Sask. Party won't get Rouleau orthotist's vote

A Rouleau man who fits people with splints and braces for a living says he's not happy with Saskatchewan's health minister — who it turns out is also the Sask. Party candidate in his constituency.
Orthotist Clayton Spalding (left, blue shirt) has a bone to pick with Health Minister Don McMorris. (CBC)
A Rouleau man who fits people with splints and braces for a living says he's not happy with Saskatchewan's health minister — who it turns out is also the Sask. Party candidate in his constituency.

Clayton Spalding, who lives in Rouleau, in the constituency of Indian Head-Milestone, said his orthotics business is not getting a fair shake when it comes to doing work in the province's public health system.  

Spalding keeps busy at his Rouleau office fitting patients with his orthotics, but thinks the province could be sending more people his way.

"I do everything from resting splints for people's hands ... who have severe rheumatoid arthritis to a hockey player who hurt his knee," he said.

Still, unless those people have private insurance, Spalding doesn't get paid.

Saskatchewan Health will pay for some materials, but not Spalding's labour. It says there are already staff people at the Wascana Rehabilitation Centre in Regina.

"To me, the analogy is like going to Canadian Tire and saying: Fix my car and I'll tell you how much I'm going to pay you, and I'm not paying your labour," Spalding said.

Spalding said he thought  this would change when the Saskatchewan Party was elected.

For years, Don McMorris has been the MLA in Indian Head-Milestone — and since 2007, he's been the province's health minister.
For years, Health Minister Don McMorris has been Spalding's MLA. (CBC)

But McMorris says he can't help Spalding in this case.

"We don't cover his labour costs because of course, we have a fixed cost for labour already," McMorris said. "We have a fixed cost within the Wascana Rehabilitation Centre, for example, of people who do that work."

When there was a waiting list for certain orthotic devices, Spalding bid on that work. But he lost to an orthotist from British Columbia, who came here and did the work.

Spalding said his bid included doing the job in Rouleau, south of Regina, which is more expensive than using an existing public facility in the city.

McMorris said his job is to get Saskatchewan people the best care at the lowest price.

All this has been on Spalding's mind as voting day, Nov. 7, draws nearer.

Spalding told CBC News he supports Saskatchewan Party Leader Brad Wall, but just can't bring himself to cast a vote for McMorris — this time anyway.