When I was in B.C. I attended a “right to know week” talk at the library. A woman who represented the library introduced someone from the Privacy Commissioner’s Office, someone from the police department and another person.  These three people then gave their talk.  Basically, the Privacy Commissioner’s Office and the police department talked about how wonderful they were.  It was all one-sided; there was no one on the dais to disagree with anything they said.

But the audience had an opportunity for questions and comments. Most were directed at the Privacy Commissioner’s office.  The first at the microphone was a gentleman.  Just after he started talking he was interrupted by the woman from the library, who yelled at him comments like “who cares what you think”, “who cares what you have to say” and so on.  He had the microphone and she had no right to speak.  When she was finally finished, the gentleman continued with his comments/questions as if she hadn’t spoken.  I admired his patience and fortitude.  I sat in the audience, astounded by this woman from the library, and said nothing.  I should have spoke up but I didn’t.  I would now.

A couple rows behind the microphone sat three women in the last three seats of the row. They ridiculed the people who were speaking at the microphone.   I didn’t get the impression that these women just walked off the street and thought it would be fun to listen to the speeches and then heckle the people in the audience who spoke.  It looked planned.   I, and I’m sure others, gave them dirty looks.  Finally, they left.  But again, I should have spoke up but I didn’t.  I would now.

It seems that you have the right to know, as long as it is what the government and their toadies want you to know (otherwise known as propaganda).

Lack of Independence

Mary Carlson was Executive Director of the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for B.C. She then became Deputy Registrar of the Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists for British Columbia.  The privacy commissioner’s office is suppose to operate independent of the politicians, both provincially and federally.  But, I don’t believe you can operate independently if your next job depends on being “liked” by the politicians.  It’s all smoke and mirrors.

David Loukidelis was the B.C. information commissioner before he accepted the post of deputy attorney-general. As Vaughn Palmer pointed out, by bringing him in-house they silenced a critic (in some areas), at a convenient time and turned the critic into a lap-dog. (Sabotage? Or merely incompetence?, Vaughn Palmer, 25 Jan 2010, View from the Edge).


(Also read prior posts “Assault” July 22, 2010, “Security Guards, August 8, 2009, ‘Threats” September 4, 2008)

I include this post because I think people should know what happens, in Canada, when they exercise free speech against the government. You will be threatened (life, limb, family, job…), intimidated and harassed, plus they will attempt to demean you, and will use diversionary tactics when they can’t prove that what is being said is false. I don’t say this to scare people off, to prevent them from speaking the truth, quite the opposite.  It is only when more voices speak out that these threats against our rights, our democracy, our lives, will stop.

Someone told me at the beginning of my time in front of St. Paul’s Hospital that the degree to which they try to intimidate, harass and threaten you is a reflection of how close you are to the bulls-eye. I thank the person for the comment because it helped me over the years to withstand the abuse.

A man, while professing to agree with my handout, claimed that he did not buy into conspiracy theories. I find the use of the words “conspiracy” and “paranoia” very manipulative.  If you want to demean someone and try to shut someone up those words are usually used.  My response to this man was that since the politicians, and the catholic/medical business, refuse to tell us with whom they are sharing our information and how it is being used then obviously something unethical and morally illegal is going on. These questions are so straight forward there shouldn’t even be an issue about answering them honestly.  So, until possibilities are proven to happen or not to happen, anything is possible.  I try to keep an open mind to all possibilities.

They also tried the “I’m your friend” tactic. They would pretend they agree with what you are doing, act as if they are on your side so they can collect information on you and try to manipulate you.  For example, a guy came up to me and said he was a doctor, agreed with everything I was saying, knew information was going all over the place, and so on.  By now I had given up talking to medical people because my experience was that they just lie, con, and harass.  But he knew information was going all over the place, and did I know what they were doing now so I was interested, he caught me.  As I listened to what they were doing now I heard him talk about medical personnel and how they had to get immunized and a list was posted showing who was and who wasn’t immunized, etc.  So he talked about the medical personnel, not the patients.  All he seemed to care about was his own self-interest, not the patients.  Then he said, what I believe was the real message, “everyone that walks by thinks you are striking, everyone who walks by thinks you are crazy, you can’t accomplish anything”, and so on.  What I found interesting in his comments was:

  1. His assumption that he knows what everyone who walks by is thinking.
  2. People thought I was striking and thought I was crazy. I think that says more about him and the rest of the medical personnel than me.
  3. If I wasn’t accomplishing anything then the medical system wouldn’t have people like him constantly trying to persuade me to “go away”.

I don’t mind people debating the issue(s) or telling me I’m wrong if they can prove it. But these people have no facts, evidence or rational argument to dispute what I say so they attack the messenger, not the message.  In fact, I would have loved to have had it proven that I was wrong.  But my own experience, investigations such as the auditor general’s, and breach after breach proves otherwise.  Actually I think they should change the word breach to a flood.  When everyone’s information is being shared that is no longer just a breach.  (see post Auditor General – PARIS report – 5/24/2010 and post Our Privacy Is Not Protected – Parts I and II – 12/27/2015 and 12/29/2015)

A man, walking by while I was at St. Paul’s Hospital, told me that if I pushed this issue too far “they” would put me in a padded room and then only god could help me.  I wouldn’t have been surprised because that’s our so-called democracy.

When I first stood in front of St. Paul’s Hospital it was mostly men who came to “talk” to me. Some would try to be my friend, some would make comments like “looking for a date”. I wondered if they were using a typical government tactic that I call the “pimping tactic”.  If a woman isn’t happy in her job (or whatever) just get her a man (or a second one) and get her F(well, you know the word) and she’ll be fine.  That didn’t work so after a while, they sent the women to “talk” to me.  That didn’t work either so it must have confused the hell out of their small minds.  The women sometimes even had “handlers”.  Example, a woman came to “talk” to me.  Realizing that she was from the hospital I turned and walked away.  When I turned around again I saw her ask, through gestures and voice, a male, standing on the steps of St. Paul’s Hospital, what to do next.  He told her to come back to the hospital.  When he saw me watching he weakly smiled and shrugged.                                                                                                                                                                                             I was at a public talk and the speaker said that they didn’t want anyone to be in the room who didn’t support public health care.  I got the impression that it was directed at me and possibly a few other people.  Some people have tried to claim that by raising awareness of what the medical system is doing that I am supporting private health care.  That was another ploy to try to make me go away, to discredit me.  I don’t support private health care and I have no doubt that their privacy issues are as bad or worse than the public sector.  You could look at the medical system like a child.  A child wants what it wants and will throw a tantrum to get it.  If you want that child to grow/evolve into a decent human being/institution then it has to learn morals, ethics, integrity, caring, compassion, accountability, transparency and that it does not pick on those more vulnerable (only cowards do that).  And, of course, a child/institution does not learn better behaviour if you ignore, or support, their wrong-doings.  Its people who don’t care about the public health system who ignore/support their bad behaviour.  Of course, those working in or running the catholic/medical system are adults but, apparently, they still need to be taught the values we want the institution to reflect.  They do have a bad influence, the politicians, so this will be difficult.

It was obvious I had been researched. They would tell me information, that was suppose to be private, in a variety of areas non-medical.  I assume the purpose was to intimidate me, as in ‘see we can access any information on you we want’.  Example, I had responded, years ago, to a request for comments, by the government, on the privatization of Canada Post.  The comment was suppose to be confidential.  At St. Paul’s Hospital, a person had approached me at the same time as another person, but supposedly independently, yet both asked questions, for whatever reason, about my views on the U.S.   As one of them was leaving, she had her back to me, then turned her head around and gave me a knowing look and, out of the blue, said that Canada Post would be privatized (this had not been part of our previous conversation).  So I guess that’s a done deal although maybe not with Trudeau “in power”.*   But I don’t think her comment was about Canada Post per se but about letting me know they had access to this confidential information.  I was raising awareness that our privacy was being violated and they thought they could scare me away by continuously proving that I was right.  Strange people!

I was threatened, intimidated, assaulted… and not just in front of St. Paul’s Hospital but I encountered this in the other areas of my life. This is just one example of the many things that happened, someone left a “gift” on my doorstep which I turned over to the police.  I could take it because I believed in the necessity and importance of what I was doing.  I actually found it fascinating, in a macabre way.  I knew that it wasn’t about me but it spoke volumes about them.  These are people who couldn’t refute what I was saying.  So, instead they pulled every underhanded trick they could to make me go away.  And this from people who claim to be caring, compassionate and democratic.  I would stand there and wonder, my gawd, what are they doing to us that they have to go to such lengths to hide it.  So, instead of scaring me away, they make me realize how important it was that I stay and raise awareness.

They said, and did, anything that they thought would intimidate me or embarrass or demean me. What they thought would embarrass/demean me was really a reflection of THEIR discriminations.  It certainly told me a lot of what they thought of certain segments of the population.  I wondered how these segments of the population were treated as patients (actually, I did find out a little bit -see “My Story”).

I reached a point where I thought they couldn’t shock me anymore and then they would do something that would shock me. Finally, I realized that I can’t think as low as they can sink.  So each time they pull something that is even lower than usual I am shocked.

I had already planned on leaving B.C. for a variety of reasons such as the continual violation of privacy. I didn’t want to be sold/traded/bartered.  So my illness didn’t scare me away but it did move the agenda up a bit (see future post “My Story”).

It certainly appears they have been trying to find something to hang me with, to blackmail me into going away. Since I haven’t totally disappeared I’m sure they will keep trying.  It’s what they do to hide things.  But who/what I am doesn’t matter, whether I’m evil or a bloody saint, what matters is whether the information I give out is true.  And that is easy enough for people to determine besides the sources I provide.  Ask the health system exactly who they share your information with, and the purpose, and when they won’t give you a real answer, ask yourself why.  What information does the medical system collect on you, why, and is it necessary for your specific health concern?  If they want information for any other purpose, why don’t they let you know and ask your permission?  And, of course, there are the continual scandals proving that our information is not being protected.

You do have to use common sense when you ask them questions. When I was in front of St. Paul’s Hospital a person told me that she had asked the medical staff about whether her privacy was protected.  And they said it was protected.  Well, what did she think they would say?  Seriously, to assume that the medical staff would admit that her information wasn’t protected, was being shared all over the place, was farcical.  You have to get any answers in writing or, otherwise, tell them to prove it because they lie, as all the evidence proves.

*An aside – After I moved I contacted Canada Post regarding an issue with mail forwarding. I was told that, before they would look into the issue, I would have to give them my phone number or email address because they don’t communicate by mail.  I read an article in the Globe and Mail titled Canada Post Head Makes Big Bet on his ‘winning horse’ , by Barrie McKenna, May 25, 2015, in which CEO Deepak Chopra chastised Canadians for not using mail.  I wrote to the CEO Deepak Chopra about my issue and his hypocrisy.  I received a response by mail.  Was he selected as CEO to ensure Canada Post’s privatization?




January 27, 2016





The Charter of Rights and Freedoms – Fundamental Rights:


Section 15.


  1. Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination   (1)


The privacy act is a legal document.


Yet, the medical business has a two-tiered system, those who have the right to privacy (those with a sense of self-entitlement) and those who do not, those who are sold/traded/bartered/experimented on and those who are not.  The self-entitled people, as selected by the medical business, have rights the rest of the citizens do not.  The self-entitled people include medical personnel.  That’s one of the reasons they don’t care about our rights because their rights are protected.


And isn’t it called discrimination when one group has privileges that is denied to another group.


