Sunday, July 23, 2017

This spring it was revealed that in 2016 Pure North was granted a further $4.2 million as part of a larger pilot study supporting nurse practitioners in primary care clinics servicing vulnerable populations. This grant was provided despite the previous mountain of paperwork at Alberta Health outlining the risks and unproven nature of Pure North’s methods, and the fact that absolutely no evidence or documentation had been produced to show that the previous $10 million grant actually achieved any of the health outcomes or cost-savings that had been proposed. Especially alarming is the fact that the contract with Pure North for the $4.2 million grant was signed on behalf of the government by none other than Deputy Minister Carl Amrhein, who had at one point lobbied for Pure North and is an active participant in their program.-------------No mention of the other relevant facts of the Amrhein being hired by the NDP folks or that the Health Minister did the signing first.



Everywhere cronyism. No matter who we hire they tend to hand over public dollars to the elite. Why? I guess because the elite are different than us -the poor families of Alberta. In any case, this particular elite has had $10 million of our public dollars provided to them for the sake of junk science by the PCs as a grant. No questions asked and no performance required.
Then the NDPCs follow the same poor decision making tree of the PCs (which was no decision making tree at Alberta Health) and hand over $4.2 million.
Way to go Alberta Health folks!
Can you waste money faster and more dumbly than this?
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http://www.vueweekly.com/pure-north-case-exposes-the-depths-of-cronyism-and-influence-by-wealth-in-alberta/

Pure North case exposes the depths of cronyism and influence by wealth in Alberta

July 20, 2017
Vue-Political-Interference-logo
What’s wrong with giving wealthy Albertans from the oil industry privileged access to the halls of power and influencing power over the province’s universities? Well, the still developing case of Calgary’s Pure North S’Energy Foundation and its subsidiary Precision Health is a perfect example of what that sort of power can buy and its potential damage to the public interest in Alberta.
The wealthy oil man in question here is Allan Markin, founder and former chairman of Canadian Natural Resources Ltd (CNRL) and part owner of the Calgary Flames. In 2007, while still chairman of CNRL, Markin started up Pure North, a private health foundation that promotes preventive health treatments such as vitamins and minerals, including a particular reliance on large doses of vitamin D (often beyond the upper safe intake limit identified by Health Canada). Their focus is providing these therapies to vulnerable populations including seniors, the homeless, and people with addictions. According to numerous experts and former Alberta Health officials quoted in an extensive 2016 CBC investigation by Charles Rusnell and Jennie Russell, there is no peer-reviewed evidence that the therapies actually yield positive health outcomes, and the ultra-high vitamin doses may actually put patients at risk.
Notwithstanding the lack of evidence and research, the Pure North program was included for years as part of the benefit plan for CNRL employees—a practice that CNRL put an end to in 2012, two months before Markin resigned as chairman, after its health and safety committee identified that their endorsement of the program raised a number of risk-management issues.
Not deterred by his own company’s rejection of his program, Markin embarked on an intense lobbying campaign to have Alberta Health integrate the Pure North program into the province’s public health system. This lobbying campaign was strongly supported by the University of Alberta Provost and Vice President (Academic) Carl Amrhein. It is important to point out here that during Amrhein’s tenure at the U of A, Markin donated millions of dollars to the institution, including a $3 million gift (matched by CNRL) to fund the Markin/CNRL Natural Resources Engineering Facility in 2004. It’s also worth noting that Amrhein, who actually became a participant in the Pure North program, who went on in 2015 to become Deputy Minister of Alberta Health after a short stint as Official Administrator of Alberta Health Services.
Markin’s lobbying paid off, and in 2013 Alberta Health rushed through a $10 million grant for expanding their ongoing work with seniors. The grant was approved despite the strong objections of numerous senior officials at Alberta Health about the unproven techniques, the lack of scientific evidence, and the potential risks of the treatment to the patients. It was also re-structured at the last minute as to avoid any research ethics screening or oversight. The whole process highlights the degree to which as late as 2013 the Alberta government would always find a way to say yes to even the most absurd proposals put before them by a wealthy Calgary oil man. Especially one whose “foundation” is chaired by the likes of Jack Davis, former president and CEO of the Calgary Health Region and persistent wealthy lobbyist for corporate interests. The Pure North board also includes former U of A Dean of Engineering David Lynch, and their official spokesperson is former Alison Redford Chief of Staff Stephen Carter.
This spring it was revealed that in 2016 Pure North was granted a further $4.2 million as part of a larger pilot study supporting nurse practitioners in primary care clinics servicing vulnerable populations. This grant was provided despite the previous mountain of paperwork at Alberta Health outlining the risks and unproven nature of Pure North’s methods, and the fact that absolutely no evidence or documentation had been produced to show that the previous $10 million grant actually achieved any of the health outcomes or cost-savings that had been proposed. Especially alarming is the fact that the contract with Pure North for the $4.2 million grant was signed on behalf of the government by none other than Deputy Minister Carl Amrhein, who had at one point lobbied for Pure North and is an active participant in their program.
http://www.vueweekly.com/pure-north-case-exposes-the-depths-of-cronyism-and-influence-by-wealth-in-alberta/The Alberta Health Minister has now cancelled the remaining funding (over $3 million) to Pure North. It’s critical that the auditor general review how the grant was approved in the first place, and that the ethics commissioner investigate the role played by Carl Amrhein in the whole mess. Even that is not enough. Albertans deserve to know just how many programs, businesses, initiatives, and organizations have been given, or are still receiving funds because of the political and bureaucratic connections and the economic and political power of the individuals behind them rather than their own merit. Albertans also need to have faith in the integrity of their institutions of higher learning, which means knowing beyond the shadow of a doubt that questionable schemes are not receiving implicit academic endorsement simply because of the donation history of their proponents.
The Pure North case presents an important opportunity to expose and end the historically cozy relationship between wealthy Albertans, the government, and our province’s universities; an opportunity to opt for the public interest over the private interests of a few. Let’s hope they act on it.
#AbLeg #cdnpoli




