FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 16, 2023
Statement by Peter Bevan-Baker on shocking revelation of political interference by Premier King in Health PEI
Yesterday, the former Chair of the Health PEI board, Derek Key, presented to the Standing Committee on Health and Social Development. During his testimony, he said he resigned because he felt he had lost the confidence of Premier King.
A specific example provided by Mr. Key during his testimony was the Premier’s decision to meddle by giving bonuses to a select number of healthcare workers. This was done without consultation with the Health PEI Board. Mr. Key was quite clear: there would not have been support from the Board for a bonus that rewarded only some of our healthcare workers—all workers needed to be recognized.
The Premier decided, against all advice, to go ahead with the unfair bonus last October.
This was purely a political stunt. In fact, the Premier was told again on the day of the bonus announcement that “this is not a good idea.” He stubbornly went ahead with it anyway. The result? The Premier made our healthcare workplaces more divided and, in doing so, negatively impacted Islanders’ access to care.
But the Premier’s desire to be King doesn’t end with giving political favours to a select few in healthcare. Now he is ploughing ahead with plans for a medical school that a growing number of healthcare professionals are saying is poorly timed and will negatively affect Islanders’ access to their family doctors. This is eerily similar to the political promise for the Hillsborough Hospital. Premier King is happy to make political promises on political timelines, even if he knows they can’t be kept. He will say anything for a vote.
In fact, both the Liberals and the PCs are obsessed with using healthcare for political gain. The leader of the Liberal Party says she wants to be Premier AND Minister of Health. The leader of the PCs is, for all intents and purposes, the de facto Minister of Health and is making quite a mess of it. It is quite clear that political meddling does not work and it is not the answer to fix our crisis.
What Islanders need is a Premier that ends the political meddling. We need a Premier engaged with healthcare professionals, listening to and implementing their solutions and advice. We need a Premier that improves healthcare, not one that makes it worse.
We have a plan to make that happen. By working for you, we will remove the political influence from healthcare. We will give Health PEI the independence needed to make healthcare work for all Islanders. That is our promise and commitment.
Hon. Peter Bevan-Baker
MLA New Haven-Rocky Point
Leader of the Official Opposition Green Caucus
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