Canada Health Official ‘Ousted’ After Dismissing HC Concerns With ‘I’m Eating My Cookie’

It was only a matter of time. See, you can’t dismiss questions about bloated wait times and problems with Canada’s single-payer health-care system by telling reporters to get lost while “I’m eating my cookie,” and expect to keep your job long.

For the past year Stephen Duckett has been the leader of Alberta, Canada’s Alberta Health Services. When reporters recently tried to get him to answer for problems associated with the province’s health care, this happened:

Then this happened:

Alberta Health Services announced in a press conference on Wednesday afternoon that CEO Stephen Duckett is no longer the CEO of AHS. The decision is effective immediately.

Duckett and the AHS board reportedly came to a mutual decision. AHS made the announcement at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.

Duckett’s resignation comes just days after a confrontation he had with reporters, where he refused to answer questions because he was quote “eating a cookie”.

Duckett’s status had been looking increasingly tenuous.

Long emergency room waits have drawn growing criticism and sparked an outburst last week from an Edmonton member of the legislature that led to his suspension from the Tory government caucus.

Duckett’s own style hadn’t won him many friends since he was hired by the government last year to oversee health delivery in Alberta.

The announcement was not entirely unexpected, based on comments made by Premier Stelmach during question period on Tuesday afternoon.

“Mr. Speaker, I found the comment last Friday quite offensive.” he said.

While the “ousting,” as CBC puts it, is welcome news in a country growing increasingly frustrated with its health care system, one person enraged over the news is Duckett’s wife.

In a recent op-ed Duckett’s “life partner” Terri Jackson admitted that Duckett was probably “too flippant” during the exchange with reporters, but said the province will not find a CEO with “more skill, integrity and commitment” than her husband.

“Alberta will not find a more passionate defender of publicly funded health care,” Jackson wrote in the Edmonton Journal last week.

It seems that may have been the problem.

118 Comments