Wednesday, 13 August 2014
One year of Minister what’s-her-name? Ambrose’s first year.
In previous postings we have reviewed Rona Ambrose’s credentials for the job as Minister of Health and then evaluated her 8 month performance. With just over a year under her belt, has she started to gel?
Not that she has come out of her shell, however there are sparks of activity beginning to emanate from the core. Her predominate activity remains in acknowledging certain special events and disease specific entity announcements and doing the public relations work of a politician.
Early July brought a huge leap forward when announcing a public consultation process on nutrition labelling – promised in the 2013 speech from the throne. Albeit the process is vague and the benefit of public consultation likely to reinforce preconceived thoughts, it is huge leap for a Minister who rarely glimpses beyond the confines of her shell.
She has announced and supported the Advisory Panel on Healthcare Innovation with a mandate to provide a blueprint for some federal action on making health care sustainable – and loaded with conservative-leaning members and a few with track records in health privatization. It would appear that Minister Ambrose has been given the role of acting as government pigeon for introduction of actions that are more in keeping with the war on drugs than on a health-driven approach to misuse of legal drugs.
Overall her media output has increased to 1 to 1.5 releases per week.
Granted she has been much more active in the Twitterverse (@MinRonaAmbrose) with over 3000 Tweets in 3 years about her daily actions averaging at least a couple a day. Great photo collection, on a Twitter banner which has her standing in scrubs with six good looking guys, wearing a stethoscope (she is not a health care worker having graduated with a masters in political science, and Canada’s health care workforce is 85-90% female ). One might even think she is a masterful politician; she is developing a marketable image for herself be it one that slightly skews reality.
The best news is that despite Ebola, despite measles outbreaks, despite a plethora of issues she could have wandered into, she has quickly demonstrate her agility in sidestepping controversy and letting the professionals speak. That is probably the best skill a federal Minster of Health could demonstrate. May her reign as Minister rival her predecessor's longevity.