Ed Sieb of Ottawa, wrote about the Quebec appointment of David Levine to the Junior Ministry of Health in response to my editorial of January 30, 2002. His take on David Levine was considerable, and clearly represents his accurate opinion of Levine’s Ontario legacy . . . Howard Galganov
The problem arose when Levine was dropped into a system he was never trained to work in. Applying the Quebec model to Ontario problems resulted in precisely the same results as we found in Quebec – financial boondoggles and cost overruns, rampant mis-management and inefficiencies, the creation of large, top-heavy bureaucracies and overly centralized administration.
Before Levine took over and amalgamated the hospital system in Ottawa, one could visit the emergency room at the Riverside Hospital, and expect a 15-minute wait for service. (My personal experience).
The Queensway-Carleton Hospital was known for it’s efficient outpatient system, and a similarly efficient emergency ward.
Each hospital in Ottawa was relatively independent and provided service properly suited to their own client-base. Each hospital could tailor it’s system to it’s own needs and that of it’s patients.
But, once Levine amalgamated everything, and imposed a common, unified system, inefficiencies, red-tape and chaos resulted. Today, the normal wait for a simple outpatient procedure (a cortisone shot for an arthritic joint) at the Riverside is now in excess of 4 hours.
Levine attempted to impose grandiose “five-year-plans” and other similar bureaucratic schemes, ignoring the fact that medical services require immediate and cost-effective solutions. The people of Ottawa (and Ontario) are not used to such waste and inefficiency, and rightly turfed him out.
So, in a certain sense, the problem was politics. Levine’s problem wasn’t his separatist politics, but his culture, the culture of the administrative elites, the culture of socialism. A fish out of water in Ontario, he’ll fit right in, in Quebec.