Linda West

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Linda West is a Canadian administrator, activist and politician. She is perhaps best known as an advocate for increased private health provision within Canada's public health system. She has been a candidate for the Conservative Party of Canada and the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba.

Private life and career[edit]

West has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Laurentian University and a Master of Business Administration specializing in Health Care from the University of Toronto.[1] She also holds a Ph.D. from Washington International University, an institution that is licensed but not accredited by any educational oversight body in Canada or the United States of America. West's Ph.D. credentials became a source of controversy during the 2006 federal election.[2]

West was executive director of the James Bay General Hospital from 1992 to 1995, and of the Winnipeg River Health District from 1995 to 1997. From 1997 to 2000, she was executive director of labour relations for Manitoba Health.[3] She has also been a health policy consultant for the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba, and has taught nursing and business at the University of Manitoba.[4] West is the author of a book entitled, Trends and Issues in Health Care.[5]

In 2003, West helped organize a conference in Winnipeg, Manitoba on the role of women in politics.[6] She received a Women of Distinction Award from the Winnipeg YMCA-YWCA in 2004, and was later chosen as the local director of Equal Voice, a group that promotes the increased participation of women in political life.[7] In 2006, she helped organize a rebuilding effort in New Orleans for Habitat For Humanity.[8]

In July 2007, West was hired as executive director for employment services in the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region's Human Resources Department. She was named acting vice-president of Human Resources in August of the same year, and became vice-president in December. West left employment with the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region on 21 February 2008.[9] West also became vice-president of Human Resources with a recruitment agency that provides Canadian placements to migrant workers from the Philippines, in 2007.[10] She argued in 2008 that Canada needs overseas recruitment to counter a domestic labour shortage.[11]

Views on health delivery[edit]

West has written several articles calling for Manitoba and Canada to develop new strategic plans for health care delivery. She believes that the Canada Health Act.[12] West has written favourably of France and Sweden's combined public-private models, and has criticized the delivery system of the United States of America.[13]

West and provincial Health Minister Dave Chomiak engaged in a public controversy over health care strategies in late 2001 and early 2002.[14] In the same period, West argued that Manitobans should pay health-care premiums instead of paying for health expenses through general taxation.[15]

Activist and political candidate[edit]

West first ran for public office in the 2003 provincial election, as a candidate of the Progressive Conservative Party. She initially sought the party's nomination for Riel, but lost to former Member of the Legislative Assembly Shirley Render at a nomination meeting in late 2002.[16] During the nomination contest, one PC insider suggested that West's views on private health care would be a liability for the party.[17]

West subsequently convened a public meeting on Manitoba's physician shortage, which was held at Winnipeg's Transcona Inn in early 2003. During the question and answer session, she announced that she was considering a candidacy in the division of Radission. The political overtones of this meeting were noted in a newspaper report, though West denied that it had been called for political purposes.[18] She won the Radisson nomination, but lost to New Democratic Party candidate Bidhu Jha in the general election.

West returned to writing opinion pieces on Canada's health-care system after the election. She reiterated her support for publicly funded private clinics, and criticized the provincial government's approach to the issue.[19] She was also a vocal opponent of Winnipeg Mayor Glen Murray's tax policies, which she spoke against at several public meetings.[20]

The Manitoba Nurses' Union criticized West in late 2003, after she led a group of her own fourth-year undergraduate students in a rally outside the provincial legislature supporting an on-the-job training program. The students received 10% of their grade for participating in the rally, leading a union official to charge that West was manipulating the course for partisan ends. She denied this, and said that her students were taught to review both sides of the issue.[21]

West was a supporter of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada at the federal level, and supported its merger with the more right-wing Canadian Alliance to create the Conservative Party of Canada in 2003.[22] She ran for the new party in the 2006 federal election, and finished second against New Democratic Party incumbent Bill Blaikie in Elmwood—Transcona.

West challenged Bidhu Jha a second time in the 2007 provincial election, initially centering her campaign around local opposition to a hog-processing plant planned for construction in the Radisson area. The NDP government withdrew its support for the project during the election, and indicated that the plant would not be built. Some NDP insiders nevertheless expressed concern that their early support for the unpopular project had made the seat vulnerable.[23] On election day, however, Jha defeated West by an increased margin.

