Monday, August 18, 2008

Tony (I'm not in the pocket of agri-food) Clement discusses ethics.

As Impolitical and LuLu point out, the idea of Tony Clement discussing medical ethics is just slightly more than grossly uncomfortable.
"I find the ethical considerations of supervised injections to be profoundly disturbing."
Right. And the chair of the Canadian Medical Association's ethics committee was having none of it.
Bonnie Cham, chair of the association's ethics committee, took Mr. Clement to task during the meeting's question period.

"I found the use of medical ethics to justify a political decision, which will affect social policy to be troubling at best and misleading at worst," the Winnipeg doctor told the health minister.

"Ethics consist of a balancing of rights and harms, as do all medical decisions that physicians in this room help their patients reach every day. IV drug users, as the rest of us, have the right to compassion and to access and care, which has proven to be beneficial."

Sorry Dr. Cham, that's not the way this lot thinks. Now, if the kid of a Conservative Party leader suddenly turned to illicit drugs as a result of listening to his Big Daddy's Beatles records, well, that would be a different story. It wouldn't be his fault and there would be harm reduction efforts popping up all over Sussex Drive.

But I digress.

Let's check Clement's qualifications:

Medical doctor: No.

Lawyer: Yes.

Qualification in medical ethics: None.

Degree in political science: Yes.

Personal heros: Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher (Neither of whom were medical professionals).

Riding: Parry Sound -Muskoka, where he took the seat with 28 votes after a judicial recount. (Gee, he was OK with that judicial decision.) Why is he representing Parry Sound - Muskoka when he was actually living in Brampton at the time of his election? Well, because when he ran in 2004 in Brampton he got creamed by Liberal Colleen Beaumier and it was pretty clear he wasn't going to do any better in 2006... so he switched to Parry Sound - Muskoka where he (COUGH!) owns a (COUGH!) cottage. Change of address cards were issued to those who needed to know.

Medical affiliations: When appointed Health Minister he held a 25 percent share in Vikram Kharuna's Prudential Chem Inc., a pharma company. That, of course, was a conflict of interest and he was forced to divest himself of his holdings, not on taking office but in July 2006 after consumer lobbyists blew the whistle on him. And Vikram Kharuna? Oh yeah, suddenly he ends up being appointed by the Harper cabinet to a directorship on the Asia-Pacific Foundation.

Previous medical exposure: Minister of Health and Long-Term Care in the Ontario governments of Mike Harris and Ernie Eves where he earned himself the nickname "Two Tier Tony".

Famous for: Little other than the attack ads he employed against fellow neo-con Jim Flaherty in a failed bid to gain leadership of the Ontario Conservative Party.

And then there is the Chalk River fiasco during which Clement displayed either gross incompetence or a distinct lack of ethics.

Then of course there was his decision to ditch the online Canadian Health Network in favour of a picture of himself and a link to the Throne Speech. Not to mention how he installed the heads of food production companies on the panel advising a revision in the now badly mangled Canada Food Guide.

Yeah. Doctors really need an "ethics" lecture from the ethically challenged.

How are those hospital wait times coming Clement?

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