Danielle Smith telling us last spring that help was on the way in the form of what came to be known as ‘Tylenot’ – it wasn’t very helpful, but never mind that now (Photo: Alberta Newsroom/Flickr).

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith and her United Conservative Party government may look like fools for having paid $70 million up front to a Turkish drug manufacturer last December for a huge supply of children’s pain medication most of which will likely never reach Alberta. 

A bottle of ‘Tylenot’ (Photo: Alberta Newsroom/Flickr).

But to reach that conclusion is to fundamentally misunderstand the purpose of the purchase by Alberta of children’s acetaminophen and ibuprofen from Atabay Pharmaceuticals and Fine Chemicals Inc. of Istanbul during a national shortage of those pain medications.

The goal, it was obvious then and continues to be obvious now, was not to stock the empty shelves of Alberta pharmacies with medicine worried parents were desperate get home to their sick kids during a busy respiratory disease season.

The purpose of Ms. Smith’s “Tylenot” stunt, as it came to be known, was simply a $75-million political effort to use public funds to own the Libs. That number also includes the cost of shipping less than a third of the purchase to Alberta. 

Arguably, that goal was partly achieved. 

Certainly, the UCP’s “Help is on the Way” campaign suggesting Alberta was stepping up to fill a gap left by Ottawa was intended to contribute to the portrait of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as a bumbling incompetent that federal and provincial Conservatives had been painting for months, presumably successfully if recent polls are to be believed. (This is not to say that Mr. Trudeau has not made his own contributions to this effort.)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau actually listening to Premier Smith in July – seems like he had something else on his mind, though (Photo: Alberta Newsroom/Flickr).

“In response to the worldwide shortage of children’s pain and fever medication, Alberta’s government took immediate action to ensure a stable supply for the province,” the government’s news release chirped in March, when some of the bottles approved for sale to the public finally started showing up in Alberta, implying falsely that Ottawa was doing nothing. 

But who outside a few close followers of Alberta politics now remembers that the shortage was quickly overcome through the efforts of Health Canada and, by the time some of the oddball Turkish medication had been approved for sale in Alberta, pharmacies were again stocked with familiar and popular brands like children’s Tylenol? 

That probably explains why UCP insiders seem remarkably calm about the Globe and Mail’s revelation Thursday that Alberta will probably never receive about 70 per cent or 3.5 million bottles of the medicine, and that much of the supplies that did make it here are likely to gather dust in store rooms until their expiry dates come along. 

“When a young child is sick, it can be difficult and stressful for parents and families, and that’s one of the reasons we acted so quickly to procure this medicine,” Ms. Smith was quoted saying in the same release. “This pain and fever medicine is being sent to pharmacies across the province so families can purchase it, and I’m so pleased Alberta parents and caregivers do not need to wait any longer.”

The rub, of course, as the Globe’s story recaps, was that the Turkish meds that made it here first were unsuitable to be administered by parents and so were restricted by Health Canada to use in hospitals. In the end, the newspaper reported, only 9,000 of the first shipment of 250,000 bottles were ever distributed to hospital pharmacies before Alberta Health Services ordered hospital staff stop using them. 

Mehmet Oz, the failed Republican Senate candidate endorsed by Donald Trump in 2022 – his mom was a director of Atabay Pharmaceuticals and Fine Chemicals Inc. (Photo: Tom Williams, Public Domain).

By the time Health Canada approved some for sale to the public, nobody wanted the stuff because kids hated the taste, it was hard to use and, most importantly, the shelves were again full of trusted brands. It had to be kept behind the counter so that parents could be educated on how to use the low-dosage Turkish concoction. 

Now Health Canada has indicated it won’t permit any more bottles of the problem medication to be imported unless there’s another shortage, which everyone agrees is unlikely.

The newspaper reported that Alberta officials have “declined to say whether the province was financially protected if the contract was not fulfilled.” Knowing the way things operate around here, it’s pretty safe to assume from that Alberta is not protected, and the money is gone forever. 

You can be confident from this that the UCP’s claimed plan to be able to sell some bottles to other provinces is also kaput. 

