Thursday 13 February 1992

Inquiry re Ministry of Health information

Eugene LeBlanc


Chair / Président(e): Offer, Steven (Mississauga North/-Nord L)

Vice-Chair / Vice-Président(e): Miclash, Frank (Kenora L)

Bisson, Gilles (Cochrane South/-Sud ND)

Christopherson, David (Hamilton Centre ND)

Conway, Sean G. (Renfrew North/-Nord L)

Eves, Ernie L. (Parry Sound PC)

Harnick, Charles (Willowdale PC)

Hope, Randy R. (Chatham-Kent ND)

Mills, Gordon (Durham East/-Est ND)

Murdock, Sharon (Sudbury ND)

Owens, Stephen (Scarborough Centre ND)

Scott, Ian G. (St George-St David L)

Substitution(s) / Membre(s) rempliçant(s):

Kormos, Peter (Welland-Thorold ND) for Ms S. Murdock

Wood, Len (Cochrane North/-Nord ND) for Mr Bisson

Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes:

Eugene LeBlanc, Ministry of Health

Page, S. John, Cassels, Brock and Blackwell

Clerk / Greffier: Arnott,Douglas

Staff / Personnel: Jackson, Patricia, Committee Counsel

The committee met at 1011 in room 228.


The Chair: Members of the committee, I will call the committee to order. This morning we have Dr Eugene LeBlanc before the committee, who is the executive director, negotiations secretariat, with the Ministry of Health. I believe to Mr LeBlanc's left is counsel S. John Page. The clerk will administer the oath to Dr LeBlanc.

Eugene LeBlanc, sworn.

The Chair: Just before questioning by counsel Patricia Jackson I would like to advise you that in the event a question is asked in this committee hearing that would require in response the release of confidential information, I would ask you to advise this committee. As per our terms of reference we are able to move into an in camera proceeding whereby the information you feel is of a confidential nature could then be responded to, as per our terms of reference. I note that this morning as a precautionary note.

Having said that, I would invite Ms Jackson to open up questioning at which time there will be a rotation from caucus to caucus for further questioning.

Ms Jackson: Dr LeBlanc, you are the executive director of the negotiations secretariat in the Ministry of Health.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: I understand, sir, that although you have had the title for a matter of a few weeks you have effectively had that position since February 1991.

Dr LeBlanc: That is correct.

Ms Jackson: Dr LeBlanc, you are a PhD in pharmacology?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: You began, after your PhD, with the Addiction Research Foundation?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: And were seconded to the Ministry of Health?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: And have been a permanent employee with the Ministry of Health since the mid-1970s?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: Throughout that period, as I understand it, sir, you have occupied essentially a policy planning and research function, in most cases throughout the period reporting directly to the deputy minister.

Dr LeBlanc: That is correct.

Ms Jackson: During the period immediately prior to your present position, sir, I understand you were the chief of staff to Michael Decter during the course of the negotiations of the agreement that has become to be known as the framework agreement.

Dr LeBlanc: That is correct.

Ms Jackson: I also understand, sir, that over the course of your employment with the Ministry of Health, and in the period when the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act has come to be a significant issue, you have from time to time occupied a position of some responsibility with respect to freedom of information.

Dr LeBlanc: That is correct.

Ms Jackson: Could you describe that briefly for the committee, please?

Dr LeBlanc: In the immediate preceding position as the executive director of policy, the freedom of information office was located in my division for a year and a bit.

Ms Jackson: The negotiations secretariat, Dr LeBlanc, has at the moment three main functions, one being the implementation of the OMA-government agreement.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: And the second being the provision of economic and policy support to the government in its negotiations with various health care providers including doctors.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: And last, and much more recent, the negotiations secretariat has provided liaison between the Ministry of Health and the newly created position of Deputy Minister of Public Sector Labour Relations.

Dr LeBlanc: We are just starting that.

Ms Jackson: That is not a function you were fulfilling in the fall of 1991?

Dr LeBlanc: No. That position was also created in the last few weeks.

Ms Jackson: During the fall to the end-of-December period of 1991, there were four people in your secretariat?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: Yourself and your executive assistant, Diane McArthur?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: And two other assistants, Debbie Stearns and Martin Barclay?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: Throughout this period, sir, I understand you did report directly to the deputy minister, Michael Decter?

Dr LeBlanc: On issues relating to doctor stuff, yes.

Ms Jackson: Sorry?

Dr LeBlanc: On issues relating to the physician, yes.

Ms Jackson: All right. To what extent, Dr LeBlanc, does your secretariat, or did it during that period, receive information on individual physicians' billings?

Dr LeBlanc: Infrequently, but my recollection is three or four times in a period of four or five months.

Ms Jackson: For what purpose?

Dr LeBlanc: I was faced with helping the government develop a practical policy to the issue of implementing the threshold provision of the OMA agreement, and in developing that, from time to time such information was useful in developing options.

Ms Jackson: To develop options do you need specific information on individual doctors or do you need general information on doctors as a group?

Dr LeBlanc: I needed both. There were a few cases in which individuals were presenting as the prototype for a general situation. That was not the usual type of information that I required. I generally needed more aggregate information, but there were two or three cases in which exceptionally detailed conversations were taking place about whether the options were likely to be ones that we would adopt and more information on specific cases was provided to me.

Ms Jackson: I understand with respect to Dr Donahue that in the period of late October and very early November 1991 the Ministry of Health received a number of letters enclosing information of an announcement that Dr Donahue was closing his office.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: Now I should say, Dr LeBlanc, or confirm through you to the members of the committee, that those letters contained information that would be classified as personal information under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Dr LeBlanc: I believe so.

Ms Jackson: Because they identify the individuals who wrote the letters --

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: -- -and where they live and that sort of thing.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: But generally speaking, can you describe the kind of letters you received and approximately the number, without revealing confidential information?

Dr LeBlanc: Specific to --

Ms Jackson: To Dr Donahue.

Dr LeBlanc: Dr Donahue, using I assume his word processor, produced a family of letters that essentially covered the same material. They were somewhat tailored to whomever he was sending it, whether it was to his patients or to the minister or to someone else. As a result of the central logging process of the ministry, these were bundled and arrived in my office as part of the general steering of letters on these topics to me. He generally described his circumstance and provided his argumentation as to why the agreement should be implemented in a certain way, both for his purposes and for more general purposes from the medical fraternity generally.

Ms Jackson: Did he describe specifically what his billings were?

Dr LeBlanc: It is not my recollection that he provided any numerical indication, but he did provide some information which would give a sense of the general scope of his activity.

Ms Jackson: Why did you see those letters?

Dr LeBlanc: For two reasons: One is that these letters to be responded to had to be actioned out to people who could provide content for the letter-writing unit to prepare answers; number two, I was dealing with an analysis of all of the similar type of letters to help the ministry in formulating a policy position on the implementing of the threshold provision of the -- I will use "doctors' agreement" as sort of a collection for the four agreements, rather than just the framework.

Ms Jackson: Did the ministry receive correspondence with respect to the situations of other doctors during this period?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes, directly from them and from individuals in support of individual or classes of physicians.

Ms Jackson: Approximately how many instances of individual physicians were raised with the ministry through this vehicle of writing in, either by the doctors or by others in their support?

Dr LeBlanc: About 200.


Ms Jackson: Do you recall requesting Helen Ambrose in the communications branch of the ministry at some point in time to start commencing keeping a newspaper file or a clippings file on Dr Donahue?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: Why did you do that?

Dr LeBlanc: When one has developed a sensitivity, when one acquires information, between that information which is truly in the public domain and that which is not, anything that Dr Donahue said or was reported would be information that was discussable; any other information that was known and not in the public domain could not have been discussed. So it was a useful tool.

The second thing was that Dr Donahue made assertions about the agreement that were not quite correct, and part of what we were attempting to do was to provide information. So since Donahue's was a case that got a lot of press coverage, it was a means of keeping track of whether we were successful in our communications. In other words, did, over time, the issues that were raised become clearer? So for both those reasons, I asked for it to be monitored. They were kept in the communications branch for me to use as I required.

Ms Jackson: Did you ask for such clippings files to be kept on any other doctors?

Dr LeBlanc: No.

Ms Jackson: Do you know if the clippings file still exists?

Dr LeBlanc: No.

Ms Jackson: No, you do not know, or no, it does --

Dr LeBlanc: I do not know.

Ms Jackson: Did you, in the course of reviewing that file or otherwise, become aware of a transcript of an interview of Dr Donahue, which we have marked in these proceedings as exhibit 10?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes, I recall having read this. I do not know whether I saw it freestanding or as part of the bundle that is circulated daily of clippings.

Ms Jackson: You would have seen it, though, round about November 8?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: Typically, if it was circulated as part of the daily bundle, how quickly would you have seen it?

Dr LeBlanc: It would have been, at the earliest, the subsequent day.

Ms Jackson: Typically, is that how quickly it gets to you?

Dr LeBlanc: Through the use of MediaReach, issues that are identified in the media usually come the subsequent day. Since this was in Sudbury, it may have been even a day later than that.

Ms Jackson: Dr LeBlanc, I realize I am hearkening back to the question I just asked you, and I apologize for not specifically having asked you before the hearing today. Would it be possible for you to get that clippings file from the communications branch and produce it --

Dr LeBlanc: Sure.

Ms Jackson: -- to me in order that I can be sure there is not anything in there that should not be in public? But, frankly, I cannot see why there would be in a clippings file.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: Then we will put it before the committee?

Dr LeBlanc: Sure.

Ms Jackson: Now, Dr LeBlanc, I am going to ask that the clerk put before you and members of the committee a partially edited e-mail from Larry Corea to yourself and copied to others, dated November 12, 1991.

Mr Conway: Do you want me to take an oath?

Ms Jackson: No.

Mr Conway: Are you sure?

Ms Jackson: Yes.

The Chair: That memo will be marked as exhibit 28.

Ms Jackson: Dr LeBlanc, you will have seen this memo in its unedited form. Let me just advise members of the committee that what has been blacked out is a piece of information which may well be in the public sphere and may well have come from the public sphere, but we have not yet been able to determine that, and out of an abundance of caution we have blacked it out. Dr LeBlanc, did you receive a copy of this e-mail?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: Around the time and date that it bears?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: It is shown as being copied to Tiina Jarvalt. Who is she?

Dr LeBlanc: She is the deputy minister's executive assistant.

Ms Jackson: Shelley Acheson; who is that?

Dr LeBlanc: I do not know her.

Ms Jackson: Marie Lorenzo; do you know who that is?

Dr LeBlanc: I believe she is on the minister's staff.

Ms Jackson: The Minister of Health?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: Catherine Gregoris?

Dr LeBlanc: She is on the minister's staff.

Ms Jackson: Susan Colley?

Dr LeBlanc: She is also on the minister's staff.

Ms Jackson: Jessica Hill?

Dr LeBlanc: She is a civil servant on secondment to the minister's staff.

Ms Jackson: On secondment to or from?

Dr LeBlanc: To.

Ms Jackson: Thank you. Now let me review with you the questions that are in the memorandum. First of all, number 1, "Have you by chance reviewed Dr Donahue's situation or had discussions directly with him regarding threshold exemptions?" What was the answer to that question as of that date?

Dr LeBlanc: To the first part of number 1, in general, yes. With respect to the second part, no, neither then nor subsequently.

Ms Jackson: Question 2, "Is Dr Donahue's situation...under review" -- stopping there, what review do you understand that to be referring to?

Dr LeBlanc: I had interpreted -- since everybody within the central structure was aware that the whole issue of thresholds was under review, my assumption was it was a review in the sense of what I was doing.

