Parrott speaks out on Alward's decision to remove him
Former Progressive Conservative MLA, now independent MLA for Fundy-River Valley, Jim Parrott is speaking out against Premier David Alward's decision to kick him out of the PC caucus.
Parrott, a former heart surgeon, criticized the Alward government for not listening to doctors about health-care issues and about duality in the health system.
"I felt that I had to step up for the sake of my constituents and the people of New Brunswick, because health care, the way it is now, is abysmal, and nobody will do anything about it," said Parrott on Friday.
Parrott said Alward has known his views for some time, saying he told the premier about them when he became a candidate more than two years ago.
"And I told him, I said, 'The only thing I won't support is spending health-care dollars on a political cultural agenda,'" said Parrott, "And I said that right to his face."
"And what did he say?" asked a reporter
"He nodded and said, 'Fine.'"
Parrott said he has also been clear with the premier and PC MLAs that doctors should have more input into health policy, something he repeated publicly this week.
He said he will keep raising the issue as an independent MLA.
"I'm not done with getting doctors involved in health-care decisions, I won't be satisfied until they're full partners," he said.
"It won't be successful until they're fully involved, that's the dialogue I want to have with the premier, not sort of reactionary, phoning me up and saying, 'Take a hike Parrott.'"
New Brunswick Medical Society president criticizes decision
The New Brunswick Medical Society's president is criticizing Alward's decision to kick m Parrott out of the PC caucus.
Dr. Robert Rae, the president of the New Brunswick Medical Society, said Parrott is a physician first and foremost.
Rae said doctors are used to being able to speak their minds on issues, which is what he feels Parrott was doing.
"Dr. Parrott has always been an outspoken individual. He knows what he's talking about but like most physicians we become frustrated by lack of change," he said.
"Because we see out there, the absolute necessity, that the present system, the status quo is not sustainable."
Rae said Parrott was taking his information from the New Brunswick Medical Society's recent submission to Health Minister Madeleine Dubé.
He said it was a call to get New Brunswickers talking about the kind of health system they want.
Rae said one of the recommendations in the report was to have an "adult dialogue" about the tough issues.
"It's a tough problem," said Rae. "What we have to do is look at things in a mutually respectful way, respect each other's primary tongue and make sure that New Brunswickers have equal access to all services, regardless of their mother-tongue."
Premier David Alward made the announcement on the steps of the legislature on Thursday afternoon, following a unanimous vote of caucus, based on his recommendation.
Parrott represents Fundy-River Valley and will sit as an independent.