Your provincial government is spending the somewhat staggering sum of $10 million on a public inquiry into “queue jumping” in the health care system.

In light of what we’ve heard so far, I would like to propose to the province that the inquiry is shut down immediately. For a mere $100,000 (certified cheque only, please) I will tell you exactly what the inquiry will reveal.

What the hell, I’m in a giving mood. Skip the one hundred Gs (I know the government is kind of strapped for cash right now); this one’s a freebie. The inquiry will discover …. brace yourselves, everyone … that people of wealth and power and connections sometimes get preferential treatment in our health care system!

I know, shocking, right? The very idea that the rich and famous sometimes get treated better than garden-variety hoi polloi like you and me is just … well, it’s just … so predictable.

If you believe that VIPs and friends of the Conservative party and high profile athletes never try to jump to the head of the line, you are not just a Pollyanna, you should be mayor of Pollyannaville.

Of course the rich and famous sometimes get preferential treatment. After all, what’s the point of becoming rich and famous if you never use your wealth and fame to your advantage?

So far, the inquiry has heard of pretty low-level queue jumping. An Edmonton triathlete Paula Findlay got an MRI within hours of asking for one, thanks to her father’s connections (he’s a neurosurgeon). Big deal. Findlay was the star attraction of the Edmonton triathlon, so was it a major crime that she got an MRI (after hours) before the big race? Much worse is the case of the Calgary Flames, who got a private session to secure H1N1 vaccine, while the average panic-stricken idiot stood in line for hours. Should this have happened? No, of course not. Is this shocking? Hardly, since we heard about this years ago, when it happened.

We’ve also heard of former Capital Health Authority CEO Sheila Weatherill making phone calls to hospitals to alert the staff that someone of some significance was coming in, and it would be a nice idea to drop by and say ‘hi’. Everyone involved denies that the VIP got preferential treatment.

So far, it’s pretty small potatoes. And unless we hear that some local millionaire got a heart transplant ahead of a beloved local nun or someone like that, this whole thing is going to be an expensive wet noodle. A much better use of $10 million would be an inquiry into the overall state of our health care system. Of course, we know the answer to that one, too — it’s a mess. But at least that would be worthwhile.


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