As noted, though, despite a little egg on their faces, no one in the UCP Government seems to be losing any sleep about it – presumably because they’re confident that their continuing campaign to hijack more than half of the Canada Pension Plan’s nest egg and plans to bust up AHS will make the story go away soon after Monday, when the Legislature resumes sitting. 

It’s likely that there are people within the UCP Government, presumably including the Premier and her closest political advisors, who think this investment of our money was well worth it. 

Of course, if necessary they’ll put on a hangdog face, blame someone at AHS, and promise to see it never happens again.

Presumably we’ll never know whether the fact it was manufactured by a company for which the mother of unsuccessful Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mehmet Oz served as a director and had family ownership connections had anything to do with the deal.

Go back to sleep, Alberta, the IEA is ‘no longer credible’

The International Energy Agency’s Paris headquarters (Photo: IEA).

Readers will recall the International Energy Agency’s report last week that the planet is hurtling toward a future in which clean energy will dominate and fossil fuel use will soon peak before starting to decline.

Among other things, the IEA report published Tuesday concluded that by 2030 nearly half of the planet’s supply of electricity will come from renewable energy, solar energy will generate more electricity than the entire U.S. power system does now, and the number of electric vehicles on the world’s roads will increase tenfold

Well, don’t worry your pretty little heads about it, fellow Albertans, Premier Smith has spoken and settled the matter once and for all. 

It turns out the respected international body is “no longer credible” and just makes stuff up to get what it wants. Anyway, she told a meeting at the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, she prefers to get her analysis from the private sector – you know, like fossil fuel corporations. 

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  1. I remember, back during my RPC day(z)s, someone who became a political operative of note told me something that I thought was very interesting. He said that using public monies to further the partisan interest was not corrupt. It’s alright if us CONs do it, and no one (or pot) should ever call the kettle black, lest they be ousted into the political wilderness. This operative, who is considerably shorter than me, and has a tendency for wild hyperbole, moved onto the bigger things. As for me, I felt the whole remark was two-faced, which pretty much summed up my feelings of the RPC.

    These days, spending public monies on a useless venture, just to own PMJT, is par for the course where Danielle Smith and the UCP are concerned. Seems, at this point, they will gladly spend and lose millions, and eventually billions, all for the sake of their own ego gratification. We wrecked Alberta — take that, Trudeau.

    Someone once said something about cutting off your nose to spite your face. In the case of Smith, she would happily cut off her own head if it meant that Trudeau would shed a tear in anguish.

  2. The example of the generic acetaminophen purchase just has so many questions.
    There were manufacturers in Canada at the time and why did AB not work with them ? No person with any business acumen would have thrown away 80 million on this scheme.
    If I was to pay 4 x the cost of a product I would ask for specifics. I would specify dosage,packaging, measuring device and flavouring. After all if I pay 4 x the cost I should get what I want. I would consult with any pharmacist in Alberta and ask for specs. I would call other provinces and see what solutions they are using for supply. I would call Health Canada and ask for spec requirements for imported products. If I did call a Turkish company that supports Libertarian lobbyists that need support through a dark money scheme I would pretend that I looked at all other avenues so it wasn’t so obvious this scheme had nothing to do with helping children.
    … and we want such a incapable bunch to handle our pension – no thanks.

  3. re: Tylenot …. she’ll just click the ruby red shoes together and shazam problem be gone—
    re: IEA , d’mn…. she beat PP to the punch, but then he’s busy out there on the rock, so I break even on the bet …lol

  4. FWIW :Interesting bit of trivia I came across , and since I haven’t been on the forum that long, it’s probably old news to you, but possibly a refresh for some???

    As part of the Fair Deal Panel that Jason Kenny announced on Nov 9 to ‘advance our vital economic interests’ , the repatriation of $40 billion in CPP assets , will be explored. Those assets would also be handed over to AIMCo ,and they could be an irresistible target for an oil and gas industry that is struggling to attract investment, and a government that clearly wants to help it do just that.