Ms Jackson: All right. "Is Dr Donahue's situation currently under review or are there aspects of his situation that warrant further investigation or assessment to determine if he is no different that" -- I think "that" is meant to be "than" -- "all of the other physicians who want exemption from the threshold?" As of that date, could you answer that question?

Dr LeBlanc: He was not unique. There were aspects of --

Ms Jackson: Sorry, Dr LeBlanc. At the moment I am not asking you what the answer would be, but were you in a position to answer that question as of that date?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: On the basis of information you had already received?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: Then the third question is: "What are the implications for dermatological services in Sudbury and area if Dr Donahue closes his operation? Will residents in Sudbury and area have suitable access (by some MOH or international standard) to dermatological services?" Were you in a position to answer that question as of that date?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: The fourth question is, "What are the cost implications for OHIP if Dr Donahue's services are withdrawn from the Sudbury area?" Were you in a position to answer that question as of that date?

Dr LeBlanc: In part.

Ms Jackson: What further information would you need to be able to answer that question?

Dr LeBlanc: One, for example, would have had to have some sense of what in fact the range of services was that Dr Donahue was providing, because the degree of substitutability of the physicians who remained behind depended on what a physician closing down -- what in fact he was closing down, because not all work is only doable by one kind of physician; other physicians can do similar work.

Ms Jackson: Is that the only other information you would need, apart from what you already had, to answer that question?

Dr LeBlanc: Some indication of the magnitude as well as the distribution of the work would be necessary to answer that question.

Ms Jackson: The distribution being the distribution in what terms?

Dr LeBlanc: Of what kinds of things was the individual doing.

Ms Jackson: So in terms of further information required in order to answer this memorandum, the only further information you would need is the information with respect to question 4 that you have just described.

Dr LeBlanc: I think that one can give an answer to 3. A more precise 4 refines the answer to 3. I mean, the questions are not totally freestanding and independent.

Ms Jackson: As of the time you received that memorandum, Dr LeBlanc, had you received from OHIP any specific financial information about Dr Donahue's billings?

Dr LeBlanc: No.

Ms Jackson: As of that date did you know that Dr Donahue was on the underserviced area program?

Dr LeBlanc: I believe so, but I am not certain. I was responsible for the underserviced area program for some seven or so years so I had a lot of knowledge about individuals, but I do not know whether I had it crisply in my mind at that time.

Ms Jackson: You knew of course that he was a dermatologist, and we have seen from the interview of November 8 that he has an interest in epilation services.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: Was the rest of the information you received information from the public file?

Dr LeBlanc: And also the letters.

Ms Jackson: And his letters.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: Did you give any instructions with respect to how this memo should be handled and to whom?


Dr LeBlanc: I was going to be away the next day. I had asked Diane McArthur, my assistant, to get together material and when I left on Tuesday she agreed that that is what she was going to do.

Ms Jackson: Tuesday being the 12th?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: Did you give her any instructions as to what material to assemble?

Dr LeBlanc: Not beyond what was in here, that I recall.

Ms Jackson: Did you tell her which questions you needed further information for?

Dr LeBlanc: No I did not, that I can recall.

Ms Jackson: Did you tell her where to assemble the information from?

Dr LeBlanc: The implication of the conversation was that she was to speak to OHIP, but the letters and other material were already extant in her office.

Ms Jackson: All right. Now, Dr LeBlanc, could you look at exhibit 11, which is a transcript of Dr Donahue's interview on the morning of the 13th in CBC Sudbury, and can you give the committee your best recollection as to when you -- first of all, have you seen that?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: What is your best recollection as to when you first saw it?

Dr LeBlanc: I do not have a date-related time in which I read this, but all such material was of significance to me, so if it was available to me, I am certain I read it as soon as it was available to me.

Ms Jackson: Which would likely be the next morning?

Dr LeBlanc: If it came in the regular distribution, it would have been the day later. If some extraordinary -- well, since I was not there on the Wednesday in any case, even if it had been acquired by extraordinary means I was not there to do it. So, yes, very close to this date for sure.

Ms Jackson: Were you in your office at all on the 13th?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes, I passed through when I came back from the joint management committee meeting. I came back to meet with the person I was going to have my next meeting with and then went to that meeting.

Ms Jackson: And when was that?

Dr LeBlanc: It was the end of the workday, and then I met the person I was going to meet with and then we left.

Ms Jackson: Then, sir, could I ask you to look at -- I ask the clerk to put in front of you and circulate to members of the committee a memorandum of November 13 at 2:46 pm.

The Chair: That will be marked as exhibit 29.

Ms Jackson: This is from Susan Colley to yourself and others. You received a copy of that memorandum?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: And whenever we see a memorandum in this format, Dr LeBlanc, an interoffice memorandum set up this way, may we take it that it is an e-mail?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: And does that mean that you would have seen it in electronic form or hard form or both?

Dr LeBlanc: It could have been either. It is available on my system electronically, not at the time it is created but at the time it is sent. From time to time paper copies are taken from the electronic because I need to have a hard copy of it. I do remember reading this; I do not remember in which form I read it.

Ms Jackson: Susan Colley is the Treasurer's executive assistant?

Dr LeBlanc: No, she is the Minister of Health's executive assistant.

Ms Jackson: I am sorry. Is it a fair reading of this memorandum that the question that is here being asked is for your secretariat to respond to?

Dr LeBlanc: Reasonably, that would be the case. It is sent to two other people, so I assume to the extent they had something to contribute they were being invited to, but the person most responsible for such information is myself.

Ms Jackson: In the last paragraph it reads, "The Treasurer has urgently requested briefing notes on Dr Donahue's actual position." Do you agree, Dr LeBlanc, that a fair reading of that might be, from someone who reads it from the outside at least, that the Treasurer is asking for specific financial information about Dr Donahue?

Dr LeBlanc: That is one interpretation. It may also be, is he in fact affected? In the health care and medical area, sometimes there is polemic and exaggeration and below that is fact. I do not know what was in the mind of either the Treasurer -- but certainly people could assume that it was personal economic. I did not interpret it that way.

Ms Jackson: I am sorry, I did not hear what you --

Dr LeBlanc: I said, some people might assume that he meant the individual's personal economic circumstance. I did not interpret it that way.

Ms Jackson: And then the sentence goes on, "and a political response from the Ministry of Health." Reading that sentence together, it appears to indicate that the Treasurer is seeking a political response based on Dr Donahue's actual position. Is that fair?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: And a political response would be one that would deal with the political problem of Dr Donahue?

Dr LeBlanc: No, that would deal with a response that would be suitable for either the Treasurer or the minister to take. The agreement that was affecting Dr Donahue is between the government and the OMA. It is a government agreement, and it was creating difficulties that politicians had to manage. There was cumulative criticism about that component affecting availability of services, and an answer was needed from the Ministry of Health as to whether that was a realistic event and what might be the responses if Dr Donahue were in fact to decide to do what he said he was going to do, which was to close down his services.

Ms Jackson: So the political response that you think the Treasurer is seeking is simply a response?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: You do not attribute any particular meaning to the word "political."

Dr LeBlanc: The notion is that they were not interested in a technocratic answer listing, "Here are some raw facts." They were looking for an integrated answer that would respond to the natural issues that were being raised.

Ms Jackson: Does that mean a practical response?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: Then it says, "It would appear to me that this would fit within one of the `creative' scenarios that the minister asked for suggestions on following the last minister's policy meeting." What is the reference there to creative scenarios?

Dr LeBlanc: The meeting that is referred to is the meeting preceding the issuing of the minister's letter that was sent to members of the Legislature and a variety of other people indicating her position on thresholds. At that meeting staff were instructed, since she expressed in the letter concern about service availability, that creative scenarios were to be developed in responding to difficulties that might arise as a result of that decision not to extend classes of exemption to the threshold. I can give you some examples, if that would be helpful.

Ms Jackson: Why do you not give us one or two?

Dr LeBlanc: Members who were here a number of years ago are aware that the Independent Health Facilities Act was passed, which provided a means of funding, on a non-fee-for-service basis, the infrastructure of clinics in community settings. There was also a great deal of work that had been going on on alternative payment schemes. I think we have some 200 such contracts of various stripes in which other than fee-for-service models were developed for the maintenance of services. So those were two, one a legislative and one a pragmatic negotiating option, and we were to be examining those, and there are others, in order to respond to particular cases that were adversely affected in a way that was considered to be important to the ministry. We would have some way of maintaining services in the affected communities.

Ms Jackson: Dr LeBlanc, you were back in your office on the evening of the 13th. Was anything done at that time to respond to either Larry Corea or Susan Colley with respect to the contents of exhibits 28 and 29?

Dr LeBlanc: I have no recollection of being aware of the Colley memorandum on that day, but in any case I did nothing on the issue of thresholds. My mind had moved on to my next task for the day, so I just came there to get the person I was going to my next meeting with and then left for that meeting.

Ms Jackson: Were you back in your office on November 14th in the morning?


Dr LeBlanc: That is the Thursday morning, yes?

Ms Jackson: Yes. Was anything done to respond to them at that time?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: What was done?

Dr LeBlanc: Diane McArthur, my assistant, came in and brought to my attention, since I had not read my own electronic mail, material provided by Mr William Teatero from Kingston and copies of the memoranda to refresh my memory on the two.

Ms Jackson: The memoranda being exhibits 28 and 29?

Dr LeBlanc: The one from Corea and -- yes. We had a discussion. I gave her some instructions, and about that time another meeting started and she carried out my instructions.

Ms Jackson: The communication she had received from William Teatero is one that was a two-page memorandum timed 11:41 am from Mr Teatero to Ms McArthur, 11:41 on the previous day?

Dr LeBlanc: I am assuming the 11:41 is correct. It was in the morning, I recall, but I do not remember the exact time. It sounds right. I mean, I am just saying that it was from him to her on the morning of -- I assume 11:41 is correct.

Ms Jackson: It was a two-page electronic mail containing specific information about Dr Donahue, his billings and some comments thereon.

Dr LeBlanc: Correct.

Ms Jackson: You said you gave some instructions to Ms McArthur. What were those instructions?

Dr LeBlanc: On the assumption that the material had been sent to me through the appropriate routes, I was in the process of instructing her to take a copy of this to Mr Corea so that further discussions could take place. I went beyond that, however, and required her to mark it confidential -- it had not been -- and to black out names.

Ms Jackson: And how many copies did you instruct her to take to Mr Corea?

Dr LeBlanc: I did not instruct her on the number of copies. She has since told me that she took two copies.

Ms Jackson: And has she told you what she did with them?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes, she delivered them by hand, which was part of my instruction, directly into Larry Corea's possession.

Ms Jackson: What happened next in so far as the e-mail or its contents were concerned?

Dr LeBlanc: Around that time a meeting commenced in my office with Dr MacMillan, Helen Ambrose and Maurice Jones -- Ambrose and Jones of the communications branch. Bob MacMillan, as a result of a copy given to him by somebody at the meeting, I believe it was Diane but it may have been the communications branch -- it would appear that that was the first time that Dr MacMillan became aware of the memorandum from Bill Teatero. He read it, expressed concerns about it existing in that form, asked that it be recovered. I instructed Diane to recover the material. She recovered it from me, spoke to Larry Corea. Larry Corea delivered back the material to my office that had been given him and the meeting proceeded.

Ms Jackson: I am going to ask you a little bit more about that, but before I do, could I ask you to look at exhibit 13, Dr LeBlanc? That is a memorandum of November 13 from Denise Allen to a number of people, including yourself, which indicates that separately to be delivered are copies of the transcripts of the two Dr Donahue interviews that we have already referred to and the e-mail.

Mr Page: Can we have a copy? Ours has gone missing.

