The Issue: “Guess Whoâ€™s Coming for Dinner?”
Well, other than just for the purpose of an interesting title for this column and to get you into a dining-out mindframe, nothing in this movie really relates directly to the interesting dining out practices that CBC recently exposed to the public, of Allaudin Merali, a senior executive at Alberta Health Services.
For a better insight of what CBC has discovered, or perhaps better said, uncovered, do read OEPâ€™s front page story if you have not yet.
A summary sketch is that Merali , according to the reporting of CBC, has from 2005 – 2008, â€śspent tens of thousands of dollars on lavish meals at high end restaurants and bottles of wine,â€ť in addition to apparently having a phone installed in his Mercedes Benz.
Perhaps this explains at least in part, where some of our healthcare tax dollars have been spent. For me at least, it certainly begs the question as to if there are not more lavish spending executives in Alberta Health Services, other than just Allaudin Merali?
But here we go again: the apparently extreme spending of an executive whose salary and expenses are paid by our tax dollars. If the expense sheets are accurate (I am going to assume they are) to me Meraliâ€™s spending seems to be staunch, coupled by brave arrogance when identifying some of his extravagant dinners guests only as â€śDinner Meetings.â€ť
I guess as taxpayers, we are left at least for now, to â€śguess who was going for dinner â€ś with Merali. Maybe we can reflect on this kind of lavish spending of our healthcare tax dollars the next time we have to wait for hours at emergency, or have to wait for that much needed surgery.
Also, maybe a good thought to weigh at the same time is this one: If Merali had this lucrative, expense freedom, and it seemingly was authorized spending at the time, would it not be just as enlightening for the public to have convenient knowledge of the expenses of other executives at Alberta Health? And should the spending of our healthcare tax dollars, particularly when it consists of of expenses, not be up for public scrutiny and evaluation?