I believe the two-tiered system, giving some people rights and privileges denied to others, is a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a violation of the law, a violation of our fundamental rights. But, as we know, the medical business/government do not care about the rights of most citizens or the law.



Elites, Upper/Lower Class


I often hear/read the terms elites, upper/middle/lower class which imply that some people are better than others, that some people are “inferior”. It usually is used relative to money and power.  I would hope people would find new words because some people are NOT better than others.  For example, a person gains a lot of money by brown-bagging (Brian Mulroney, and others, were accused of this), and other unscrupulous means vs a person who wins a lottery and gives it away, not because they have a lot of money but they have enough and others do not.  Who would you consider the better person, the elite, the upper class?  I would hope that people would start using specific terms like the 1%, or people with more money or people with political control.


Sometimes the terms are used in relation to someone who is well-educated in political science or mathematics, etc. but who knows little or nothing about growing food, building a house, or social work and so on.   So who is “more important” or is neither and each is simply educated in a particular area (school and/or self educated).


This also applies to the concept of social status; for example, doctors are usually considered to have a higher “social status” again due to money and the “job title”.


I find these terms arrogant, manipulative, a form of brainwashing, as well as archaic, baggage from the past that should be left behind. If the terms social status, elites, etc. referred to people with values such as morals, ethics, integrity they might be appropriate..  But they don’t.  So – Let’s evolve and get rid of them.


The Charter of Rights and Freedoms – Fundamental Rights:

Section 15.

  1. Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination   (1)

The privacy act is a legal document.

Yet, the medical business has a two-tiered system, those who have the right to privacy (those with a sense of self-entitlement) and those who do not, those who are sold/traded/bartered/experimented on and those who are not.  The self-entitled people, as selected by the medical business, have rights the rest of the citizens do not.  The self-entitled people include medical personnel.  That’s one of the reasons they don’t care about our rights because their rights are protected.

And isn’t it called discrimination when one group has privileges that is denied to another group.

I believe the two-tiered system, giving some people rights and privileges denied to others, is a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a violation of the law, a violation of our fundamental rights. But, as we know, the medical business/government do not care about the rights of most citizens or the law.

Elites, Upper/Lower Class

I often hear/read the terms elites, upper/middle/lower class which imply that some people are better than others, that some people are “inferior”. It usually is used relative to money and power.  I would hope people would find new words because some people are NOT better than others.  For example, a person gains a lot of money by brown-bagging (Brian Mulroney, and others, were accused of this), and other unscrupulous means vs a person who wins a lottery and gives it away, not because they have a lot of money but they have enough and others do not.  Who would you consider the better person, the elite, the upper class?  I would hope that people would start using specific terms like the 1%, or people with more money or people with political control.

Sometimes the terms are used in relation to someone who is well-educated in political science or mathematics, etc. but who knows little or nothing about growing food, building a house, or social work and so on.   So who is “more important” or is neither and each is simply educated in a particular area (school and/or self educated).

This also applies to the concept of social status; for example, doctors are usually considered to have a higher “social status” again due to money and the “job title”.

I find these terms arrogant, manipulative, a form of brainwashing, as well as archaic baggage from the past that should be left behind. If the terms social status, elites, etc. referred to people with values such as morals, ethics, integrity they might be appropriate..  But they don’t.  So – Let’s evolve and get rid of them.


If you have to lie, steal, and con to get information, then what you are doing is neither moral nor ethical.

I believe that everyone who knows about the lies and the theft of our information and body parts, and does nothing, is complicit.

I thought at first that these people might be pawns but, in fact, they are willing participants in the lying, conning and theft of our information, our body parts.

I was taught when I was a child that you don’t pick on those younger, weaker, more vulnerable; that’s only for cowards.  I have to assume that the people in the catholic/medical/government business and all they accomplices have yellow streaks up their front, their back and their sides.

Someone told me, when I was in front of St. Paul’s, that these people were just getting a pay-cheque, jobs were hard to find. Well, that’s what any thief would tell you  — it’s just a job.  The same for a hit man/woman, who just take the money and carry out the dirty deeds.  What you are doing is still unscrupulous, unethical and possibly illegal.  And if you are just getting a pay-cheque then there is no caring or compassion in what you do.  You do not care about the patients, only yourself.

I was told that I had a lot of support in the medical business for raising awareness of what was going on in the medical business.   Is this true?  I don’t know.  But, even if it is, verbal support, especially hidden, isn’t enough.  You have to DO something.

A few people did provide me with information, usually without evidence, so I had to be careful that I wasn’t being setup. But, for those who gave me information, it shows you care but you, and the others, need to speak louder.

Dr. Warren Bell, Salmon Arm, BC wrote Doctor’s Diagnosis: Pipeline Symptoms of “Social Pathology”, 04 Feb 2013, TheTyee.ca.  He states how he helped found the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment or CAPE because they wanted to improve health by improving the environment.  I find what I consider to be his hypocrisy mind-boggling.   “A 2007 Canadian Medical Association survey showed that 11 per cent of patients already admit to holding back information from health care providers because of privacy concerns.

A 2012 survey “indicated that 43.2% (of patients) have withheld or would withhold information from their health care provider because of privacy concerns, while 31.3% of Canadian patients have or would postpone care over privacy concerns, and 42.9% would seek care outside their communities for the same reason” [Medical privacy breaches rising, Roger Collier, 06 Mar, 2012. vol. 184 no.4, Canadian Medical Association Journal CMAJ)]. And I expect these numbers will continue to increase.  And note this refers to patients.  How many people don’t just hold back information but don’t even see a doctor because of privacy concerns?  But, do you see the doctors founding an association to “Protect People’s Health by Protecting Their Privacy Rights” so they can improve health.  NO.  And this is an area where they are largely responsible for the loss of privacy and trust.  So, what is it that they don’t want to give up to protect patients health; Is it pay-cheques, is it kickbacks, an attitude of arrogance/narcissism that patients privacy is irrelevant to medical people?

But getting on the bandwagon of promoting the environment, and other issues, distracts the people from the fact that the catholic/medical/government businesses are adversely affecting people’s health by violating their privacy. I think it’s a diversionary tactic.  The pope is doing it and it diverts people’s attention away from the paedophile issue.  It’s purpose is the make the medical people/pope look good and it doesn’t cost them a thing.  They don’t have to change what they are doing, or give up anything.

Dr. Bell writes about the “structural pathology” in the governance system in Canada. But he ignores the “structural pathology” in the medical system. He adds other comments which, again, he fails to mention could also apply to the medical business.  I guess it’s a case of “look over there so you don’t see what I am doing”.

And Dr. Bell is not alone. Lots of other doctors and their organizations lobby the government for various reasons, such as increasing funding to the health care system.  But they don’t lobby about privacy rights for patients.  Instead they lie, steal and con.  Why?

The medical unions, at contract time, like to advertise what they do for the patients. What they fail to mention is how they steal patients privacy/body parts and the negative affects that may have on the patients health and safety.  They know privacy is important because, in their own contracts, they made sure their privacy was protected, but not the patients.  If privacy is important to the medical staff, why is it not considered important for the patients?

This is from a commenter named cyndi: “I am one of those nurses that is being forced to wear a mask for the next 4 months. I take umbrage against that policy. My rights as a human being are being held hostage to a Health Authority. Why dont they make it mandatory to just give every admitted patient the flu shot on admission to the hospital should be the question….that way all of us front line workers would be so called protected instead of forcing us to get the flu shot every year!!!  I think the real discussion here is Are frontline workers human rights being maligned….I am extremely insulted by this Health Authority policy!!!  And employees have the right to work in a respectful place free from discrimination.  (Are Flu Shots as Effective as Billed, Bill Tieleman, 08 Dec 2014, TheTyee.ca)  This is only one person’s comment but I include this because it represents an attitude I heard many times, from medical staff, in front of St. Paul’s.  It’s all about them.  They get very upset if they feel their rights as a human being are violated but don’t care about patients rights as human beings.  In fact, she said to do to the patients what they, the medical people, don’t want done to them, make the patients have the flu shot. Aren’t patients rights as human beings being stolen when the medical people steal their information/body parts?  She talks about discrimination against her but isn’t it discrimination when medical staff and their special friends have their privacy protected but patients don’t.  My response, to paraphrase a couple of sayings, is:  they came for my rights and you did nothing, so quite frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn about you.

I didn’t want to spend a lot of time standing in front of St. Paul’s taking all the abuse. I didn’t want to spend a lot of time researching and writing a blog.  But when I realized that the medical business was lying, stealing and conning the vulnerable, the sick, the newborns I couldn’t walk away.  I know the difference between right and wrong and my values say that you must speak up against injustice.  It cost me a lot, in a variety of ways.  That was a choice I made because the cost of doing nothing was much higher, to who I am as a human being.

Obviously I won’t be in front of St. Paul’s anymore which I’m sure makes “them” very happy. But I don’t have to be.  My blog is still on the internet, people have linked their social media sites to my blog; my blog has over 100,000 page views and counting.  It  has been, and continues to be, read not only by people in Canada but by thousands of people around the world who are learning how Canada treats its vulnerable, its sick, its newborns.   I am on twitter and I will keep raising awareness in one way or another.  The information is out there and they don’t get it back.  And it will continue to spread, a lot of it from their own unethical, immoral actions.

“In order for evil to flourish, all that is required is for good men (people) to do nothing.” – Edward Burke



I read that medical information should be shared if it is anonymous. I used to agree with that.  Why would I not agree if everything is above-board, if the information was being shared to improve the health care of people and if things were done morally and ethically.  But then I found out how the medical system really works.

These posts have examples of how, essentially, all our information has been shared non-anonymously:

-Post – Auditor General – PARIS report – 5/24/2010 – Vancouver Coastal Health audit showed that there was virtually no protection of patient information. And there was no reason to believe that any other hospital database was any better.

  • Post – Our Information is not protected – Part I – 12/27/2015 – researchers could, and were, downloading and sharing our information with no detection.  They could give it to anyone else, who could also “share” this information, again without detection.

–  Post – Our Information is not protected – Part II – 12/29/2015 – more examples of how our information is shared non-anonymously

Post – Patenting DNA – 2016-02-04 – if you collect enough information on an individual, even if it is anonymous, you can identify who they are.

And we know, logically, that this is just the tip of the iceberg. The ones the media happen to find out about.  The rest are either not caught or they are covered up.

Now, I would only agree to my information being shared conditionally. The conditions being:

  1. I am told if information is being collected for “others” and not for my direct personal health care
  2. I am told who it is being shared with.
  3. I am told how it will be used.
  4. I have proof that the information collected under my name is being adequately protected.
  5. It can be proven to me that this information will only be shared anonymously.
  6. I can get this in writing.
  7. There will be severe penalties if any of the conditions listed above are “violated”.

This, of course, presumes that I have any say in the collection and sharing of my information, which in our low-grade so-called democracy; I don’t. The medical system and their friends do what they want.  I am, like other patients except the “special” patients,  just fodder for them to feed off.

But any information that I determine they don’t need for my direct health care (and that is very little) I mix up between truth/lies. The information then becomes useless.

These people in the medical/government business just steal, lie and con. Why? They eventually lose all trust and it just comes back on them.  What are they getting in return for taking such risks?  Or did they really think they could do this forever with impunity?  Are they that arrogant/narcissistic?  Apparently, they are.


