Commissioner of the queue-jumping inquiry criticizes province
The provincial inquiry examining queue-jumping continues Thursday
The commissioner of the queue-jumping inquiry has some harsh words for the provincial government.
The provincial inquiry examining queue-jumping in Alberta's publicly-funded health-care system continued Thursday.
Retired judge John Vertes spoke out against the Redford government and said the government's actions border on interfering with the independence of the inquiry.
Vertes asked Health Minister Fred Horne to extend his April 30 deadline saying it was rejected without reason.
"Not only is such a rejection unprecedented, it borders on an interference with the independence of this commission since it would require me to rush through a report that would not be as complete or thorough as I would want," Vertes told the inquiry.
Vertes asked for an extension to Oct. 31 and then suggested the end of August.
Horne says the original deadline was established by cabinet so another cabinet decision must be made to change it.
"I’ve indicated through the commission counsel that I will certainly consider the request," he said.
"We’ll discuss it with cabinet and we’ll get back to him as soon as we can."
The inquiry was expected to finish up in January but heard more evidence of queue-jumping this week.
Inquiry lawyer Michele Hollins said more information came in as recently as last night that still needs to be investigated. Depending on the relevance, more witnesses may be called to testify.
Vertes is still hoping an extension will be granted, but has told the minister April 30 is simply not realistic.