    ” and unlike the CPPIC ,which is largely immune to political pressure because of its governance model and pan Canadian mandate, AIMCo could theoretically come under pressure from the government of Alberta.
    Sections 19 and 20 of the AMICo Act, which established it as a Crown corporation , explicitly state that it must follow “directives ” issued by the Treasury Board— ones that could include how or where to invest. ”
    ” If CPP starts bailing out of energy resources ” she said “we don’t want to be in a position where our money is being used to support solar and wind or other experiments **that the CPP–driven politically by the Trudeau government– might want to invest in. ”

    “Never mind that the Trudeau government can’t actually influence the CPP strategy, or that investments into solar and wind are increasingly attractive to asset managers around the world. Smith’s apparent belief that the Alberta pension plan assets should be used to support the provinces biggest industry is a leap that alot of people are probably willing to take — even if AIMCo’s track record on this front is something short of enviable.”

    A rough ride…………
    That’s why, if the Alberta government really wants to create it’s own provincial pension plan ,it should take the issue off the table as soon as possible.
    By amending the AIMCo Act, to remove any possibility of government influence over investment decisions,it could allay concerns that the funds are being looked at as a potential source of corporate welfare for the oil patch rather than a trust that belongs to future retirees.

    If it chooses not to, it will only invite more questions about what is really behind it’s conspicuous interest in the pension funds of Albertans.”

    《Max Fawcett/ CBC news/ Nov 27-2019
    An Alberta Pension Plan has merit; but not as a source of fresh capital for the energy sector. 》

    1. “As part of the Fair Deal Panel that Jason Kenney announced on Nov. 9 to ‘advance our interests, the repatriation of 40 billion in CPP assets, will be explored.'”
      Jason’s “exploration” vastly undercuts the demands of his successor. She wants 53% of the $570 billion in assets which by my limited arithmetical skills amounts to a tidy $302.1 billion.

  5. It’s is truly rich to witness a pathological liar like Danielle Smith say anyone else is “no longer credible”.

  6. The hoops, to us plebs, that Dani illogically jumps through has me thinking she has a secret bank account in somewhere like Wyoming that her puppet masters are filling. DJF

  7. Wow. To say with a straight face that profit driven corporations (by law), especially O&G ones regarding the future use of fossil fuels, are the best source for credible – which the Merriam-Webster defines as “offering reasonable grounds for being believed or trusted” – analysis, is the height of double-speak, or quite possibly, to use an out of fashion term, false consciousness.

  8. A long time ago, in a galaxy far away, I lived in Ottawa. Newsstands were blessed by an actual satirical magazine called Frank. It was a monthly, I think, and it ruthlessly roasted politicians at all levels. It’s byline was “Does Frank know?”.

    Maybe if we printed, bound and sold all the columns inches produced by bloggers across Canada, perhaps we could counter the overwhelming noise coming from the right wing MSM. Would we have known more or sooner about Tylenot or Covid denialism or other malfeasance? Likely. Would we be able to counteract the numbers, the tactics, of the folks at TBA? Maybe. “Courage my friends, ‘tis not too late to make a better world.” Thank you Mr. Douglas.

  9. Seventy million dollars of hard working taxpayers money flushed down the toilet because she wanted to prove a point that never made any sense to anyone other than her. I bet the Turks are still laughing over this one. This is the woman that wants control of our pension money. Gee, what could possibly go wrong?

    On the good news front it appears that John Carpay will not be doing any lawyering for the next three years. I wonder if Take Back Alberta are champing (not chomping) at the bit to bring him into the fold. I understand TBA is going national and they are looking for potential school board trustees.

  10. Being that the overlap between the UCP and the FAR right of the Republican Party is a circle there is a zero percent chance in my mind that this wasn’t an intentional giveaway of public funds to someone with a direct connection to DJT. When folks tell you who they are, make note of it.

  11. From the beginning of the rushed approval of the Atabay (Dr Oz) concoction that they’d never done before, to its subsequent failure to add to the well being of anyone in Alberta and to add insult to injury? The reckless or possible feckless squandering of our money to shove it under the rug that ties our province together. I don’t hate the Eagles. But yacht rock is not my thing. For One Horse Blue then.

    1. One Horse Blue? That’s a band I haven’t heard from in a while. I’m struggling to remember the name the previous incarnation, who used to play the big hotel taverns in eTown.

  12. Does anybody actually think these people are the ones to manage your retirement pension plans? Lost lots of money? Oh well, it’s all good, there’s more where that came from…..(until there isn’t right?) Well, maybe some hyper imaginative Alberta Separatists might I guess. Those folks will buy just about any fantasy as long as it supports their victim mentality.