Number of Breaches Unknown

“The total number of intentional health-related privacy breaches in Ontario is unknown because of legislation allowing hospitals to handle such violations internally and report them at their own discretion. The commission is notified of about 400 health-related privacy breaches every year and a Star investigation of eight Toronto health institutions unveiled 218 privacy violations last year, the majority of which went unreported to the commission”. (c)  So, the majority of privacy “breaches” you won’t hear about because they are being unreported (covered up), or, as in BC, legalized; and I believe it is the same in all provinces.

Mandatory Reporting of Breaches (or Not)

“Michael Crystal, a lawyer currently representing thousands of patients” said it should be ‘mandatory for hospitals to report all privacy leaks.” (a)  “69.5 percent of Canadian respondents stated that there should be a public listing hosted by the Canadian government that lists which hospitals have had breaches of patient health records”. (c)  I suggest this should include “minor” breaches that are not reported to the privacy commissioner and the so-called “major” ones that are reported to the privacy commissioner.  Otherwise, we will be hearing a lot of “we didn’t think this was serious” excuses.  We should be informed as to what defines minor vs major breaches.

“If hospitals were obligated under law to report privacy violations, the (privacy) commission would be able to identify trends, investigate specific areas of concern and help hospitals prevent future incidents, Beamish said” (Ontario privacy commissioner Brian Beamish). (a) This will also help reduce the number of cases that the medical/government organizations can cover-up without being caught.  This must also include any breaches by people/organizations with whom our information is shared.

We, the people, need this transparency to ensure accountability.

For the status on your province on mandatory reporting see Ontario lags other provinces in updating health privacy laws, Olivia Carville, 06 Feb 2015, Toronto Star

Identify with whom our information is shared

The medical/government business in Ontario is discussing making changes so it looks like, to use a metaphor, they are trying to lock the front door (hospital violations), so people don’t notice that the backdoor is being left wide open (the researchers, suppliers, and other organizations, etc. with whom our information is being shared). We need to know exactly with whom our information is being shared, under what circumstances, whether our consent has been obtained (real not manufactured), what are the conditions that these “others” must meet to protect our information and are these conditions being met.


We need on-going audits of all people/organizations that handle our information to ensure that our privacy is protected. The audits must be done by people not appointed by the medical/government system.   ‘In the US, the government has taken several steps to encourage health care providers to improve the security of their information technology systems. In addition to requiring public disclosure of breaches — an incentive in the form of the proverbial “wall of shame” — the US government will be dropping in on some health care providers” to “check compliance with privacy requirements”.   “Under their privacy act, health organizations are required to have conducted a risk analysis and implemented policies to protect patient privacy. The maximum annual penalty for violating the act is US$1.5 million.” (e)

Suing for Privacy Breach

“The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled earlier this year that patients can sue hospitals if their privacy was breached.” (d)  This should be the law in all provinces and include any people/organizations who have our information.


“Beamish told the Star he wanted serious breaches to result in more prosecutions to deter nosy health professionals” and the other people/organizations with our information. (a) But we also need to hold accountable those who are suppose to protect our privacy – the politicians, healthcare executives…   We need to know why they aren’t doing their job.  And we need to be able to prosecute them.

In some provinces the health ministry may refer a serious breach to the privacy commissioner who investigates. If the privacy commissioner believes there are grounds for prosecution they refer it to the attorney general, who may refer it to the police to reinvestigate.

So much wasted time and effort because somewhere along the line the case gets dropped.

“Privacy commissioner Brian Beamish has previously told the Star that confusion over the roles of the attorney general, the Health Ministry and the privacy office have also hamstrung potential prosecutions.” (b) All these years and nothing has been done to fix the situation.  No wonder there has been zero prosecutions in Ontario, where thousands of privacy violations happen every year.  But, I’m sure the politicians have been far too busy going to photo-ops, or lining their pockets, to make adjustments.  Or is it just “convenient” to have it this way.

“Ontario is not alone. British Columbia, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, Prince Edward Island and Yukon have not seen any prosecutions under health privacy laws.” (b)

“Alberta has had three successful prosecutions, Manitoba has had one and Newfoundland and Labrador has had two.” (b) Considering the extent of the problem, this is a farcical record in any province.

Covering up the extent of breaches, or sharing of information, so patients will trust the medical business is not an answer. Eventually patients find out and trust is lost, possibly forever.  Withholding information is just another form of lying to patients.

After all the lying, the cover-ups, the conning, “trust us” just doesn’t work any more.
(a) Hundreds of hospital privacy violations go unreported – Olivia Carville, 13 Jan 2015,    The Star

(b) Ontario government under fire over inaction on health privacy law – Olivia Carville, 05 Mar 2015, Toronto Star

(c) Canada:  How Privacy Considerations Drive Patient Decisions and Impact Patient Care Outcomes – December 2011, New London Consulting

(d) Fines to double for breach of Ontario patients’ medical records – Keith Leslie, 10 June  2015, CTV News

(e) Medical privacy breaches rising – Roger Collier, 06 Mar, 2012. vol. 184 no.4, Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ)


  1. THOUSANDS OF B.C. PRIVATE HEALTH RECORDS SOLD AT PUBLIC AUCTION. (a) Mike de Jong was involved in this one too. He was labour minister whose ministry oversaw the auction process.  Again, extremely private information was sold for $300 such as “medical status – including whether they have a mental illness, HIV or a substance-abuse problem”, social insurance numbers, date of births, names, phone numbers, and “caseworker entries divulging extremely intimate details of people’s lives”, and more.

Mary Carlson, director of the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of B.C. said “the government had sold sensitive information to the public once before, but that the details of the case had not been made public. She added that she is ‘disappointed’ to hear it has happened again”. (a)

  1. The Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) “lost the personal information of half-a-million Canadians last year.” They lost an unencrypted external hard drive containing Canada Student Loan information and a USB key containing information such as social insurance numbers, medical records, birth dates, education levels, occupations, etc.” (b)
  2. Ontario has had so many breaches that they held a press conference to apologize. They told people that most workers in the health system are honest people. That may be true in terms of downloading large amounts of information (lying/stealing/conning information from patients is another issue) but you don’t protect medical information from those who won’t steal it, you protect it from those who will steal it.  So, the government/medical system is responsible for not protecting the information.  Just like a bank doesn’t install a security system to protect its assets from the 90% who won’t steal but from the 10% that will steal.  A bank might get its money back but with medical information, once it’s out there, it’s out there, you don’t get it back.  Examples:                                                                                      i. An anti-abortion activist has been accused of prying “into hundreds of abortion records”. DeCiccio worked at a hospital and “the hospital placed no restrictions on what records she could or could not access”. (c)

“Since being informed of this case in May 2011, Beamish (acting privacy commissioner) said he has noticed a concerning trend where increasing numbers of hospital staff are accessing patient records without authorization, including the recent breach of former mayor Rob Ford’s medical files”. (c)

ii. “Hospital workers in Toronto have been disciplined, and some fired, for taking photos of patients without their consent, losing scores of health records or inappropriately prying into a patient’s file when they are not involved in their care.” (d)

“Earlier this year, the Star unveiled two major hospital privacy breach cases involving thousands of patients. In one case, hospitals inappropriately provided patient information to baby photographers. In another, hospitals were handing out patient contact information to private marketing companies.” (d)

iii. Six greater Toronto area hospitals apparently sold patient information to photographer(s).   And yet, Mount Sinai, one of the six, said “Since we learned of this breach (italics mine), we have changed our practice..”.  This implies they didn’t know what they were doing; they had a contract to sell this information but they didn’t know they were doing it; how does that happen? (e)

iv. Other examples you may want to read about: Rouge Valley hospital privacy breach expands to affect 14,450 patients, Joel Eastwood, 27 Aug 2014, Toronto Star; Hundreds of hospital privacy violations go unreported, Olivia Carville, 13 Jan 2015, Toronto Star; Ontario lags other provinces in updating health privacy laws, Olivia Carville, 06 Feb 2015, Toronto Star. A few of the examples you will read about in this articles: “pharmacist opening medical records of fellow congregants”; “a doctor who snooped into 141 women’s medical records, including gynecology reports” (h); “while standing in line for a pizza…doctor chatted on his cellphone about the private details of a patient” (I)

v. Another informative article: Peterborough lawsuit to set precedent for Ontario patient privacy rights, Joel Eastwood, 03 Sep 2014, Toronto Star. Update:  This lawsuit was dismissed because the prosecutors bungled the case (Ontario’s sole health privacy prosecution quietly dismissed,  Olivia Carville, 30 Mar 2015, Toronto Star).  How convenient.  But two more cases are on the go.
The worst that happens to the few privacy violators actually caught is they are fired. “Beamish (acting privacy commissioner in Ontario) is aware of only two provinces, Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador, which have successfully prosecuted under health-related privacy acts”. (c)  This indicates that the privacy acts are useless, a facade.  Quite frankly, I don’t think just being fired is much of a deterrent for severe cases of privacy violation (for example, when information is shared).  What happens to these fired people?; do they get rehired after a period of time (see post “BC Nurses”, Nov. 4, 2008), do they go to work in a nursing home or other facility (Ontario’s sole health privacy prosecution quietly dismissed,  Olivia Carville, 30 Mar 2015, Toronto Star)?; are they required to pay back any benefits from the privacy violation?

I think the ability to sue the hospitals is important in order to get them to take this issue seriously. Despite the fact that the medical system always say “we take the protection of people’s privacy very seriously”, obviously they don’t.  But, I believe, the prospect of being sued may encourage hospitals to coverup even more violations.  What is also required is some kind of oversight/ongoing audits conducted by citizens groups (or something similar), not chosen by, and outside the influence of, the political/medical organizations.

When I was in front of St. Paul’s, a couple years before the press conference, one person said he worked in a pharmacy in Ontario and that Ontario had tightened up its privacy and people in the pharmacy now had to get permission to access previously available information.  Apparently, it is VERY INCONVENIENT.  Isn’t that sad.  Protecting people’s privacy is INCONVENIENT for people in the medical business.  Accessing patient’s information SHOULD be difficult and if that’s inconvenient to researchers, etc. then find another line of work.  Yet, these recent scandals indicate that they are still doing a very poor job at privacy protection.

I commend the Toronto Star for its investigations and reports. If only other media, in other provinces, would do the same, it would prevent a lot of patient suffering in the future.

  1. “Personal health information belonging to 620,000 Albertans and stored unencrypted on a private company’s laptop was stolen” in Sept. 2013. “The data on the laptop included patients’ names, dates of birth, provincial health card numbers, billing codes, billing amounts and diagnostic codes.

Medicentres Family Health Care Clinics chief medical officer Dr. Arif Bhimji said “Medicentres “immediately” contacted the Edmonton Police Service and Office of the Information Privacy Commissioner”. Apparently, immediately was four days later.  But no one informed the Alberta Health (who eventually received a letter) or the patients (informed by the media) until January 2014.

The politicians were, of course, “outraged”. But isn’t it their job to ensure that our privacy is protected, even when they outsource?  But I guess it sounds good in the press.

Alberta Medical Association president Dr. Allan Garbutt said physicians are trained from early on to keep all medical information highly protected based on the principle that it belongs to the patient and no one else”(italics mine) .  He admitted that there are numerous ways medical information can be misused .  The  British Columbia medical business seems to operate on the principle that patient information belongs to everyone but the patient.  Does Alberta medical staff give anything but “lip service” to this principle?

