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New Brunswick chapter activists mobilize for Dr. Eilish Cleary


Photos: Chapter activists Mark D’Arcy, Joan Green and Terry Wishart.

New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health has been put on leave.

CBC reports, “New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health was working on a study of the controversial herbicide glyphosate when she was put on leave, CBC News has learned. Dr. Eilish Cleary wrote to a Kent County resident in August that her office would be ‘developing a plan to further explore’ the herbicide, which is used in New Brunswick by forestry company J.D. Irving Ltd. and by NB Power.”

The Kent County resident is Council of Canadians Kent County chapter activist Ann Pohl.

The CBC article adds, “Pohl, who is a member of the Council of Canadians, says Cleary responded quickly when she first contacted her about glyphosate. ‘She was very interested in the issue. I’m concerned there might be some corporate or political pressure put on [Cleary] for her to stand aside’. Pohl says Dr. Jennifer Russell, the acting chief medical officer of health, told her on Nov. 9 the glyphosate study was still going ahead, and the office’s action plan would be complete before the 2016 spraying season. …Pohl says she admired Cleary’s work on shale gas ‘and we were really hoping she’d do the same thing with the glyphosate spraying issue’.”

The article also notes, “​Cleary confirmed in an email to CBC News Wednesday that ‘This is not a situation where I requested a personal leave’. She said she was not allowed to discuss the reasons for the leave. ‘I was surprised and upset when it happened. The whole situation has caused me significant stress and anxiety. And not being able to talk about it makes it worse.'”

As noted on a Government of New Brunswick website, “Dr. Eilish Cleary was appointed as the Chief Medical Officer of Health for the Province of New Brunswick in 2008. Originally from Ireland, Dr Cleary received her Medical degree from Trinity College, Dublin. She came to New Brunswick from Manitoba where she worked as a Regional Medical Officer for several years before becoming the Medical Officer for Emergency Preparedness and Response for Manitoba. Before working in the Public Health field, Dr. Cleary was trained as a Primary Care Physician. She has worked in a variety of settings including Ireland, England and Sierra Leone.  She also served as Chief of Staff in Norway House Hospital, in a Cree First Nations community in Northern Manitoba.”

Council of Canadians chapter activists are now calling on New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant to reinstate Dr. Cleary.

ACTION ALERT: Join the call to reinstate Dr. Cleary as Chief Medical Officer of Health