Ms Jackson: Dr LeBlanc, did you receive the package of material that is described there, namely, the two transcripts and the e-mail?

Dr LeBlanc: I do not recall the bundle as provided here arriving. I guess, as a result of what we have been talking about, I remember reading the elements. What I do not know is whether I read them as a result of this or as a result of the other flows of information. I do not have a recollection of having received a memorandum from Denise Allen.

Ms Jackson: But you have no particular reason to think you did not?

Dr LeBlanc: No. I just do not independently recall it.

Ms Jackson: You described Dr MacMillan's reaction to the contents of the e-mail. Is it fair to say that you did not share his level of anxiety about the e-mail?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes, that is correct.

Ms Jackson: But you deferred to his judgement on the point?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: Can you tell me specifically with respect to the retrieval of the e-mail what was done? Let me ask you first of all if you know whether the e-mail went to Paul Howard, who is shown as receiving it under exhibit 13.

Dr LeBlanc: I have no knowledge of whether it actually went to Paul Howard.

Ms Jackson: So you do not know if it was retrieved from him, obviously.

Dr LeBlanc: Whether the memorandum from Denise Allen went to Paul Howard?

Ms Jackson: The e-mail.

Dr LeBlanc: The only person outside of the meeting that I was in to whom my office delivered a copy was Larry Corea. No copy, that I am aware, was delivered to Paul Howard or any other person from my office.

Ms Jackson: Well, is it fair to say a reasonable reading of this exhibit 13 would suggest that the e-mail did go to all the people who are shown on the memorandum and copied on the memorandum?

Dr LeBlanc: That would be a reasonable inference, but I do not know if in fact it took place.

Ms Jackson: And certainly to the extent that people in your meeting on November 14 had seen this e-mail, they would be able to make that logical inference?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes. I mean, it would be reasonable to assume that that took place. I thought you were asking me, did I, independently of this memorandum, know that that happened.

Ms Jackson: All right. But based on this memorandum --

Dr LeBlanc: Oh, sure, sure.

Ms Jackson: It is likely, is it not, Dr LeBlanc, that you knew on the morning of November 14 that these people had likely received the e-mail?

Dr LeBlanc: No, for the reason that I do not recall having read this memorandum. Looking at the memorandum in front of me, it is reasonable to assume that all six people were aware of this memorandum, or it had been delivered to their office, this memorandum and whatever attachments. But I do not independently remember this being delivered, although I do independently remember the elements that this refers to and having read them.

Ms Jackson: So you might or might not have known on the morning of the 14th that these people probably got the e-mail?

Dr LeBlanc: That is correct. The people who I knew had it or had the information were the people in my office and, for a time, Mr Corea.

Ms Jackson: And the people in your office, once again -- I am sorry -- were who?

Dr LeBlanc: Myself, Dr MacMillan, Helen Ambrose and Maurice Jones.

Ms Jackson: Was Denise Allen in the meeting?

Dr LeBlanc: I remember her coming to my office door and leaving. I cannot remember the purpose of her visit. I have a sense that it was on the topic we were meeting about, but I do not remember it in any specific way.

Ms Jackson: And did Ms McArthur join your meeting?

Dr LeBlanc: She was in and out of the office. Part of her "in" was to deliver the material back and to retrieve material that she had put into the room; for example, she came in and took the copy she had given me away from me. But she was not part of the meeting; she was going about her work.

Ms Jackson: I understood from what you said earlier that part of her job is to in fact make sure you get the paper you are supposed to get.

Dr LeBlanc: That is correct.

Ms Jackson: So that whether or not you saw this as it was delivered, it is extremely likely that Ms McArthur saw it when it was delivered.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: And it is extremely likely that she knew by the morning of the 14th that these people, as listed on exhibit 13, had all received copies of the e-mail.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: All right. And I take it from what you have said that you did not make any inquiries of people in the meeting as to who they thought or knew had received copies of the e-mail.

Dr LeBlanc: I did not.

Ms Jackson: And nobody else did either.

Dr LeBlanc: I have no recollection of that being a topic of conversation.

Ms Jackson: So you could not tell us whether Ms Jarvalt got a copy of the e-mail or whether it was recovered.

Dr LeBlanc: No, I could not.

Ms Jackson: Or whether Mary Doyle got a copy of the e-mail, or whether it was recovered.

Dr LeBlanc: No, I cannot.

Ms Jackson: Who is Mary Doyle?

Dr LeBlanc: Mary Doyle is an administrative assistant in the deputy minister's office. She works for Tiina Jarvalt.

Ms Jackson: The only one that you know specifically was recovered then, Dr LeBlanc, would be the one from Larry Corea. Do you recall that being returned?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes. Larry came personally to the door and turned over the material and stayed and talked for a while, and then left.

Ms Jackson: What material did he turn over, and to whom?

Dr LeBlanc: He returned the material that Diane McArthur had delivered to him some minutes earlier, 20 minutes or a half-hour earlier. I do not remember whether he gave it to me, Bob MacMillan or her, only that it was destroyed at that time.


Ms Jackson: Do you remember, physically, what it was he handed to you?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes, he handled a sheaf of paper that looked like e-mails with black marks on it, and it was destroyed. I did not take the time to specifically read it at that time.

Ms Jackson: Do you know how many e-mails he had when he returned them?

Dr LeBlanc: My understanding is that he was provided with two identical copies.

Ms Jackson: That is your understanding from Ms McArthur.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: Do you recall when he came back into the room and handed back the e-mails how many you saw him returning?

Dr LeBlanc: No, I do not have a crisp recollection of that.

Ms Jackson: But it was at least more than one?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: All right. And did Ms Ambrose have a copy of the e-mail?

Dr LeBlanc: It is my recollection that all four in the room at some time in the first part of the meeting had copies. Whether they brought them with them or it was shared material, I do not remember.

Ms Jackson: What happened to those copies?

Dr LeBlanc: Bob MacMillan retrieved them and I believe he destroyed them, but I did not actually see him destroy them.

Ms Jackson: What happened to Ms McArthur's copy of the e-mail?

Dr LeBlanc: She informed me that she had destroyed it. In fact, that was, I understand, her first act before she went any further.

Ms Jackson: Did you understand that a copy of the e-mail was also sent to Denise Allen?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes, I understood that at that time.

Ms Jackson: What happened to her copy? Do you know?

Dr LeBlanc: I have no idea.

Ms Jackson: Whose responsibility was it, Dr LeBlanc, to retrieve the copies of the e-mail?

Dr LeBlanc: I think that was more than one person's responsibility. I certainly felt a responsibility to see that the copies that emanated from my office were retrieved pursuant to Bob MacMillan's decision. Since two members of the communications branch were present, I assumed they understood as I did Dr MacMillan's view and acted on it. But I do not know exactly what they did, nor did I inquire.

Ms Jackson: Dr LeBlanc, we have seen that an account of this meeting found its way into the press in a Sun article on December 11, marked as exhibit 18. I know you are familiar with that article.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: Do you have any idea how an account of this meeting found its way into the press?

Dr LeBlanc: None.

Ms Jackson: Is it a fair inference, Dr LeBlanc, that it would have to have been from either one of the people in attendance or someone to whom they spoke?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: Just while we are on that subject -- because December 11 is a convenient date -- throughout this period, up to December 10, I guess, when the interview would have been had, did you know personally whether or not Dr Donahue's billings were under review in OHIP or had been referred to the MRC?

Dr LeBlanc: No.

Ms Jackson: Now I would like to ask you, Dr LeBlanc, what your role is with respect to briefing elected politicians outside the ministry.

Dr LeBlanc: I have had such responsibility over the year and I continue to have it from time to time, although the preponderance of my briefing activity is to the government of the day.

Ms Jackson: Whether within your ministry or outside your ministry.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: With respect, are there any constraints on what you can brief those people on?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: What are they?

Dr LeBlanc: The scope of what one can brief a minister on is far more expansive when one briefs the minister of the ministry that one is in. When one goes beyond that, there are restrictions under the freedom of information act, unless one invokes some of the exempting provisions from providing information outside the ministry. That has, in practice, not been an issue, because the kinds of constraints that are provided have not, in my experience, been a handicap to briefing ministers, because the level of issue that they are concerned with does not require, in the normal course of events, highly detailed information.

Ms Jackson: When you moved to the briefing of ministers outside your own ministry, are you speaking there of briefings with respect to matters that affect the other ministries or of matters that affect issues in the constituencies of other ministers or both?

Dr LeBlanc: I have had relatively little to do with other ministers about issues that were peculiar to their constituencies that were not at the same time a matter of government-wide interest. So I have not, in the nature of my work, been dealing with constituency issues that were peculiar to the constituency, but rather constituencies as examples of a bigger issue.

Ms Jackson: Do you have any role in briefing elected politicians outside of the ministry?

Dr LeBlanc: At least for the last two governments, considerable emphasis has been placed by both governments on responding to all members of the Legislature seeking information within the bounds of what is permissible. From time to time during the time of the Conservatives, such briefings took place, but not with the frequency subsequent to the arrival of the Liberals.

Ms Jackson: Now, we have seen the request you received to provide information to respond to an issue the Treasurer was concerned about. Did you speak to the Treasurer to brief him on this issue in or around that time?

Dr LeBlanc: No, I did not.

Ms Jackson: Did you speak to him about any of the matters raised in the e-mail of November 13 from Mr Teatero?

Dr LeBlanc: No, I did not.

Ms Jackson: We have heard from Dr MacMillan that you and he and Shelley Martel and Floyd Laughren and Sharon Murdock and others met with some cardiologists in Sudbury on November 30. You recall that?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: I want to ask you to identify some correspondence leading up to that meeting, Mr LeBlanc, if I could ask the clerk to give it to you and to other members of the committee. First of all, a memorandum of November 20, 1991, 2:29 pm, from Larry Corea to yourself and others.

The Chair: Exhibit 30.

Ms Jackson: And then a memorandum of November 20, 1991, at 3:54.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes, I have now read it.

Ms Jackson: You received the one at 2:29?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: That will be exhibit 30.

The Chair: Yes, the memo of 2:29 is exhibit 30, and the memo of 3:54 --

Ms Jackson: Have you seen that, Mr LeBlanc?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: That will be exhibit 31, Mr Chair.

Mr Page: We have not got 3:54 yet.

The Chair: It is coming.

Ms Jackson: Then a memorandum of November 20, 1991, at 4:28.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes. I have seen the 3:54 one on the 20th, yes.

Ms Jackson: Thank you.

The Chair: The memo of 4:28 is marked as exhibit 32.

Ms Jackson: Did you receive the one at 4:28?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes. Thank you.

Ms Jackson: And last, one of November 28 at 12:44, from Larry Corea to Dr MacMillan, apparently copied to you, and I am going to ask if you received a copy of that.

The Chair: That will be marked as exhibit 33.

Ms Jackson: Looking at exhibit 33, I had asked your counsel if we could try to track down the e-mail referred to in the first sentence. Are you able to indicate whether we have yet had any success on that?


Dr LeBlanc: Which memo are we referring to?

Ms Jackson: This is the last one of the 28th. "Bob, I have spoken with David Sword in Minister Martel's office and passed on the key points in your e-mail."

Dr LeBlanc: I assume the "your" refers to Bob MacMillan. Nobody asked me. I do not think I have a copy of such -- I am advised that we have not got it yet.

Ms Jackson: All right. Could you continue efforts to obtain a copy of it and provide it to us, please? Thank you. David Sword is who?

Dr LeBlanc: It says this person works with Ms Martel.

Ms Jackson: Did you know that, apart from this e-mail?

Dr LeBlanc: I think I knew it eventually. I do not -- David Sword does not leap off as a significant person.

