Mounties probe Alberta allegations of health queue jumping

EDMONTON — A complaint involving allegations of health-care queue-jumping in Alberta has been referred to the RCMP’s commercial crimes unit in Edmonton.

EDMONTON — A complaint involving allegations of health-care queue-jumping in Alberta has been referred to the RCMP’s commercial crimes unit in Edmonton.

Sgt. Tim Taniguchi (tahn-uh-GOO’-chee) says the unit will look at a grievance filed by NDP Leader Brian Mason to see if further action is warranted.

Mason filed the complaint last week after former Alberta Health Services CEO Stephen Duckett said in a speech that queue-jumping was going on when he took over in 2009.

Duckett said government politicians allowed their favourites to move to the front of health-care wait lists.

The NDP has released two documents which the party says shows queue-jumping has been a common practice.

Mason says it could be a criminal matter if it’s determined Tory officials pulled strings to get preferential treatment.

“I believe that if politicians abused their power to bump themselves, their friends or family up in health queues, it may be a criminal matter warranting police investigation,” Mason said in a release. “I hope that the RCMP are able to get to the bottom of this matter.”

Taniguchi said there’s been no decision to actively investigate.

“The only change from our point of view is that it’s gone from the commanding officer (who received Mason’s complaint) to the Edmonton commercial crimes unit to look at the file.”

Premier Ed Stelmach and Health Minister Gene Zwozdesky have dismissed Duckett’s allegations, although the premier said in Grande Prairie last week that the RCMP should look into the matter to see if an investigation is needed.