Interesting that this article fails to point out other significant facts such as:
1) Mr. Amrhein was hired by the NDP folks not the PCs to become the deputy health minister.
2) Mr. Amrhein apparently signed off the on the $4.2 million AFTER the health minister signed the deal as per this information:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/alberta-health-sarah-hoffman-pure-north-ethics-david-swann-1.4118793
In October 2016, Amrhein signed, on behalf of the ministry, a $4.2-million grant with Pure North for a nurse-practitioner-led primary care clinic. Hoffman has said the clinic will not offer any of its alternative treatments or its funding could be put at risk.
Trussler said Amrhein told her the decision on funding Pure North was made elsewhere and he merely signed the agreement in his capacity as deputy minister, after HJulie Ali
Just now · 
Everywhere cronyism. No matter who we hire they tend to hand over public dollars to the elite. Why? I guess because the elite are different than us -the poor families of Alberta. In any case, this particular elite has had $10 million of our public dollars provided to them for the sake of junk science by the PCs as a grant. No questions asked and no performance required.
Then the NDPCs follow the same poor decision making tree of the PCs (which was no decision making tree at Alberta Health) and hand over $4.2 million.
Way to go Alberta Health folks!
Can you waste money faster and more dumbly than this?

This spring it was revealed that in 2016 Pure North was granted a further $4.2 million as part of a larger pilot study supporting nurse practitioners in primary care…
READINGCHILDRENSBOOKS.BLOGSPOT.COM
LikeShow more reactionsCommentShareoffman had approved the funding.
3) The Health minister has provided no information with reference to the poor decision making of her department especially considered the first poor decision of a $10 million grant for what I consider junk science. It is especially troubling that the folks at Alberta Health went ahead with the second decision despite information provided by AHS and other departments that this investment of public dollars was not productive.
In my opinion there isn’t much difference between the cronyism of the PCs and the NDP folks in government. Certainly there is a lot of poor decision making using public dollars for the buttering up of the rich elite in Alberta. Troubling lack of ongoing accountability by all these public servants and the political hires that should result in job terminations. But there you go. It is what it is. No matter who we hire, the political parties look out only for themselves and the elite in Alberta.
Interesting that this article fails to point out other significant facts such as:
1) Mr. Amrhein was hired by the NDP folks not the PCs to become the deputy health minister.
2) Mr. Amrhein apparently signed off the on the $4.2 million AFTER the health minister signed the deal as per this information:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/alberta-health-sarah-hoffman-pure-north-ethics-david-swann-1.4118793

In October 2016, Amrhein signed, on behalf of the ministry, a $4.2-million grant with Pure North for a nurse-practitioner-led primary care clinic. Hoffman has said the clinic will not offer any of its alternative treatments or its funding could be put at risk.

