In Response to Terry Lake's Rebuttal to Dr. Calder at the All Candidates Forum

Posted by Stop Ajax Mine on May 13th, 2013 10:52am

We received the following letter to the editor which was interestingly not published to either Kamloops This Week or Kamloops Daily News websites, so they asked us to post it to share the views of some members of our community.   For those who are unfamiliar, Dr. Calder asked Terry Lake if he would support an independent health impact assessment on the mine and many received Mr. Lake's response as quite rude and abraisive, and accusing Dr. Calder of being hypocritical since doctors use industry sponsored research when they prescribe drugs to their patients. 



I am writing to express my disappointment about the way Terry Lake replied to Dr. Calder in the all candidates forum last Thursday.

In my view, it was wrong to question the personal integrity and ethics of Dr. Calder (and the medical profession more generally).  I work with many doctors in my role as a physiotherapist.   Many refer to their practice as a calling; they often place the needs of their patients over their own and make many sacrifices to serve our community and protect their patients.  

Terry Lake's assertion that the doctors cannot question the EAO process (because they use research by drug companies to make treatment decisions) may resonate with some who do not understand the medical profession.  The public should know, however, that all medical professionals are educated about research biases and learn how to critically evaluate research studies.  Regardless, prescription of medication is a very poor analogy for the assessment of the Ajax mine project.

A far better analogy for the evaluation of the Ajax project would be the assessment of a potentially serious health problem.  Assessment includes asking questions, performing a physical examination, and ordering/interpreting tests like blood work and MRI scans.  These tests are done to ensure an accurate diagnosis.  If the correct diagnosis is not made, the treatment is unlikely to be successful and the consequences can be very serious.  Assessing and diagnosing is the most valuable work health professionals perform.  

In asking for a comprehensive, independent health impact assessment, Dr. Calder appears to be advocating for the best possible diagnostic testing.  As patients, we want our problems to be taken seriously.  We expect to have the most thorough testing possible.  

Why would asking for the same standard for the citizens of Kamloops make Terry Lake so visibly upset?  Isn't good diagnosis a "no-brainer"?  Don't the citizens of Kamloops deserve the best possible assessment?  Why has our health become a political issue?  

None of these questions were asked at the forum or by the media, but the next question from the audience was timely.  A questioner asked how the candidates would deal with the divisive nature of the Ajax issue and reunite our city.  It was ironic that Terry Lake had just demonstrated that he doesn't have what it takes to be the kind of leader our community needs right now.  We deserve better.  

Cara Humphreys


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