Mar. 16, 2021
Premier and cabinet decide, not Dr. Henry
Premier Horgan gets mixed up some times. He often refers to the public health officer as deciding various health matters .
The public heath officer is a public servant and advises the minister and cabinet.
On the Provincial Government website it makes this clear. The Public Heath Officer: "Provides independent advice to the Ministers and public officials on public health issues."
Nowhere in the Constitution of Canada are powers delegated to public heath officials, federally or provincially. Powers lie with the Parliament of Canada and the various legislatures and then through these institutions to the prime minister and the ministers. The prime minister and the ministers are responsible to parliament (the peoples’ representatives) and public servants are responsible to the prime minister/premiers and ministers.
Here in British Columbia it should be the premier and the minister who speak of decisions made in heath matters, after considering the advice of the public servants.
It is a dangerous road to suddenly find the people depending on a public servant and not the politician on matters of public policy. That leads to a breakdown in responsible government and democracy, a European type technocracy – where the people and its representatives become cogs in the wheel rather than the wheel itself.
It is tempting for the politician to defer to the public servant when it is a difficult decision and announce measures when they are popular. But this is a perversion of our system.
Make no mistake, Premier Horgan, the cabinet and the Legislative Assembly are responsible for all decisions and they should be out front announcing them all, not the public servants.