Gateway Gazette

NDP Must Explain Value of Ontario Contract in Fixed-wing Air Ambulance Debacle: Barnes

EDMONTON, AB: Health Minister Sarah Hoffman must explain why the government hired an Ontario law firm to oversee the awarding of the fixed-wing air ambulance RFP that eventually went to CanWest, a company without aircraft bases in either Medicine Hat or Peace River, Wildrose Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes said.

Toronto-based Procurement Law Office was contracted by AHS to handle the awarding of the RFP. Barnes said the NDP could have used resources within government to handle the RFP before looking outside the province for help.

“First we saw the NDP hire Ontario-based Ecofitt, a company with longstanding ties to the NDP, to screw in taxpayer-funded lightbulbs. Now we’re seeing them hand over the fate of our air ambulance service to a bunch of lawyers in Toronto,” Barnes said. “The NDP was begging for trouble when it hired an outside firm to handle the RFP that could have easily been managed by the massive bureaucracy at AHS. Now we have a company selected to provide medevac services that does not have bases in either Peace River or Medicine Hat, and won’t have bases in time for the end of August transfer of services.”

Barnes said the health of Albertans is at stake.

“I don’t want medevac transfer times increasing, but without those bases in place, this is a real possibility,” he said. “I think it’s time to re-tender this RFP and get a deal that works for Albertans.”

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