Tory MLA singles out former health minister in wake of health crisis
Published Friday, November 19, 2010 6:30PM MST
It was just a day ago that Tory MLA and parliamentary assistant for health Dr. Raj Sherman apologized to the premier for an e-mail he sent airing his frustration about the current health care system. Now, the MLA is singling out the former health minister who he says was "rude and offensive to front-line staff."
On Friday, Sherman was attending a meeting led by Alberta Health Services' CEO and President Dr. Stephen Duckett about over capacity issues in our health care system.
He told CTV News systematic problems are the fault of his own government and singled out former health minister Ron Liepert.
"The previous minister, to be honest, was quite rude and offensive to all front-line staff. Doctors, nurses and patients. I allowed that to happen. I didn't speak up, so I take responsibility for that," he said.
The comment comes after Sherman sent an e-mail on Nov. 17th to more than 30 people, a list that included Premier Ed Stelmach and Health Minister Gene Zwozdesky.
He held nothing back in the e-mail revealing that he had recently offered his resignation to the minister after he felt he could no longer support decisions made by Alberta Health Services.
Sherman also took direct aim at the premier alleging Stelmach broke promises.
"The premier made a promise to ER doctors in writing and has broken his promise not only to ER doctors, but also to the seniors, the 1.8 million Albertans who present for emergency care and their 2 million family members, and to all front-line health care professionals."
But Sherman softened his tone a bit after meeting with the premier. Sherman said his frustrations peaked recently because his ailing father had several near-death experiences while waiting for health care, which he also opened up about in the e-mail.
The premier said he didn't formally receive a letter of resignation from Sherman, nor did he ask for one. Sherman said he did offer Stelmach an apology for the e-mail and gave him a card.
The premier hasn't made an attempt to reprimand Sherman. Instead he has called for peace between caucus members.
"The caucus showed great compassion, showed great respect and I expect the same respect and compassion paid by Dr. Sherman to all of his caucus members," said Stelmach.
Sherman maintained he will stay with the Tories, but will continue to be critical of the health care situation in Alberta.
"I said Premier, you gotta decide what to do with me. You wanna fire me or you want me to quit? Because the status quo will no longer happen," said Sherman.
The premier said he expects more announcements on strategies to fixing Alberta's health care system. He said he is confident in his government's relationship with front-line health care staff.
Liepert refused to comment on the accusations.
With files from Laura Tupper