Edmonton

Source needs immunity, Sherman says

MLA Raj Sherman said the source for the allegations he made this week about the government paying hush money to doctors will not come forward unless the government grants immunity.
MLA Raj Sherman said Wednesday his source will not speak unless the government grants full immunity. (CBC)

MLA Raj Sherman said the source for the allegations he made this week about the government paying hush money to doctors will not come forward unless the government grants immunity.

"I have confidence in the information brought to my attention because I verified the reliability of that source," Sherman said in a prepared statement he read to reporters.

"Upon further discussion that source is not prepared to divulge confidential and protected information without complete immunity, especially protected patient information.

"If the government continues to refuse to provide complete immunity to any health care worker who brings forward legitimate concerns for patient safety, then I am not at liberty to provide any information."

But Health Minister Gene Zwozdesky told the legislature that according to policy, Alberta Health Services employees who report any improper activity are protected from retribution.

Sherman, the independent MLA for Edmonton-Meadowlark and an emergency room doctor, stood up during question period on Monday and alleged that 250 lung cancer patients died waiting for surgery in the early part of the last decade.

Sherman said physicians were paid millions of dollars to keep quiet about the deaths and that the payouts were hidden in a second set of financial records. He also alleged health officials in Edmonton and two former health ministers were aware of what was going on.

Sherman has so far provided no proof of his allegations, and made the statements inside the Alberta legislature, where MLAs have immunity from defamation lawsuits.

On Wednesday, Premier Ed Stelmach said he wasn't impressed with Sherman's statements.

"He can say whatever he wants against me or any other member of the house," Stelmach said. "But you do not take people that are not in the house, that are not elected, and name names and not provide the evidence."

Sherman has sat in the legislature as an independent MLA since he was turfed from the Progressive Conservative caucus last November for speaking out against long emergency room wait times.

 

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