Wednesday, November 24, 2010

When a Witch Weighs the Same as a Duck

Ed Stelmach's communication style is oblique and opaque most of the time. Opaque in the sense of being impenetrable by light. Today he all but confirmed that Stephen Duckett would be relieved of his duties as the Alberta Health Services CEO. At least that's what I read among the grimaces and incomplete sentences. I'm not surprised. Health Care is the most dysfunctional file in the Alberta Government and has been in constant churn since the end of the Don Getty era.

Duckett will be paid contract severance and we are obligated to pay to move him and his family back to Australia. (View his contract here.) On top of that, he may be able to sue for wrongful dismissal. While the cookie thing was certainly unprofessional I'm not convinced it is grounds for termination. On the other hand, the current condition of the Health Care System strongly suggests he either failed in his job, or just could not effect any good changes because of politics. In either case, I strongly suggest he was looking for an early exit anyway. It's not pleasant for a CEO to have no real control, and to work in a gong show environment.

Really, it's a failure of the whole top level bureaucracy, from the Premier downward. It's a strange feeling for me to agree with Danielle Smith on something, namely that the super board concept is a failure and needs to be disbanded. Of course, the Wildrose general philosophy about health care is very different from mine. Still, put that dog down.

One thing that did bug me, was the way Albertan's treated Dr. Duckett right from day one. Edmonton tends to be a little inward looking and Duckett wasn't really welcomed as an outsider. Furthermore, there were constant gratuitous references to his Australianness which were irrelevant and seemed xenophobic. The op-ed cartoons referencing Crocadile Dundy themes were sort of lame.

The PC Government has been fairly consistent for a long time. No matter what bad thing happens they'll use the wrong Yardstick, and the hammer will come down on the wrong person.

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