Ms Jackson: It was Dr MacMillan's evidence that David Sword, I believe, was in Sudbury on December 5.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes, I believe that is --

Ms Jackson: Do you recall meeting him then?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes, I think so. I am terrible with people's names. There was a gentleman from the ministry staff at the meeting. It sounds like it was David Sword, but I am not really certain.

Ms Jackson: All right. It would appear from these e-mails, Dr LeBlanc, and certainly the first one, exhibit 30, that the political situation in Sudbury was heating up to some extent. Was that a fair reading at that time?

Dr LeBlanc: Sudbury was the only part of the province in which there was concerted effort around the issue of the physicians' agreement. The rest of the activity was case by case. In this case, there was organized -- so yes, it was hotter than other parts of the province.

Ms Jackson: And getting a little hotter near the end of November.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: Was Dr Donahue becoming, as it would appear from exhibit 30, one of the focuses of that political situation?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: Now, just to deal with this, in the second paragraph there is an indication that Dr Donahue might open his books to the ministry. To your knowledge, did that occur?

Dr LeBlanc: To the best of my knowledge, no substantive meeting with Dr Donahue took place, so I think not.

Ms Jackson: Now, the last paragraph of that e-mail indicates that Larry Corea would like to be able to inform Ms Martel's and Mr Laughren's office, as well as Ms Murdock's, when the meeting with area specialists and the meeting with Dr Donahue would take place. Were you being asked to set up those meetings?

Dr LeBlanc: There was confusion around the time because there were requests coming from Sudbury through Dr MacMillan's office to go to Sudbury and have some meetings, and there were requests coming through ministers' offices to have a meeting. And to cut to the end of it, there were two meetings which, at the time of these memoranda, we were unaware were trying to be set up, and they were on different dates. There was a meeting in a public forum being set up on Thursday.

Ms Jackson: December 5?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes, and there was a meeting of a more restricted membership on the Saturday. Dr MacMillan was doing the organizing and he was trying to arrange that there would only be one meeting. And the reason that you see the memorandum from the deputy was that it was finally made clear that the only meeting the local members could attend was the Saturday meeting, and yet there was going to be a Thursday meeting notwithstanding; and so we were going to have to attend two meetings, and that is what we did.

Ms Jackson: From Dr MacMillan's evidence, we know the Saturday meeting was a meeting with some cardiologists of the local hospital.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes, it was a more restricted meeting, that is what I was --

Ms Jackson: And the subsequent meeting on December 5 was with the larger medical fraternity in Sudbury.

Dr LeBlanc: That is exactly correct.

Ms Jackson: But this last paragraph is not, as I read it, Dr LeBlanc, speaking about either of those. It is talking about setting up an individual meeting, first of all with an area specialist and a meeting with Dr Donahue individually.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes, and our efforts were in fact to satellite those meetings around the other trips. I, for example, on the Thursday meeting, met for a short time with a physician. On the Saturday meeting we spoke to a physician in the community. So the individual ones, we were just trying to organize a meeting agenda and, in the end, we did very little except attend the two main meetings because people were not available.

Ms Jackson: Is it a normal request to ask the ministry to set up meetings with individuals for local MPPs?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes. I, for example, just attended such a meeting at the request of a member of the Conservative Party in the last 10 days.

Mr Conway: Could we have that repeated? I was distracted by the exhibits.

The Chair: Order.

Ms Jackson: Dr LeBlanc, I am going to leave whatever follow-up there may be from that answer to anyone who wants to pursue it. May I go on to --

Dr LeBlanc: I mean it was a perfectly --

Ms Jackson: I am sorry, Dr LeBlanc. I do not mean to suggest there was anything improper.


Ms Jackson: May I just move on, please, to the --

The Chair: Order. Ms Jackson.

Ms Jackson: Thank you, Mr Chairman. Dr LeBlanc, in the period prior to November 30, and having in mind this increasingly political situation in Sudbury, I understand you spoke a number of times to Shelley Martel to brief her.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: Do you recall how many times?

Dr LeBlanc: My sense is it was around three times.

Ms Jackson: Do you remember when?

Dr LeBlanc: Only that it was in the workday. I do not have a sense that it was out of business hours, but I do not have any specific recollection of the times.

Ms Jackson: But is it fair to say that it was probably in the week or two prior to the November 30 visit?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes. It was linked to the going to Sudbury for the meeting that she was going to chair.

Ms Jackson: For how long would you have spoken to her on each of those two or three occasions?

Dr LeBlanc: Under 10 minutes.

Ms Jackson: What is your best recollection of what you said to Shelley Martel?

Dr LeBlanc: She was keen to understand in some fluent way the provisions of the agreement. She was also wanting to understand what options might be available around the maintenance of cardiovascular care in the Sudbury area, which was in fact going to be the subject of the discussion on Saturday morning.

Ms Jackson: Do you have any more specific recollection of what you were talking to her about?

Dr LeBlanc: Those are two specific areas but, beyond that, I have no recollection of other matters being talked about.

Ms Jackson: Did you have any discussions with her concerning Dr Donahue and his situation?

Dr LeBlanc: In the telephone conversations, I think not.

Ms Jackson: You do not?

Dr LeBlanc: I think not. I think I did not. The discussions were very much focused on the meeting which was somewhat specifically focused on cardiovascular care and was going to have her as chair. She was quite focused on the task that she had before her, which was to chair this meeting in a rather charged environment.

Ms Jackson: You made the reference there to "not in telephone conversations," and we know you met with her and others on November 30, and I will come to that.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: Prior to that meeting on November 30 did you have any face-to-face discussions with Ms Martel --

Dr LeBlanc: No.

Ms Jackson: -- of a briefing or other nature?

Dr LeBlanc: No.

Ms Jackson: In the course of those discussions on the telephone first, the telephone conversations before the visit, did you discuss in any way the number of practitioners who were affected by the threshold in her area?

Dr LeBlanc: I think it was during that period, but if not, it was soon after. She was interested in the magnitude of the application of the agreement to the north in general and to her more immediate area of Sudbury specifically, and she asked that general question and I believe I answered it.

Ms Jackson: Does the answer disclose any personal information?

Dr LeBlanc: No.

Ms Jackson: What answer did you give her?

Dr LeBlanc: The answer has to be based on estimates, and depending on when I answered, the answer was that there were going to be around 17 physicians in the Sudbury basin -- 35 in the northeast, as I recall -- and that in the Sudbury basin it was split around four general practitioners and 13 specialists who had the potential to be affected. I must emphasize that we can only estimate because the year in fact had not unfolded.


Ms Jackson: Dr LeBlanc, you gave me this morning, and I guess I had asked the clerk to distribute to members and to you a copy of an e-mail from Mr Teatero to Diane McArthur, which appears to deal with this subject --

Mr Conway: Careful now.

Ms Jackson: -- dated December 5, 1991, at 9:36.

The Chair: That will be marked as exhibit 34.

Ms Jackson: Dr LeBlanc, can you describe the information that is contained under the heading, "Sudbury City," and how it was derived?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes. This was the morning of the day that we were going to the public meeting. Material had been prepared the previous day and had been duplicated for handing out on the 5th. I wanted to have additional information. I do not know whether I personally spoke or had someone else speak, and I asked two questions. One was to have additional for-instances to have available to discuss the application of the thresholds -- and that is at the bottom of the first page and at the top of the second page -- and I asked for the current estimate of physicians being affected by the threshold in the Sudbury area, expecting that might be a question I would be asked, and I wanted to be sure I had the numbers right.

Ms Jackson: With respect to the two case studies for the general surgeon and the cardiologist, are those actual examples?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes, they are.

Ms Jackson: Brought from where?

Dr LeBlanc: The instructions were to provide actual examples from southern Ontario for a year. In point of fact, due to a technical glitch, they actually are cases based on seven months and not a full year, but nevertheless, for the purposes, that is a technical effect. So in effect, these are not any physician, although they were based on parts of years of seven real physicians in the Metro area.

Ms Jackson: Forecast for the balance of the year?

Dr LeBlanc: No, they were not. I had thought they were, and I subsequently learned that, for technical reasons, they were not expanded to reflect a full year. These actually reflect seven months.

Ms Jackson: Now, going back to the question of the makeup of the physicians and the physicians over threshold in Sudbury, how were those numbers derived?

Dr LeBlanc: We were moving into the month of December. It would have been the first time in which any threshold moneys would have been withheld from any physician in Ontario, so the people in Kingston had been gearing up. They had begun various estimates in preparing to implement any decision, and by the time we got to December, they had an indication of who would actually be affected and estimates for the remainder of the year of those who would additionally be affected. This represents the sum of that projection.

Ms Jackson: And is this the first time you were aware of that breakdown of the effect in Sudbury?

Dr LeBlanc: No. The thing is, there had been a discussion of geographic distribution, but the kind of information I was keeping in my head was that on a provincial basis it was somewhere between 1% and 2% of physicians affected, certain types of specialists more than other types, but I wanted to be sure that I would have an answer specific to Sudbury, since I was going to Sudbury, and I had asked it and then I wanted it in writing, and I got it in writing.

Ms Jackson: So do I take it from that, Dr LeBlanc, that while you got this written answer on December 5, you might have provided information of this general nature to Ms Martel before that?

Dr LeBlanc: I am almost certain that I did do that.

Ms Jackson: Is that information publicly available?

Dr LeBlanc: It is available to anyone who asks. Some of it on a more aggregate level was in fact distributed in the meeting on that day, the 5th.

Ms Jackson: On December 5?

Dr LeBlanc: December 5, yes.

Ms Jackson: Then can I take you to November 30, when you were in Sudbury? You went up the night before, did you?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes, we were there Friday afternoon. We were trying to meet physicians in practice. We were unable to do so, so we met with our host for the next day's meeting, had dinner and then we started our day at breakfast the next day.

Ms Jackson: And the next morning we know that you were joined by Ms Martel, Mr Laughren and Ms Murdoch. Were they present on the Friday?

Dr LeBlanc: No.

Ms Jackson: And then turning to Saturday morning, in addition to the three members I have just mentioned, you had with you, as I understand it, Dr MacMillan and Mr Belyea?

Dr LeBlanc: That is correct, and there were also a few other people. The federal local member also attended, and that is where, when you asked me about David Sword -- one of the minister's staff was present. It was probably David Sword, but I cannot remember that for certain. He sat at the end of the table and --

Ms Jackson: I think I may have suggested to you that David Sword was present on the 5th. I do not know.

Dr LeBlanc: One of the members' aides was at the meeting, and I do not remember who. He sat at the end of the table and did not participate in the discussions.

Ms Jackson: Do you know whose aide he was?

Dr LeBlanc: I do not remember.

Ms Jackson: All right. So at the breakfast meeting we have Ms Martel, Mr Laughren, Ms Murdock, yourself, Mr Belyea, Dr MacMillan, an aide, Mr Rodriguez.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: Anyone else?

Dr LeBlanc: No, I think not.

Ms Jackson: Was there any discussion, during that breakfast meeting, of Dr Donahue?

Dr LeBlanc: I think there was an allusion to it, but this meeting started a bit late and we were expected at a meeting that had 30-some people at it. Once again, the conversation was very much focused on the cardiovascular issue, particularly because of the piquancy of the care and because one of the members of the group had actually received care and was quite concerned that we focus our minds on cardiovascular care in Sudbury. Mr Rodriguez had had a heart attack and sort of served as the practical example of the importance of cardiovascular care in Sudbury.

Ms Jackson: Do you remember anything being said about Dr Donahue at all?

Dr LeBlanc: I think there was a reference but it was not pursued, except alluding to him. I mean, he is a very public figure in Sudbury.

