Kenney pledges to save province $200M by privatizing AHS laundry service

UCP leader says public sector unions will be able to bid on the contracts, “but putting taxpayers through the wringer, just to maintain a government-run monopoly on laundry is just plain dirty, and it certainly won’t leave taxpayers feeling April fresh.”

Health Minister Sarah Hoffman intervened to stop privatization in 2016

UCP Leader Jason Kenney made the announcement Wednesday from Lux Laundromat in downtown Calgary. (Mike Symington/CBC)

United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney pledged Wednesday that if elected he will save the province $200 million by cancelling a plan to upgrade Alberta Health Service laundry facilities and contract the work out instead.

In 2016, Health Minister Sarah Hoffman intervened and put a stop to an AHS plan to privatize hospital laundry services. At the time, the estimated cost of upgrading or replacing the major facilities was $200 million.

Opposition members then accused the NDP of being driven by ideology in their decision, a remark Kenney echoed on Wednesday by reading from a memo sent to Hoffman urging the government to contract the service out.

"In other words, the experts, the independent public servants said that it's time to contract the work out and let the private sector buy the new laundry machines, instead of diverting money from patient care to do so," he said.

"AHS pointed out in this same memo that Saskatchewan, Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia all outsourced their linen and laundry services.

"Why, because those provincial governments are focused on using health-care dollars to treat patients instead of doing laundry. They also understand common sense, that competition gets more bang for the taxpayers buck than monopolies."

Kenney said public sector unions will be able to bid on the contracts, "but putting taxpayers through the wringer, just to maintain a government-run monopoly on laundry is just plain dirty, and it certainly won't leave taxpayers feeling April fresh."

On Monday, Kenney pledged to save the province $640 million by cancelling NDP plans for a "super lab" in Edmonton and northern Alberta.

The plan to integrate lab services into a central facility run by Alberta Health Services was announced by Hoffman in 2016.

A provincial election must be held by May 31. 


Sign up for The Scrutineer, your essential debrief of Alberta's top election headlines, plus analysis and a peek behind-the-scenes, delivered to your inbox twice a week: https://subscriptions.cbc.ca/forms/thescrutineer

About the Author

Dave Dormer

Web writer

Dave Dormer joined CBC Calgary in May 2016. A graduate of the SAIT photojournalism program, Dave has worked in print and television newsrooms across western Canada. Story ideas can be sent to dave.dormer@cbc.ca

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.