CALGARY, Alberta (LifeSiteNews) — Alberta Premier Danielle Smith has fired the entire board of directors for Alberta Health Services (AHS), all of whom oversaw the imposition of strict COVID mandates in the province.
Smith, along with Alberta’s Minister of Health Jason Copping, made the announcement yesterday in Calgary and have placed AHS under the care of a full-time administrator Dr. John Cowell.
“Albertans want accountability within AHS and they want to know that a world-class health system and level of care is available when they need it,” said Smith.
“We need a health care system that meets our growing demand and to take action to improve access. And today we are taking steps to do just that.”
The AHS board consisted of 11 part-time members. Their departure comes just days after Smith fired the province’s pro-lockdown and pro-mandate Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw.
Smith said that hospital waits and surgery backlogs already existed pre-COVID, and that while the virus did cause some additional strain on the healthcare system, AHS did not do its part to increase patient care.
“Patients are waiting too long across our health system, despite the excellent work of doctors, nurses, paramedics and other front-line staff. We need more-urgent action to improve access,” said Smith.
Cowell will report directly to AHS interim CEO Mauro Chies. He said that he is ready to “get to work on behalf of Albertans, building a better system to support patients needing care.”
He will be tasked with decreasing emergency room wait times, improving access to EMS services, as well as looking for ways to streamline the bureaucracy-heavy structure AHS currently is under.
“I look forward to working with the AHS team and taking tangible actions to drive much-needed change,” said Cowell.
Cowell has worked in the past with AHS. In 2013 he was placed as its administrator under the then-progressive conservative government after it fired the AHS board at the time.
When the NDP came to power in Alberta in 2015, the AHS board was reinstated.
Smith;s actions seem to be a fulfillment of statements she made in recent weeks, and before becoming premier, that she would overhaul AHS which she blamed for mishandling the COVID crisis in Alberta.
AHS had in place extreme COVID rules for a time, some of which banned people from gathering in large numbers to worship and mandated mask province wide. These policies led to no less than three Alberta pastors being jailed for breaking COVID rules.
During her leadership campaign, Smith promised that if she became premier she would launch a full review of health officials’ handling of COVID after it was shown that Hinshaw received a massive, six-figure pay bonus during the so-called pandemic.
Smith recently made good on multiple promises she has made, first by ordering her province’s minister of justice to draft a law prohibiting “discrimination” based solely on one’s injection status, and secondly by banning a return of mask mandates to the province’s schools.
She also recently noted that
some of her medical advisors have reached out to former Trump administration adviser Dr. Paul Alexander, an epidemiologist well known for his strong criticism of COVID injections and government lockdowns.