Ms Jackson: Do you remember what the reference was?

Dr LeBlanc: No. My sense was an en passant reference. We were focused on preparations for the meeting that was 40 minutes from the time we started the meeting. We were on a fairly tight schedule.

Ms Jackson: Then you had your meeting with cardiologists, and I take it Dr Donahue was not there?

Dr LeBlanc: No, he was not.

Ms Jackson: Was Dr Donahue's situation discussed in that meeting?

Dr LeBlanc: I think not. Well, I should not say that. The meeting was discussed on two levels; 99% of it was on the issue of cardiovascular care. Because of the attendance of the local medical society and because of the concern of the physician who made the presentation that the cardiovascular physicians not be seen to be too self-interested, there was an end of the speech saying: "And there are other physicians than us. We are only here to talk about ourselves, but you should be aware that there are other physicians."

At least to that degree Dr Donahue and other physicians in the Sudbury area and in the north were alluded to. But on the basis of the notes and my recollections, it was very much focused on cardiovascular care and the associated specialties. Dermatology is not part of the package of medical services necessary for cardiovascular care.

Ms Jackson: Dr LeBlanc, you said "on the basis of the notes." What notes are you speaking of?

Dr LeBlanc: I took notes at the meeting in Sudbury on the data about cardiovascular disease, on the number of cardiovascular services and so on. I have not looked at them for quite a few months, but in preparation for policy work there was nothing I recall in them that dealt with Donahue.

Ms Jackson: All right. Would you review your notes, Dr LeBlanc, and if there is any mention of Dr Donahue at all --

Dr LeBlanc: Sure.

Ms Jackson: -- produce them through your counsel to the committee, please. Did you make any notes of the breakfast meeting?

Dr LeBlanc: No.

Ms Jackson: Then after the meeting with cardiologists you had lunch with Ms Martel?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: And that was a lunch with yourself, Dr MacMillan and Mr Belyea?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: Was anyone else in attendance?

Dr LeBlanc: No, just the four of us.

Ms Jackson: Was there any discussion, during that luncheon meeting, of Dr Donahue?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: Do you recall what was said?

Dr LeBlanc: It was more by way of exclusion. Ms Martel, while talking generally about her concerns about the effect of the agreement on northern physicians, drew by comparison that if solutions had to be developed -- because she was aware of the financial implications of various types of solutions. She stressed that it was her sense that the priority area lay in the cardiovascular area rather than in community-based practices. Dr Donahue was an example of a community-based practice. So in that sense it was talked about, but not in any sort of detailed sense. Once again, after a heated four hours talking about life-and-death matters, the focus of the conversation was around cardiovascular care in Sudbury.

Ms Jackson: Is it possible that there was any conversation between Ms Martel and anyone else over lunch that you did not hear?


Dr LeBlanc: I think we arrived together, ate together and left together. When there are four people at a table I guess there can be two conversations going on at the same time, but I do not think there was a conversation that I was not able to hear; it was a small table, with four of us.

Ms Jackson: Did you speak to Ms Martel following that meeting in Sudbury prior to your attendance in Sudbury on December 5?

Dr LeBlanc: My recollection is yes.

Ms Jackson: When?

Dr LeBlanc: Subsequent to that, she asked from time to time about what progress might have been made, what we were going to do on the Thursday. She was quite concerned that she would be unable to be there. Since she was going to be in northwestern Ontario, she was concerned that if any material was going to be provided she could have it as well, and that was done.

Ms Jackson: How many times did you speak to her?

Dr LeBlanc: My sense was a couple a times.

Ms Jackson: Do you recall any discussion and can you be of any greater assistance as to when during that period you spoke to her?

Dr LeBlanc: No.

Ms Jackson: Were these telephone calls?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: How long were the telephone calls?

Dr LeBlanc: Just a couple of minutes.

Ms Jackson: Any discussion of Dr Donahue?

Dr LeBlanc: I do not think so.

Ms Jackson: You said that she wanted the material. We have marked, Dr LeBlanc, as exhibit 8 in these proceedings some material that was distributed to members of the media and others on December 5 in Sudbury. Have you seen that package of material?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes, I have. It was produced in my office; I mean it was was collated in my office from material provided to me.

Ms Jackson: Did you provide a copy of that to Ms Martel?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: Did you provide her with any other written material?

Dr LeBlanc: No.

Ms Jackson: Now, on December 5 you attended in Sudbury with Mr Decter and Dr MacMillan?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: And was Paul Howard in attendance, do you know?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: What is Mr Howard's position?

Dr LeBlanc: They change, but my understanding was that he was her communications adviser.

Ms Jackson: Whose communications adviser?

Dr LeBlanc: The Minister of Health; sorry.

Ms Jackson: And was there anyone else from Toronto in attendance that went up with your group or that joined your group?

Dr LeBlanc: The deputy minister, Bob MacMillan, myself and Paul Howard.

Ms Jackson: Was there anyone from Ms Martel's office with you?

Dr LeBlanc: No.

Ms Jackson: Was there anyone from Mr Laughren's office with you?

Dr LeBlanc: No.

Ms Jackson: Was there anyone other than Paul Howard from the Minister of Health's office?

Dr LeBlanc: No, just the four of us were travelling as a party.

Ms Jackson: And your purpose in going up on December 5 was to attend this public meeting?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: When did you go up?

Dr LeBlanc: It was before dinner; my sense is around 3 o'clock or 4 o'clock in the afternoon. The meeting was scheduled, as I recall, for 8 o'clock, or maybe it was 7 o'clock, but it was just after dinner it was scheduled and we went before dinner.

Ms Jackson: Do you recall any discussion before the meeting among your group, which included Mr Howard, of Dr Donahue's situation?

Dr LeBlanc: No. I think our focus was very much around the deputy's goals, which are reflected in his speech, which were to try and deal with issues that had been raised and provide explanations where people lacked information.

Ms Jackson: Was Ms Murdock with you?

Dr LeBlanc: No, but she was at the meeting subsequently, as was, I believe, a representative from Mr Laughren's office, because he had intended to be there that night, but as a result of bad weather was unable to get out of Toronto.

Ms Jackson: Dr LeBlanc, could you look at exhibit 16, please? Those are notes that Dr MacMillan prepared with respect to this event. Do you have those notes, Dr LeBlanc?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes, I have them.

Ms Jackson: If you would turn over to the bottom of page 3, sir, where Dr MacMillan is recording what took place on the 5th, in the bottom paragraph. Perhaps you could read that for a moment, sir. The bottom, the last sentence, says: "A brief dinner meeting was held between Sharon Murdock, MPP, Esko Vaino and the three ministry representatives."

Dr LeBlanc: I was unaware that meeting was held. I was not there. I arrived late to the meeting. I was following up with Dr Abdulla from the Saturday's meeting on cardiology and cardiovascular care.

Ms Jackson: I see. So you were not at this dinner meeting?

Dr LeBlanc: No, I was not. I was not aware that it had occurred. After we arrived I went with one of the individual doctors. I visited Dr Abdulla in his offices and arrived when the main meeting was already under way -- without dinner, I might add, although Dr Abdulla did provide me with cookies and tea. I was not aware that this had taken place, nor was I at it.

Ms Jackson: Any discussion that you had before the meeting was limited to the flight up. Any discussion with other people in the ministry or other --

Dr LeBlanc: I bring to your attention that he refers to three representatives. There were four of us: me in one place and three here makes four of us. There was Dr MacMillan, Mr Decter, Paul Howard and myself. The reason he says "three ministry representatives" is that I was elsewhere.

Ms Jackson: You think that the three ministry representatives includes Paul Howard?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes, I would think so.

Ms Jackson: All right.

Dr LeBlanc: That is what the arithmetic comes out to be.

Ms Jackson: All right. We will have to check what Dr MacMillan said on that, but you are quite sure you were not at the dinner meeting?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: All right. Any discussion that you had with Paul Howard before the public meeting would have been on the trip up.

Dr LeBlanc: No. I had discussions with Paul Howard. Paul Howard played a role in helping to prepare the Sudbury package, along with the communications branch and others. I had not expected Paul Howard to be going to Sudbury, but we had talked about preparations for the meeting. He is the communications adviser. He reviewed the speech and so on and he was drafted at the last minute as having to go. I do not know why, but anyway he went at the last minute. I had not expected that he was going.

Ms Jackson: Did you, in the course of any of your discussions with Mr Howard prior to this meeting, discuss Dr Donahue?

Dr LeBlanc: I have no recollection of talking. Dr Donahue was not very much on my mind as a particular case throughout this. I do not recall having discussed it with Paul Howard or really anyone. We were clearly focused on the tasks at hand and not on sort of extraneous material.

Ms Jackson: Then the public meeting took place.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: Was Dr Donahue at the public meeting?

Dr LeBlanc: I do not know.

Ms Jackson: Did you ever meet Dr Donahue?

Dr LeBlanc: I think I have not, but there were between 250 and 300 people at that meeting. It is possible, but I do not remember having met the man.

Ms Jackson: Do you recall any discussion of Dr Donahue's situation in that meeting?


Dr LeBlanc: In the many speeches that were made there were references to Dr Donahue by people who made speeches, yes.

Ms Jackson: Were there any references to Dr Donahue's financial situation?

Dr LeBlanc: Only, as I recall, in the sense that the effect of the agreement might lead him to abandon his practice in Sudbury as a result of the financial ramifications of the agreement, but not his personal compensation or anything like that.

Ms Jackson: Following the public meeting there was a further short get-together among the people who had come up from the ministry and others?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: And Ms Murdock was at that gettogether?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: And yourself?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: And Dr MacMillan?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: And Mr Decter?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: And Mr Howard?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: Anyone else?

Dr LeBlanc: I think there may have been one more person, but I do not know who it was.

Ms Jackson: Dr MacMillan's note, you will see, makes reference to a David Sword.

Dr LeBlanc: It could be.

Ms Jackson: You have said you do not know who he is.

Dr LeBlanc: No, I do not remember it.

Ms Jackson: Was there any conversation in that short get-together afterwards concerning Dr Donahue?

Dr LeBlanc: The meeting was a unique experience for most of us -- I suspect not for some -- and the conversation was very much on the meeting and what might be the next steps, and among the next steps were that I was left behind.

Ms Jackson: For how long?

Dr LeBlanc: Until Sunday night.

Ms Jackson: You have told us what the conversation focused on, but specifically can you tell us whether you recall any discussion of Dr Donahue in the context of that meeting or otherwise?

Dr LeBlanc: No, I do not recall it.

Ms Jackson: When you stayed on you did not to your knowledge meet Dr Donahue?

Dr LeBlanc: I am only hesitating because there was an almost meeting on the Sunday morning which ultimately did not take place, so it may be that he was in that room. It was my understanding, at least for part of that time, that he was in Toronto and not in Sudbury, but I had no organized meeting in which I knew that he was where I was.

Ms Jackson: You returned from Sudbury on Sunday night?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: Following your return did you speak to Ms Martel?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes, the following morning.

Ms Jackson: How did that come about?

Dr LeBlanc: I called her.

Ms Jackson: Why?

Dr LeBlanc: She had been quite concerned about the meeting and was extra concerned that she was unable to attend it and had asked me to let her know how it went. When I called her she had already spoken to others who had been back in Toronto ahead of me and she was preoccupied by other matters, so the conversation was very short.

Ms Jackson: Did she say who she had already spoken to?

Dr LeBlanc: I think that she had been spoken to by Sharon and I think she had spoken to the deputy minister, but I do not know. It was clear that she did not feel the necessity for me to provide her with more information about the Thursday night meeting. It was also videotaped, and that may have been a basis for her seeing it because she returned to Sudbury, or I think she returned to Sudbury, prior to my talking to her on the Monday morning. That was my sense of it anyway.

