January 27, 2004
Health Canada's Deputy Minister Should Disengage from Policy Think Tank headed by ex-Tobacco Boss.
Ottawa – Health Canada's deputy minister should withdraw from the board of the Public Policy Forum after that agency appoints a former senior manager of IMASCO as its president, suggests PSC.
Jodi White, who served as vice-president of the holding company of Canada's largest tobacco company, was recently appointed to the Public Policy Forum. As part of her responsibilities with IMASCO, she lobbied against tobacco control laws proposed by Health Canada and other governments.
The Public Policy Forum is the recipient of Health Canada contracts. In a letter to deputy minister, Mr. Ian Green, PSC suggests that contractual and other relationships with the Public Policy Forum should be revisited given the recent appointment of Mr. White.
For information: Cynthia Callard 613 233 4878
Text of letter to Mr. Ian Green, dated January 26, 2004
Mr. Ian Green
Dear Mr. Green:
I am writing today to express concern about Health Canada’s continued engagement with the Public Policy Forum and your continued membership on the Forum’s board of directors following the appointment of Ms. Jodi White as the agency’s president.
Ms. Jodi White is a former vice-president of IMASCO, a position she voluntarily held until she was dismissed when the company was restructured by its U.K.-based owners, British American Tobacco. During her tenure, IMASCO worked directly against the interests of Canadian health in a number of ways well known to you. You may also be aware of the personal role played by Ms. White in discouraging provincial governments from adopting regulatory controls over public smoking and tobacco sales.
It is difficult for me to see how your responsibilities at Health Canada can be made consistent with your membership on the board of the Forum. I also find it hard to see how the Forum is an appropriate recipient of Health Canada contracts under these circumstances. I note that the Forum not only has hired Ms. White, but has granted membership to two of Canada’s big three tobacco companies.
I trust you will reflect on this issue, and clarify that your effectiveness as Minister of Health is not compromised by ancillary connections with those who have consistently undermined Health Canada’s efforts.