UCP is using a report that government experts characterized as “poor quality” and “highly inaccurate” to justify deep cuts to health care

Documents obtained through Freedom of Information paint a picture of the UCP’s willingness to use shoddy data to support pre-ordained conclusions

EDMONTON – One of the reports that the Kenney government is using to justify mass lay-offs and deep cuts to health services was criticized by the government’s own internal experts as “horrible”, “poor quality”, and “highly inaccurate,” according to documents obtained by the Alberta Federation of Labour.

The report on hospital wait-times was prepared by the controversial right-wing Fraser Institute and was quoted extensively in the MacKinnon Panel report.  When Premier Jason Kenney says, as he does often, that health care outcomes in Alberta are worse than in other provinces, this is the research he is referring to.

“The MacKinnon Panel report used junk data from an embarrassingly bad Fraser Institute report to bolster the idea that Albertans aren’t getting good outcomes for their health care investments and that they should, therefore, welcome his plan to introduce American-style two-tier health,” says Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL).

“Today, I’m calling on Premier Kenney to admit that he’s been caught using shoddy information. And we’re demanding that he abandon his campaign to open Alberta up for private for-profit health care that only benefits the wealthy.”

Internal emails obtained by the AFL show Alberta Health Services (AHS) officials had “significant concerns with the Fraser Institute’s methodology” within its Health Care Wait Times reports and warned that it’s “inappropriate…to compare these results across provinces.”

Despite the Fraser Institute report being flagged as “highly inaccurate” within AHS, it was used in the MacKinnon Panel report in several places to compare wait times across provinces with only mild caveats in terms of data accuracy.

“It’s outrageous that the MacKinnon Panel report used such flawed information from the Fraser Institute to push for private for-profit health care that only really benefits the uber rich,” says McGowan.

“This is just one of many flaws with the MacKinnon Panel report,” says McGowan, referring to an earlier release by the AFL that documents the top 10 list of “lies and distortions” used by the UCP and MacKinnon to justify cuts to essential public services, found here.

“As evidenced over the weekend by the UCP’s decision to defeat a resolution supporting the Canada Health Act, which provides the foundation for Medicare in Canada, it’s clear that Jason Kenney has a plan to introduce a full-blown two-tier health care system in Alberta.  And, it’s clear that he’s not above using lies and distortions to achieve his goal.  Today, we’re saying we won’t let him get away with it.”

Backgrounder

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MEDIA CONTACT:

Gil McGowan

President, AFL

(780) 218-9888 or gmcgowan@afl.org