Jane Philpott has been getting a lot of blow back for a ride she recently took in a supporter's limousine. It cost, admittedly, much more than public transportation. But Gerry Caplan has come to her defence:
Jane Philpott is exactly the kind of citizen we should want in Parliament: a doctor of medicine, with a masters degree in public health; doctored in Niger, one of the world’s very poorest countries, for a full decade; chief of the department of family medicine at her hospital; central to a Canada-Ethiopia collaboration to develop a training program for family medicine in Ethiopia.Beyond any formal credentials, she is known among all who work or deal with her for her decency, integrity and deep devotion to her community. She is what the “honourable” in “The Honourable Member” should mean.
And, unlike the former medical minister in Stephen Harper's cabinet, Philpott is trying to do something on the asbestos file:
This month something quite wonderful changed, as Kathleen Ruff has now enthusiastically reported on her website RightOnCanada. She was “extremely encouraged” to learn that Jane Philpott is actively involved with her cabinet colleagues in setting a new policy on asbestos for Canada.“I was glad to receive a phone call from a policy adviser for Minister Philpott and had a constructive and positive dialogue. I am extremely hopeful that in the next session of Parliament the government will announce its plans to ban asbestos, take measures to protect Canadians from asbestos harm and play a leadership role at the UN in support of the listing of chrysotile asbestos as a hazardous substance under the Rotterdam Convention.”This is a very big deal after a decade of irresponsibility by the Harper government (including its well-known doctor, Kellie Leitch), and I, too, happily congratulate Dr. Philpott for living up to expectations.
So, yes, the ride in the limo was a mistake. But, Caplan writes, let's keep things in perspective:
With all the contrived indignation they could muster, opposition critics were swift to leap down her throat, automatic media attention being guaranteed. Canadian Press now immortalizes the entire issue as an “expensive mistake,” referring to “the thousands” Philpott spent “to be chauffeured around in a luxury vehicle owned by a Liberal volunteer.” The actual figure seems to be about $6,500. This says more about Ottawa’s obnoxious political culture than it does about our Minister of Health.
These days, it's hard to see the forest for the trees.