McGuinty denounces threats in heated drug debate

Assistant deputy minister targeted with death threats, angry letters, emails and phone calls.

Toronto (22 April 2010) - Premier Dalton McGuinty has condemned death threats against a senior Ontario government employee in the heated debate now unfolding over the province's plan to cut generic drug costs by banning millions in payouts from drug companies to pharmacies.

The premier, commenting on a report in the Toronto Star, said he will not tolerate "anything that smacks of a threat" or intimidation tactics against any government member or worker.

He was commenting on the case of Helen Stevenson, the assistant deputy minister of health, who has received angry letters, emails, phone calls and death threats since the policy was announced.

McGuinty said he is not aware that any elected officials have been threatened as yet and said Stevenson has been provided added security. A panic button has been installed at her desk and police patrols have been instituted in the area of her residence. Her office has also been moved to a more secure setting.

Stevenson told the Star the threats are unnerving but are not deterring the province from implementing one of the biggest changes to its drug program in decades. “You have to believe in what you do and I absolutely believe the government has made the right decisions,” she says.

NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

More information:
• Ontario drug changes cut employer costs - OPSEU
• OPSEU supports Ontario action to stem drug costs
• OFL to Shoppers Drug Mart: stop abusing the public