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OPINION: Health P.E.I. board defends its honour

The board of Health PEI: back row (from left): John Horrelt, Blaine MacPherson, Dr. George Saunders, Dr. Dagny Dryer, Kay Lewis, Jim Revell. Front row: Sally Lockhart, Phyllis Horne (chair), Alex MacBeath (vice-chair), Sandra Gaudet. Missing: Dr. Rosemary Herbert
The board of Health PEI: back row (from left): John Horrelt, Blaine MacPherson, Dr. George Saunders, Dr. Dagny Dryer, Kay Lewis, Jim Revell. Front row: Sally Lockhart, Phyllis Horne (chair), Alex MacBeath (vice-chair), Sandra Gaudet. Missing: Dr. Rosemary Herbert - Submitted

By Desmond Colohan
GUEST OPINION

It would appear to me that, once again, the government of P.E.I. has interfered grievously in the operations of the board of Health P.E.I. Consequently, the entire board has resigned in protest.

It is about time that a group of honorable and engaged Islanders had the guts to stick to their principles. Bravo!

If I understand correctly, the Health P.E.I. board identified, considered and selected a candidate for the position of chief executive officer, negotiated the terms of their contract and informed the minister of health, to whom they are accountable.

So far, so good.

It appears that the minister of health, the provincial cabinet and/or the premier didn't like their choice and vetoed the selection.

I have had an opportunity to review the job description of the board, specifically section 3.2, subsection 6 (Governance Process), which states quite clearly that the board is to “hire and evaluate the Chief Executive Officer and to establish remuneration.” Nowhere does it say that Government has the right to veto those decisions.

The board, in an effort to defend its honour, had no choice but to resign. I would suggest that those politicians responsible for vetoing the democratic process should do the same thing.

This kind of malevolent behaviour, if true, is precisely why knowledgeable Islanders continue to lobby for a return to the days of elected health boards on P.E.I.

When will politicians learn that their primary job is to establish policies which reflect the wishes of the majority of Islanders, not to impose their personal biases on the daily operations of the public service? Their arrogance is palpable.

Unfortunately, self-interest is no myth and I fear that life on the Island will go on, as it has for hundreds of years, as long as the majority of Islanders insist on keeping their heads buried in the sand.

Desmond Colohan is a semi-retired Island physician.

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