  13. And her little performance at the Climate Summit on October 26. Some good- Derek Power is getting a lot of interest on his LinkedIn. But I really really want to stop talking about her. How is the E. coli investigation proceeding? Will we know? And why is this horrific statistic not a government emergency? https://www.google.com/amp/s/edmontonjournal.com/news/politics/halfway-through-fiscal-year-alberta-counts-21-deaths-of-children-and-youth-receiving-government-care/wcm/38a404b5-6f8f-4a12-8d17-f6def8ae87fd/amp/
    While this is happening to our children we argue angels on pinheads.

  14. “We need legitimate, real solutions . . . rather than fantasy thinking.”, or:

    “although bullshit can take many innocent forms, excessive indulgence in it can eventually undermine the practitioner’s capacity to tell the truth in a way that lying does not. Liars at least acknowledge that it matters what is true.”

    More from the fantasy thinker, lobbyist/talk show host extraordinaire and/or the lite version of a “very stable genius”:

    1. “And we want to see it win at Coutts, so that Jason Kenney and Scott Moe together become the first premiers to turn it around at the provincial level.”

    2. Cancer patients are to blame for getting sicker — “that’s completely within your control.”

    3. People who decline to get vaccinated for COVID are “the most discriminated group”

    4. A malaria treatment is a “100% cure of coronavirus.”

    5. How ‘easy’ it would be to annex Northern BC.

    6. Claiming half of CPP.

    7. Has Cherokee roots, but the records don’t back that up. [Channeling the Buffy story before it broke as an act of ‘synchronicity’.]

    Ect., ect.

    Any individual with the collective intelligence greater than a fence post at first wept and then laughed at this ongoing human charade.

  15. This UCP obsession with punking Trudeau is costing us taxpayers more and more. Tylenot, invisible pipelines, withdrawing from the CPP and sending the RCMP packing could cost us billions to soothe their fragile egos.

  16. It might have made sense for the Alberta UCP to buy much smaller quantities for use in hospitals only, but of course that is not what happened. I’m not sure if it was just their typical bad judgment, panic or trying to upstage the Feds, quite likely it was a combination of all three.

    Of course, now we have paid for and are stuck with a lot this medicine, that will probably never be received or used and will have to be just thrown out when it expires. It would good to know how much the UCP spent on this misadventure, yes it would probably be a bit embarrassing for them so I realize why they would want to hide this information, but this is Albertans’ money and it is about accountability.

    Conservative parties tend to go on and on about waste when other parties are in power, but when they are in power they seem to develop amnesia. And on a related note, where is that supposed Taxpayers Federation when you really need them?

  17. So just a thought….if DS wants to continue with her plan to withdraw from the ‘Canadian’s’ taxpayer CPP , then I feel that all of us that oppose the scheme, have a right to claw back the $1.7 billion+ we are paying for the abandoned/ orphaned oil wells cleanup that the Alberta government didn’t inforce on the O&G companies as they were required to do.
    My apologies to my family & friends in Alberta, but (using her tactics) …..WELL SHE STARTED IT !!!
    Now how do I go about setting up an online petition??

  18. CTV news- Question period with VK — Nate Horner: ” We’ll have a ‘feeling ‘ of the province ” ??

    “No one will want to push forward into a non successful referendum”. **

    I’ll have to give VK credit for this one, she was doing a pretty good job of trying to ‘rasle that critter, but he kept evading the rope.
    (It said from Drumheller , I would have sworn Texas ), and “I’ll only negotiate with Albertans”– then when Vassey said you as FM will have to negotiate with the Feds– (well, well …(oops)

    **Like the questionaire ,this statement is rather disconcerting to me. Correction, imo ,everything he said was stinkier than a calf that has just been branded …G’iddy-up !!

    Footnote: a quip from my sister ( credit where due) and DJC’s pic from last year….
    ____ with all the Con-trov- er -sies —- ” during those cold dark winter nights, Albertans will be able to keep warm around all the Ducp-dumpster fires”

    (I may be a wee bit biased, but Oh SNAP! as the kids used to say. )

  19. The UCP isn’t sticking it to the feds. They are sticking it to us, and at the biggest costs there are.

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