Health Minister Deb Matthews is often regarded by the media as one of the front runners to replace Dalton McGuinty as Ontario Premier – a surprise given the intense scrutiny the Minister has been under for her role in the ORNGE air ambulance scandal.
Earlier this year we ran a series of stories about the April closure of the Canadian Blood Services plasma donation centre in Thunder Bay. At the time, Matthews showed little interest in defending the centre or the needed jobs in Northern Ontario – this despite the fact that Bill Mauro, a northern MPP in her caucus, was stating publicly that something didn’t smell right about the closure.
In the legislature she accepted CBS’ explanation that the plasma from Thunder Bay was not needed even though the organization’s annual report showed significant increases in imports of American-sourced plasma.
It is interesting to compare Matthews’ lack of interest over the fate of the Thunder Bay facility with that of the New Brunswick government over the closure of a CBS processing and distribution centre in Saint John.
In late 2009 the New Brunswick Liberal government learned that CBS planned to close the Saint John facility by 2012. Both the Liberals and Conservatives opposed the centralization of the centre’s activities to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.
They were so furious the New Brunswick government even commissioned a KPMG report to look at the option of taking the province out of CBS altogether.