Justifiable criticism begets expulsion – Editorial

It would have been easier to understand if Raj Sherman, MLA, had been expelled from the Progressive Conservative caucus at the Alberta Legislative Assembly immediately after he raised his voice against the health care policies of his party’s government on Friday, Nov.19.

That, one would understand to be a “rash decision” made by Premier Ed Stelmach in the heat of the anger caused by an MLA, criticizing the premier, leader of his own party.

But the fact that his expulsion comes several days after Sherman’s remarks about the inefficiency of the arrangements offered for emergency room patients and the length of wait times brings several questions to mind as to how the political consultation process goes at the helm of the governing Progressive Conservative Party.

One would normally think that the weekend that passed after Sherman’s highly justifiable outburst would have calmed the Progressive Conservative leadership and that the premier and his advisors would sit down to analyze the reasons behind the public criticism by their own MLA and try to address the issue. Yet they chose to expel Sherman from the party ranks.

So what was the crime committed by Sherman?

He only put his loyalty to his Hippocratic oath, as a true health professional should do, before his allegiance to a political leadership, one that he thought had failed to deliver on their promises.

If anything, a rational political leader should have promoted Sherman.

But we do not live in an ideal world, we live in one of political and financial interests, where merit is not the criterium for rewards.

Add to that the ridiculously shameless attitude on the part of the $700,000 plus-a-year health czar Stephen Duckett, imported from Australia, to solve Alberta’s health care problems.

If you haven’t watched yet, you can see at the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DxeCK5Ne_Q how Mr. Duckett dodged vitally important questions from journalists by hiding behind his tiny cookie.

Mr. Duckett later issued a statement apologizing for “my poor responses to the media afterwards, which I deeply regret”.

“I certainly respect the media’s right to ask timely questions in the public interest,” he said, but he refused to answer them.

The dramatic developments that have taken place over the last few days have brought to surface the desperate situation in which Alberta’s health care sector finds itself in.

The problem, apparently, is not really the lack of solutions to various issues facing patients, doctors, nurses and managers of health facilities. It looks like the problem is the unwillingness at the top level of our provincial government to seek those solutions for the benefit of the patients, citizens of Alberta.

One wonders where Mr. Stelmach will find the stamina to ask for votes from the electorate in the next election.

– Mustafa Eric

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