An open letter to John Dyble (November 10, 2016)



Dear John:

I see you’ve been appointed to the board of PavCo. Gives you a little something to do in retirement.

I’m not writing to you about that, though. I’m writing you today about a file left over from your days in the premier’s office: the 2012 health ministry firings.

You see John, as deputy minister to the premier, you either signed-off on the firings (some might say ordered) or you know who did and you know why. It was your job to know.

Roderick MacIssac took his life as a result of his dismissal. I have to believe that weighs heavily on you. You’ll recall the day his body was found.

Here’s the thing John, the government has already wasted more than $5.3 million trying to satisfy the public’s demands for answers, when you could clear it all up in a few minutes.

There are a lot of theories out there over the firings.

Some of the more cited ones include Big Pharma lobbyists pushing to shut down the Therapeutics Initiative, records that you ordered be destroyed in 2009 related to the government’s class action lawsuit against tobacco companies, the clinical research into Champix and those 2010 discussions with LifeSciences BC over selling patient information to industry that they initiated with you.

You handed those discussions over to John Bethel, a confidante of Premier Christy Clark and a member of her transition team in 2011. The same transition that saw you promoted from deputy minister of health to the premier’s office. The crowning achievement of your career in the public service.

The problem with theories is that sometimes they can be worse than the truth.

The fixation on the health ministry has always been of interest to me John, because the whistleblower claimed the transgressions cut across all ministries, as you know well. She called it systemic. As a former deputy minister of transportation and infrastructure I bet that word scared the daylights out of you.

I’m sure you know the Comptroller General’s investigation vindicated the whistleblower.

I have to wonder if one of the damage control tactics used back then was to try and contain the whistleblower’s claims to one ministry? Things could unravel fast, if the contagion – so to speak – spread to other ministries.

Throw a few under the bus might have been the intent. You know how it’s done in politics: β€œthe moment we heard of these allegations we immediately conducted a thorough and comprehensive investigation. It has resulted in the firings of eight individuals. Matters have been referred to the RCMP.”

John, the public already knows mistakes were made, that someone may have overreacted. They know about Roderick.

Set it right.



Dermod Travis

Executive Director