As one patient said: ‘I don’t want my diagnosis given to just anyone. It’s up to me to disclose what is happening to me’.  In my opinion, this also applies to researchers.  As we know from researchers health scandal (prior post – Our Information Is Not Protected) the medical business and anonymous are total opposites.  Apparently the Medicentres laptop has never been recovered.

There have been more than “four other similar incidents that affected hundreds of thousands of people in the last decade” (that we know of). (g)  Most involved the theft/loss of laptops.

  1. “For a precedence on how bad privacy breaches in Canada can be, one need look no further than the case of Captain Sean Bruyea, a Canadian Air Force officer who served in the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Without his permission or knowledge, all of his personal, medical and financial files were distributed across a wide swath of officials in the Department of Veterans Affairs, who used this as ammunition to try to silence what was a fierce critic for Canada’s returning veterans. A total of 54 people had inappropriately accessed Bruyea’s file; 36 received an ‘administrative memo;’ nine were reprimanded and nine received one-day suspensions. Nobody was fired. No one. Let’s put this in context: When government employees were actually found to be egregiously breaking the law in accessing personalized files, not a single person was fired.”  Scandal taints BC Ministry of Health’s Pharmaceutical Services Division, Alan Cassels, April 2013, Common Ground
  2. I suggest you read Your Information Is Not Secure, Michael Geist, 01 May 2013, TheTyee.ca. This report reveals that “virtually every major [federal] government department has sustained [privacy] breaches and gives examples. It also states that the Privacy Commissioner of Canada is rarely notified of the breaches.
  3. A binder was stolen from a doctor’s car containing information on B.C. Transplant patients.  It included patient names and other information.  Patient Information Stolen,16 Dec 2011, 24 Hours
  4.  Other examples of the medical business’ hypocrisy regarding patient privacy:                                                                              i. When I had to go through the medical system (see future post “My Story”) I would stand at reception at the doctor’s office or office of other medical people and be asked to provide personal information while there were people directly behind and beside me, who could easily overhear everything being said. In some cases, I tried writing the information on a piece of paper or answering very softly and they would repeat what I said so loudly the whole waiting room, or most, could hear. At Burnaby General Hospital, in emergency, they have the reception desk right in front of the waiting room where everyone, or most, could overhear the conversation regarding the collection of personal information.                                                                                   ii. I was in a doctor’s very small reception/waiting room. The staff would talk to patients on the phone, sometimes even stating the patient’s name. People in the waiting room couldn’t help by overhear the conversation.                                             iii. I was in a pharmacy where they had a sign which said “stand back to respect people’s privacy”.  The pharmacy wasn’t that large so you would have to stand half way, or more, across the room, to avoid hearing the conversation.  The counter was also near the door so there was traffic coming & going.

But, hey, just ask them and they will tell you “your information is protected”. They don’t care about people’s privacy..  It’s inconvenient, to them.





  1. THOUSANDS OF B.C. PRIVATE HEALTH RECORDS SOLD AT PUBLIC AUCTION –  Jonathan Fowlie, 04 Mar 2006, Vancouver Sun (a paper I didn’t buy)
  2. Human Resources bureaucrats questioned over data breach – Jessica Murphy, 15 Feb 2013, 24 Hours
  3. Anti-abortion activist snooped into 414 abortion files – Olivia Carville, 21 Jan 2015, Toronto Star
  4. Hospital privacy violations rife in Ontario – Olivia Carville, 29 Oct 2014, Toronto Star
  5. Privacy breach: Six GTA hospitals gave patient info to photographers – Joel Eastwood, 29 Aug 2014, Toronto Star
  6. Laptop with 620,000 Albertans’ personal health information stolen – Robson Fletcher, 22 Jan 2014, Metro News
  7. 4 other cases of stolen health data in Alberta – 22 Jan 2014, CBC News
  8. Ontario lags other provinces in updating health privacy laws – Olivia Carville, 06 Feb 2015,  Toronto Star.
  9. Hundreds of hospital privacy violations go unreported – Olivia Carville, 13 Jan 2015, Toronto Star



– Alana James – a lawyer who worked as a senior health information advisor; whistleblower who no longer works for the ministry (g)

– John Doyle – auditor general (p)

Alana and John – I have the utmost respect and admiration for both of you.

Premiers (n) The big turdits, ultimately responsible for ensuring that our information was protected and none of them followed the law, i.e. FIPPA (in effect since 1993) or The Privacy Act .  Isn’t this, at best, a dereliction of duty?

– Christy Clark (Liberal) – 14 Mar 2011
– Gordon Campbell (Liberal) – 5 Jun 2001 to 14 Mar 2011                                                                                                 – Ujjal Dosanjh (NDP) – 24 Feb 2000 to 5 June 2001
– Dan Miller (NDP) – 25 Aug 1999 to 24 Feb 2000
– Glen Clark (NDP) – 22 Feb 1996 to 25 Aug 1999
– Mike Harcourt (NDP) – 5 Nov 1991 to 22 Feb 1996

Health Ministers  (o) (next in line regarding ultimate responsibility):

– Terry Lake – 10 Jun 2013 – current health minister

– Margaret MacDiarmid – 05 Sept 2012 to June 2013 – then health minister – *

– Mike de Jong – 14 Mar 2011 to 05 Sep 2012 – health minister when two of the known “leaks” occurred and the “investigation” began – *

– Colin Hansen – 30 Nov 2010 to 14 Mar 2011 – *

– Kevin Falcon – 10 Jun 2009 to 30 Nov 2010

– George Abbott – 16 Jun 2005 to 10 Jun 2009 – *

– Shirley Bond – 15 Dec 2004 to 16 Jun 2005

– Colin Hansen – 05 Jun 2001 to 15 Dec 2004 – *

– Corky Evans – 01 Nov 2000 to 05 June 2001

– Mike Farnworth – 29 Feb 2000 to 01 Nov 2000

– Penny Priddy – 18 Feb 1998 to 24 Feb 2000

– Joy MacPhail – 17 Jun 1996 to 18 Feb 1998

– Andrew Petter – 28 Feb 1996 to 17 June 1996

– Paul Ramsey – Sept 1993 to Feb 1996

Also, there are deputy ministers, associate deputy ministers and assistant deputy ministers and the opposition health critics but no one did, or said, anything. This wasn’t a small error, a slip up, this was/is huge, this was/is intentional.  Did it make it easier to share our information with all their despicable friends and party donors, for example the pharmaceutical companies??

Opposition party leaders and heath critics, such as Adrian Dix, also had a responsibility to speak up but they didn’t. And I don’t believe that they didn’t know that the health ministry was massively violating people’s privacy and the law.  And as John Doyle said, this issue goes beyond the health ministry (see post “Our Information Is Not Protected – Part I”).

Some of these people will leave office and try to redeem themselves. But we know who they are and, at least some, of what they have done.  It’s like Tony Blair and Condaleeza Rice who are responsible for hundreds of thousands, or is it millions, of injuries and deaths of innocent people during the Iraq war (some consider them mass murderers), but after they leave office they go on a “peace” mission to redeem their reputation.  Like other politicians, they can’t.  They are what they are and they did what they did and nothing will change that.  Their stench will continue to emanate from them forever.


– Graham Whitmarsh – “deputy minister at the time of the firings and later fired by the government” (c) ( lost his job as part of a post-election “shuffle” of cabinet ministers and deputies); “was one of the people who signed off while working in the finance ministry last year on forgiving David Basi and Bob Virk’s $6 million legal fees after they pleaded guilty to charges in the BC Rail corruption case.”(h)                                                                                            – John Dyble – was deputy minister of health services, now deputy minister to the premier (g)       – Stephen Brown – assistant deputy minister until April 2011, then to Ministry of Children and Family Development (p), now deputy minister for health (c)                         – Elaine McKnight – “associate deputy minister in health supervised the people who conducted the early stages of the investigation” (c) and current head of the public service agency (replaced Tarras)(g)                                                                          – Health Ministry assistant deputy ministers Lindsay Kislock, Manjit Sidhu and Barbara Walman, were put in charge of the investigation (f), and the public version of the report had their names redacted from the terms of reference for the 2012 review that eventually led to the firings, included in McNeil’s report as Appendix C.  (j) Manjit Sidu was also direct supervisor to Alana James (see his comments to her concerns).f)
– Bob Nakagawa “left his position as assistant deputy minister in charge of the pharmaceutical services division in April 2012” (h)                                                                                           – John Bethel – “a former BC Liberal candidate and member of Premier Clark’s transition” team replaced Bob Kakagawa (h)
– Linda Tarras – head of PSA and retired at the end of October 2014 and wrote the terms of reference for the review (i)
– Rebecca Warburton – co-director of research and evidence development in the ministry’s pharmaceutical services division and Roderick MacIssac’s thesis supervisor (h)
– Bill Warburton – has a PhD in economics and worked as the director of the economic analysis branch for the former ministry of human resources, had a $1 a year contract that gave him access to drug data (h), a health economist who had just been hired by the University of Victoria to oversee an Alzheimer’s disease drug research project, (29)
– Roderick MacIsaac – a PhD student in the University of Victoria’s school of public administration, on a co-op work term, Rebecca Warburton was his advisor.  Mr. MacIsaac committed suicide. (l)    – Bob Hart – the director of data access, research and stewardship (k), with the ministry for 30 years(h)                                                 – Ramsay Hamdi, a senior economist in the utilization health care and risk management branch (14)
– David Scott – a senior researcher in the analysis branch (h)
– Malcolm Maclure – a director of research and evidence development with the ministry’s pharmaceutical services division (30) and had appointments to Uvic and the University of BC (14)
– Ron Mattson – a special projects manager with PharmaCare, was involved in the Alzheimer’s Drug Therapy Initiative (14), an employee for 27 years (h); a View Royal city councillor(m)
– Sara Brownlee – led the team that undertook the investigation and member of staff of PSA (c)
-Investigator from the chief information officer’s office. “Sara and Wendy were, to my knowledge, the only individuals who attended every meeting and employee interview.” [Graham Whitmarsh].  The pair was key, he said. “They collected all evidence and wrote all reports with respect to the entire investigation process. In addition, they drafted all the letters advising employees of disciplinary actions.” (c)
– Dale Samsonoff – advanced education executive director (d)                                                      – Ted Boomer – director of the Ministry’s Accounting Operations Branch  (b)                                    – Grace Foran – health director of executive operations (d)              – Greg Tonn and Don Rintoul (d)                                                     – Ryan Jabs – Ministry spokesperson (f)                                         – Laine Coopsie – senior audit advisor in the health ministry (f)      – Jay Chalke – Ombudsperson                                                           – Linda Kayfish – she’s wasn’t a participant – sister of Roderick MacIssac, an outsider, she’s fighting for his rights

Other Names You May Find Interesting (e):

Provincial Health Services Authority

Board Chair: Wynne Powell
President and Chief Executive Officer: Carl Roy

Fraser Health

Board Chair: Wynne Powell
A/President and Chief Executive Officer: Dr. David Ostrow                                                                                               Dr. David Ostrow – was CEO of Vancouver Coastal Health Authority (VCHA) – see post “Auditor General’s report” – now a/president and CEO of Fraser Health Authority (things never change, just moved around) (see post “AUDITOR GENERAL – PARIS REPORT, May 24, 2010 and post  “AUDITOR GENERAL, June 10, 2011)

Interior Health

Board Chair: Norman Embree
President and Chief Executive Officer: Dr. Robert Halpenny

Northern Health

Board Chair: Dr. Charles Jago
President and Chief Executive Officer: Cathy Ulrich

Vancouver Coastal Health

Board Chair: Kip Woodward
President and Chief Executive Officer: Mary Ackenhusen

Island Health

Board Chair: Don Hubbard
President and Chief Executive Officer: Dr. Brendan Carr


Geoff Plant, former BC Liberal attorney general, now chair of Providence’s board of directors (and round and round they go)

How much did we pay these “people” to lie and/or know NOTHING:

* Margaret MacDermid said “It’s not clear at all to me and I don’t believe it’s clear to anyone as to why this happened.” (s)

(t) – Mike de Jong said about the situation: “”it’s disappointing, it’s troubling.” “One of the things I as health minister had endeavoured to promote is responsible access to the treasure trove of data we hold as a society with a PharmaCare program”;

(g) – Colin Hansen said, in March of 2012, “They’re being overly cautious, let’s put it that way. And the result of that is that the process is way too time-consuming and frustrating for those responsible researchers who want to get access.” and “sufficient safeguards are already in place to assure both the anonymity of records and to ensure they will only be released to responsible researchers”.

