Alberta UCP leader would axe proposed Edmonton superlab if elected
Loading articles...

Alberta UCP leader would axe proposed Edmonton superlab if elected

Last Updated Mar 12, 2019 at 7:57 am MDT

Jason Kenney, leader of the United Conservative Party in Alberta, speaks with a reporter at the Conservative national convention in Halifax on Saturday, August 25, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

EDMONTON – United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney says a UCP government would scrap a medical superlab set to be built in Edmonton.

Kenney says the superlab is nothing more than what he calls a bureaucratic “boondoggle” to reorganize lab tests that are already handled effectively by the private sector.

He says cancelling the superlab would save taxpayers $590 million, which could be directed to front-line care.

“You can get better bang for the taxpayers buck through choice and competition rather than through a monopoly provider, that’s what economic history teaches us. What the NDP is trying to do is to create, effectively, one monopoly buyer.”

The facility is part of a broader NDP government plan to integrate lab services by 2022 at two major hubs one in Edmonton and one at the Calgary Cancer Centre, which is under construction.

Alberta’s health minister though says those plans are ‘short-sighted and wrongheaded.’

Sarah Hoffman says site preparation has already begun on University of Alberta land south of the main campus with construction slated to begin this year.

“There’s fencing and snow clearing and work is underway. For Mr. Kenney to think that he can just wave a wand and go back in time, I think it’s wrong, I think it would be problematic and I think it would be bad for the healthcare outcomes of people in Edmonton and north.”

Kenney’s plan would also revisit a strategy to put all lab services under government control.

Mike Parker, president of the Health Sciences Association of Alberta says the current Edmonton lab used by DynaLife is ‘stretched to the breaking point.’