Three weeks after leaked emails exposed Liberal party operatives working behind the scenes to manipulate the community consultation report looking at the redevelopment of Burnaby Hospital, the premier has still not addressed whether her office was directly involved, or a number of other questions around the scandal.
There’s clear evidence that the Liberal party is putting political interests ahead of patients and health services in the community, and if the premier won't answer questions, perhaps it's time the health minister did.
Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid has desperately tried to distance herself from the scandal, claiming the ministry “didn't play any part in sending people out to do this report” and attempting to minimize the importance of the committee by dismissing it as just a “way of getting input.”
On that note, Minister MacDiarmid needs to answer the following questions:
- Noting the health minister of the day, Mike de Jong, was very much involved in the creation of the committee, announcing its launch in April 2012 and later defending it in the legislature, how can Minister MacDiarmid now say the ministry was not involved?
- The committee's Facebook page says it was “appointed by the Hon. Mike de Jong, Minister of Health Services,” and its April 2012 terms of reference stated it “would receive administrative support from the Ministry of Health.” Has the minister determined how much in tax dollars were spent supporting this partisan political process?
- Did the health minister sign off on the appointment of former Liberal Party president Sonja Sanguinetti as the author of the final report?
- Has the health minister seen a draft or final version of the report, which was supposed to be submitted by the end of Sept. 2012?
- Minister MacDiarmid was formerly the Minister for Citizen Services and Open Government, responsible for administration of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. While the minister has stated she was “being lazy” about which email account she was using, shouldn't she have known better than to use her personal email address for government work?
- Did the minister sanction or encourage other staff, such as her Ministerial Assistant or senior staffers like Communications Director Brian Bonney, to use personal emails to hide from FOI requests?
- On Oct. 25, 2012, the minister stated she “honestly doesn't know the answer” to why Liberal party operatives were being emailed as part of the committee's work. Has the minister since launched any sort of investigation to find the answer?
- Will the minister agree to make public all the emails, both in her private and government email accounts, that relate to the consultation committee, including those she claims to have forwarded from her private email to her government email?