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A University of Alberta political scientist says the Stelmach government will have to fire the head of the Alberta Health Services if the controversy surrounding him doesn't die down, CTV reports.

Stephen Duckett, AHS president and CEO, was criticized for refusing to answer reporters questions on Friday because he was eating a cookie. He had just emerged from a day-long meeting dedicated to developing new protocols for emergency-room waiting times.

The incident led national newscasts on Saturday night and has drawn thousands of hits on YouTube.

"The numbers climb and continue to climb and I don't see why over the next few days that is going to stop," said social media consultant Walter Schwabe.

Some experts, according to CTV, said that because of that, Mr. Duckett's position is untenable.

"I think [Health Minister]Gene Zwozdesky has no choice but to relieve Stephen Duckett of his contract," said professor Jim Lightbody.

Alberta Health Services refused comment on Sunday, CTV reported, but Mr. Zwozdesky said Saturday that he does not plan to fire Mr. Duckett.