(r) – George Abbott said, regarding the firings, “I have no idea how something like that came to be,”

Margaret MacDiarmid and Terry Lake lied repeatedly about the non-existent RCMP investigation (see post “Our Information Is Not Protected – Part I)



  1. Fired health ministry employee ‘mystified’ by dismissal – Andrew MacLeod, 12 Sep 2012, The Hook
  2. The best place on Earth (for pharmaceutical companies) – Alan Cassels, Mar 2013, Online
  3. What We Know So Far about the Health Ministry Firings – Andrew MacLeod, 19 Dec 2014, TheTyee.ca
  4. BC Gov’t Hiding ‘Embarrassing’ Reports, FOI Advocate Says – Andrew MacLeod, 26 Jan 2015, TheTyee.ca
  5. British Columbia Health Authorities Webpage – 17 Mar 2015
  6. Emails Shed Light on Origins of Health Ministry Probe, Firings – Andrew MacLeod, 21 Oct 2014, TheTyee.ca            **
  7. Key Health Ministry Advisor Was Surprised Firings Targeted Just ‘Low Level People’: Emails – Andrew MacLeod, 6 Nov 2014, TheTyee.ca **
  8. ‘I Thought I Was Doing a Good Job’: Fired Health Ministry Staffer, Andrew MacLeod, 12 Sept 2012, TheTyee.ca
  9. Sister of Fired Researcher Losing Faith in Government Probe – Andrew MacLeod, 5 Dec 2014, TheTyee.ca
  10. Fork over Full Health Firings Findings: Dix – Andrew MacLeod, 8 Jan 2015, TheTyee.ca
  11. BC Gov’t Faces Third Lawsuit over Health Ministry Firings – Andrew MacLeod, 12 Mar 2013, TheTyee.ca
  12. Fired Health Ministry Worker Found Dead – Andrew MacLeod, 10 Jan 2013, TheTyee.ca
  13. Research Stopped by Ministry Might Have Cut Big Pharma Profits – Andrew MacLeod, 8 Sept 2012, TheTyee.ca
  14. Premiers of British Columbia 1871 – today, British Columbia government website
  15. How many health ministers does it take to run B.C.’s medical system…? – Pamela Fayerman, 14 Mar 2011, Vancouver Sun (a paper I never buy)
  16. Independent inquiry urged into botched health ministry firings – Rob Show, 2 Jul    2015, Vancouver Sun
  17. Bill easing research access to ehealth data sparks privacy fears – Craig McInnes, 03 May 2012, Vancouver Sun
  18. George Abbott Quits Liberals He Sought to Lead – Andrew MacLeod, 30 Jun 2015, TheTyee.ca
  19. B.C. Health ministry says RCMP called to investigate conflict allegations – Dirk Meissner, 06 Nov 2012, The Canadian Press
  20. Health ministry fires fifth person in data, contract investigation – Andrew MacLeod, 13 Sep 2012, The Hook

**Alana James comments


If you can’t protect it, don’t collect it.

Personal health information is one of the most sensitive categories of personal information held by public bodies. (11)

Personal health information is much more than ‘just data’ – it is sensitive information provided confidentially in the context of care. (11)

The politicians and all their friends keep lying about protecting our information. For example:

  1. The BC Ministry of Health was tipped, in March of 2012*, by the office of the BC Auditor General that it had “received an anonymous allegation about contracting irregularities and research practices, including inappropriate access to personal information” at the Pharmaceutical Services Division. (11) Another ministry division was also involved.(11)

The Health Ministry fired seven people and froze several drug research contracts. (42)

The B.C. Privacy Commissioner conducted an investigation after the Ministry of Health revealed, on July 13, 2012, that “government employees downloaded large amounts of personal health data onto unencrypted flash drives and provided it to unauthorized individuals”.   And this wasn’t one loss.  First it was unauthorized sharing of 21,000 people.  Then it was 38,000 people.  Then it was “the data of five million** British Columbia’s covering a number of years.”  According to Wikipedia, the population of BC in 2011 was 4,400,057.  In other words, everyone’s information was shared NON-anonymously, including those who had moved out of province.  It included “sexual history, Medical Service Plan claims, hospital admission records, healthcare numbers, dates of birth and gender.” (1, 6) plus “alcohol and drug use, … postal codes” (2).  Enough information to identify the patients.

“One incident breached an agreement with Statistics Canada involving 38,000 people whose information in the Canadian Community Health Survey was collected from census data between 2000 and 2010, said a Health Ministry spokesman.” “Individuals participated in that survey and shared their most sensitive information such as sexual health and sexual preferences on the basis that that information would not be shared,” she said. (2)

“There was an agreement and a consent to have that information used only for specific purposes within the Ministry of Health. When that information was disclosed that was really a breach of an agreement and it goes to the issue of trust that individuals have in the health-care system.” (2) Statistics Canada had promised individuals who completed the survey that the Ministry would not disclose any of their information in personally identifiable form. (11)  Again, the government just lies.  They either didn’t check the Ministry of Health to determine if there was adequate security or they didn’t care.  Statistics Canada was apparently content with a worthless agreement, and, it seems, has taken no action on the violation of the agreement.

Margaret MacDiarmid said that “It appeared researchers were getting data for one purpose, then using it for another research purpose”. (14) 0`

“The purported recipients of the information were two contractors and a researcher” (11) and involved the University of Victoria, University of BC and the Therapeutics Initiative.

BC’s Privacy Commissioner made 11 recommendations (Note: the privacy commissioner can only recommend, not enforce).  You can read the report at www.oipc.bc.ca , Investigation Report F13-02, dated June 16, 2013.  “The report does not address criminal or civil culpability on the part of the Ministry, its employees or contractors. “

Some points from the report (35 pages, some of it repetitive):

– The Privacy Commissioner stated the Ministry didn’t even have “adequate safeguards to protect personal information, both in the delivery of health care and research using health data.” (11) (bolding/italics mine)

– The ministry failed to translate privacy and security policies into meaningful business practices. The primary deficiency at the ministry was a lack of effective governance, management and controls over access to personal health information. (11)  In other words, the policies, the protection of our information, were just words on paper.

– The information was shared via portable storage devices (easily lost/stolen/copied/given away).

– “The ministry didn’t have an inventory of its personal-information databases or a program to monitor any unauthorized use and disclosure of citizens’ information by contracted and academic researchers”. (3) So, people could steal this information and sell/trade/barter it without risk of being caught, unless a whistleblower comes forward, and maybe not even then.                                                                                                  – “There were no mechanisms to ensure that researchers were complying with the privacy requirements, as stipulated in contracts and written agreements”. (11)  Again, the contracts/agreements were just worthless words on paper.                                                 – There were insufficient physical and technological safeguards to prevent copying of sensitive personal information onto portable storage devices. The Ministry failed to monitor the access, use and disclosure of sensitive personal information. It also failed to impose effective security provisions in some of its contracts and information sharing agreements. Given the level of sensitivity of the personal information involved, the Ministry did not provide reasonable security. (11)

Terry Lake, Minister of Health as of June 10, 2013, blamed the employee’s for the lack of “mechanisms to ensure that researchers were complying with the privacy requirements”. (48) Isn’t that the Minister’s job to ensure “mechanism’s” are in place for the proper running of a ministry?  Plus, this went beyond researchers; the Ministry didn’t have adequate safeguards even for the delivery of health care.  But this is typical politician behaviour to blame someone else for the politicians obvious incompetence or chosen behaviour.

In a report, dated February 9, 2009, The Acting Information and Privacy Commissioner, Paul Fraser, “found MCFD and MHSD failed to make reasonable security arrangements to protect personal information from risks such as unauthorized access, collection, use, disclosure or disposal as required by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). In addition, ‘Commissioner Fraser found a troubling lack of knowledge within the Ministries about the rules respecting the protection of personal information’”. (prior post, Privacy Breaches, 11 Jun 2011)

And again, a report was released in 2010 by then Auditor General John Doyle who had conducted an audit of a Vancouver Coastal Health Authority database   He found almost identical “problems”.  (prior post “Auditor General – PARIS report” 24 May 2010)           So, nothing changes.

It sounds like the Ministry of Health has been running a free-for-all. They only knew about this “breach” from a whistleblower (so they say).  There is a minister of health, a deputy minister, assistant deputy ministers, associate deputy minister… – and no one knows what’s going on (or more likely they do and chose to have it this way).  And there is no doubt this “breach” is the tip of the iceberg, since this lack of privacy protection has been going on for 20+ years. (49)

The term “breach”, has a couple of definitions. One definition is “to make an opening in” (as in a security system)  But I think you first have to have a security system to “breach”.  The second definition is to “break or act contrary to (a law, a promise)”. (Wikipedia)  This post uses the second definition of breach.  Christy Clark and other BC premiers and their lackeys, breached or contravened the privacy act, for 20+ years, by, for all intents and purposes, not having a security system and broke a promise to the people to protect their information.  The fired contractors/employees were believed to have committed a breach by accessing/sharing patient information without authorization (illegally?).

So what really happened?   CBC News has provided a timeline of the events but we still don’t know what really happened. (55)  I do know that there are only two people I trust who were involved in this whole disgraceful affair, Alana James (whistleblower) and John Doyle (former auditor general)(more information on John Doyle***). Unlike the researchers, these two came forward when the only thing they had to gain was maintaining their self-respect and integrity.  And they risked losing their jobs, which they did.

But some points to consider are (note the many contradictions and outright lies in this scandalous fiasco): (40)

– The ministry did not discover the unauthorized disclosures until a whistleblower came forward, leading to a review of thousands of emails and files on the hard drives of several employees. (11) The whistleblower, Alana James, is no longer working for the government either by choice (disgusted with the way things operate?) or “let go” (government doesn’t want someone who works for the people?)

– Alana James “had been raising concerns about the legality of numerous contracts the ministry had entered” “for several years before the firings“. (25) She had contacted eight senior ministry officials about her concerns  and “they were saying policy trumped the law and government could do what it wants even if it breaches the law and legislation”.   Alana James also identifies quite a lot of concerns that the Ministry of Health did not address in their investigation. (17)

– Two of the employees settled wrongful dismissal and defamation suits out of court and were rehired (Bob Hart and Malcolm Maclure), a third employee (Ron Mattson) received an out of court settlement and an apology and retired. These settlements were done behind closed doors and with a non-disclosure clause.  Bill Warburton has settled his lawsuit with the province but has filed a defamation claim against Margaret MacDermid. (43, 9, 44)   Dave Scott and Ramsay Hamdi remain fired.  Roderick MacIssac committed suicide. (12,18, 45, 46).  Rebecca Warburton has her case before the courts. Why were the non-union employees rehired/retired (except Rebecca Warburton) but the two union people were not rehired and yet not charged with an offence/crime? (13)  A source claims the non-union employees threatened to tell what is really going on. (23)   Is there something that prevents union employees from doing the same thing?

