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THE ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERSHIP: A PRE-DISPOSITION TO PRIVATE HEALTH CARE?

When we examine the membership of the Premiers Advisory Council on Health in Alberta, it is hardly surprising that they would make recommendations to weaken public health care and promote privatization. It is evident that Council members were already predisposed in that direction. The following is a sampling of the interests that some Council members represent.

The Honourable Don Mazankowski is a former Minister in the Mulroney cabinet, a government widely known for its privatization initiatives. His role was that of Minister of Privatization. Mazankowski is also a director of several corporations including Great West Life. The insurance industry would stand to benefit very directly from many of the proposed reforms.

Dr. John Evans is former President of the University of Toronto and founding Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at McMaster University. More importantly, Dr. Evans is a Director of MDS, the for-profit laboratory services corporation that has been pushing for privatization of lab services across Canada. MDS has also been connected to HRG through the Medical Discoveries Fund. HRG is the corporation most interested in providing private hospital services for the Calgary Regional Health Authority.

Dr. Eldon Smith is a medical and health consultant and professor at the University of Calgary Medical School. He also sits on the Board of Directors for a number of private sector, publicly traded health-related corporations. He is on the Advisory Committee for the Canadian Medical Discoveries Fund a government backed and MDS managed fund that backs private sector health care ventures.

Dr. Larry Bryan was the first-ever Chief Executive Officer of the Calgary Regional Health Authority. The CHRA has been the spawning ground for private hospitals in Alberta ever since.

Lynda Cranston is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Fraser Health Authority in British Columbia. Not so coincidentally, the Fraser Health Authority is proceeding with a public private hospital in Abottsford, B.C.

Dr. Brian Lee Crowley is founding President of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, a right-wing think tank on the East Coast.

Dr. David Low, an American trained Canadian, has become imbued with the ethos of American-style health care during his 11-year tenure as President and Chief Administrative Officer of the Houston Health Sciences Centre at the University of Texas. Currently, he retains a position at the University of Texas.

Jean Graham is the Chair of the Davis Thompson Health Region and past Chair of the Alberta Council of Regional Health Authority Chairs. She is a key actor in soliciting buy-in from the Regional Health Authorities.

Dr. Ken Nickerson is the Chief Medical Officer for the giant oil corporation, Syncrude. As such, he is very familiar with the private sector philosophy of health care.