9 June 2009

Cancer victims outrage or ‘sexy’ nepotism in eHealth

What it is exactly that is upsetting members of the public about Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt, besides the comments she has made about the issue of the shortage of medical isotopes being "sexy", and is this really the news item we should be focusing on? Is this story upstaging the very real issue of the eHealth system and lucrative contracts being handed out willy nilly?

In the first story, it appears that Lisa Raitt would like to use the shortage of nuclear medicine isotopes, and her ability to do something about it, as a means of advancing her career. There are some incidents of overspending, and what might be perceived as a ‘coldness’ towards the issue of cancer victims’ treatment, and towards their experience as cancer victims and the effect this has on their families. She also made a critical comment about one colleague, Leona Aglukkaq, to another during a private conversation, which was then made public. But does this warrant the loss of her position? Surely this is not the first time a politician has expressed him or herself in an unappealing, cold manner, appearing ambitious beyond belief.

Isn’t this the kind of personal experience a politician (or anyone in a professional position) might go through as they discover more about themselves and the world we live in. The quest for power is not an unusual one. The tendency to use power unwisely is also not that unusual. Many are protected while they make their errors in judgement during their career journey, but it’s also true that some are not. Several accusations, all of a different nature, have been made against Lisa Raitt. I wonder what it is, exactly, they are angry about, or whether this is a real issue at all.

This commotion has come about right on the heels of the eHealth controversy involving Sarah Kramer and her termination package, and Health Minister David Cramer. That story may not be as ‘sexy’ as the one about Lisa Raitt and her attitude towards cancer victims, but there is the matter of the $317,000 severance package, and the lucrative contracts apparently given to Liberal-
friendly firms without taking competitive bids. Sounds pretty sexy to me!

Premier defends Caplan, eHealth board
Toronto Star
June 9, 2009
http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/647835 (retrieved June 9, 2009)

Ontario fires eHealth boss over spending scandal 'Important step
       to restore public confidence'
Canwest News Service
June 07, 2009
http://www.nationalpost.com:80/news/story.html?id=1672117 (retrieved June 9, 2009)

Cancer victims outraged over Raitt 'sexy' comment
By Murray Brewster
Toronto Star
June 9, 2009 
http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/647933 (retrieved June 9, 2009)

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