– The firings were done by Graham Whitmarsh, deputy health minister “on the first day that Margaret MacDiarmid was health minister”. (12) She replaced Mike de Jong who was moved to the Finance Ministry.(20)   What interesting timing!  Did Christy think he was too much of a political asset to take responsibility for his actions (or lack of actions)?  The breaches happened on his watch, the initial investigation which led to the suspension, and later firing of seven employees occurred on his watch and the lack of overall privacy protection continued on his watch.  Now, it appears, he ran and hid in another ministry.  Isn’t that called being a coward?  And, he can claim that he “can’t comment” on what is going on in another ministry and MacDiarmid can claim that she was not minister at the time it happened so she can’t answer what happened.

– Mike de Jong said about the situation: “”it’s disappointing, it’s troubling.” “One of the things I as health minister had endeavoured to promote is responsible access to the treasure trove of data we hold as a society with a PharmaCare program”; (20) “It’s not clear at all to me and I don’t believe it’s clear to anyone as to why this happened,” said MacDiarmid.(5) Now that they have had time to read the privacy commissioner’s report perhaps the ministers could explain what they do to earn their large pay-cheques, expense accounts and golden pensions.  Imagine if a bank was robbed and an executive said “I didn’t know there wasn’t any security” or “we had no security because we expected everyone to be honest.” How long would that executive be employed?  So, are they incredibly incompetent, liars or both?

– We have paid for an internal investigation, RCMP responding to claims of an investigation (a non-existent investigation), a privacy commissioner investigation, a University of BC investigation, and possibly a University of Victoria investigation, settlements to fired employees, a pending court case, 37,000 notifications of the breach, $1.1 million (or $950 per phone call) to Maximus for a toll-free call centre, $400,000 in severance payments to Graham Whitmarsh (18) and on and on. “It is worth noting the high costs of such after-the-fact privacy breach management as opposed to investing in comprehensive privacy and security risk management up front. Senior management time is an especially high component of this burden.” (11) I think the management should have worked for free, then been fired.   But no management has been held responsible for the “breach”, for the lack of privacy protection and there has been no accountability.  Whitmarsh was fired, without cause, with a $461,643 severance package. (55)  The citizens, will just work a little harder, work a little longer, or do without to pay for the useless, incompetent, self-serving politicians and their toadies.

– “The Ministry believed the research credentials of the individuals involved suggested that there was little risk for misuse” of patient information. (11)  How convenient.  Excuse me but aren’t these the people who, “without authorization” (illegally?) requested, shared and accepted confidential patient information!!!

– Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid said “We want the data back” (1). How stupid can you be (but I guess it sounds good in the press).  You don’t get it back especially after several years. Once it’s out there, it’s out there. “In attempting to contain the breaches, the Ministry had to rely on declarations from the employees and contracted researchers under investigation that they did not have any Ministry information stored outside the confines of the Ministry.”(11)  In other words, the Ministry is, again, relying on the word of people who had “without authorization” (illegally?) given and accepted identifiable patient information.  One person said they had deleted the information from their hard drive.  But, my understanding is that if information is transferred onto your computer and then deleted, it is not totally gone, unless the hard drive is wiped clean.  I doubt very much if that was done.  Also, these systems usually have at least one backup.  This shows, again, that the ministry has no idea (or doesn’t care) how our information is accessed or shared.

– “Jim Wright, the managing director of the University of B.C. pharmaceutical research group” said people working with him “only get fully anonymous data, making a privacy breach impossible”.(33) The Privacy Commissioner’s report said a contractor (doesn’t mention which university) “requested that the personal health numbers (PHNs) be masked or removed, as the testing process did not need such sensitive personal information.” (11).  This seems to imply that the norm is to give the information NON-anonymously.

– The press keeps repeating, or paraphrasing, the MacDiarmid statement that “there was no evidence that anyone had benefited financially from the breaches and that the data had been used for nothing other than public health research”.(36) This is misleading at best. What isn’t being said is that there was no evidence that anyone hadn’t benefited financially or that data had not been used for purposes other than public health research.  The government was so mismanaged (intentionally or just incompetently) that they had no record of what was happening to our information.  They only became aware of two cases of “unauthorized” (illegal?) access/sharing (or so they say) because the employee’s accessed and shared the information after they were told that they were being investigated. (11, 30)  Presumably, they found out about the 2010 “unauthorized” access/sharing by stumbling across some emails.

And, do you really believe that in 20+ years no one personally benefited from sharing our information, especially when there was virtually no chance of getting caught. Just think of all the people/organizations who would willingly pay a lot of money for this “treasure trove” of information.  Example, “records were allegedly stolen from two Toronto hospitals and used to market registered education savings plans to new mothers.” (34)  Just because a criminal has not been caught or convicted (see prior post “Nurses”,  Nov. 12, 2008) does not mean a crime has not happened.

– “The Ministry convened a news conference on January 14, 2013, to inform the public of details of the breaches (three months after the September 2012 announcement, and 10 months after being notified of the breach, or so they say). It mailed letters of notification to affected individuals (approximately 37,000) in batches over five days starting on January 16, 2013. The Ministry made use of a website and a toll-free call centre to make additional information available to affected individuals”. (11) A lot of people would not have known about the unauthorized access/sharing, especially if they had left the province.  But presumably the turdits didn’t want to mail out over 4 to 5 million notifications.  And how much personal information was a person required to give the foreign-owned call centre, and their probably low-paid employee’s, to get scripted answers?

I also find it interesting that the media labels this as a ministry firing scandal and not as a ministry privacy violation scandal (of epic proportions). Is this because it’s so shocking that someone would get fired for violating our privacy but the massive violation of our privacy is so common or is this to deflect attention away from the 20+ years of privacy violation?

Dix, and others, including the media, have also portrayed this as the government making up a fictitious situation to close down the Therapeutics Initiative. He implies that the people involved are innocent. Therefore, he is implying that Alana James is lying, that the Privacy Commissioner is lying, that information was not transferred “without authorization” (illegally?), and that the union was incompetent because they couldn’t protect innocent union members.  Maybe this is a distraction, a red herring because he can’t condemn the essentially non-existent protection of our information because both the NDP and Liberal governments have allowed the medical business to ignore FIPPA, to lie about the protection of patient information for 20+ years.  Although I do wonder if having an essentially non-existent security system makes it easier to get information to their friends (party contributors).  Is this how they get the large pharmaceutical companies to locate in BC?  (21)  I’ve read that the collusion between government and Big Pharma borders on criminal.

Do these comments sound like we were dealing with innocent people? Does it sound like these people have any remorse for what they did/are doing?  Alana James said that the ministry was making data disclosures, which were illegal, to outside researchers every week. (17)  And, “I have been told things such as: I don’t understand how government works; that it doesn’t matter what the legislation says, we have government policy; that it’s unfortunate that we don’t follow the law but that we plan on changing the legislation at some point so that we will.”(28)  “Moreover, they’d been doing the job the same way for years with the approval of their superiors. ‘There was a whole chain of command that knew what I was doing,’” one of the people fired said. (14)  Dix said the government ”targeted a small group of people who were acting in ways that were well known and accepted in the ministry”. (25)  But that doesn’t make it legal or acceptable. If you hit a person because you were told to, does that make you any less guilty of assault?  I believe that just makes you both guilty.  It’s just a question of exactly WHO is guilty.  And it also indicates the complete contempt the politicians and their toadies have for the law. (41)

Also, it’s possible that Dix’s is just trying to brainwash people into believing that the medical/research system is trustworthy so people will be gullible enough to continue to give personal information to be sold/traded/bartered to all their political friends.

Dix’s is calling for an investigation, which should happen, but it’s a safe demand because, with a Liberal majority, it won’t happen.

It appears that the only investigation into what happened was a review by the health ministry in 2014. However, this review was only focused on policies and procedures on how the public service responds to allegations of employee misconduct, not on the actual decisions themselves, not on who fired whom and for what reason, or who wrote deficient contracts. (18) And they certainly did not investigate why the Ministry of Health didn’t even have “adequate safeguards to protect personal information.  The government stated that the 2014 review will not be put on the internet for privacy reasons (seems they have a sense of humour). (8)   Stephen Brown, deputy health minister, was suppose to have conducted a review, in 2013, that led to the rehiring of some fired employees.  However, an FOI request received a “no records” of the review response. (24)  And, what happened to the information on the initial investigation, in 2012, that led to the firings and all the files that were suppose to be turned over to the RCMP. (5)

“British Columbia’s Health Minister has called in the RCMP”, “last month, after reviewing the internal probe results, the ministry handed its files over to the Mounties.” (5) MacDiarmid was health minister at the time.   In 2013 Lake, health minister, said they continue to share information with the RCMP… ”So it will be up to the RCMP to determine next steps based on their conclusions from the investigation.” (7)   RCMP had been asked to investigate allegations (22, 3, 31).  A source told the Tyee “They seemed to make the decision about the fired people and told the whistleblower that if they wouldn’t take the issues public they would deal with it internally but that their role was to protect the government as the employer and thus they wouldn’t be pursuing people higher up.” (23)   The government then said that it doesn’t want the RCMP to investigate. (36).  Also, did you note that “their role was to protect the government as the employer”.  Isn’t it time that the people got back to being the employer so the people are protected?  The RCMP have stated that the politicians lied, that there was no investigation and they “largely relied upon media reports to track the case”. (38)  Then, Christy Clark admitted that they had “misled” (blatantly lied to) the public about the non-existent investigation for three years, but only admitted it after the Vancouver Sun released documents, obtained through a freedom of information request, incriminating the politicians. (47).  If you or I lied and used the RCMP, wouldn’t we be charged, at least with mischief or some such thing.  So why aren’t the politicians charged?  And why did the politicians lie about an RCMP investigation?

“The Vancouver Sun’s Vaughn Palmer revealed that the comptroller general’s office has been conducting an investigation into ‘suspected financial improprieties in procurement and contracting procedures in the pharmaceutical research division of the ministry of health,’ since October 2012. (3) The findings are to be kept confidential except to ‘assist RCMP or other law enforcement agency with a criminal investigation or prosecution.’”(28).  It appears that this “investigation” is going in the same direction as the health privacy breach/firings. (39)

“What we’re trying to do is capitalize on data collection that is anonymous,” said Minister de Jong. “Protecting individual privacy remains a hallmark and a fundamental priority.” (15) The Privacy Commissioner’s office obviously disagrees, as does all the evidence. And Ministry of Health claims they didn’t have the resources for protection. (11)  But everyone in the health business says our information is protected.  All these conflicting statements (lies).  And note that they had the money for the Integrated Management System (see post of same title, June 14, 2011).  So they had the money to link all our information but none to protect it.  Sounds about right for the turdits.

The privacy commissioner has 11 recommendations. Do you really think they will be implemented?  Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA), which governs public bodies, came into effect October 1993.  So, it’s been 20+ years since this privacy act came into effect and obviously they have ignored it so far.                                                                                                                                                                      The privacy commissioner also claims that the Health Ministry is “fixing” things.  But, of course, she only has their word, which hasn’t been worth a damn for 20+ years.  They quickly came up with millions to “contain” the “unauthorized” (illegal?) access/sharing.  And, suddenly, there was no problem coming up with the money to “fix the system” now that they had been “found out”, or so they said.  PROVE IT.

