CALGARY, AB (April 12, 2013): Today’s reversal by Alberta Health Services on its thoughtless and disrespectful cancellation of discounted hospital parking rates for veterans in Calgary is a victory for veterans and their families, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today.
Just three days after saying cancelling the discount program was “the right decision,” Health Minister Fred Horne welcomed AHS’ decision to reinstate the program which allows veterans to access parking passes through the Calgary Poppy Fund. “We are pleased to see that Minister Horne and AHS have finally seen the harsh disrespect that the decision to cancel the program showed to our brave men and women in uniform,” Wildrose Official Opposition Leader Danielle Smith said. “However, it never should have had to come to this. This idea should have never seen the light of day. Minister Horne owes all veterans an apology.” Horne initially defended the cancellation and then scolded AHS for how it was made while refusing to do anything about it. “Minister Horne continues to show weak leadership and no oversight over his department,” Smith said. “He should have fixed this days ago. Instead, he dithered and accepted no responsibility for it.” In defending the decision, Alberta Health Services vice-president Penny Rae said of veterans “Why is this one group more worthy than others?” She also suggested some veterans might abuse the program. In the Legislature, both Smith and Wildrose MLA Rob Anderson attacked the government for its callous decision to yank the program for veterans. “I’m happy AHS reversed its thoughtless and ungrateful decision,” Anderson said. “I hope our veterans are never treated with this kind of disrespect from the provincial government ever again.”