Premier MacLauchlan recently announced two major projects: A fibre-optic backbone; and an expansion of home-care health services. I wonder if Islanders realize MacLauchlan – and two other premiers – have long-standing relationships with the corporate beneficiaries of these mega-million dollar initiatives? Read carefully, the interlocking connections and time-lines are a tad confusing.
In 2006, the premier of N.B., Bernard Lord, left politics and became the CEO of the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA). The new premier, Shawn Graham, subsequently gave Xplornet (a CWTA member, and wholly-owned subsidiary of Barrett Corporation) a $13 million contract to improve rural internet service (untendered).
In 2011, the premier of P.E.I., Robert Ghiz, secretly amended the $8.2 million (untendered) contract he awarded Bell-Aliant (a CWTA member) in 2007 to provide rural Islanders with DSL internet, increasing it to $23 million.
In November, 2017, Wade MacLauchlan announced a surprise mega-telecommunications project to build approximately 1500 KM of fibre-optic cable across PEI at an estimated cost of $30 million. An RFP has since been issued; however, there have been no public consultations.
All we know for sure about this project is that a telecommunications company that Robert Ghiz currently lobbies for stands to make a small fortune: after resigning in 2015, Ghiz replaced Bernard Lord as CEO of the CWTA when Lord (already a Medavie board member for eight years) became Medavie’s CEO. Medavie has three divisions with more than 6,000 employees: Medavie Blue Cross; Medavie Health Services; and Medavie Health Foundation. And here’s where it gets really interesting.
Wade MacLauchlan became a board member of the Medavie Health Foundation in 2009, and was appointed chair in 2013. He was also a director of Medavie for years, until becoming Premier. His first disclosure statement revealed he received director fees from both Medavie Inc. and the Medavie Health Foundation.
The board seat MacLauchlan vacated at Medavie was subsequently filled by (I know it’s hard to believe) Robert Ghiz. And Ed Barrett (co-owner of Barrett Corporation and Xplornet, which received the $13 million contract from Bernard Lord) has also been a long-time director of Medavie.
Medavie Health Services N.B. (which already ran N.B.’s ambulance service, like Island-EMS in P.E.I.) was recently granted a 10-year contract (untendered) to deliver the extramural and Tele-Care services (effective January 1, 2018) worth $4.4 million annually. CUPE, the N.B. Nurses Union, and the Vitalité Health Network have all condemned the privatization of the management of these health services.
Not to be outdone, Premier MacLauchlan has just awarded Island-EMS a contract (untendered) for $450,000 annually to provide home-care health services. But unlike N.B., the health-care workers will also be private, not just management. And to be clear, Island-EMS is wholly-owned by Medavie Health Services, with the very same directors: Erik Sande, President; John Diamond, CFO and Treasurer; and Daniel Marcil, Chief Operating Officer.
Mona O’Shea, President of the P.E.I. Nurses’ Union, has condemned MacLauchlan’s decision to award this contract to a “for-profit” private corporation and asks why the money wasn’t just used to hire more nurses. She may be unaware of MacLauchlan’s and Ghiz’s long-standing interest in Medavie.
Opposition parties, other unions…indeed, all Islanders must demand that the fibre-optic and health-care projects are put on hold until public consultations take place: neither pass the smell test.
These characters have no compunction to do what is morally right. They look after their own self-serving interests by using the public’s taxes and equalization payments to increase their own wealth and keep their dirty fingers deeply and firmly in the conflict-of-interest pie. And yes, they are dangerously destructive, like gang members who take exception to what you publicly express about them. Watch your back because they control every facet of PEI’s justice??? system with their “plants”.
In a book written by Gar Alperovitz, “What then must we do”, he borrows from Leo Tolstoys’ book written in 1886, when the Russian government system was in decay. Tolstoy writes; “I sit on a man’s back choking him and making him carry me, and yet assure myself and others that I am very sorry for him and wish to ease his lot by all possible means, except by getting off his back”. Good on you Kevin in challenging MacLauchlan to get off our backs.
Holy can you spell conflict of interest more clearly !
I tried sending this to my e-mail address and it isn’t happening.
Hi Edith. I tried it and it wasn’t working as well… No clue why not. You can copy the URL address and paste it into the body of an email and send a link that way I suppose.
Thanks, Kevin. I did manage to make copies of your article on this particular issue. It is getting a lot of social media time. A number of us are sharing. As well, as you may have noticed, we are circulating an on-line and hard copy petition demanding the PEI government rescind that agreement and raising the issue of this being yet another step to privatizing Medicare. The PEI Health Coalition and Council of Chambers are also rattling governments at both levels. The NDP president, Leah-Jane Hayward, is speaking out and some of us have sent letters to the editor. In fact I wrote my first letter to the editor early last fall raising an alarm bell because I was being told then about funding cuts to the Home Care Nursing budget back in August. Another NDP Womens Cttee member, Lynne Thiele, began checking out Medavie and we began strategising how to get this out into the public venue. Took awhile to unearth info so yours was a god send. Rather muted on the unions’ fronts I must say. By the way PC Leader James Aylward signed the petition last Saturday [Feb24th] and since has raised this issue in the media. CBC PEI Radio interviewed him and Leah-Jane. Played this morning. Minister of course spinning even more since their announcement. Sign and help circulate our petition.
Thanks for all you and others are doing on this important issue Edith. I saw the compass story with James Alward and Leah being interviewed…. Great! I hope you saw my comment from my post a couple of days ago mentioning you, Lynne, and Leah. if not, here it is again:
“Kudos to the NDP for speaking out on one of the key issues in my article (the Medavie contract from Wade MacLauchlan).
Lynne Thiele (President of the Women’s Committee, NDP-PEI) had a letter in the Journal Pioneer last Saturday [http://www.journalpioneer.com/opinion/letter-to-the-editor/letter-to-the-editor-the-privatization-of-health-care-on-pei-189127/] and Leah-Jane Hayward (President of the PEI NDP) has a letter in the Guardian today titled “No public tenders for home care.”
A couple of picky but important corrections to note: Lynne referred to Bernard Lord as a former N.B. “Liberal” premier….he was a conservative premier, which only goes to show cronyism can easily cross party lines; and Leah said that Wade was a former CEO of Medavie… he was actually the chair of the Medavie Health Foundation when Pierre-Yves Julien was Medavie’s CEO. Bernard Lord replaced Julien in June, 2016.
It also needs to be mentioned that Edith Perry was among the first to sound the alarm about the privatization of home care in a December 16, 2017 Guardian letter to the editor titled “Home care faces privatization threat.” [http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/opinion/opinion-home-care-faces-privatization-threat-170865/].
Now if only we could convince the leaders of the PCs (James Aylward) and the Green party (Peter Bevan-Baker) to join these three brave NDP women we might just be able to put a stop to this unwelcome move by MacLauchlan!”
Good investigative journalism,Kevin
Watch your back brother. These are criminals you are exposing.
Unbelievable, Kevin. Thanks for sharing this info.