The government has looked into joint medical research with India (32) and has held workshops to encourage “BC researchers to compete for contracts from the United States military”(35) and were in discussions to sell (openly/legally) our information (36); that was “officially” suspended, but for how long. So all the people in foreign countries will have our information, if they don’t already have it.  And it will be identifiable because we know the government/medical business make a mockery of the word “anonymous”.

And they passed Bill 35 which is pharmaceutical legislation to increase use of patient information with reduced accountability, including sharing our information outside of Canada. (15, 37) (also see post “Bill 35 – Pharmaceutical Act” 25 Sept. 2012).

Now the turdits are going to do another “investigation” to quiet all the questions around this sordid affair. BUT it will be done by the Ombudsperson, Jay Chalke, who isn’t qualified to do it and is subject to many restrictions.  Also, it will be done behind closed doors. (50)(51) They claim that it would be too expensive and time consuming to have a public inquiry.  Which is more expensive:  a useless investigation by the Ombudsperson, designed to be a whitewash, or a REAL public inquiry, designed to get answers.

The fired people, plus Roderick MacIssac’s sister, have issued a letter requesting a public inquiry. I find this more than a “bit” hypocritical coming from those (not MacIssac’s sister), who had an opportunity to get this into the open by going to court but instead settled behind closed doors, with a non-disclosure clause.  Are some of them doing a “Dix” (including Graham Whitmarsh), demanding a public inquiry, because it makes them look good, when they know it will never happen?  However, the points they outline in their letter regarding why there needs to be a public inquiry are valid. (42, 53)

But, even with a public inquiry you need people with some ethics, integrity and moral fibre, to tell the truth and not just lie, or a damn good lawyer who can get to the truth.

More importantly, B.C.’s former auditor general says the government needs a fully independent public inquiry into the firings of health researchers because allegations of improper activities go all the way up to the politicians.

“John Doyle, who received the whistle-blower’s original complaints that led to the government’s investigation in 2012, said appointing the Ombudsman to review the case would be a ‘waste of time’ because it would too limited to capture the full scope of potential problems.

‘My view is that this isn’t just about a few people in the health department,” he told The Vancouver Sun in an interview Thursday.

‘The information that we were getting covered a lot of government and a lot of behaviour right up to the political levels.  Some of the issues also involved the Ministry of Justice, said Doyle, where Jay Chalke worked as a senior official for the past four years, before starting as Ombudsman Thursday.  The government is poised to appoint Chalke’s office to look into the matter. He shouldn’t be involved, said Doyle.  ‘If they are going to narrow the inquiry right down to looking at the firings, then it doesn’t matter who does it because it’s a waste of time anyway,’ said Doyle.  They’ve done that to death already. It’s really about the patterns of behaviour, the movement of funds, the decision making that was going on in regard to quite a range of different activities, and the interaction with senior politicians .”’ (49)

Doyle suggested a corruption commission model used in Australia, where he is now the auditor general for the State of Victoria. “I believe the agenda is going to be swung towards the seven or eight people who were fired. And really that’s a smokescreen. Some of them were right in the middle of it but some of them were in the periphery. The big things occurring outside the health ministry were some more senior people and a lot of, as I said, politicians involved in the process as well .“ (49)

An Aside: John Doyle and Alana James married and are living in Australia.  I am happy that two such people with ethics, decency, integrity, and bravery got together.  Congratulations to Australia for getting our best.  And BC gets left with the scrapings of humanity.

In addition, David Ostrow violated the privacy act (see post Auditor General – PARIS report, May 24, 2010), de Jong was in charge when the recent health violations occurred and the health ministry violated the privacy act, Margaret MacDiarmid lied about the RCMP (and gawd knows what else) and Terry Lake continued the lie(s), and these people still work in the government. In fact, MacDiarmid was fired by the people when she was voted out of government in the last election but Christy flipped the citizens the finger and gave her a job on the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority board.  That tells me that all of this is run from the top of the dung pile.  Whatever Christy is hiding, about what she/they are doing to us, must be pretty damning.  WHAT ARE THEY DOING TO US!!!

Plus, “The deputy minister of health sent an email yesterday to all staff in the ministry asking them not to delete or destroy any records related to the 2012 firings that the provincial ombudsperson is investigating”, at the request of the ombudsman. “Health policy researcher and author Alan Cassels said that it’s odd that Brown would be reminding people to keep records three years after the firings were made. ‘The horse hasn’t just escaped from the barn, the barn’s burned down,’ he said.  Despite numerous requests to the government since 2012 for information about the firings, little that’s substantial has been released, Cassels said. ‘To be told there aren’t any records, it stretches credibility to the breaking point. You just can’t believe them.'” (52)

If the NDP were to get “in power”, do you really think they would have a full public inquiry of the scandal? I don’t.  They would cover for their compatriots as they would expect their compatriots to cover for them, not to mention that the NDP are likely just as guilty.

The reality is that the only people who can call a public inquiry and get the truth out in the
open are the accused (the politicians and their lackeys), and obviously they are not going to
do it.  We have no means to hold the government accountable — do you call that a democracy?

So, sit back folks in BC and start counting the millions more that will be wasted in the charade, all to cover up what the politicians are doing to the people. I have no doubt that the politicians, and many others, know exactly what happened and why.  But, the people can just work harder, or work longer to make up the millions, or do without.  The people doing without will be the children, the homeless, the disabled, the aged …. but the politicians don’t care.

Lies, lies, more lies, constant contradictions and cover-ups. It isn’t just a case of breaching security measures, it’s a case of not having security measures.  It’s a case of intentionally violating the privacy laws for 20+ years. Common sense indicates that the “unauthorized” (illegal?) access/sharing we hear about are just a tiny fraction of the violations of our privacy.

It’s a culture of secrecy, of lies, of deviousness, of corruption…. and the culture is set at the top, at the Premier’s office. And followed, blindly, by her toadies, with the rare exception of someone like Alana James, someone who has ethics, morals, and a backbone.  This attitude (contempt, disrespect) toward the people and this “government/medical” sense of entitlement is the core problem.  And until that changes the privacy situation won’t get any better.

I might not mind my information being shared with researchers if I believed they had my back; If patient information was not being protected, that the researchers would make that known. But they don’t (see future post “complicit”) . I have not heard of one person, in 20+ years, speaking up (Alana James was not a researcher).   The first rule in medical research should be to protect the patient’s rights and confidentiality.  Currently, this is either their last rule or not even on their radar. Yet these are the people the privacy commissioner tries to portray as paragons of virtue.  You would think these researchers would speak up, or otherwise let it be known, as a matter of professional integrity.  Plus, “Government employees are sworn to uphold Standards of Conduct as explained by a policy statement which clearly states: ‘Employees have a duty to report any situation relevant to the BC Public Service that they believe contravenes the law, misuses public funds or assets, or represents a danger to public health and safety or a significant danger to the environment.’” (21)  But they don’t care about us.  Another government/medical business contradiction, and meaningless words on paper because the only person to uphold the Standards of Conduct is no longer with the government/medical business.

It doesn’t matter what the medical/research people are doing. The ends do not justify the means.  Under no circumstances should they have the right, or sense of entitlement, to treat us like lab rats, a commodity to be used and abused as THEY choose, with no accountability or transparency to the citizens, much less real consent by the patients.

But, all we see here is the scorn the medical/research/government people have for the citizens. And they expect us to trust them.  In my opinion, you would have to be brain-dead, or a masochist, to voluntarily give these people any information.  They have lost all credibility, all trust, all respect.




*This date may be not be correct due to another government “inconsistency”.

** This number has varied between 4 million and 5 million. So, presumably the government doesn’t even know how much information was “shared”.  Any number over the current population could be due to including the information of people who have left the province.

***Champions are hard to find, harder to keep, 06 Feb 2013, Burnaby Now (Our View); Keeping Accounts, 10 Apr 2013, Newsleader (Newsleader’s View); Expense cleanup must continue, Tom Fletcher, 12 Jun 2013, Black Press; also see posts “Auditor General – PARIS Report”, 24 May 2010 and “Auditor General”, 10 Jun 2011 and “Auditor General John Doyle”, 13 Apr 2013; Protect whistleblowers to protect public good, 12 Dec 2012, Burnaby Now (Our View)


