Notley NDP Using Health Care Resources for Political Gain

Nixon calls for Ethics Commissioner investigation into violation of Premier’s Office rules and AHS policy

EDMONTON, AB (February 24, 2019): The Notley NDP and Alberta Health Services must be investigated after the NDP held a partisan campaign event at Lethbridge’s Chinook Regional Hospital on Saturday, United Conservative House Leader Jason Nixon said today.

AHS rules prohibit the use of its facilities for campaign events and partisan announcements.

“AHS facilities shall not be used for any political activity, including, but not limited to use for the purposes of canvassing, campaigning, making political announcements, touring and other activities.”

Saturday’s event featured Premier Rachel Notley and Minister Shannon Phillips, along with NDP campaign slogans, in the hospital atrium to spout lies about the United Conservative plans for health care.

“The NDP’s use of a public hospital to launch a partisan attack is an unethical abuse of public resources. Alberta’s hospitals belong to Albertans, not to the NDP.”

“Saturday’s NDP campaign event was not just a clear violation of AHS policy, but it also seems probable that the Premier and her staff broke Government of Alberta rules that prohibit them from using their influence to host a partisan event in a public hospital,” Nixon said. “I have written to Alberta’s Ethics Commissioner to ask for an immediate investigation into this event and I’m calling on Alberta Health Services and the Premier’s office to explain this clear violation of AHS policy for the benefit of the Notley NDP.”

Section 9 of the Code of Conduct for Employees Serving in the Offices of the Premier and Cabinet Ministers states that:

“Members of the Premier’s and Ministers’ staff may not ask employees of the Alberta public service to engage in any activity that is inconsistent with the Code of Conduct and Ethics for the Public Service of Alberta or the Public Service Act.”

According to the regulation, anyone found to have broken these rules can be disciplined and even fired.

This is not the first time the NDP has been found to have abused their position of power for partisan gain. Shortly after the 2015 election, the NDP attempted to hold a partisan fundraiser based on the swearing in of cabinet. It was only after questions were raised that the event was cancelled and the NDP apologized for the “serious mistake.”

Just a few months later, the NDP again attempted to use their position in government to sell access to the Premier and her ministers at a fundraising event. It was only when they were threatened with an Ethics Commissioner investigation that the NDP changed their tune and apologized again.

“The NDP have a long history of using taxpayer resources for political gain,” Nixon said. “Attempting to sell access to cabinet, using taxpayer dollars for TV ads that experts say are partisan and inappropriate, and now leveraging their influence to stage campaign events in a public hospital. It’s not just disappointing; it’s unacceptable.”

“Rather than lie and fear monger, the premier could explain why health care performance has fallen so dramatically under the NDP. Rather than using influence to arrange a campaign event in a public hospital, she could call an election. Albertans deserve better.”

After the event on Saturday, the Premier issued a tweet claiming that United Conservatives would fire nurses at the Lethbridge Hospital. Caught in a lie, the tweet was deleted. United Conservative Leader Jason Kenney has committed to a Public Health Guarantee that would see public health spending maintained or increased under a United Conservative government.