NDP calls for transparency around conflict of interest at eHealth

The NDP has been digging into why public employees at eHealth were flown to luxury events on the dollar of the vendors they are awarding contracts to. Instead of providing transparency and taking responsibility, however, the Sask. Party has fought to keep a lid on the scandal.

“It’s clear that there are a number of issues at eHealth, but what’s most concerning is that the Sask. Party government would rather the Saskatchewan people not know about them or what’s been done to address them,” said NDP Leader Ryan Meili. “Instead of providing leadership and transparency, the Sask. Party has continued to work from its GTH-land-scandal playbook.”

After questioning in committee, the NDP learned that a law firm had been contracted to investigate trips taken by eHealth staff that were paid for by vendors who were doing business with the Sask. Party government. Allegations of trips to Las Vegas and the Indianapolis 500 have surfaced, in addition to the trip to the PGA Championship in North Carolina mentioned in news reports. The NDP also learned that three people lost their jobs as a result of the investigation.

The NDP has asked for the investigation to be made public, but the Sask. Party government has so far refused to do so. An FOI request that sought correspondence related to the investigation returned 28 pages of documents — each of those pages fully redacted.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority continued to defend its existing conflict-of-interest policies until this week, when the story was about to go public.

“We need strong conflict of interest policies because they’re what the public expect and deserve, not because the government wants to dodge bad public relations,” Meili said. “It’s disappointing that this government has known about these violations for months and did nothing to fix the gaps that let them happen in the first place.”