Dr. Kellie Leitch is not the first doctor to dabble in politics. The recently retired Keith Martin tried to blend the two professions. But the Harper government's refusal to acknowledge that asbestos is a hazardous substance puts Dr. Leitch between a rock and a hard place. And it requires that she make a decision which cannot split the difference.
The Huffington Post reports that the medical profession has sent her a letter, demanding that she uphold her commitment to the Hippocratic oath:
The letter also notes the federal government has spent millions of dollars to remove asbestos from Canadian buildings in order to protect lives — including around the House of Commons.
It notes that the Canadian Medical Association, Canadian Cancer Society, Canadian Public Health Association and World Health Organization have all called for the use of asbestos to be stopped.
The Conservatives are notorious for making decisions which fly in the face of facts. But Dr. Gilles Paradis, a professor of medicine at McGill and the editor of the Canadian Journal of Public Health, says:
As a physician, we're sure that she knows the incontrovertible evidence about the harm that chrysotile asbestos produces. We just want to remind her that she has a professional duty to live by the principles of the Hippocratic oath that as physicians we all are supposed to adhere to.
This is a true test of the good doctor's character.