Trussler said Amrhein told her the decision on funding Pure North was made elsewhere and he merely signed the agreement in his capacity as deputy minister, after Hoffman had approved the funding.
3) The Health minister has provided no information with reference to the poor decision making of her department especially considered the first poor decision of a $10 million grant for what I consider junk science. It is especially troubling that the folks at Alberta Health went ahead with the second decision despite information provided by AHS and other departments that this investment of public dollars was not productive.


In my opinion there isn't much difference between the cronyism of the PCs and the NDP folks in government. Certainly there is a lot of poor decision making using public dollars for the buttering up of the rich elite in Alberta. Troubling lack of ongoing accountability by all these public servants and the political hires that should result in job terminations. But there you go. It is what it is. No matter who we hire, the political parties look out only for themselves and the elite in Alberta




Front Pure North case exposes the depths of cronyism and influence by wealth in…
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  • Interestingly this article does not point out that the Health minister signed off the deal before Mr. Amrhein did according to CBC:
    http://www.cbc.ca/…/alberta-health-sarah-hoffman-pure-north…
    In October 2016, Amrhein signed, on behalf of the ministry, a $4.2-million grant with Pure North for a nurse-practitioner-led primary care clinic. Hoffman has said the clinic will not offer any of its alternative treatments or its funding could be put at risk.
    Trussler said Amrhein told her the decision on funding Pure North was made elsewhere and he merely signed the agreement in his capacity as deputy minister, after Hoffman had approved the funding.
    **
    Please also note that the Amrhein's lobbying of this company was well known to the GOA and really what were the NDP folks thinking in hiring this Tory bigwig to the government? It is seems poor decision making all around.
    In any case, my feeling is that both the PCs and the NDP are responsible for the poor use of public funds in this case and there should be accountability for these poor decisions. This money that was spent on junk science could have been better spent on real science projects such as cancer research. Shameful.










Front Pure North case exposes the depths of cronyism and influence by wealth in…
VUEWEEKLY.COM
  • Interestingly this article does not point out that the Health minister signed off the deal before Mr. Amrhein did according to CBC:
    http://www.cbc.ca/…/alberta-health-sarah-hoffman-pure-north…
    In October 2016, Amrhein signed, on behalf of the ministry, a $4.2-million grant with Pure North for a nurse-practitioner-led primary care clinic. Hoffman has said the clinic will not offer any of its alternative treatments or its funding could be put at risk.
    Trussler said Amrhein told her the decision on funding Pure North was made elsewhere and he merely signed the agreement in his capacity as deputy minister, after Hoffman had approved the funding.
    **
    Please also note that the Amrhein's lobbying of this company was well known to the GOA and really what were the NDP folks thinking in hiring this Tory bigwig to the government? It is seems poor decision making all around.
    In any case, my feeling is that both the PCs and the NDP are responsible for the poor use of public funds in this case and there should be accountability for these poor decisions. This money that was spent on junk science could have been better spent on real science projects such as cancer research. Shameful.
Front Pure North case exposes the depths of cronyism and influence by wealth in…
VUEWEEKLY.COM



Julie Ali Why was the second payout of $4.2 million provided to Pure North by the NDP folks? I mean the Amrhein guy said he was merely signing off on what the health minister signed off on. And it was the NDP folks who hired Mr. Amrhein in the first place. Both PCs and NDP folks made poor decisions in this case. 
http://www.cbc.ca/.../alberta-health-sarah-hoffman-pure... 
In October 2016, Amrhein signed, on behalf of the ministry, a $4.2-million grant with Pure North for a nurse-practitioner-led primary care clinic. Hoffman has said the clinic will not offer any of its alternative treatments or its funding could be put at risk.

Trussler said Amrhein told her the decision on funding Pure North was made elsewhere and he merely signed the agreement in his capacity as deputy minister, after Hoffman had approved the funding.

Manage

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/alberta-health-sarah-hoffman-pure-north-ethics-david-swann-1.4118793


Alberta health minister dodges questions about her deputy's relationship with private foundation

