FREDERICTON – Several dozen protesters stood outside HSBC Place on King Street Monday calling on the province to reinstate Dr. Eilish Cleary.
Cleary confirmed through emails with Global News last week that she had been placed on leave, and that it was “not a personal leave,” and that she was “told not to talk about it.”
Deputy Minister of Health Tom Maston said last week that it’s a human resources matter and the department has an obligation to protect the privacy and personal information of all parties involved.
“The human resources process that has been initiated is not politically motivated nor have questions been raised about the medical and scientific work being undertaken by the office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, which work continues under the acting Chief Medical Officer of Health,” Maston said in a prepared statement.
Since her leave was made public, many people have called out the government for “muzzling” Cleary.
HSBC Place houses the Department of Health and the Chief Medical Officer of Health. In front of the building on King Street in Fredericton, about 50 people gathered to protest Cleary’s leave just before noon on Monday.
“I chose to come here because I believe in fact-based decision making, and Dr. Cleary provides us with the facts and enables us to make fact-based decisions,” said Joan MacDonald.
MacDonald said it’s more important to her that Cleary is reinstated than to know why she was put on leave in the first place.
“We will all speculate as to the ‘why,’ but it’s not important to me to know the ‘why,'” she said.
Alma Brooks, an elder of St. Mary’s First Nation, said she had come to rely on Cleary for her studies and information.
“My understanding was this office was supposed to be free to speak the truth about things that effect our health,” she said. “I want to know why she was let go.”
Cleary was appointed the Chief Medical Officer of Health for New Brunswick in 2008.
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