A plea for transparency in Canada's “new government”


By Paul C. Hébert and Amir Attaran, CMAJ, 7 February 2007

On Dec. 21, 2006, Health Minister Tony Clement announced the appointments of a chair, a president and 8 board members for Assisted Human Reproduction Canada.1 This new federal agency is charged with regulating fertility clinics, making decisions about research that uses human embryonic stem cells and advising Mr. Clement about assisted human reproduction.

But for an agency entrusted with Canadians' reproductive well-being, it has had a protracted and problematic birth. The end result is that only 2 of that total of 10 board members were among the 25 people recommended by an expert selection committee, one convened by Health Canada under the previous Liberal government.

A spokesperson for Mr. Clement told CMAJ that the “new government” wasn't satisfied with the original short list, and sought broader representation. The opposite appears to have happened.

At least 4 of the board's 8 (nonexecutive) members have publicly declared a socially conservative perspective on issues directly related to the board's mandate, and the chair has political ties to the Conservative Party.


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Photo: National Post