Review into wrongful dismissals of health researchers likely to be incomplete

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VICTORIA – Government’s latest review of the wrongful dismissals of seven health researchers will likely fail to examine the role played by B.C. Liberal insiders, say B.C.’s New Democrats.

This review likely will not answer any of the fundamental questions as to why the premier’s office attacked some of the world’s leading health researchers, and drug evaluation research for the last two years. From the very start, the review was constructed not to get to the bottom of what really happened, but to protect those responsible for these wrongful dismissals,” said New Democrat spokesperson for health Judy Darcy.

Darcy noted, for example, how the Premier’s deputy minister and the head of the Public Service Agency were part of designing the review and determining its terms of reference, despite their involvement in the wrongful dismissals.

“Furthermore, after saying the report would be delivered to the Deputy Attorney General in the legislature the government – thinking that no one is now paying attention – has planned to redirect the review back to the very agency that sanctioned these terminations.

“Not only will this report not be truly arm’s length from the politicians and their key staff, but also it will likely not answer fundamental questions upon its release tomorrow,” said Darcy.

These questions include:

  • Why Ms. McNeil was told not to examine the full range of events and actions that took place after the firings;
  • Why the government pursued an aggressive two year legal strategy against wrongfully dismissed researchers;
  • Why the government targeted researchers known for conducting world class research into brand name pharmaceuticals;
  • Why the government claimed the RCMP Commercial Crimes division was investigating the affair.

“Just this week, the government was forced to release suppressed documents on research contracts and privacy protocols after the Privacy Commissioners’ office determined they were not part of any police investigation. But we are no closer to knowing what, if anything, the RCMP is looking at,” underscored Darcy.

Earlier this month, New Democrat leader John Horgan wrote to the premier asking her to expand the review’s mandate and independence so it could get to the bottom of this injustice. He received no reply.

A copy of that letter can be found here: Premier Clark letter