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Tuesday, 16 July 2013

New Minister of Health announced - implications for public health?

Not surprising, and as predicted here not even  two weeks ago DrPHealth July 2 2013 , Minister Aglukkaq’s third longest running term as Minister of Health has come to an end and she will be replaced by Rona Ambrose.  It is not necessarily the best reason to celebrate the sites 300th posting.  

What are we in for under Minister Ambrose?  A gifted lady with experience inside government as a policy analyst, in her 9 years as a member of parliament she has continuously held Ministerial portfolios since the conservatives took power, covering six different portfolios. 

Most notable from her past positions is her lack of notability.  In this respect, she brings some predictable characteristics to the role of Minister of Health:

A core party girl, not in the celebratory sense, but can be relied on to carry the Harper government line on any issue.  

Has been successful to date in staying out of trouble and sticking to the reiterating Harper government policy

She has kept a relatively low profile
(although she has been known for taking a stance supporting reviewing the point at which a fetus becomes a human being, stating that Canada had no chance of meeting the Kyoto targets, and referring to Liberal child care policy as “old white guys telling us what to do”.  For nine years in office, that is a pretty short list of credits).

While she has bounced around between Ministries, notable for her lack of leadership and vision in any of them. 

Not from the inner cabinet circle where important decisions are made.

As such, she makes an ideal Minister of Health for Stephen Harper, someone who will obey orders, avoid the limelight, not convey any particular vision, not stir the pot and has minimal real influence on government policy.   In many respects a clone of Minister Aglukkaq.

Is this what we really want from our Minister of Health? 

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