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The other e-health scandal

Don’t worry, Ontario: B.C.’s in the same boat


 

Another province, another scandal breaking around government attempts to create a system of electronic health-care records. Two senior B.C. health bureaucrats are on the hot seat after a stunning series of revelations suggesting they and their family members have been taking favours from a Fraser Valley doctor selling software to health authorities. Police are also investigating allegations the civil servants were planning to take cash kickbacks from the physician. E-health: West Coast edition features many of the issues at the centre of the Ontario scandal. What it lacks is the element of a nervous premier trying to get ahead of the bad news. Indeed, Gordon Campbell’s government seemed to be hoping the whole ugly business would go away after the press got a whiff of it earlier in the summer. Instead, the RCMP read about it in the papers and decided to investigate. Uh oh.

The Province


 
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The other e-health scandal

  1. You've got to be kidding!

    I was initially in favour of the HST, although I know it means bad news for my wallet, because I thought it is only logical to raise some tax or another when the province needs money. But if the provinces need money so they can divert it into official's pockets, the deal is off as far as I'm concerned.

    • The HST isn't so much about levying a new tax as it is about streamlining the tax collection process and reducing the tax burden on businesses. The issue is that the PST is charged on inputs to a large number of business activities (not so with the GST). When you have a supply chain with many steps, that adds considerably to the cost of products for consumers, while also hurting profits for businesses. Secondly, it is my understanding that centralizing tax collection (or at least taxing businesses with common rules, rather than different ones) is a more effective and streamlined approach.

      The amount of revenue raised by switching is not substantial (it may even be a revenue neutral move – I'm not sure), and anyhow the main "take" would be from federal subsidies to BC and Ontario for switching.

        • That's a very good point. And as we've discussed with the GST reduction and our movie ticket example, the chances of corporations passing their savings on to consumers through price reductions might be more blind luck or a rarity than anything else.

          I'd be extremely interested in what both the provincial governments, and the citizens, of NL, NS, and NB have to say about their experiences. Since it seems to be against the interests of both the Feds and BC and ON to do such a cost/benefit analysis, I wonder if there's another organization that could undertake it. Canadian Taxpayer's Federation, maybe?

  2. Our provincial government has been found to be rife with scandal. Not just the HST, health care, education, ferries, Olympic games, homelessness, child poverty, but many more. Promises have been broken right and left. Virtually anything our government officials say now has a less than 50% chance of being the truth. With bosses like that, who can blame employees from wanting a piece of the pie, and gambling on not being caught.

    • "With bosses like that, who can blame employees from wanting a piece of the pie, and gambling on not being caught. "

      Me, that's who. Ethics isn't something that depends on your employer! You don't do what is wrong because it is wrong. Occasionally, you might find a situation that is difficult to tell what is right and what is wong–but this isn't that. Sure, I can understand frustration with an employer, cynicism, hopelessness of the job, etc. But one doesn't become a criminal, one looks for a new job! They might also look into whistle-blowing legislation, at least for me that would go a long way to minimizing the frustration level, once I'm at my new job, I mean.

    • Corruption in Canadian politics has become the norm. What I want to know is how to stop it. When are we going to have a system that holds our elected officials to account for their actions? I want to see some prison time for these people.

      • Some effective whistle blower protection laws might be a good start.

  3. One thing I'm not clear on is what is in it for the Feds. Sure it erodes some sovereignty from the province, but at this point anyway I can't see that it erodes enough sovereignty into the hands of the Feds that its worth anything.

    But that isn't the point of this particular discussion.

    • Amazing. I've just now come from Peter Diamandis's lecture at the Perimeter Institute's Q2Cfestival.com, and am struck by two things. One is, Peter explained how millions and millions of dollars spent by the biggest and best defence companies over several years couldn't produce a vehicle capable of autonomously travelling over the desert as part of a supply convoy. Five teams of private citizens with basically little expertise in the related fields successfully managed to build such a vehicle within a year or two. (competing in the DARPA challenge of 2005)

      Continued . . .

  4. The other, contrasting point, is $236 million PER YEAR on IT? For ONE state? They're not inventing computers, the internet, wiring, electricity, etc., just supplying it. Are you kidding me? And they want more? They are losing money on the deal? Give me a break! This brings back not-so-fond memories of the Rim Park financing fiasco, which reminds me of the Toronto computer leasing deal.

    Interestingly, the same company involved with the IT contract is also an X-Prize sponsor, and I believe what that tells us is that Northrup Grumman is at least aware they aren't the most efficient, but maybe that doesn't help become more efficient.

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