HOW TO AVOID EMBARASSING QUESTIONS
At least the wild fires around Kelowna have provided Premier Christy Clark and Prime Minister Stephen Harper with some great photo ops. They are ever so concerned about the devastation that their constituents are facing—in the riding that handily provided the premier her seat after she lost it in her Vancouver-Point-Grey riding. While the Prime Minster is shamelessly handing out pre-election goodies, Ms. Clark is eager (desperate?) to divert attention from a serious issue that could very well threaten her government. I’m referring to the firing, in 2012, of eight health researchers who had been working for the government. One of the workers, a young PhD candidate, his career ruined, subsequently killed himself. The government said that the workers were fired because of “an alleged breach in the handling of confidential public health data”. It was also announced that the RCMP were investigating possible criminal wrongdoing. However, no information was ever given to the RCMP and no investigation was ever carried out. The most damning possibility is that these researchers were finding that there were serious side-effects, including death, from certain drugs approved by the province’s Pharmacare program. Incidentally, the companies that provide these drugs are major contributors to the Liberal party and its election campaigns. This is a matter that could drastically affect the government’s credibility. No wonder distraction is the order of the day!
Among others, the seven remaining workers and the sister of the deceased, have filed requests for a public inquiry. The government has simply turned the matter over to the provincial ombudsman, saying that a public inquiry would be too costly, and the matter has quietly slipped into obscurity. Several distractions have conveniently come onto the provincial agenda.
Most recently, a case of child abuse, allegedly mishandled by the Ministry of Children and Family Development, and, of course, the “sensational” announcement of the deal negotiated with Petronas regarding the multi-billion dollar liquefied natural gas project that has been so dear to Ms. Clark’s heart. Remember her election campaign mantra “Grow the economy”? This is a massive give-away of publicly-owned natural resources with very doubtful economic gains for the province, not to mention the environmental depredations of the fracking that produces the gas to be liquefied, then shipped to foreign countries that don’t need it. Whoopee! We’ll all be rolling money and thousands of jobs will be created. Well, at least for temporary foreign workers. After all, who wants to pay unionized BC labour?
Reacting to Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond’s scathing report about the Ministry’s mishandling of a child abuse case, the Premier has expressed her very deep concern and has called for a public inquiry. According to CTV News: “This is a terrible, tragic case,” said Clark. “Of course (a review) is going to have to be independent. It needs to be done by someone who isn’t inside government.” Hmmm. She obviously felt differently about the health researchers—or did she just hope that we would forget?
Like the Harper Government (he prefers that instead of “Government of Canada”), the BC government is faced with economic downturns (recession?) and climate change disasters. So much better to keep the public amused and diverted from major issues ignored or mishandled by government. Panem et circenses (bread and circuses), the Roman emperors knew how to do it. When may we expect Christians—or would it be Socialists—to be fed to lions in BC Place?