Where is Leona Aglukkaq? Do you know who Leona Aglukkaq is? Perhaps you are more familiar with Steve Outhouse?
He’s the spokesperson every time the Federal government is called upon to respond to a rather embarrassing issue related to Canada’s health care. In fact, he is Leona Aglukkaq’s Director of Communications. Aglukkaq is technically Canada’s Minister of Health. At least that’s who Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed to the role.
It’s almost like the Harper government is afraid to let the real health minister out in public.
The non-elected Outhouse was the face of the Federal government when Swiss pharmaceutical manufacturer Sandoz abruptly reduced production in Boucherville Quebec and left Canadian hospitals scrambling for intravenous drugs.
Outhouse was again the spokesperson when Sandoz had to recall 57,000 vials of injectable morphine after a heart drug was found to have been mistakenly packaged with the painkiller. That mistake was found by a hospital, not Health Canada. Whoops.
When Dr. Yoni Freedhoff complained publicly about her invisibility in the role, calling her one of Canada’s worst health ministers, the National Post reported “through her staff, Ms Aglukkaq calls the allegation of invisibility unfounded.” Did the reporter really type that with a straight face?
You’d think this week the real Health Minister could comment on the government’s decision to bring the Health Council of Canada to an end.
Nope. Steve Outhouse is once again quoted, this time in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Outhouse is indignant, trashing the Canadian Medical Association for raising concerns about shuttering the Council.
Outhouse told the CMAJ “I believe that the CMA is showing that it is absolutely incapable of having a reasonable conversation on anything with the federal government.”
That’s strong language for a spokesperson.
Does Leona Aglukkaq really believe this?
Is this the kind of relationship she wants with Canada’s doctors?
Perhaps we should ask Steve Outhouse.