Through a right to information request, the Official Opposition health critic, Jean-Claude D’Amours, has found concrete evidence that the Premier has been working on how to sell his plan to cut health care since at least July 2019.
“You can’t trust the premier when he blames the regional health authorities for badly communicating this plan,” said the MLA. “We have proof that his own office has been working on the communications around his health cuts for more than 10 months and that he saw the plan at least 7 months ago. For the premier to say this all went south in 5 days is not really fair.”
“When he was sworn in he promised to own his own mistakes. He only has himself to blame for this and a real leader would admit that.”
The documentation received shows that a second draft of a communications plan regarding healthcare reform was dated April 2nd 2019, and that the final plan was dated June 20th, 2019. There was also an email correspondence confirming a presentation of the plan to the Premier in July 2019.
“The second draft of a communications plan, prepared by an outside firm, was ready in under 5 months after Blaine Higgs became Premier,” notes D’Amours. “You can’t draft a communications strategy on a plan that doesn’t exist, the Premier started working on this almost as soon as he came into office. And he chose to not tell New Brunswickers what he was planning.”
The health care reform, that would close emergency rooms overnight in six hospitals and take away all the acute care beds from those hospitals, was made public in early February 2020, 10 months after the first documented evidence of a communications plan on health care reforms circulating in the executive council and premier’s office.
“The Premier has been aware of the details of this plan for a long time. To blame this on the health authorities is nothing more than an attempt to shift blame. He would have been told exactly how this terrible plan would be received. He obviously didn’t care until his government started falling apart.” Said D’Amours. “He’s only paused these cuts for political reasons. And there are more cuts he’s not telling us about yet. New Brunswickers can’t trust Blaine Higgs on health care.”