Reality Check: Health researcher firings affair far from a closed case

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Premier Christy Clark’s two most-senior and highest-paid appointees are contradicting each other about who was responsible for firing seven health researchers and smearing them by saying they were subjects of an RCMP investigation.

One of those Clark deputy ministers must not be telling the truth. One of her deputy ministers is preventing us from knowing who terminated these researchers and why.

The premier must require her appointees to give evidence under oath so that the researchers, their families and British Columbians can finally get the truth.


While Premier Clark says that the Marcia McNeil investigation closed the book on this tragic affair, saying “it was a thorough review,” nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, Ms. McNeill’s report only serves to underscore the need for government to compel those involved in the government’s decision to give full answers about their roles and involvement.

McNeill’s observations include:

  • “Two of the most difficult questions I considered during my review were who effectively made the dismissal decisions, and what factors were considered. These questions remain unanswered.”
  • “Although the Deputy Minister [of Health] signed the letters of dismissal for each employee, no one has taken responsibility for making the effective recommendation to dismiss the employees. Instead, those most likely to have made the effective recommendation all pointed to someone else.”

Graham Whitmarsh, appointed by Clark as health deputy minister and paid the second-highest salary in government, said of the firing decision and the role of Clark’s handpicked deputy minister to the premier, John Dyble: “You and I both individually and together briefed John Dyble on many occasions during the course of the investigation….he was involved in some of the key decisions and the timing of some of the key events.”

John Dyble, the premier’s deputy minister, claims to have played no role. The deputy attorney general said this about Mr. Dyble in a letter released three weeks after the McNeil report: “I have also been advised that while Mr. Dyble received a general briefing regarding the investigation, it was well in advance of the decision to fire the Ministry of Health employees, and he had no role in the final decision.”

Clearly, only one of these versions of events can be true.

MoH_HorganKayfish_09302014The people whose lives were directly affected by the mistreatment of this government deserve answers. Linda Kayfish, the sister of Roderick MacIsaac, the researcher who took his own life following the firings, had only two questions: Who was responsible, and why.

Those questions remain to this day, and New Democrats believe a public inquiry is needed to get to the truth.