Ms Jackson: You said she was preoccupied by other matters. Had you heard anything about those other matters when you called her?

Dr LeBlanc: No.

Ms Jackson: What did she say about them?

Dr LeBlanc: She was fairly cryptic. I had asked her, as part of the opening of the conversation, if she had had a pleasant trip in the northwest and she had indicated that she had been involved in some difficulties. I perhaps disingenuinely probed. She was not forthcoming and I did not probe a second time.

Ms Jackson: Did she say anything at all about what the difficulties were?

Dr LeBlanc: I had a sense that she said something to the effect that she had spoken out of turn or had said something she ought not to have said, but at that stage it was clear that I had discharged my responsibility of completing my contract to let her know what had happened in a general way. She wished to move on to other matters, and she did.

Ms Jackson: Is that your best recollection of how she described the problem? Can you be any more specific about the words she used?

Dr LeBlanc: No, I cannot be any more specific, except that it was a clear non-wish to discuss it with me.

Ms Jackson: It was a clear --

Dr LeBlanc: A clear non-wish to discuss it with me.

Ms Jackson: Have you spoken to Shelley Martel since then?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes, later that day I spoke to her in a group outside of the cabinet chambers.

Ms Jackson: Who else was in the group?

Dr LeBlanc: Michael Decter, the Minister of Health, Sharon Murdock, transiently the Treasurer and Shelley. Unfortunately, not all were present at all of the times. I was at that session reporting on activities subsequent to the Thursday night meeting and seeking direction on what further work I should do.

Ms Jackson: Was there any conversation or discussion in the group of the incident in Thunder Bay?

Dr LeBlanc: Only a reference to the heat of it, but the meeting was being driven by my need to have instructions, and so that is where the focus of the discussion was.

Ms Jackson: You say there was a reference to the heat of it. Who said what?

Dr LeBlanc: I do not remember. We were sitting there trying to sort of catch ministers going in and out of policy and priorities board of cabinet. I was focusing on getting my instructions. Aside from an oblique reference to it being a rather heated affair, which was an understatement, of course, the issue was on what directions I should take for further policy work.

Ms Jackson: Was there any discussion in that group concerning Dr Donahue?

Dr LeBlanc: Not that I recall. I think in that particular context I would have recalled because it clearly would have been a forced issue because it was not relevant to the five-minute meeting that was taking place.

Ms Jackson: By that time were you aware of reports of what Ms Martel had said?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes. I had read the newspapers. Was it in the newspaper that day? Yes, I was aware, by whatever means, that -- I know what it was. I had by that time spoken to Bob MacMillan and he had described to me the events of Friday, so I knew what had happened then.

Ms Jackson: What events of Friday?

Dr LeBlanc: The day following the Thursday meeting there was a meeting in Toronto on confidentiality at which both Decter and MacMillan were speakers. During Dr MacMillan's presentation he was questioned from the floor using what had taken place in Sudbury as a specific and Dr MacMillan, in his comprehensive style, described what had taken place.

Ms Jackson: When he told you what had taken place and what had been said were you able to identify the doctor?

Dr LeBlanc: I do not recall it being around the doctor. The thing that struck me that I recall was the irony of the circumstance that at a conference on confidentiality the issue would arise around any specific physician. I do not recall it registering that it was specifically Dr Donahue or any other physician, but that it was around a specific physician did register. I do not recall that it was Donahue.

Ms Jackson: You do not recall, I am sorry?

Dr LeBlanc: I do not recall that it was Donahue. In that conversation I do not recall it. It was not very long after that I understood that was the reference.

Ms Jackson: Do you remember how you came to understand?

Dr LeBlanc: No.

Ms Jackson: Could you turn to exhibit 17 for a moment? Did you see that?

Dr LeBlanc: I have not seen this.

Ms Jackson: In the middle Mrs Dodds is quoted as saying that Ms Martel said: "`I have seen his records. You will lose sympathy when you see the charges that we lay against him' and she used the word criminal." Is that what Dr MacMillan reported to you had been the question?

Dr LeBlanc: What he reported was that the issue was less detailed than this in the first discussion. His comments to me were that he had been -- in a question, someone from the audience had referred to being party to a conversation in which discussions around a specific physician were made by Ms Martel and that she alluded to having seen specific information about the physician which she ought not to have seen. The material about "criminal" and so on, I had a sense that I read it in the newspaper.

Ms Jackson: Had she ever expressed views like this concerning Dr Donahue to you?

Dr LeBlanc: No.

Ms Jackson: Thank you, Dr LeBlanc. Those are my questions.

The Chair: Thank you, Ms Jackson. At this point in time, by request, I would like to move the committee for a short period of time into an in camera session. I would ask that those who have not sworn an oath of non-disclosure please leave. I would advise everyone that it is my intention that questioning of Dr LeBlanc by caucus members would take place after the lunch break, commencing at 2 pm.

Mr Christopherson: Could I just ask that you advise the media and the public just what it is we are going to do in camera? We cannot talk about the facts, but just a little more than, "Hey, we're going in camera."


Interjection: Go ahead.

Interjection: Come on, Mr Chair. It is full disclosure.


The Chair: On advice by counsel, the purpose for our in camera proceeding will be as a result of the exhibit marked number 28.

Mr Wood: Sean, why would you talk about a coverup?

Mr Conway: The sheets are coming off this bed, one by one.

The committee continued in closed session at 1141.


The committee resumed at 1405.

The Chair: I call the afternoon session to order. At the end of the morning session, Ms Jackson had completed her questioning of Dr LeBlanc. Over the lunch break I understand that Dr LeBlanc has some further information to provide and there are some short questions by Ms Jackson on this matter, so I would open it up at that point, and then we will go rotation of caucus.

Ms Jackson: Dr MacMillan, before the lunch break you had indicated you would endeavour to obtain the e-mail that is referred to as being an e-mail from Bob MacMillan, and it is referred to in exhibit 33. I understand that in a review of the e-mails on your machine, the only one that appears to fit in the category of being an e-mail from Bob MacMillan in the material, period, is one that we have already marked. It is the e-mail of November 20, 1991, at 3:54 pm, the one that we have marked as exhibit 31. Is that correct?

Dr LeBlanc: I think there was a slight communications -- of the three things I was to do, that was the one that I was unable to do, and I think Dr MacMillan's staff have the information. In any case, the referent memo has been passed on.

Ms Jackson: So it is the one we have already marked.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: Then I understand that over the lunch-hour you have determined that the press clippings file in fact kept in communications was not with respect to Dr Donahue generally, but with respect to an issue generally in which there were clippings concerning Dr Donahue.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes, that is what I was told.

Ms Jackson: And what is the issue that the press clippings --

Dr LeBlanc: It was the broader issue of issues in Sudbury. What I was told is they were removing and copying the sub-issue of Dr Donahue and that some time soon it would be brought over.

Ms Jackson: Okay, and I understand as well, sir, that you have reviewed your notes of the meetings on November 30 in Sudbury and have confirmed that there is nothing in there that relates to Dr Donahue.

Dr LeBlanc: That is correct.

Ms Jackson: And in your notes of November 30 you have drawn a picture of the table as it appeared at the breakfast meeting on Friday morning?

Dr LeBlanc: No. I have terrible trouble with people's names. That was the key players at the actual meeting at the hospital.

Ms Jackson: All right. In any event, as you indicated to me, you recalled over the lunch-hour that at the breakfast meeting people were far enough apart that it is possible there was a conversation with Shelley Martel and others that you might not have heard.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes, it is possible.

Ms Jackson: And I think you indicated to me as well that you recalled that on December 5, after the meeting which you did not describe in great detail but Dr MacMillan did as being extremely fractious, that those of you in your delegation repaired to the bar at the end of the evening.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes, in the hotel we were staying in, which was the Sheraton.

Ms Jackson: And that was a session I did not ask you about. Present in the bar were yourself, Mr Decter, Dr MacMillan, Sharon Murdock and possibly David Sword?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes, that is correct.

Ms Jackson: And do you recall any specific discussion over drinks in the bar that would in any way relate to Dr Donahue?

Dr LeBlanc: No.

Ms Jackson: Is it fair to say, though, Dr LeBlanc, that your focus on the 5th and on the 30th was very much more on cardiology than Dr Donahue?

Dr LeBlanc: Absolutely.

Ms Jackson: So is it fair, Dr LeBlanc, that if Dr Donahue's name came up, or information concerning him came up, it may not have been remarkable or noteworthy for you?

Dr LeBlanc: It would certainly have been far less remarkable than some other issues, that is for sure.


Ms Jackson: All right. And then there was one further e-mail in the series that I marked with you this morning that I neglected to mark, which I just ask the clerk to put in front of you and pass to members, just so we have the complete package. It is an e-mail of November 28, 1991, 11:03 am from Dr MacMillan to yourself and others. Could you identify that e-mail, sir?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes, that was confirming the arrangements.

Ms Jackson: And that, Mr Chairman, could be exhibit 35?

The Chair: That is marked as exhibit 35.

Ms Jackson: Last, Dr LeBlanc, you indicated that you did not share Dr MacMillan's concern about the providing of the information in the e-mail to the minister's office.

Dr LeBlanc: I did not share his concern, on the basis of certain assumptions that were different than his. I had made the assumption that this had been cleared by Kingston. I had made some further modifications, and we were in the development of a position, so I do not have difficulty per se in providing information to the minister's office that I would not wish to be distributed outside the ministry.

Ms Jackson: But in the period following the issue that arose in connection with the resignation of Minister Gigantes, is it fair that there is a great deal more care exercised in the provision of confidential information to ministers?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: And specifically, why did you think this information needed to go to the minister?

Dr LeBlanc: I did not give it to the minister; I gave it to Mr Corea. You can see from the various things that he was one of the people who was concerned about this issue, and in developing a position, one has to consult the minister's office. The deputy's office, as you see, was familiar at some level with the issue, so I thought that it was reasonable for him to have the information, because we were going to be discussing it. In fact the meeting in the morning was about thresholds also; that is why we were meeting at nine o'clockish that morning. I took the precautions, as I indicated, to remove names and to mark it "confidential," so it in fact would be kept among those who were working on the issues.

Ms Jackson: You took no steps to ensure that the memo was not provided to the minister?

Dr LeBlanc: No, I did not.

Ms Jackson: Did you make any assumption about whether it would or would not be provided to the minister?

Dr LeBlanc: I made the assumption it would not be provided to the minister, because it was not yet in a form suitable for a minister. If you burden ministers by giving them material that is in the process of formulation, you do not serve them well.

Ms Jackson: Just so we understand each other, Dr LeBlanc, we are here talking about the e-mail that has had the names blacked out. But we understand that you have indicated this morning, in the context, this is the e-mail from Mr Teatero which has had names on it blacked out and "confidential" marked on it?

Dr LeBlanc: That is correct.

Ms Jackson: This is the confidential e-mail that we have not marked as an exhibit in the public --

Dr LeBlanc: The confidential version.

Ms Jackson: Yes.

Mr Conway: As opposed to the one blacked out?

Ms Jackson: That is right. It is not the one that has been produced in the public hearing.

Mr Conway: Would you re-ask a couple of those questions? I was confused about which memo you were talking about. Would you mind just taking the witness through the last couple of questions again?

Ms Jackson: Dr LeBlanc, we heard this morning that you instructed that a copy of Mr Teatero's e-mail, that has not been produced in the public hearing, has names blacked out, has "confidential" written on it, and some copies be taken up to Mr Corea in the Minister of Health's office?

