On Writing Letters to the Government

First, a little bit of background. The Canadian Board of Health recently appointed Bernard Prigent, Medical Director of Pfizer Canada. This presents a potential conflict of interest because the last time a Pfizer executive was appointed to a Government advisory committee, their recommendations included reducing support for generic drugs and doing away with drug research committees like UBC’s Therapeutic Initiative.

A friend of mine sent the Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq a letter explaining that appointing Mr. Prigent would skew the boards decisions in favor of Pfizer’s stock price rather than the Canadian People. The Health Minister’s reply was a single page of a two page letter, stopping in mid-sentence. (Click to Enlarge)

I wonder if the good people of the Health ministry are aware of their position here. To them, this might be a small office mix-up, but in the age of viral social media, word gets around. This one letter alone is not enough to start a revolution, but it raises questions about how the Canadian government communicates with people. Even if you disregard the missing page, it carries that passive aggressive tone of “we appreciate your concern, but you’re just an anonymous screwball, so there.”

So if were not going to rise up against the corporate plutocracy, what are we to do? For now, we’ll just make a note of it, keep an eye on the situation, and spread the word. This is just one example of the government acting callous, but if we come up with more of these, then we’ll start to see something happen.