  1. Health data of millions breached – Tyler Orton, 13 Jan 2013, 24 Hours
  2. Protect personal health info with security measures: privacy commissioner – Camille Bains, 26 June 2013, The Associated Press
  3. Vaughn Palmer: The plot just thickened on those mysterious government health firings – Vaughn Palmer, 15 Oct 2014, Vancouver Sun (a paper I didn’t buy)
  4. Policies tightened on pharmaceutical deals – 6 Sep 2012, 24 Hours
  5. B.C. Health ministry says RCMP called to investigate conflict allegations – Dirk Meissner, 06 Nov 2012, The Canadian Press
  6. B.C. Health ministry suspends workers over privacy breach – Jonathan Fowlie, 14 Sep 2012, Vancouver Sun
  7. Protect personal health info with security measure privacy commissioner – 26 Jun 2013, The Canadian Press
  8. Fork over Full Health Firings Findings: Dix – Andrew MacLeod, 12 Jan 2015TheTyee.ca
  9. Health Worker fired to Protect Liberal Donors, Suit Alleges – Andrew MacLeod, 07 May 2013, TheTyee.ca
  10. Health Ministry Firings Review an ‘Accountability Gong Show,’ Says NDP – Andrew MacLeod, 22 Feb 2014, TheTyee.ca
  11. Investigation Report F13-02, Ministry of Health – Hamish Flannigan and Pat Egan, 26 Jun 2013, Privacy Commissioner’s Office
  12. Fired Researcher Who Killed Self Was Evaluating Drug Backed by Clark – Andrew MacLeod, 03 Oct 2014, TheTyee.ca
  13. Health Ministry Mum on Fired Worker’s Rehiring – Andrew MacLeod, 07 Mar 2014, TheTyee.ca
  14. ‘I Thought I Was Doing a Good Job’: Fired Health Ministry Staffer – Andrew MacLeod,    12 Sept 2012, TheTyee.ca
  15. Privacy Commissioner to Health Minister: Whoa! – Andrew MacLeod, 3 May 2012, TheTyee.ca
  16. Taxpayers Dinged for a Thousand $1,000 Phone Calls – Andrew MacLeod, 16 Jan 2014, TheTyee.ca
  17. Emails Shed Light on Origins of Health Ministry Probe, Firings – Andrew MacLeod, 21 Oct  2014, TheTyee.ca
  18. Former Official Fears Blame for Health Ministry Firings – Andrew MacLeod, 20 Nov 2014, TheTyee.ca
  19. Health minister MacDiarmid confirms fifth firing morning after – Andrew MacLeod, 14 Sep 2012, The Hook,
  20. Health ministry fires fifth person in data, contract investigation, Andrew MacLeod, 13 Sep 2012, The Hook
  21. The best place on Earth (for pharmaceutical companies) – Alan Cassels, Mar 2013,  Online
  22. Research Stopped by Ministry Might Have Cut Big Pharma Profits – Andrew MacLeod, 8 Sep 2012, TheTyee.ca
  23. Key Health Ministry Advisor Was Surprised Firings Targeted Just ‘Low Level People’: Emails – Andrew MacLeod, 6 Nov 2014, TheTyee.ca
  24. ‘No Records’ of Requested Health Ministry Review – Andrew MacLeod,16 Feb 2015, TheTyee.ca
  25. What We Know So Far about the Health Ministry Firings – Andrew MacLeod, 19 Dec 2014, TheTyee.ca
  26. Former Senior Gov’t Official Won’t Participate in Health Firings Review – Andrew MacLeod, 25 Nov 2014, TheTyee.ca
  27. Health ministry lacked means to protect personal info – Andrew MacLeod, 26 Jun 2013, The Hook
  28. VIEW: Time to appoint a special prosecutor on healthcare firings – Andrew MacLeod,  Oct 2014, The Hook
  29. Health research scandal still shrouded in secrecy – C. McInnes, 15 Dec 2012, Vancouver Sun (a paper I wouldn’t buy)
  30. Fired BC Health Worker Sues Province – Dirk Meissner, 04 Dec 2012, The Canadian  Press
  31. Police Called, then Stalled on Health Firing Probe – Andrew MacLeod, 19 Feb 2015,  TheTyee.ca
  32. Asian trip’s aims include medical tourism and shared research – Andrew MacLeod, 04 Nov 2011, TheTyee.ca
  33. Lack of drug data is blocking important research – Andrew MacLeod, 12 Sept 2012, The Hook
  34. OSC lays charges in patient records privacy breach at two Toronto hospitals – Diana      Mehta. 02 Jun 2015, Chronicle Journal:  Health
  35. BC Medical R esearchers encouraged to seek US military funding – Andrew MacLeod, 12 Oct 2012, The Hook
  36. At Time of Firings, Health Ministry Discussed Selling Patient Data – Andrew MacLeod, 20 Mar 2015, TheTyee.ca
  37. Bill 35 – 2012 – Pharmaceutical Services Act, passed May 31, 2012
  38. RCMP probe of fired B.C. Health workers never happened – Rob Shaw, 05 Jun 2015,  Vancouver Sun
  39. Health Ministry Firings Police Probe Still Possible – Andrew MacLeod, 04 Jun 2015, TheTyee.ca
  40. Letter Shows Discrepancy in Gov’t Version of Health Firings – Andrew MacLeod, 3 Feb 2015, TheTyee.ca
  41. On Health Ministry Firings, Who Actually Received an Apology? – Andrew MacLeod, 9 Jun 2015, TheTyee.ca
  42. Wrongly Fired Health Workers Sign New Demand for ‘Thorough’ Inquiry – Andrew MacLeod, 24 Jun 2015, TheTyee.ca
  43. Fired drug researcher drops lawsuit against province – Cindy E. Harnett, 5 Jun 2015, Times Colonist
  44. Victoria drug researcher wasn’t silenced, B.C. Government says – Cindy E. Harnett, 29 May 2015, Times Colonist
  45. Fired researcher’s sister seeks answers in report due today, Cindy E. Harnett, 18 Dec 2014, Times Colonist
  46. Fired Researcher’s ‘Last Words’ Deleted from Computer, Sister Says – Andrew MacLeod,  8 Jul 2015, TheTyee.ca
  47. Christy Clark: Government has apologized for misleading public over B.C. Health firings – 05 Jun 2015 , CBC News
  48. Is Health Firings Probe Doomed to Be Too Narrow? – Bob Mackin, 15 Jul 2015, TheTyee.ca
  49. Independent inquiry urged into botched health ministry firings – Rob Show, 2 Jul 2015, Vancouver Sun
  50. Ombudsperson Pleads for Delay to Health Firings Probe – Bob Mackin, 16 Jul 2015, TheTyee.ca
  51. Editorial: Inquiry must be independent – 4 Jul 2015, Times Colonist
  52. Health Ministry Asks Staff Not to Delete Records Related to 2012 Firings – Andrew. MacLeod, 24 Nov 2015, TheTyee.ca
  53. Wrongly Fired Health Workers Reject Ombudsperson Review – Andrew MacLeod, 28 Jul 2015, TheTyee.ca
  54. Many Theories, No Answers from BC Gov’t on Health Ministry Firings – Bill Tieleman, 23 Jun 2015, TheTyee.ca
  55. B.C. Health researcher firing scandal timeline – Jeremy Allingham, 13 Jun 2015, CBC News


I have heard people ask what they can do. Politicians (past, present, future, wannabes) need to know that when they lie, steal, con, destroy our democracy, freedoms, and rights, there are consequences.  So, here are some suggestions:

Smaller Things:

– If I unexpectedly encounter a politician, or any member of their family, I turn my back on  them and walk away.

– I try to avoid any event where the turdits will be. Or if I feel a need to attend, then, when the turdit speaks, again I turn my back and walk away until they are finished with their self-serving, campaigning, talking points.

– I will not serve on any board or committee that has a politician or a member of their family.

– I try to avoid purchases from company’s owned by politicians and their family members. For example, I never ate at an A & W because I knew at least two were owned by a politician, but I didn’t know which two.

– I try to avoid purchases from large corporations that hire politicians or their family members. If I think I need something from one of these stores then I first consider if there is an alternative method (ex DIY product), can I do without or buy second hand, etc.    And, for example, I did not listen to a certain radio station that hired turdits.

–  And I do not join organizations (usually non-profits) run by politicians. They use others (the slaves) to do all the work while the politician gets the attention.  They don’t care if their organization accomplishes anything because it’s primary purpose is to get the politician attention.

– I won’t take a course, etc. taught by a politician

– And I don’t buy their books, although I may read it in the library to see if it is a white-wash.  I don’t fall for that “Oh, now that I am out of politics, I see the error of my ways and besides I want to make more money off the suckers called citizens”.

– You could start a website that lists where the politicians get their next job, directorships or other remunerations/gifts, and companies they own.   When a politician has been hired by a company it says a lot about the ethics and integrity of the company so I don’t purchase their products or I minimize what I do buy.  Plus the job may have been paid for by the people, if the politician gave the corporation “special consideration”.

– You could have a protest at election time to let politicians know you are not voting for them because they don’t deserve your vote so politicians can’t use the line that the people are just apathetic. Or start the “Do Not Vote” party for all those who are offended by the political options and peopIe can sign their name, on election day, at the party’s site

– You could start a website the allows people to input their ideas on what we can do.

– You could start a website that tracks what politicians DO, not what they say (thanks Lynn)

Bigger Things (or Overall Change):

The system is broken. We need, as a group, to fix it.   Eventually intelligence or disaster (and I expect it will be the latter) will force people to make a change.  We need to be prepared to provide an alternative system or nothing will really change, except the faces.

So I suggest that someone(s) set up a website (people with more advanced tech skills than mine) to allow people to input their ideas for a new governing system; a system that gives the people control. Someone(s) with no agenda but to find a real democratic system.  We will need to know who runs the website so we can be sure that it isn’t one of the politicians, their friends or their shills.

We can create a framework and start to fill in the parts. I think of it like a puzzle, but with parts (or pieces) that may be interchangeable, that may be modified, or removed as circumstances change and as we (hopefully) evolve.

We can start groups to discuss new ideas or ideas listed on the website, research and submit ideas, and how they can be implemented, or we can do this individually; You can network with other groups/individuals to “brainstorm’ new ideas. You can also recommend books, websites, etc. for others to review, how-to’s, information, definitions, maybe like-minded people getting together to do something specific, etc.  In essence, identify what we want, what routes are available to get there, and what can we do now.

I’ve heard that the Yukon, Nunavat, and the Zapatistas have interesting systems. Some elements may be worth considering.

I have heard that there were democratic societies but they were destroyed by the 1%. If this is true then we may not have to reinvent the wheel.  But we will need to know about these societies.

We need to have a say in what is happening to us and our country all the time, not just some phony vote every four or so years. Some people suggest direct democracy – voting issue by issue; others claim this would be time-consuming.  But would it be time-consuming if something actually got done?  It seems, right now, we just keep going over the same issues, nothing gets solved, nothing gets accomplished;  the children are not being cared for, the homeless are homeless, our industries are disappearing, jobs are disappearing, the environment is not being cared for.  Maybe we just need a REAL plan, an ability to hire the most qualified people in Canada and then the issues would be fewer.

Also, I wonder if there is a way of organizing society in a horizontal, sharing method vs the vertical, hierarchical, power structure that we now have; a web-like organization, with people operating in different “nodes” to reinforce the interconnectedness and reduce/eliminate power struggles. I have seen concepts of this but not in terms of overall society.  Perhaps this could be discussed if a website is setup or, if it has already been discussed, that could appear on the website for discussion with other ideas.

A suggested way to start:

Stage/Step 1 – Knowing that what we have doesn’t work

Stage/Step 2 – Ask questions – what do we want, what don’t we want

Stage/Step 3 – Research other systems, including small groups of people that may have a workable form of democracy.

Stage/Step 4 – We need some standard information but also some “out of the box” thinking. Read/study on creative thinking, how to think outside the box, brainstorming (or just do it) and then use that to generate new ideas. When brainstoming, any idea is a good idea no matter how strange it may seem.  It’s to be decided later if all, or a part of the idea, fits into where we want to go or maybe the idea will be useful at a later time.

Stage/Step 5 – Create a framework of a system or more than one and later decide which is preferred. A system that allows for changes. Our current system is too rigid and serves the wrong people.

Stage/Step 6 – Work on details, see the effect one thing has on other things that have been determined to be important to people’s lives, work on compromises for contentious elements. Determine if step 5 meets our (all life forms/the planet) needs.   Each step will likely require going back and revising one or more parts in prior steps and moving forward again and you keep doing this until things fit.

Stage/Step 7 – Implement. This will likely have to be done in a mixture of small and large steps working around politicians and their friends.  These people will do everything they can to disrupt and destroy this process because it does not serve them.  What will they do without the slaves?  What will they do if they can’t think themselves “better” than other people?

Stage/Step 8 – Adjust what doesn’t work or start again. At least this time we will have a clearer idea why something does or does not work.  And it does need to be a system where NO ONE, NO GROUP can be in control because these people will corrupt the system until it only serves them.  And this must be a system that can evolve.

And, of course, when the website is setup you have to let people know it’s there.

I believe that this has to be a Canadian effort for Canada. This does not mean that foreigners cannot input ideas.  But they have to be identified as foreigners.  We need to know what is wanted by Canadians for Canada.  Others can use it as a template to change their system if they choose.

If we know where we want to go, we can figure out how to get there and the trade-offs and we can keep doing this with every issue. Right now we have no idea what is happening because of the lies and the culture of secrecy.

If we create a vision forward, a plan, maybe Canadians will build/create it, one step at a time; a plan which includes all Canadians, which gives them a voice, a REAL role in their own governance.  At the very least we will have an backup plan WE WANT, “when we decide we need it”.

It can be done but it requires work and time.   There are groups/websites, etc. with ideas on how to save the environment, on the economy, on so many things.  But nothing can change with our current system because the politicians and their friends won’t allow it.  Now we need grassroots to design a new system.  When change happens will we be ready for it or will we, in desperation, take whatever is offered to us or forced on us?

There is a cost to doing nothing. So, the real question is – Is saving the life forms, the planet, having a real democracy, ending our enslavement, poverty, and so on, worth it to you???

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality!
To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete!”
— Buckminster Fuller

If anyone creates any of these websites please let me know. You can reach me at the comment section of my blog or my email: searcher@teksavvy.com.