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Flu hearing stirs summer quarrel in Ottawa

An emergency meeting in Ottawa has enlivened a politically dull summer by raising questions about the H1N1 flu pandemic.

Launched by the signatures of four opposition members, the inquiry welcomed Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq and chief public health officer David Butler-Jones. But Aglukkaq left early, leaving Butler-Jones to reassure the committee that all is well.

Political blogger Kady O'Malley covered the hearing, reporting minute by minute on the performance of the witnesses and the committee members.

Shorter version of both: Dreadful.

The Star and the Globe and Mail both covered the event, as did the Canadian Press.

Meanwhile, the Public Health Agency of Canada reported on August 11 that two more Canadians have died of H1N1 since August 6, and 66 have died altogether.

According to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, British Columbia has so far had 676 cases, four of them fatal.

In Brazil, where it is still winter, deaths from H1N1 rose from 203 on August 8 to 275 on August 11.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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