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Two Liberal leadership candidates failed to uphold health law: Dix

The British Columbia government is yet to seek a warrant so it can conduct its audit into Brian Day's private surgery clinic.

In November the health ministry said it would seek the warrant so it could audit Cambie Surgeries Corp., which Day has admitted was extra billing. Extra billing—charging a fee for a health service while also being paid through the public health system—is illegal in Canada.

But as of last week the ministry still had not got the warrant, which a September court ruling said was all they needed to audit Day's clinic.

“We understand discussions are ongoing with the lawyers representing Cambie with respect to moving forward with the audit on a consensual basis - which would negate the need for a warrant,” a health services ministry spokesperson said. “No formal agreement has been reached as yet.”

Day had said in November that such a negotiation was underway.

“We've had repeated admissions they're breaking the law,” said NDP health critic Adrian Dix, noting the case goes back to at least 2007. “It's time that we got on with it and audited them and got a warrant.”

Health ministers are responsible for enforcing the law, he said. Finance minister Colin Hansen is serving as health minister, having replaced Kevin Falcon who is running to lead the B.C. Liberal Party. Another leadership candidate, George Abbott, was health minister before Falcon.

“It's really dereliction of duty on the part of successive ministers of health, two of whom are leadership candidates,” said Dix.

Asked about his own interest in leading the NDP, by the way, a job that came open earlier this week, Dix said, “There's certainly no decision made yet.”

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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