Mr Kormos: Excuse me, Mr Chair. Where is this document that Ms Jackson is now talking about with Dr LeBlanc?

The Chair: Excuse me, just before we proceed on that basis. Ms Jackson, if you could indicate that this is the document that has not been provided in the public hearings. Is that correct?

Ms Jackson: The particular document that we are talking about, Dr LeBlanc, is a copy of the e-mail from Mr Teatero to Ms McArthur of 11:41 on the 13th, which differs from ones currently available in that it has had names blacked out on it?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes, and marked "confidential."

Ms Jackson: And marked "confidential," delivered up to Corea as a result of your instructions, copies of it subsequently returned from Corea to MacMillan or to you?

Dr LeBlanc: What I remember is that they were destroyed. Since we were all within a few feet of each other, it is not clear exactly who did the destroying.

Mr Kormos: On a point of order, Mr Chair: We met in camera and looked at a document, and there was some expansion on that document by Ms Jackson in camera. We did not examine a document described --

Ms Jackson: It has been destroyed.

Mr Kormos: So there is no document.

The Chair: Excuse me, just on a point of order, please. I beg the committee's indulgence for just one moment. With the indulgence of the committee, the counsel will provide some direction.

Ms Jackson: We will try and make this clearer. On November 13, Dr LeBlanc, we know that an e-mail was sent from Mr Teatero to Ms McArthur at 11:41 that contained information concerning Dr Donahue and that has not been marked in these public proceedings. You are aware of that e-mail to which I refer, and you have from time to time seen it?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: Now, the e-mail that you had delivered up to Mr Corea was a copy of that e-mail?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: Which had had the word "confidential" printed on it?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: And the names in the e-mail blacked out, correct?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: And as a result of your conversation with Ms McArthur, you know that she took two copies of that e-mail up to Mr Corea?

Dr LeBlanc: That is correct.

Ms Jackson: As a result of the instructions you gave on the 14th, copies -- you do not know how many -- of that blacked-out e-mail were returned to the meeting on November 14?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: And destroyed?

Dr LeBlanc: That is correct.

Ms Jackson: And the document, therefore, that you had delivered up to Mr Corea, and that was returned, has not existed since the 14th?

Dr LeBlanc: That is correct.

Ms Jackson: But if we were to compare it to the e-mail that was sent by Mr Teatero on the 13th, the only difference would be that all the names on it would be blacked out and the word "confidential" would be written on the top?

Dr LeBlanc: That is correct.

Mr Kormos: On a point of order, Mr Chair: I understand now that the statement, the commentary by Dr LeBlanc is that in so far as he is aware, that blacked-out, censored, e-mail document does not exist any more. That is my understanding. In so far as he is aware, all outstanding copies of that censored bit of e-mail do not exist.

However, it is interesting, and I appreciate very much counsel -- I think all of us do -- in eliciting this commentary. I am wondering, would it not be a suitable thing to have the doctor replicate the censoring of that e-mail so, although we do not have the original, we have a facsimile of the original? One would think it would be very easy for the doctor to demonstrate what that document looked like by doing to it what had been done before it went up to the staff of the ministry, and then we would have something physical for this witness to refer to. I think that would be a valuable thing, for all of us on the committee to understand exactly what we are speaking of, because we are talking here about the conveyance of information. Surely that is not too much to ask.

Ms Jackson: Dr LeBlanc, would you be able to replicate the changes that were made to the original e-mail for the benefit of the committee?

Dr LeBlanc: I did not make the changes. And it raises another issue, if I were to respond further.

Ms Jackson: Well, let me just deal with something for the committee's edification before you do. Mr Chairman, I would have to advise the committee that, even with those deletions, the e-mail -- given that everybody now knows who it is about and indeed, as Dr LeBlanc has said, the recipients of the e-mail knew on the 14th who it was about -- could not be produced in the public hearing.


Mr Kormos: Mr Chair, once again, that does not preclude us from looking at that in camera.

The Chair: You are absolutely correct.

Mr Kormos: Of course.

Ms Jackson: That said, Dr LeBlanc, would it be possible for you to replicate the document, in general terms, recognizing you are not going to be able to use exactly the same pen to black out what was blacked out and your writing may be slightly different from the person who wrote "confidential," but you could do to a copy of the original e-mail what was done on the 14th?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: I have the sense that the committee would like to have that done, so I will ask that you do that for viewing by the committee in camera.

You have said that you took no steps when you had the e-mail delivered to the minister's office to ensure that the minister did not see it, correct?

Dr LeBlanc: That is correct.

Ms Jackson: But you did not consider it appropriate that the minister see it?

Dr LeBlanc: Nor did I think the minister would see it. I mean, not that she had no right to see it, but it was not yet suitable for any purpose she would have.

Ms Jackson: Because it contained confidential information?

Dr LeBlanc: No. All of the information that was necessary to put the thing in context had not yet been fully compiled.

Ms Jackson: Once that was done, it would be appropriate for the minister to have that specific confidential information?

Dr LeBlanc: I would have to think about whether all of the confidential information -- I think there is some confidential information in that memorandum that would be unnecessary for anyone outside of those who prepared it to know. But confidential material in there would be useful for the ministry to know.

Ms Jackson: In any event, the decision as to how much of that confidential information was passed on to the minister by the method in which you caused it to be delivered up there would be left to be determined in the minister's office, not by you.

Dr LeBlanc: Again, my difficulty is that part of the act did in fact already preclude the minister's office from having some information, notwithstanding that they knew the general topic of the memorandum.

Ms Jackson: They also knew who the information was about.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes, I understand, but there is information within the memorandum --

Ms Jackson: Relating to another person?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: Apart from the fact that there is information in the memorandum relating to another person, they would know what was in the memorandum.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: And they would know that it concerned Dr Donahue?

Dr LeBlanc: Oh, yes.

Ms Jackson: All right. Do you agree that as a general matter, when dealing with confidential information, it is extremely important to err on the side of underproviding confidential information to people rather than overproviding it?

Dr LeBlanc: I believe that to be true, yes.

Ms Jackson: That is because if you underprovide and you later find out they need it, you can add the confidential information.

Dr LeBlanc: You can add additional information. That is correct.

Ms Jackson: But once you have provided the confidential information you can never get it back.

Dr LeBlanc: "Never" is perhaps -- you run the risk of not being able to retrieve it, yes.

Ms Jackson: By getting the paper back, you do not necessarily get the information back.

Dr LeBlanc: I understand.

Ms Jackson: And you agree?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Ms Jackson: Thank you, Dr LeBlanc. Those are my questions.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Ms Jackson.

Just to deal with the issue of the point originally brought forward by Mr Kormos on the replication of a document, it will be my opinion that we now conduct the rotation for that which we have heard in public session. At the end of that process we will then adjourn to an in camera session, of course providing time for Dr LeBlanc to replicate that document and to provide it to committee members, and then to have a further process of questioning.

Having said that, and keeping in mind the time for questioning of Dr LeBlanc and the rotation, I will open this up to the official opposition and remind members that there will be approximately 30 minutes for questioning by each caucus. Mr Conway.

Mr Conway: Dr LeBlanc, it is very good to see you again. As I have indicated parenthetically, you and I have been around here a long time.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes, we have.

Mr Conway: You have had, in my experience, the opportunity to work intimately with ministers of now three different administrations.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Conway: You are a very seasoned hand in dealing with ministers' offices.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Conway: You would have been through your share of interesting and sometimes heated political controversies.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Conway: I want to take you back to the events around November 12 and 13 because I am having some difficulty, that I am sure you will help me with, in understanding precisely what happened from your point of view. Perhaps before I begin, can you just refresh my memory? When did Mr Decter, to the best of your knowledge, assume onsite his responsibilities as the new Ontario Deputy Minister of Health?

Dr LeBlanc: I think it was early August. I think there was an overlap of about a month between the two deputies.

Mr Conway: Ms Gigantes had left her post, as I recall, in May-June sometime.

Dr LeBlanc: I believe earlier than that.

Mr Conway: April-May; it would have been in the spring at any rate.

Dr LeBlanc: Early spring, I believe.

Mr Conway: Am I right in saying that the circumstances of her departure, particularly the whole question of the inadvertent release of confidential medical information, had been the subject of some considerable internal discussion and debate?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Conway: Someone in your position would clearly have been involved in advising a new deputy minister and a new minister around past practice and recent difficulty, and options to be fair and reasonable with the release of information while at the same time protecting the essential confidentiality.

Dr LeBlanc: In this particular case I did not do it for either the deputy or the minister, but others did, I believe.

Mr Conway: You would personally have been interested and participated at some level in departmental discussions around old, new, or renewed protocols on the subject of how confidential information is to be handled, certainly in the light of the Gigantes affair.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Conway: Can you tell me if the Gigantes affair caused you to change your thinking and your practice in any respect?

Dr LeBlanc: The dominant feature of my work tended to follow fairly predictable bodies; in other words, I did not deal with one-off, isolated items. I would say that my practices did not fundamentally alter but my sensitivity to the opportunity for things going awry was heightened.

Mr Conway: Did you and Bob MacMillan have an opportunity at any time in the spring, summer and early fall of 1991 to talk about the difficulties the Gigantes affair posed for any government or senior bureaucrats?

Dr LeBlanc: No, I cannot recall any conversation with him beginning from that proposition. He has often spoken of his concerns given the sheer magnitude of information he holds, particularly as it relates to patients. He was always vigilant and concerned about that.

Mr Conway: I want to reconstruct some of the events of early November 1991. Committee counsel has done a very effective job of setting out many of these facts, but I want to just review some of that ground.

We know that by the summer the government has negotiated, with your help, a very significant framework agreement. I guess it was in June.

Dr LeBlanc: The formal signing was June 4.


Mr Conway: It was a very considerable achievement on the basis of what the government felt, advertised, and what many others of us felt as well. So that is a very significant undertaking, and it is not too many months later in a big labour town with strong government support -- my editorial observations and nothing else -- that this framework agreement is suddenly under attack in a way that it is not, to the same extent, in other communities, although there are certainly inquiries. But in Sudbury by October there is a growing interest and controversy around what this framework agreement might mean. Is that correct?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Conway: Certainly you and your unit would be aware of that; you have testified to that effect. In fact, at some point along the way instructions are given, it seems to me quite understandably, that the communications section of the Ministry of Health gather together a file on the Sudbury situation.

So there is a very keen awareness within significant and senior levels at the Ministry of Health of the developing Sudbury situation.

Let me just take a couple of these documents. I should know this, and you may or may not, but exactly what is Mr Corea's function within Ms Lankin's office as you understand it?

Dr LeBlanc: She has a number of people who are involved in sectors of health policy and I understand that Mr Corea is one of that group.

Mr Conway: So we would know Mr Corea as Ms Lankin's political assistant for health policy issues?

Dr LeBlanc: Some of them.

Mr Conway: Some of them.

Dr LeBlanc: I think she has more than one.

Mr Conway: That is correct. As the Minister of Health she would have a requirement for more than one. But broadly speaking, Mr Corea then would be Ms Lankin's political staff assistant for some of the health policy issues.

Dr LeBlanc: That is my understanding.

Mr Conway: On the afternoon of November 12, 1991, at approximately 2:30, Mr Corea, with an interoffice memo that is copied to you and to the deputy among others, is writing about the fact that, "Floyd Laughren's office called to indicate that they have been inundated with calls regarding Dr Donahue." Mr Laughren's assistant, Nuala Doherty, "said that in fact Mr Laughren received calls at home last night on this issue -- guess that constitutes things getting hotter around the threshold issue." Corea then goes on to put a series of specific questions in that memorandum that would be helpfully answered by staff so that Mr Laughren's concerns could be dealt with.

