities attached to this. I beg to differ. It would be interesting to know who owns or is a shareholder in the CSF’s in question. I would not be surprised to learn that political contributions to the UCP coffers “co-incidentally” had the same names as some of those CSF owners/shareholders.

    I do wonder just how far this can be taken without contravening the Canada Health Act. I’d add that since these are legal contracts any subsequent government will be forced to honor them. The six year term would ensure that if the UCP were not elected that the company or companies in question would still get the graft – er, payment for services rendered. How convenient.

    One other point. The UCP has supported the concept that ‘for profit’ health care would be less expensive & more efficient, thus would be beneficial to the taxpayer. However, the clause mentioned regarding the health status of any would be patients is telling in that it specifies only the healthiest, easiest & thus most likely to succeed surgeries be part of the contract. Reminds me of the argument when the City of Calgary was looking at contracting out services for concrete repairs to roads & sidewalks. The private firms bidding did not wish to do all the work – just the easiest & therefore the most profitable which had the benefit of also being the most cost effective to do. So when comparing the work done by the private contractors to the work performed by City crews, naturally their cost per job done was lower. Sounds like this is a well entrenched way to ‘prove’ how much better it would be to contract out services to ‘for profit’ firms. I’d add that historically, the other way to ensure maximum profit with minimum effort is to not provide the same level of maintenance. Sounds like the CSF contracts have that covered too – no need to actually have an anesthesiologist, so expensive & since the patients are ‘guaranteed’ healthy enough to stand it, chances are there won’t be any unpleasant outcomes like death of the patient to gum up the deal. So there you are – the UCP really does want ‘what’s best for all Albertans’. And if you believe that, vote for them come May. Just make sure you don’t need surgery – could be riskier than you think!

    • jerrymacgp says:

      “…since these are legal contracts any subsequent government will be forced to honor [sic] them.” I wonder if this is, in fact, always true. Can a change of government be used to break a contract like this? Would an NDP government have to introduce a bill in the legislature to terminate such contracts?

      Personally I think any contracts with government should always include a post-election termination clause that allows a new government to terminate any such contract without penalty, as an exercise of democracy. However, our host, being a lawyer, may have a different perspective on this.

      • Linda says:

        Jerry, subsequent governments do break contracts – about the first thing the UCP did once elected was begin to cancel/break contracts entered into by the previous NDP government. For instance, they cancelled the contracts the NDP had negotiated with CP/CN rail for oil deliveries. The excuse they used was that said contracts should have been opened up for other carriers to bid on, ignoring that there are no other commercial rail companies available to bid on said contracts. Maybe they thought the Rocky Mountaineer would be willing to start hauling oil freight:)

        Frankly this was an ideological move on the part of the UCP. It also came with a steep price tag. I can’t recall exactly but I believe the cost of cancelling those contracts incurred penalties in the hundreds of millions. So much for fiscal responsibility on the part of the UCP.

      • Jerry by my read a simple change in government won’t break a contract because the government (AHS and its successors in this case) continue to exist regardless of which party is in power.
        The Canadian Surgery Solutions contract anticipates your scenario where the NDP would introduce a bill to terminate its contract. It says if a statute, regulation, ministerial order or disposition has the effect of terminating the contract then AHS is on the hook for the service fee that would have been payable to the end of the term (Dec 2029).
        The interesting thing about the way this termination clause is worded is that it doesn’t come into effect until June 2024 which appears to tie into a key milestone date for the construction of the CSF’s new facilities. I suspect the CSF inserted this termination clause because it is using the 6 year service fee revenue stream as security for a loan to build the new facility by a related third party. Once again this is speculation on my part, but June 2024 is a strange date to pick and it appears to tie into the construction timeline for the new facility.
        All of which brings us back to the underlying question, should taxpayers dollars be used to support publicly funded and publicly delivered healthcare or should they be used to support the business ventures of private corporations?

    • Linda, great comments. We are continually told that the private sector can deliver these services more effectively and cheaply than the public sector, but as you point out when they cherry pick the work or if you don’t factor in the service charge (over $104.7 million for the Canadian Surgery Solutions contract alone) then it’s no wonder the private delivery model is better.

      You make a good point re: the possibility that surgery could be riskier in the CSF. In addition to the more recent contracts which appear to allow non-anesthesiologists to sedate people (like I said, I don’t know if this is common practice or not), some of the earlier contracts specified that if the surgery was being performed on a child, the anesthesiologist had to be assisted by an RN with experience in venipuncture and airway management and if the child was under 10 the recovery room nurse had to be certified in Paediatric Advanced Life Support. These requirements do not appear in the contracts signed most recently.
      I can’t help but wonder why.

  8. maryjane says:

    Hi Susan,

    Just a little rant from me. This all drives me bonkers. Thanks for doing what you do.

    Mr. Copping is gaslighting us.

    My answers to those three simple questions are.

    There is a staffing shortage. There has been a staffing shortage for years. Wait times will only get worse in the public funded system. The private facilities want to make money so the question I have is what is the cost comparative for the same surgery with the same risks in public/private system? I think it will cost more. The private facilities will perform the less complex surgeries as the risk is less to them. If the private facilities perform a surgery on a less complex patient and that said patient has a complication that said patient will then go to a public funded hospital. These private facilities do not have the support needed for any complication that could possibly occur. They will need to call 911 as there is more to reviving a patient than ACLS trained staff.
    I think there will be a shortage of anesthesiologists in the public system. Surgical delays already occur due to many staffing issues, Not just whether or not you have an anesthesiologist. A question I have are the surgeons working in these facilities also going too be performing surgeries in the public system? How many surgeries are orthopaedic surgeons allowed to bill for?
    Of course the complex surgeries will go to the public hospitals…. Thats a given…

    Not everyone who is on a wait list for surgeries is on a wait list for joint replacements. There are many other surgeries that get delayed all the time. These private surgical facilities have been in the plans for years and years. In my experience as a now retired nurse is I have seen the evolution occurring in the past 35 years…. Ever since Ralph Klien….

    The answer will not happen overnight as the problems have not happened overnight and we need to get rid of the UCP to start with.


    Mary Jane Borg


    • Mary Jane, thank you for your rant! From what I understand the cost of the private surgery is supposed to be the same as the cost of the public surgery, however it is impossible for me (or anyone) to verify that based on the contract itself because the types of procedures and the fee for each procedure is not available to the general public. The publicly disclosed contracts only provide the global fee paid out each year. (Not very transparent given that this is tax payers money and we should know these things, however they may want to hide the cost per procedure for the reason you suggest.).
      Yes, the private facility will perform less complex surgeries on less complicated clients, and if there’s a problem the contract has clauses addressing the need to send the patient’s info to the ER and who’s responsible for the cost of the AHS ambulance. What I couldn’t get my head around was the thought of a patient who goes into distress on the operating table halfway through the procedure, then gets patched up and bundled into an ambulance where he goes to ER and then eventually somewhere in the AHS hospital for treatment. That would be terrifying.
      Your point about the shortage of anesthesiologists impacting all surgeries (not just orthodox surgeries) is a very good one, especially given that the contracts say no surgeries will be performed unless the OR is booked for 6 hours so these anesthesiologists will be tied up all day.
      As you said Mary Jane, these problems did not happen overnight and they won’t be fixed overnight, but the sooner we get rid of the UCP, the quicker we can get to work rebuilding a system that has suffered big time under PC/UCP rule.

  9. Susan Grieshaber-Ottto says:

    Thank you for your piece. I sincerely appreciate your thoughtful and logical analysis.

  10. Linda says:

    Jerry, just looked up the rail-by-contract debacle. As of 2020, the loss for breaking those contracts was $2.1 BILLION. The UCP had ‘sold off’ the contracts to the ‘private sector’ at a loss – what’s $1.3 billion between friends? Hardly anything! The claim is now that the NDP did not do due diligence when awarding the contracts. This ignores that the entire reason for shipping oil via rail was because of a lack of pipelines to carry it to market. Ironically the previous Conservative government had been exploring the rail-by-contract concept prior to their electoral defeat. I guess the fact the NDP implemented the idea immediately made it invalid, despite the fact that it allowed oil to get to market despite the lack of pipeline capacity. The article outlining the losses to date mentioned that the UCP government was still shipping oil via rail, though they were hoping to divest the remaining shipments ‘soon’. Guess they ran out of UCP buddies to sell that contract to….. Of course, all these losses were blamed on the NDP. Not quite sure how they can be blamed for the UCP’s actions, but hey, whatever works!

  11. Neil says:

    Hi Susan, your note that Canadian Surgeries Solutions can perform surgeries in the absence of a certified anesthesiologist immediately took me back to the case against an Edmonton dentist, when operating without an anesthetist, resulted in severe brain damage to one of his child patients. I wonder if patients and surgeons are prepared to take this risk. How can this be ok with the college? https://edmontonjournal.com/news/local-news/family-of-girl-who-suffered-brain-damage-after-dental-visit-sues-for-26-5-million

    • GoinFawr says:

      (Shudders) Case in point.

    • Neil the story about the dentist is shocking. Like you I wonder why this is OK with the college. Sometimes I wonder whether the UCP (and their conservative predecessors) have too much influence over their policies. I note that one thing Smith said in the tape of her conversation with the Pastor was that it was a politician decision to impose covid restrictions and it should be a political decision to deal with the outcome for people like the Pastor. Of course this completely ignores the fact that the chief medical officer has the statutory obligation to protect public health and does so by passing public health orders. It’s almost as if in Danielle Smith’s world everything is politics.

  12. Jaundiced Eye says:

    CFS most likely signed the contract because they could not think of anything else to ask for. Even if the NDP manage to catch lightning in a bottle and take 18 seats from the UCP in Calgary, don’t count on them cancelling the CFS contract. It is not in their nature. It pains me to say this but the Alberta NDP have been cowed since Bill 6. Let’s be realistic in our expectations. We are in for a rough ride.

    • Jaundiced Eye, one thing the NDP could do to alleviate some of the negative consequences of these CSFs on the public system is hire more AHS public hospital doctors and healthcare personnel so those on the public wait list don’t fall further behind.

      • Jaundiced Eye says:

        Where will the NDP find Doctors to work in Alberta? If Alberta starts training Doctors tomorrow, they will be ready to go in seven years. Will Alberta be able to poach Doctors from other provinces, given the UCP war on education and health care? The Doctors in the rest of Canada are surely aware of the war on healthcare and education in this province. Smith is playing nice now, pre-election, but what will she renege on with a 4 or 5 year mandate and the TBA crowd breathing down her neck? Or do we poach Doctors from other countries and say to heck with the verification and qualification procedures to speed things up? The best bet for healthcare, if the NDP wins, is to cancel the contract the moment they are sworn in. But will they?

  13. Mike J Danysh says:

    I wonder how long it took the UCP to set up these deals. Was it all started under Jason Kenney–or under Danielle Smith? Who initiated the discussions, the CSFs or the UCP? And were these contracts tendered, or considered sole-source? (Probably tendered, if there are four.)

    I hope this wasn’t a rushed decision brought on by Danielle Smith’s desperate need to have a “win” before the election. But some basic pessimism deep inside forces me to doubt it.

    • Mike it looks like the first contract was signed on Feb 20, 2021. Kenney resigned in Nov 2022. Interestingly, the two contracts that appear to allow surgeries to proceed without an anesthesiologist in the room at all times were signed in Nov 2022 and Jan 2023 after Smith assumed power. Also it’s hard to figure out whether these contracts were tendered. I have a feeling they weren’t but I have nothing to base that on other than the fact that they were signed on different days and the last two are different from the first two.

  14. Jim Lees says:

    Susan you have captured very well the side of these facilities that the govt would prefer we not pay attention to.
    I wonder why there are so many orthopaedic surgeons here. It must be for economic reasons – they see an opportunity to make big bucks with the systems now in place.
    This reminds me of the problems, and eventual demise, of the ortho clinic next to the Foothills Hospital several years ago. It crashed and burned, even with only treating routine cases, and I see the same future for at least some of the four clinics now open or opening. Cheers, Jim

    • Jim, you make a good point. The government tried private clinics under Klein, many of them crashed and burned. The same thing happened in Saskatchewan and yet one of Kenney’s campaign promises was to replicate the Saskatchewan model. It’s interesting to read about why these clinics failed. The corporation owning the clinics needed a guaranteed stream of “clients” from AHS. When AHS could not meet the demand, partly because it didn’t have the money in its budget to fund the public part of the surgery, everything collapsed. Canadian Surgery Solutions got around this problem by inserting a term that would force AHS to provide a “Volume Floor” (ie minimum number of “clients”). Once again the UCP government is taking care of corporations at our expense.

  15. Ingamarie says:

    Simply put, Mr Copping is a liar. It will be interesting to watch where he’s employed next, after the NDP defeats him in May. There are assurances given to such politicians that help them get up the courage to persist in defiance of analyses like yours Susan….let’s hope that in the near future, he has to avail himself of same.

    • Ingamarie, one thing that’s always interested me about UCP politicians like Copping and Shandro is how they find a way to execute policies that hurt the people they are meant to serve.

      • Ingamarie says:

        Most of them don’t serve the public in the way we understand the public. They serve a section of that public. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you which section

  16. Carlos says:

    I just hope that we can return to at least some sense of trust in our politicians.
    There is no way we can expect a good outcome from our current political system.

    Without the truth of what we are doing or planning to do we will never ever resolve any problem, never mind our health care system. This government keeps forcing on us decisions they have no mandate to do only for political reasons. They will force on us their obsession on private everything regardless of what facts show us because the objective is not improving the Health Care System. The real objective is to give their friends, access to public funds.

    I am a bit hopeful that we are reaching the tipping point on this crazy neo-liberal era and sick political environment.

  17. Mike J Danysh says:

    Memo to all Soapbox devotees: the Tyee has just launched a new initiative to report on Alberta news. There’s an article here:

    Susan, your latest blog might make a very good addition to the Tyee’s brand-new newsletter. Or maybe Charles Russel would be interested in a tip?

  18. Dave says:

    It is particularly bad the UCP is making these long term deals so late in its term, just before an election. It is even worse that some of these deals will bind the next government and even continue on past its term.

    The UCP is making a choice here, rather than fund public health care, it is choosing to support private health clinics. I would like to know if any of the people connected with these clinics are making big contributions to the UCP either directly or indirectly. This may be as bad as or worse than RStar.

    • Dave, you nailed it. Follow the money. Who stands to benefit (monetarily or ideologically) from these deals? That appears to be the only way to understand the UCP’s policies because they certainly don’t benefit the general public.

  19. Carlos says:

    This was initially a reply to Mike Danysh on the Tyee but I was not able to post so I am using the root level

    The Tyee started not too long ago with serious reporting and they are slowly gaining the trust of people even in Alberta.

    Piece by piece they have published what is real and important to our lives instead of the old the ‘companies know it better and they are reasonable’.

    Here is one that was laughed about not too long ago.


    Not so fun anymore. What else are the oil companies going to leave us all as gifts. We have tailing ponds, earthquakes, climate change.

    The problem is that if a group of Albertans chosen by God believe in Armageddon as their solution, how do the rest of us deal with it? Do they care that the province is getting toxic? Does that matter to them? Are we destined to be all destroyed no matter what?

    What if that group of people are taking over Alberta politics? What if they are staying quiet in order to get elected under the cover of Conservatism and end up winning the election?

    Are these silly assumptions? Well remember that all of what we now know about the UCP were silly assumptions before, but we now know they had plans to open coal mines in the parks. We know they have now contracts for private medical surgeries. We know they do not believe in vaccines. We now know they supported the convoy. We now know Danielle Smith will push for independence once she is the Queen.

    What else do we need to finally kick these guys out?
    How can we accept all of this and not even react?

    Positive Thinking will not cut it, I am sorry.

    Take a look at the Tyee and help them if you can.

    • Great advice Carlos: As other readers have pointed out The Tyee has made a concerted effort to cover Alberta and we would be well advised to support them.
      Many of us are not just relying on positive thinking, we’re supporting the our local NDP candidate and the party in an effort to replace the UCP with a party that doesn’t have a lake of fire/bozo eruption every week. There is much to do and not much time to do it.

  20. Pingback: UCP plans to let private medical corporations provide some surgeries without qualified anesthesiologists in the Operating Room - Alberta Politics

  21. Pingback: UCP plans to let private medical corporations provide some surgeries without qualified anesthesiologists in the Operating Room | Canada News Cast

  22. Valerie Jobson says:

    Sorry, off-topic, but big story today:

    I think Marco van Huigenbos deserves attention. He is the Chief Financial Officer for Take Back Alberta. He is one of the Coutts convoyers charged with mischief. He and TBA have been fundraising for the charged convoyers’ legal costs, probably including the four charged with conspiracy to murder.

    He donated $2500 each to the leadership campaigns of Smith and Toews.

    I wonder if he has helped fundraise for Smith and/or the UCP? (I don’t know the answer to this)

    Smith visits with TBA

    • Carlos says:

      Yes it is her and we know what that is all about
      The UCP is a pile of garbage that has not been picked up in a year
      Rot Rot Rot – not to be touched even with gloves

      • Carlos, thanks for your great comments. This raises the question of how far Smith has to go before her supporters finally abandon her. In my opinion they’ll cut her loose when she stops delivering for them. Clearly she hasn’t delivered for the Pastor and he’s mad. Time will tell what more is going to fall out of the rafters before this sordid episode is put to rest.

    • Valerie, this is indeed a huge story. It goes well beyond whether Smith talked to Crown prosecutors, apparently she still insists she didn’t notwithstanding what she told the Pastor. The issue now is that she should not have engaged in a long conversation with a man accused of serious crimes, particularly when this man was pressuring her to get the charges dropped. This reminded me of how she talks with people who call into her radio show about a government policy that they don’t like but which is well underway. For example I heard one caller ask Smith to reconsider the flood mitigation efforts at the Springbank reservoir. Instead of telling the caller that that ship had sailed, Smith said she’d go back to the appropriate cabinet minister with the caller’s concerns. This tells me Smith will say anything to mollify a supporter and given her conversation with the Pastor, her inability to say no, knows no bounds. Shocking behaviour for a premier or any government official.

  23. Carlos says:

    ‘Despite a recording showing Alberta Premier Danielle Smith told a street pastor facing charges related to last year’s border blockade she speaks with Crown prosecutors about COVID-related cases “almost weekly,” Smith’s office is once again saying she didn’t mean to say that.’

    This is a quote from The Edmonton Journal

    We are now the official banana province in Canada. Telling a lie is not only expected but desirable. Facts are now lies.

    Danielle Smith is now challenging Marjorie Taylor Green for the North American Idiot of the year. The thought that 45% of Albertans are ready to vote this disgrace as our next premier is not only scary but the assurance that we will never recover from the hole she is digging.

    I know that in the legislature they cannot call her a liar but that is wrong because that is what she is.

  24. Susan in Palliser says:

    Susan, you offer details on the workings of the UCP government’s move to privatization of specialized health interventions. Bravo. This entry sheds significant light on my personal anecdote. I attend a senior’s exercise class. I am on a wait list to be assessed for knee surgery. It has been 9 months so far and I was informed the wait is at least a year and more just to be seen. A recent chat with a fellow classmate lead to the following update. This woman shared she had been referred to the same orthopaedic clinic. She was on a wait list for about 14 months. She recently saw a surgeon. She was told she was indeed a strong candidate for knee surgery but would remain on a wait list until anesthesiologists and nurses could be found to schedule the surgery. Must investigate the nature of the funding of this long standing clinic. Point is, Susan, your investigation uncovers the political actions and implications behind this one anecdote. Thank you!

    • Susan in Palliser: Your comment nicely illustrates the point the NDP and others have been making for years which is that the only way private clinics will shorten wait times is if the government hires more doctors, nurses, and other healthcare personnel for the public sector (which it is not doing).
      Years ago when Ralph Klein was pushing private surgeries a public healthcare advocate said it was like opening up a second window at McDonalds, unless you staff the second window all you end up with is two lines being served by the same harried McDonald’s staffer.
      To exacerbate things, private clinics make a profit from up-selling and selling non-medical goods and services to their “clients” and if they use a part of those profits to pull even more doctors and healthcare professionals out of the AHS public system, the public line will get even longer.
      What boggles my mind is that the UCP and the conservative governments before them are perfectly happy using our tax dollars to make the cost and efficiency of publicly delivered healthcare worse.

      • Mike J Danysh says:

        To the two Susans: like Danielle Smith, Doug Ford is pushing hard to get more private surgery clinics opened up. Exactly as Ms. Soapbox has pointed out, doctors in Ontario have warned that, without more surgeons and OR nurses, the presence of more surgical suites won’t solve the problem.

        Warnings like these won’t stop Con governments, of course. It’s too good an excuse for creeping privatization and for-profit delivery of health care.

  25. Mike J Danysh says:

    Hey, guys, Mr. Rusnell did pick up the story!

    Somebody opined this won’t hurt Smith at all with her Base. (Kinda like opining the sun will rise in the east tomorrow.) For proof, look at the asinine comments in Don Braid’s opinion piece:

    Early comments showed at least 3 times as many Smith defenders/Trudeau attackers/Braid attackers as the opposite. However, the tone has shifted against Smith and her trolls in the last couple of hours. Is there hope for Calgary after all?

  26. GoinFawr says:

    How about Kaycee Madu, here’s what he had to say:

    • Oh my. I just viewed the clip. Madu said the answer to the question about whether Smith’s behaviour was appropriate is “NO”. Whoops, a bit of imprecise language there…:)

      • Carlos says:

        I would not put much trust in this. Madu is an expert on language twist. I was never able to understand what he exactly means, if he in fact means anything.

      • Carlos says:

        This from a man who called the police chief for the same purpose – sometimes I wonder if I am having a horrible nightmare in this province.

      • Carlos says:

        Tomorrow, just like his leader, he will say that we did not understand what he meant or worse he will deny that he said it. Just UCP Protocol.


  27. Carlos says:

    Well I am no longer sure this video was real or not. It is a strange world we are living these days and with AI now faking our voices and mannerisms I cannot envision a world where we will not know what is fake and what is not.

    It is nonetheless a good day, at least for me, to know that Trump was indicted. We know millionaires do not go to jail in the US and even Canada, but we will see.

    I am hoping that with tis indictment he will not be able to run for President but even that I am not sure. His lawyers will find some law from the 1800s that protects presidents from going to jail – WHO KNOWS.

    • Carlos says:

      Well I do not know if that is real or not but I know this one is


      As much info as we have to let those who read this blog to be more and more into what this Danielle Smith person is about.

      I know that I am rude sometimes about her but you know what that is the way Conservatives are winning this war of ideologies and as much as it is abhorrent to us. I think we do not have a choice if we want to prevail.

      Conservatives do not care about facts anymore and so being able to play a fair game with them is impossible. We have to push back and anytime we have a chance, publish good factual information.

      The lack of integrity and honesty is so high that we cannot take a chance of losing this war because this could have immense consequences for our future and the future of our families.

  28. Carlos says:

    What scares me the most about all this is the fact that we have had scandal after scandal in the last three years. We just caught the premier again lying to us as far as this pastor business is about, a complete proof of a corrupt and incompetent government and still, Calgary will vote these people in again. Year after year we slowly brake what works in the name of private interests. The government suffocates the public system to then come out with a great idea to release the pressure – privatize.
    It is clear that the AHS needs a renewal but a private system may not the best alternative and as far as I know it is not.

    We avoid talking about the real reasons behind this support. What is it that Calgarians think acceptable in what we have seen in the last 4 years?

    These are questions from my heart as a citizen, I am not just bad mouthing a certain area of Alberta. I would love to understand – is it all money?

    Do people that vote for this government really believe that vaccines do not work, that independence from Canada is desirable, that lying and using conspiracy theories is reality and that corporations should be paid to clean up their own garbage? If this data is correct than I think that many people in this province are sick because in no ethical and moral codes I know these are acceptable behaviours in a democracy.

    Is this a stubbornness of the mantra the NDP is socialist and dangerous. The Commies are Coming?

    I would like to understand what are the reasons why the circus of the last 4 years is desirable to them. Is corruption and not much respect for the rule of law what these people voting for them are looking for?

    Strange times indeed. I am doubling down on my belief that human kind is already mentally affected by pollution. Not only our kids are more autistic and with more obsessive behaviours, we are also being affected as adults. If anyone doubts just look at what the extent of the damage already – they are finding at the DEEPEST point with water on earth? PLASTIC. It is altering whatever balanced ecosystem with the consequences we all know. What was said 30 years ago and made fun of is now upon us.

    We really have to all vote and think about our choices because the next government cannot be a lackey of the oil companies or we will destroy our own province as simple as that.

  29. Pingback: UCP plan takes anesthesiologists out of some Operating Rooms – Vox Crate

  30. GoinFawr says:

    Well, thank goodness Ol’ Plastic Cowboy his own self Jason is keeping busy:

    Can I get a reading on this from the Ethics Commissioner? Or maybe the Justice Minister? Iknow, right? ‘sif.

    I think we should start a new group:

    Taken Aback Albertans

  31. Carlos says:

    John Horgan the ex BC premier from the NDP is going to join a board of a Coal Company – what can I say?

  32. GoinFawr says:

    This goes out to my friend ‘ronmac’, who I haven’t seen post awhile on your soapbox susan, but perhaps they might be still reading:

    Well ron’, it’s been 48 hours since the Vulkan files have been leaked… who knows whose names might turn up in those docs, eh?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s