Prince Albert hospital still a priority: Doherty

Finance Minister Kevin Doherty cracks a smile during P.A. Mayor Greg Dionne's speech March 24 at the P.A. Inn. (Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald)

Friday’s visit from the finance minister was the perfect opportunity for Prince Albert Mayor Greg Dionne.

The provincial budget had docked over $2 million from city coffers, and seemed to ignore concerns the city had about the hospital and other infrastructure. Dionne spoke to those concerns Thursday, but on Friday he was able to have the minister’s ear for the entirety of lunch. The politicians were sat beside each other at the head table.

Minister Kevin Doherty did his best to assuage Dion’s concerns, especially surrounding funding for the hospital.

“I was just talking to your mayor and to (Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Larry Fladager) who sits on the health board here about pressures on ER here in Prince Albert,” Doherty said during his speech.

“We allocated $24.4 million to address service pressures and operating costs in all other health regions (not Regina or Saskatoon) across the province. We had a good discussion here at the lunch table.”

Dionne agreed.

“(Doherty) mentioned they’re supplying money to Regina and Saskatoon to get surgical wait times down. We have some of the same issues, so he was very (willing to) look at that program for us,” the mayor told the Herald after the luncheon.

“I just wanted to make sure the budget was equal and fair.”

Doherty took questions after his speech. One question was about hospital funding for Prince Albert.

For more on this story, please see the March 25 print or e-edition of the Daily Herald.