Off on the wrong foot, still not home.

[Ottawa - 2019] In Ontario, at least two Liberal and three NDP health ministers have misled journalists and the public about the findings of a 1985 Ministry of Health committee report. Research on Conservatives continues.

In three news releases (See attachments, below), Murray Elston and Elinor Caplan invisibilize the two most important findings of the Thomson report. They also repeat a mistake the report cautions against making. Worse, Elston and Caplan set the Liberal Party and the Ontario Ministry of Health on a course of causing preventable deaths, a continuing huge motive for denial.

Since then, persons with sensitivities have discovered that there is nothing more powerful than the need to cover up colleagues' lethal mistakes, the need to “stick to the story,” no matter what the costs.The Liberals and NDP are both doing this in Ontario. We don't know, yet, whether Ontario Conservatives will be as supportive of the issue as they have been in the past.

Ontario Health Minister Keith NortonThe Ontario Ministry of Health committee was set up in 1984 when consumers and health professionals complained to Conservative health minister Keith Norton about preventable harm being caused by serious abuse in the health care system. Norton apparently did not notice that there was an existing, legally obligating, publicly insured method of diagnosis, one that is still encouraged by the College of Family Physicians of Ontario. His officials were apparently unaware of scientific and clinical articles then held in the Ontario Ministry of Health library, containing supportive references back to 1700. Instead of immediately acting to stop abuse being caused by his Ministry's position, Norton commissioned what was to become the 1985 "Report of the Ad Hoc Advisory Committtee on Environmental Hypersensitivity Disorders" (note plural).

Ontario Health Minister Murray ElstonThomson's panel identified the existing, publicly insured, method of diagnosing persons with sensitivities and recommended it for 'continued funding' by OHIP. They wrote that the position of the contemporaneous Deputy Minister of Health, that "all the identified patients are emotionally ill" was "clearly untenable". The existence of a publicly insured method of identifying persons with sensitivities brings with it the legal obligation to do so if doing otherwise risks causing preventable harm. Elston and Caplan, along with Gigantes, Lankin and Grier after them, repeatedly invisibilized this lethally important matter. Normally available protections under law were denied.

AnotheOntario Health Minister Elinor Caplanr important finding of the Thomson report was that parties were confusing debate about the approaches of clinical ecologists with the legitimacy of the health complaint itself. Others, including Barry Zimmerman, who chaired a panel that reviewed the Thomson report, also found the debate about clinical ecology to be a legitimate but separate debate.  This is something Thomson pointed out in several future roles in Ontario, when with Justice Canada, and after.

Elston and Caplan, Gigantes, Lankin and Grier continued apply stereotypes around clinical ecology to persons with sensitivities as a whole, often miss-portraying concerns about the extravangances of clinical ecology as being a reluctance to recognize the patients' experience of repeatable, controllable circumstances. The Ontario Ministry of Health and some other Ontario ministries continued to encourage abuse by stating or implying the same "clearly untenable" assertion previously identified.

When Thomson later became the Deputy Minister of the Ontario Ministry of Labour, he confirmed to me personally, in an elevator at One Nicholas Street, that Deputy Ministers of Health since his report continued to assert that the problems were emotionally based. The unethical nature of the DM's highly damaging (if not, by this point, illegal) position was ignored by Elston, Caplan, Peterson and Ombudsman Ontario, then by Gigantes, Lankin and Grier, and Bob Rae. The stereotype, the image of the person who might be sick from the modern environment, was put forward while duty of care issues were ignored—never acknowledged or responded to—despite hundreds of expressions from dozens of people, some representing hundreds more.

The Ministry's position was described as subjecting persons with sensitivities to a “reverse onus” and acted on by OHRC Chief Commissioner Catherine Frazee, by CHRC Commissioner Max Yalden, and by several federal departments. An Associate Director of the Ontario Medical Association wrote Premier Peterson's office after consumers prevailed upon him about the Liberal's continued misrepresentation of the position of organized medicine. Later, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario wrote to all MPPs to ensure that their discipline against a physician not be read as a dismissal of the health complaint.

Ontario Health Minister Deb MatthewsSince Elston's first news release perhaps 50,000 persons with undiagnosed sensitivities have been unnecessarily killed in Ontario health care, perhaps three times that nationally. These preventable deaths continue at a national rate of perhaps a dozen per day, while Ontario politicians* continue to invisibilize the findings of a decades-old report, and a history centuries older.

Will the 2019 Ontario government be as supportive as were Keith Norton, Mike Harris, Perrin Beatty and half of Mulroney's cabinet?

Chris Brown
Ottawa - 2019

 

Ben Peterson, JHR* When Journalists for Human Rights founder Ben Peterson heard about these abuses, he was fascinated, until he was told his aunt, Health Minister Deb Matthews, was then the main perpetrator. At that point he ended the conversation.  Journalists continue to invisibilize the abuses.  JHR continues to turn a blind eye.