Trevor Hancock: Public needs independent health officers

I recently attended a meeting of the medical officers of health from Canada’s Atlantic provinces, and one of the topics discussed was the independence of the medical officer. This is a hot topic in that region, following the firing without cause of the New Brunswick provincial health officer, Dr. Eilish Cleary, in December 2015.

She is but the latest in a string of firings among my former colleagues. One of the more egregious was the firing of Dr. David Swann as the medical officer for Alberta’s Palliser Health Authority in 2002. (He was later reinstated.) Swann’s crime? He had spoken out — on public-health grounds — in support of the Kyoto Accord to limit greenhouse-gas emissions.

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