Electoral record[edit]

Manitoba general election, 2007: Radisson
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
     New Democrat Bidhu Jha 4,804 56.72 +4.27 $38,067.77
     Progressive Conservative Linda West 2,988 35.28 −3.85 $31,483.45
Liberal Murray Cliff 677 7.99 −0.43 none reported
Total valid votes 8,469 100.00
Rejected and declined ballots 57
Turnout 8,526 60.33 +6.28
Electors on the lists 14,132

Canadian federal election, 2006: Elmwood—Transcona
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
     New Democratic Party Bill Blaikie 16,967 50.85 −1.14 $40,314.57
     Conservative Linda West 10,720 32.13 +6.02 $68,007.66
Liberal Tanya Parks 4,108 12.31 −4.50 $12,622.61
Green Tanja Hutter 1,211 3.63 +1.17 $240.77
     Christian Heritage Robert Scott 363 1.09 −0.23 $706.54
Total valid votes 33,369 100.00
Total rejected ballots 133 0.40 +0.13
Turnout 33,502 58.20 +7.55
Electors on the lists 57,561
     New Democratic Party hold Swing −3.58
Sources: Official Results, Elections Canada and Financial Returns, Elections Canada.

Manitoba general election, 2003: Radisson
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
     New Democratic Party Bidhu Jha 3,888 52.45 −2.57 $26,913.04
     Progressive Conservative Linda West 2,901 39.13 +6.17 $17,661.88
Liberal Murray Cliff 624 8.42 −3.60 $2,277.16
Total valid votes 7,413 100.00
Rejected and declined ballots 37
Turnout 7,450 54.05
Electors on the lists 13,783

All electoral information is taken from Elections Canada and Elections Manitoba. Provincial expenditures refer to candidate expenses. Italicized expenditures refer to submitted totals, and are presented when the final reviewed totals are not available.


