An Auditor General investigation requested by Liberal MLA David Swann found Alberta Health inappropriately awarded grants to Pure North.
“This confirms what we suspected,” says Swann, “I completely support what the Auditor has found, and I look forward to hearing how the Minister plans to clean up this mess.”
In a letter to the Auditor General last May, Swann formally requested an audit of the granting process and the effectiveness of the vitamin supplement program, citing concerns for public funds and potential public health risks to vulnerable populations.
The investigation found the grant lacked appropriate performance measures and reporting requirements, and concluded that departmental processes were not followed in awarding the grants to Pure North.
“How can Albertans have confidence that the government has their back when they turn a blind eye to such serious concerns as those raised by their own department, the medical community, and the public?” Swann asks.
Former Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jim Talbot warned against government involvement in the experimental program, but his concerns were ignored. Instead, the government wasted over 11 million dollars in taxpayer funds with almost no accountability whatsoever.
“This is scandalous!” says Swann. “Clearly, the money could have been better invested in areas that would actually improve our broken system. What does the minister have to show for this?”
Despite Pure North’s claims that its programs would save money and lower demands on the system, performance measures have not improved under the NDP. In many cases, wait times for ambulances, emergency visits, continuing care placement, and elective surgeries have increased.
“Albertans expected better public health care from the NDP, but all we’ve seen is a series of inappropriate decisions, more waste, and poorer outcomes,” says Swann. “Alberta Liberals have the right prescription for better healthcare for Albertans.”