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Public release of report into health firings may be delayed

Premier Christy Clark waffled today on her commitment that the report from the government-ordered review into firings made from the health ministry in 2012 will be released on Dec. 19.

A week ago, responding in the legislature to questions from the New Democratic Party about the limitations of the review, Clark was clear on the release date.

"It will be released on December 19, and at that point we'll have more substance that we can discuss in this Legislature and outside it," she said on Nov. 20.

Asked by The Tyee today if it remains her expectation that Dec. 19 the report will be released to the public, Clark said, "It is. That is my expectation."

But then she clarified that the public might not see the results of employment lawyer Marcia McNeil's work quite so soon.

"She will hand it to government," Clark said. "I'm not sure what the public release date will be, but it will either be that day or very shortly thereafter."

Clark has previously said she believes some of the seven firings in 2012 were heavy-handed and that the review is intended to get to the bottom of what happened.

The firings led to a union grievance on behalf of three fired employees and five wrongful dismissal and defamation lawsuits. Three of those lawsuits have been settled, with two of the people returning to work for the ministry and the third receiving a settlement and an apology.

Roderick MacIsaac, who as a co-op student had been working on a plan to evaluate the province's smoking cessation program, committed suicide three months after he was fired.

The Tyee reported that Graham Whitmarsh, who is no longer working for the government but was deputy minister of health when the firings were made, has declined to participate in the review, saying he thinks it lacks independence.

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