  1. ^ "Health care, education, housing, workers' rights key issues in riding", Winnipeg Free Press, 16 January 2006, A10.
  2. ^ Leah Janzen, "Tory candidate's PhD comes under scrutiny", Winnipeg Free Press, 14 January 2006, A15.
  3. ^ Helen Fallding, "MDs are in a rush to leave", Winnipeg Free Press, 12 August 1999, A1.
  4. ^ Mia Rabson, "Conservative party memberships in Riel skyrocket", Winnipeg Free Press, 24 October 2002, A7.
  5. ^ "Activist will run", Winnipeg Free Press, 22 February 2003, B1.
  6. ^ Leah Janzen, "A course in politics for women", Winnipeg Free Press, 19 November 2003, B4.
  7. ^ Carolin Vesely, "They all make a difference", Winnipeg Free Press, 6 May 2004, A3; David O'Brien, "Boost women in politics: group", Winnipeg Free Press, 13 March 2005, A5.
  8. ^ "Habitat helpers", Winnipeg Free Press, 28 January 2007, A11.
  9. ^ Linda West - Professional Website, 2008 accessed 30 July 2008. West had previously done recruitment work in the Philippines with the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region. See Pamela Cowan, "Health region recruits in the Philippines", Regina Leader-Post, 17 November 2007, A5.
  10. ^ Interview with Linda West, Frontier Centre for Public Policy, 19 May 2008. Retrieved 30 July 2008.
  11. ^ Linda West, "Health-care management needs constant renewal", Winnipeg Free Press, 2 May 2001, A11. See also Linda West, "Health care needs stewardship", Winnipeg Free Press, 16 April 2001, A9; Linda West, "Health care needs a grand scheme x", Winnipeg Free Press, 24 May 2001, A11; Linda West, "Health-care problems, creative solutions", Winnipeg Free Press, 25 September 2001, A11; Linda West, "Health care must embrace cost-saving practices", Winnipeg Free Press, 8 November 2001, A15; Linda West, "Focus on disease prevention", Winnipeg Free Press, 15 December 2001, A17; Linda West, "Decide best use of health resources or they will continue to disappear", Winnipeg Free Press, 25 February 2002, A11; Linda West, "Our health? Not good, thanks: We're near bottom of list in world illness survey", Winnipeg Free Press, 30 March 2002, A19; Linda West, "Surgeon gone, Manitobans suffer", Winnipeg Free Press, 10 April 2002, A15; Linda West, "One-site surgery model best", Winnipeg Free Press, 17 April 2002, A15; Linda West, "Let patients know real risk level", Winnipeg Free Press, 24 April 2002, A15; Linda West, "Let health-care providers prove worth", Winnipeg Free Press, 7 January 2003, A11; "West to run for Tories in next vote", Winnipeg Free Press, 29 May 2002, A6.
  12. ^ Linda West, "Let's emulate No. 1 health system", Winnipeg Free Press, 6 March 2001, A9; Linda West, "French don't wait for health care", Winnipeg Free Press, 21 March 2001, A9; Linda West, "Look to other countries for health-care successes", Winnipeg Free Press, 21 June 2001, A13; Linda West, "Treating a sick system", Winnipeg Free Press, 26 July 2001, A13; Linda West, "First-class health-care system", Winnipeg Free Press, 4 August 2001, A15; Linda West, "Let health professionals draw up procedures", Winnipeg Free Press, 13 October 2001, A17.
  13. ^ Dave Chomiak, "Manitoba Health keys on prevention" [letter], Winnipeg Free Press, 31 December 2001, A11; Linda West, "Chomiak should read evidence", Winnipeg Free Press, 15 January 2002, A13. See also Linda West, "Health-care spending rises faster than improvements", Winnipeg Free Press, 4 May 2002, A15; Linda West, "Patients suffer awaiting simple procedure", Winnipeg Free Press, 5 October 2002, A15; Linda West, "Manitoba spends unwisely on health", Winnipeg Free Press, 17 January 2003, A15; Linda West, "Hard to find family doctor, but solution is simple", Winnipeg Free Press, 29 January 2003, A13; Linda West, "Manitobans will choose health care they want", Winnipeg Free Press, 24 January 2002, A15.
  14. ^ Helen Fallding, "Doer touts health-care innovations", Winnipeg Free Press, 24 January 2002, A3.
  15. ^ Mia Rabson, "Render wins nomination to run for Tories in Riel", Winnipeg Free Press, 13 December 2002, A7.
  16. ^ Daniel Lett, "Membership dispute delays Tory vote", Winnipeg Free Press, 1 November 2002, A1.
  17. ^ Alexandra Paul, "West eyes Radisson riding in run for office", Winnipeg Free Press, 5 February 2003, A5; Linda West, "NDP was invited to health panel" [letter], Winnipeg Free Press, 13 February 2003, A15.
  18. ^ Linda West, "Front-line health workers are heroes of SARS battle", Winnipeg Free Press, 19 July 2003, A15; Linda West, "Surgery refusal frustrates women", Winnipeg Free Press, 13 August 2003, A15; Linda West, "Canada can regain health-care standing", Winnipeg Free Press, 21 August 2003, A13; Linda West, "Civilized society, uncivilized care", Winnipeg Free Press, 4 September 2003, A15; Linda West, "Boomers want to play role", Winnipeg Free Press, 17 September 2003, A15; Linda West, "Global budgets raise health costs", Winnipeg Free Press, 1 October 2003, A1; Linda West, "Fix must get to the root of problem", Winnipeg Free Press, 21 January 2004, A15; Linda West, "ER fix didn't address major concerns", Winnipeg Free Press, 28 January 2004, A11; Linda West, "Critical incident reporting gains made", Winnipeg Free Press, 10 February 2004, A11; Linda West, "High court case could change health care", Winnipeg Free Press, 12 March 2004, A11; Linda West, "Blair improved health system", Winnipeg Free Press, 19 April 2004, A19; Linda West, "'Speak up' gives patients voice in care", Winnipeg Free Press, 3 June 2004, A15; Linda West, "Monitoring, evaluation important", Winnipeg Free Press, 21 July 2004, A11; Linda West, "Hiring, and firing, surgeons a matter of life and death", Winnipeg Free Press, 1 September 2004, A11; Linda West, "We must change our thinking", Winnipeg Free Press, 29 September 2004, A15; Linda West, "Public's voice should be heard", Winnipeg Free Press, 21 October 2004, A15; Linda West, "Cutting trans fats could save billions", Winnipeg Free Press, 8 November 2004, A11; Linda West, "Wait list like house arrest to patient", Winnipeg Free Press, 16 December 2004, A15; Linda West, "System flaws hurt people, society", Winnipeg Free Press, 7 February 2005, A11; Linda West, "Waiting lists for hips, knees a problem", Winnipeg Free Press, 18 March 2005, A15.
  19. ^ Linda West, "City sales tax regressive", Winnipeg Free Press, 22 October 2003, A15; Patti Edgar, "Repeat speakers lashed", Winnipeg Free Press, 26 November 2003, B1.
  20. ^ Mia Rabson, "Nursing students rally for job training", Winnipeg Free Press, 4 December 2003, B1.
  21. ^ Linda West, "Conservative-Alliance merger rare chance for political rebirth", Winnipeg Free Press, 10 December 2003, A15.
  22. ^ "12 key areas to watch this election", Winnipeg Free Press, 21 April 2007, A6; Mary Agnes Welch, "Intravenous drug clinic to open in Transcona", Winnipeg Free Press, 15 May 2007, A6.