Wildrose has requested ethics investigation of Carl Amrhein’s ties to Pure North

By Jennie Russell, Charles Rusnell, CBC News Posted: May 16, 2017 5:35 PM MT Last Updated: Jul 12, 2017 11:42 AM MT
Health Minister Sarah Hoffman told the legislature Tuesday she understood that her deputy had disclosed his involvement with Pure North to the province's ethics commissioner.
Health Minister Sarah Hoffman told the legislature Tuesday she understood that her deputy had disclosed his involvement with Pure North to the province's ethics commissioner. (CBC)
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Under growing pressure from opposition critics, Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman continued to deflect questions about her deputy minister's allegedly inappropriate relationship with a private health foundation that recently received millions of dollars in public funding.
Hoffman's grilling in the legislature Tuesday afternoon followed a formal request from the official Opposition Wildrose for an investigation by Alberta's ethics commissioner into the relationship between Alberta Health deputy minister Carl Amrhein and the Pure North S'Energy Foundation.
In a letter to Ethics Commissioner Marguerite Trussler, Wildrose accountability critic Nathan Cooper, and the party's health critic Tany Yao, asked for a full investigation.
"Albertans want to know that decisions aren't being made within the health department because of personal relationships or cronyism," Cooper said in a news release.
Carl Amrhein
Deputy health minister Carl Amrhein participated in Pure North S’Energy Foundation’s alternative health program. (CBC)
Ten hours after a CBC News request for comment, Alberta Health spokesperson Cam Traynor replied on Amrhein's behalf, saying he "already disclosed his involvement with Pure North to the ethics commissioner when he became deputy minister."
Traynor added that Amrhein will "fully cooperate" with any review by the ethics commissioner.
CBC News has previously revealed close ties between Amrhein and Pure North, a Calgary-based foundation that provides alternative health treatments, including high doses of supplements like vitamin D.

Deputy minister had close ties to foundation

Internal Alberta Health documents revealed Amrhein participated in the Pure North program while deputy minister and met personally with its founder, multi-millionaire philanthropist Allan Markin.
Several sources also told CBC News that Amrhein lobbied Alberta Health for more funding for Pure North while in his previous role as official administrator of Alberta Health Services, the operating arm of the ministry.
While provost of the University of Alberta, Amrhein provided two letters of support for Pure North, one used by  the foundation in its appeal to the government for public funding.
In December 2013, Progressive Conservative minister of health Fred Horne approved a $10-million grant to Pure North against the advice of ministry officials, who had determined the foundation's program was not adequately supported by science, could not prove the health and economic outcomes Pure North claimed, and may cause adverse reactions in participants.
In October 2016, Amrhein signed, on behalf of the ministry, a $4.2-million grant with Pure North for a nurse-practitioner-led primary care clinic. Hoffman has said the clinic will not offer any of its alternative treatments or its funding could be put at risk.
Trussler said Amrhein told her the decision on funding Pure North was made elsewhere and he merely signed the agreement in his capacity as deputy minister, after Hoffman had approved the funding.
Dr. David Swann
Alberta Liberal Leader Dr. David Swann, a former medical officer of health, asked the health minister in the legislature Tuesday if she knew about her deputy's participation in, and lobbying for, the Pure North program. (CBC)
In the legislature Tuesday, Liberal Leader David Swann asked Hoffman if she knew about Amrhein's participation in, and lobbying for, the Pure North program, and if so, when.
Hoffman said she understood Amrhein disclosed his involvement with Pure North to the ethics commissioner.
"If the ethics commissioner wishes to look into this further, we certainly welcome that," Hoffman said, adding later that she could not recall any conversations about Amrhein's involvement with the foundation.
Amrhein, through a spokesperson, earlier said he "fully disclosed" his relationship with Pure North to the ethics commissioner when he became deputy minister in August 2015. Trussler confirmed Amrhein disclosed his participation in the Pure North program but said she could not legally reveal if he had disclosed anything else.

Auditor general asked to review grant

Hoffman's own conduct was also questioned Tuesday. She had previously said she knew nothing about serious health safety issues identified in government documents related to Pure North before she approved the $4.2-million grant to the foundation in October 2016.
But an Alberta Health Services briefing note shows that on Sept. 28, 2016 — a month before her ministry signed the grant agreement — Hoffman's office was told health officials had previously identified the "potential for negative health effects" resulting from the foundation's distribution of high-dose supplements to vulnerable populations.
Swann asked Hoffman what she knew about the health safety concerns before she signed the grant. She ignored the question.
The Wildrose letter to Trussler marks the second opposition request for an investigation related to Pure North. Earlier this month, Swann, a former medical officer of health, asked the auditor general to conduct an audit of the $10-million grant.
No decision has yet been made about whether an audit will be conducted, a spokesperson for the auditor general said Tuesday.
Despite the concerns of public health officials, Pure North points to research studies it says show the program is safe and effective.
If you have any information about this story, or for another potential story, please contact us in confidence at cbcinvestigates@cbc.ca.



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