Yesterday, four Alberta political parties made a bit of history by standing together and calling on the PC government to hold an independent public inquiry into allegations that health professionals were intimidated, fired or paid for their silence when they attempted to advocate on behalf of their patients. New evidence in the form of a statement of claim filed by Dr. Ciaran McNamee added credence to the charges of Raj Sherman that doctors had been forced out for talking publicly about cancer patients who couldn’t get needed surgery and died as a result.
The government’s response was predictable. Gene Zwozdesky hurried back from Calgary to denounce the move and the “wild accusations” of the united opposition. Spinning like mad, the “Velvet Fog” did his best to convince the handful of reporters remaining that the vague “review” by the Health Quality Council ordered by the Premier the day before would allow the public to get to the bottom of everything. Zwoz conveniently ignored the fact that the council’s mandate is to look into matters affecting the quality of health care – hence the name “Health Quality Council”. It is not competent to look into allegations of intimidation, character assassination or hush money. That is why a public inquiry is needed. Only a public inquiry can compel witnesses to testify or subpoena evidence.
And only a public inquiry, headed by a retired judge or a respected lawyer (yes they do exist), has the independence, both from the government and the medical establishment, to get to the bottom of things. Did you know for example, that Dr. John Cowell, the CEO of the council is an associate of Corpus Sanchez International Consulting. Coincidentally, so is Dr. Bob Bear, the same guy that fired Dr. McNamee. It’s a small world. http://www.corpussanchez.com/home.html
The PC government has been demanding evidence of Sherman’s claims for two weeks. Now they have some. They should call a public inquiry now.