Then we know the next morning Dr Donahue turns up the heat. He gets on CBC Sudbury and he gives quite an interesting interview that he may have given earlier and elsewhere, but in the course of this interview reported in one of our exhibits, exhibit 20, Dr Donahue in discussions with Mr Peter Williams of CBC Sudbury puts his cards on the table. It is getting hotter and he is about to close his clinic within a very few days because, as he sees it, this centrepiece of the new government's health policy has an unintended or an intended anti-northern bias and he may just not be able to continue and has no intentions of continuing. So that happens at 7:30 the next morning.

We have later that same day, November 13, Susan Colley. She is also on Ms Lankin's --

Dr LeBlanc: She is her executive assistant.

Mr Conway: That is right. Ms Colley is now the senior political person in Health Minister Lankin's office. As it happens, just within that same 24-hour period, Ms Colley is telling us, telling "us" in this case Michael Decter, Eugene LeBlanc, Larry Corea, that she has just received "an urgent request from the Treasurer" concerning the problems that Dr Donahue has raised, presumably in that interview and elsewhere.

In that interoffice memorandum of November 13, the Minister of Health's most senior political person is saying, "The Treasurer has urgently requested briefing notes on Dr Donahue's actual position and a political response from the Ministry of Health." This is not just coming from the person who brings the new flowers into the minister's office every morning. This is the Minister of Health's most senior political assistant telling you, among others, that outside of the Premier, the most senior elected official in this government -- from my point of view, quite understandably, because he is the member for Nickel Belt -- is urgently requesting two things; briefing notes on the Donahue case and a political response from the Ministry of Health.

Now, we know from other testimony advanced in these hearings -- the Colley memorandum is 2:46 pm -- by this point in time not one, but two e-mails have been asked for and received from the OHIP office in Kingston, containing information relative to the Donahue file. As I understood your testimony, when those Teatero memoranda, one at 11:41, the other at 2-something pm that day, November 13, when those memoranda arrived in your office -- I think they were sent to Diane McArthur -- I believe I heard you say that, without much delay, those two Teatero memoranda went directly into the minister's office, to the attention of Mr Corea.

Dr LeBlanc: That is not correct. We have only spoken of one memorandum. Although two were received, one of them was minor and the only one that was taken was the more comprehensive.

Mr Conway: The more comprehensive; so the 11:41 am, November 13, 1991, Teatero memorandum was sent to and received by Ms McArthur and, at your instruction, directed without much haste to the minister's office staff, to the attention of Mr Corea.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Conway: Now, I am interested in having that confirmed to know again and clearly, because I now know that at least two significant political assistants -- one of them very, very close to the Minister of Health, her executive assistant -- are keenly aware of what is being requested and what has been sent.

Dr LeBlanc: I think it is correct that two were aware of what was being requested. I am not aware of both of them being aware of what was being sent. I only know what Mr Corea was provided.

Mr Conway: But in your many years of distinguished experience, closely associated with a variety of ministers and ministers' offices, Dr LeBlanc, it would not at all be unreasonable for a person to imagine that people on the exempt staff, senior people, senior political assistants to ministers, might in fact chat back and forth about a hot file -- a hot issue, I should say -- one that is causing the government and the Treasurer a lot of angst, so much angst that he is asking repeatedly for urgent briefings and a political response from the Ministry of Health.

Dr LeBlanc: My understanding was that Sue Colley was not there, so that sort of speaks to the question of her knowing immediately. Whether there was conversation subsequently, I do not know, but she was not provided with any copy of the material, and the material was returned to my office within a matter of a few minutes, so I had no knowledge of it being provided to her, either orally or by any exposure.

Mr Conway: But I just simply submit to you that we know that at about the same time as the second e-mail was arriving, on a day when clearly there was urgent public business involving and concerning the Ministry of Health and relating to the local interests of the Treasurer and Deputy Premier himself, at 2:46 on the afternoon of November 13, the Minister of Health's executive assistant is telling you she is aware that there are urgent requests coming from the Treasurer on the Sudbury business.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes, I am aware. I have seen the memorandum, yes.


Mr Conway: So it must have surely crossed your mind by the end of that day that people very close to the Minister of Health were aware of just how topical the Sudbury file was becoming.

Dr LeBlanc: I was not aware of Colley's memorandum until the following morning. I was certainly aware of its topicality and, more important, I was aware of its policy implications.

Mr Conway: Having established that, you also knew at some point during that day that the -- keeping the Gigantes matter, too, in the back of our minds -- on that day, on November 13, 1991, one or both of those memoranda made their way not just to your attention but found their way directly into the communications branch of the Ministry of Health.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes. I believe the first did. I do not know whether the second -- it is my understanding that the second short one was in response to a question of explanations and I do not know whether the second one --

Mr Conway: We will just forget about the second of the Teatero memoranda entirely and concern ourselves only with the first.

Dr LeBlanc: Sure.

Mr Conway: That caused you no concern at all, that the first Teatero memorandum had gotten into the communications branch of the ministry?

Dr LeBlanc: I do not know whether at the time I was dealing with it in my branch, which was the first thing in the morning. I think I was aware subsequently to its second distribution. I was not aware of it at that time.

Mr Conway: On November 13 Dr MacMillan is away from his desk in Kingston where he would have ordinarily had some kind of supervisory function with respect to the Teatero memoranda that were sent, as I understood his testimony yesterday.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes, he was in Kingston with me. Pardon me, he was in Toronto with me.

Mr Conway: He was in Toronto with you.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Conway: I want to and need to know at what point you were together on that afternoon of November 13.

Dr LeBlanc: The whole day, the Wednesday.

Mr Conway: The whole day. Now, I gather from Dr MacMillan's testimony, as best I can recall it this afternoon -- that is, his testimony of earlier this week -- that at some point that day, November 13, or early the next day, November 14, he was in your office and he saw the first of those Teatero memoranda, if not both.

Dr LeBlanc: He was in my office on the morning of Thursday.

Mr Conway: The morning of the 14th.

Dr LeBlanc: And I only think that he saw in my office the first memorandum.

Mr Conway: That caused him some anxiety.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Conway: Could you just carefully describe to the best of your knowledge how it was that Dr MacMillan in your office came to see that Teatero memorandum of the day before, the one of 11:41 am, and what precisely to the best of your knowledge was his reaction?

Dr LeBlanc: The purpose of the meeting, to which there were four invitees, was to discuss the threshold issue broadly. It is my recollection that current material was available for that discussion, and after reading it and some other material, Bob expressed significant unhappiness about the Teatero memorandum. That was the first time that I became aware that the processes in Kingston had not been done to his satisfaction.

Mr Conway: You have used an interesting phrase, "significant unhappiness."

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Conway: Could you help me understand what Dr MacMillan's "significant unhappiness" might -- what might it mean? What did he do? How did he express the "significant unhappiness"?

Dr LeBlanc: If you have seen Dr MacMillan, he is not a grey person. He, as I recall, read it a few times and began to sort of think about it and came within a very short time to the notion that this ought not to have been sent, in his view, and that he wanted it recovered.

Mr Conway: He did not figuratively fall off his chair when he saw the Teatero memorandum.

Dr LeBlanc: No, he reserved that metaphor for when an individual communicated with the media.

Mr Conway: But you could appreciate when you read that quote attributed to him some weeks later in the media just how he must have felt on that occasion, because he had expressed some considerable unhappiness when he saw that memorandum in your office.

Dr LeBlanc: I think that is slightly an unfair presentation of it. First of all, there was material in it which did not leave the office. Moreover, from the point of view of the dynamic, within a few working hours of it being produced he had it retrieved.

Mr Conway: All right, I need to know something here. Now I am hearing -- because this anticipates what is causing us some confusion. You said just a moment ago or you left the impression that there was some information in the memorandum that did not go forward.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Conway: Well then, I am missing something, because I think what you are telling me is that what you really meant to say earlier is that when Diane McArthur received that memorandum, she took the ink to some parts of it right away.

Dr LeBlanc: I do not know whether she did it right away, but she certainly did it at my instruction.

Mr Conway: Before it ever went into the minister's office in the first instance.

Dr LeBlanc: That is correct, from my office. That is correct.

Mr Conway: That is an important point to establish, but what we know was inked out -- we know that the word "confidential" was inked at the top and we know that names were removed before this memorandum, specifically asked for by, among others, the executive assistant to the Minister of Health, because the Deputy Premier needed to be briefed on an urgent basis about a specific case in Sudbury, was to receive said information.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Conway: You can appreciate how the inking would not disguise any relevant information. We have seen the document.

Dr LeBlanc: Well then, your statement suggests that you do not perceive a sensitivity in the document that I did.

Mr Conway: It is not a question of whether I perceive a sensitivity, I am just trying to reconstruct the events and that is why I took you to --

Dr LeBlanc: Think of names; if the names were removed, what the significance of the removing of all the names is.

Mr Conway: Let me go back to what Sue Colley, executive assistant to the Minister of Health, is saying to you and the deputy on November 13: "I have received an urgent request from the Treasurer concerning the problem of dermatological services in his riding." The reason for his interest is "because Dr Donahue is threatening to close his operation in Sudbury on November 18" -- five days from then -- "if he does not receive an exemption." It to me is abundantly clear and would be absolutely clear to a senior politician like the honourable member from Nickel Belt, the Deputy Premier himself, who this information concerned, because the request that occasioned all of this was highly specific. How many dermatologists are there in Sudbury?

Dr LeBlanc: There are in service three, but that is not --

Mr Conway: Well, let me just come back --

Mr Kormos: One moment, Chair.

The Chair: Excuse me for a moment. Dr LeBlanc, if in response to any particular question you feel it would result in the divulging of confidential information, on the advice of your counsel, if you cannot reveal that information then of course there is the opportunity for you to advise us immediately and we can revisit that particular question in camera.

Mr Conway: Part of the difficulty we are having, Mr Chairman, is -- and I will have to go over the testimony, but I am trying to recall what I heard this morning. I was under the impression that when that 11:41 am Teatero memorandum arrived you were out of the office, Ms McArthur received it and passed it along unexpurgated --

Dr LeBlanc: No, no, no, no, no, no. It was retained, went nowhere, until the following morning. Following a discussion with me, at the same time I was having a meeting with Dr MacMillan, it went at that point. So that is the Thursday morning.


Mr Conway: All right, that is helpful. But again, I --

Mr Kormos: Please, Mr Chair, on a point of order: The Chair had begun to address the matter of Dr LeBlanc responding to a question put to him by Mr Conway. Now, Mr Conway may not be interested in the response to the question, but I am interested in the response to the question. If it is one that he can give, we should hear it now; if it is one that he cannot give, we should hear it in camera.

The Chair: Just as I have indicated to Dr LeBlanc and given the warning with your counsel present, if, in response to Mr Conway's question, you are in your opinion able to provide that information here without divulging confidential information, then you are free to do so. If you are not, please advise the committee so that that question can be revisited in an in camera proceeding.

Dr LeBlanc: What I am advised that I can say is that there was more than one person named in the memorandum, which is why I am concerned that --

Mr Conway: Listen, I appreciate your concern. Rest comfortably, because under solemn oath I have seen the sacrosanct memorandum, and that is what is causing me some difficulty, quite frankly. We are going to want to look at what Dr MacMillan has said about this. I am just simply sitting here trying to understand the events, and I will quickly recap them. We have the Deputy Premier in a flurry, quite understandably, because he is catching heat and hell over the framework agreement, and the --

Mr Kormos: Mr Chair --

Mr Conway: Mr Chairman --

The Chair: Mr Kormos. Mr Kormos, Mr Conway has the floor.

Mr Kormos: I understand, but I am making a point of order. