ALBERTA VOTES 2008

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Reporters' Notebook

Not tonight dahling, I have an election

February 20, 2008 | 05:20 PM
Kim TrynacityKim Trynacity

There are some things I'm told, you just don't do during an election — something along the lines of what some hockey players refrain from during the playoffs. One of them is don't bite the hand that feeds you.

Or in more plain language don't criticize the Conservative government — unless of course, you happen to be an outspoken, brash CEO of the Calgary Health Region. Such is not the way in Edmonton.

You'll remember the PCs kicked off their campaign in the boardroom of Capital Health in Edmonton. When I asked CEO Sheila Weatherill why Capital Health was hosting a political party, she ran back to her boardroom.

Today I asked the health region's Steve Buick about funding shortfalls in the region. Yes, he said there is a funding backlog but it doesn't matter.

"How much?" I pressed.

After some humming and hawing, the answer was more than $30 million but less than $85 million. Gee thanks.

"Not during an election" he cautioned. "I won't go there during an election."

Huh? I then asked if I could sit in on their three daily meetings where the "bed" managers decide which operations they can handle, and which ones would be cancelled. Again, the refrain was "Not during an election."

So here we have quite a difference. In Calgary, the health region wants to bring attention to problems in the system; in Edmonton, however, they're trying to hide them.

E-mail reminder

In another example of "don't go there," feast your eyes on this e-mail from the deputy minister of children's services reminding staff to keep it buckled up so to speak.

From: Maria David-Evans
Sent: Mon 2/4/2008 4:42 PM
To: _CS- All Children's Services Staff
Subject: Guidelines for Political Activity

As the election process begins I would like to remind all staff of the restrictions on political activity contained in the Code of Conduct and Ethics for the Alberta Public Service. This can be found at http://www.chr.alberta.ca.

While staff are not restricted from working on Provincial election campaigns, any staff who wish to become involved with a campaign during normal working hours must either take an unpaid leave of absence or vacation leave during the election period. Approval to take this leave will be subject, of course, to operational requirements.

Thank you.

Niki Wosnack
Acting Deputy Minister

Eve of leaders' debate

And finally, I'm looking forward to reading your questions again this evening, before drawing up my final list. Enjoy the debate everyone. You can watch or listen to it commercial-free on CBC-TV, radio and online starting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

« Leaving no stone unturned | Main | Debate notes: The day after the night before »

This entry is now Closed. View the comments.

Comments: (2)

Samantha Angel (Edmonton) wrote:

Transparency in government, hmmmp!

Posted February 21, 2008 08:21 PM

Marlin Styner (Red_Deer) wrote:

The PC's announcement with respect to increasing AISH and the Employment Exemption for AISH recipients, is very positive and welcome news. However, there are 36,000 people receiving AISH -- 6,100 of which are employed. Very few of these folks are working full time, and therefore, the announcement affects only a handful of Albertans. There are currently 450,000 Albertans with disabilities according to the Participation and Activities Limitation Survey (PALS Survey 2006 – 13.6% of 3.3 million Albertans). What about the rest of us?

The focus on employment is good, but it needs to be expanded -- barriers to employment must be addressed. Such issues as the lack of: accessible transportation, accessible housing, personal supports, and accessible workplaces.

As Premier would you support the Premier's Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities to help address these issues, support the development of a Disability Act for Alberta, appoint a Minister Responsible for Disability Issues or make it the responsibility of the Premier's office?

Posted February 21, 2008 01:43 PM

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