Mason wants RCMP probe into queue-jumping
Alberta NDP leader Brian Mason is asking the RCMP to investigate allegations of queue-jumping in the province's healthcare system.
"This is, in my view, an extremely serious matter and I don't expect or trust the Progressive Conservative government to tell the truth or to do anything in a meaningful way to get to the bottom of any of the issues that we've dealt with in the health system," Mason said Wednesday.
"So it's time, I think, to call in the cops."
CBC News first reported Monday that the former president and CEO of Alberta Health Services Stephen Duckett claimed in a speech to health professionals in Toronto on May 5 that he put an end to "go-to guys" who would adjust waiting lists at the request of MLAs.
A memo written in 2009 by Duckett advised health vice-presidents to stop giving preferential treatment to prominent individuals in Alberta.
Mason sent a letter to RCMP Deputy Commissioner Dale McGowan requesting an investigation.
Mason says he has a legal opinion that suggests if this was happening, it would contravene the Canada Health Act as well as the breach of trust provisions in the criminal code.
Evidence needed to launch investigation
Health law expert Mark Amman says without knowing who these alleged "go-to guys" are, it's difficult to know what police can investigate.
"Without knowing that I guess it's kind of difficult to say who's really the subject of the potential offence," he said.
Amman, a research associate and project manager at the University of Alberta's Health Law Institute, says while the allegations raise questions, there needs to be evidence to back them up.
"If you're going to have something serious like that alleged, you need to bring evidence to bear immediately as to why you're alleging that," he said. "The greater the allegations, the greater the standard of proof is going to be that you should bring forward."
On Tuesday, Tory leadership candidate and former Alberta justice minister Alison Redford broke ranks with her party by calling for a judicial inquiry into Duckett's allegations.
Premier Ed Stelmach and Health Minister Gene Zwozdesky have both dismissed Duckett's allegations.
Stelmach suggested Redford's call for a judicial inquiry was motivated by her desire to differentiate herself from other leadership candidates.