Friday, 3 August 2012

Alberta's Crony Capitalism on Display

While there are reports of inadequate care for our seniors, the Alberta Health Services (AHS) had to reach an agreement with its CFO to cancel his contact.  Apparently a Freedom of Information query revealed that , Allaudin Merali, who was looking after AHS' finances had some very expensive habits.

Elaborate dinners, wine selection, repairs to his personal vehicle all were authorized expenses to the tune of $350,000 over a three and a half year period.  He was also cited for overspending while working as a consultant for the Ontario government.

All that didn't deter Alberta's Progressive Government to hire him as CFO for the AHS Superboard.  To add insult to injury, the person that approved all these expenses, Sheila Weatherill, former Capital Health head honcho,  also sat on the AHS Superboard until her resignation yesterday.

Weatherhill apparently received $1.5 Million in severance when the Alberta Health Services Superboard was created.  Go figure and then she was rehired to sit on that board.  Does it smell of crony capitalism?  You bet.

The budget passed by the PCs in April is proving to be and "Alice in Wonderland" budget.  It was to generate Billions in surplus in a couple of years, based on bogus projected oil prices at $100 a barrel.  Needless to say the market is not even remotely close to that.  Working with an $800 million deficit, based on those estimates, you can rest assured that it will be much higher and will need revision during the next legislative session.

With both the XL Keystone and Northern Gateway pipelines being questioned, Alberta may end up having to put the breaks on oilsands development.  That in itself will impact on royalties.  So far Alison Redford refuses to discuss the issue with Christie Clark and native groups are bound and determined to stop it.   At some point someone needs to talk.

With the recent spill of an Enbridge pipeline in Wisconsin, the XL Keystone project could be delayed for another year.  Meanwhile the Premier has traveled to London to sell Alberta at a cost of $84,000.  Message to the Premier:  "Brits hate the sealhunt and the oilsands, a few days visit will not change that."  Money well spent?  Not likely.

The question is will the PCs raise taxes or make cuts to current programs?  It will probably be a mixture of the two.  Isn't it strange how the Wildrose Party was demonized during the last days of the election campaign?  Yet much of what was predicted is starting to ring true.

While the scandal of overspending is presently raging in the Alberta Health Services, it calls into question in what other department the PCs have lost control?

While bureaucrats are taking the hit for the out of control spending for expense claims in the AHS, the buck should really stop with the Minister, if not the Premier.   After all, isn't the government accountable to the public?  Let's see how this plays out.  The next legislative session won't be pretty.  For the Tories is is business as usual.  After 41 years in power, there appears to be a culture of entitlement. 

No comments:

Post a Comment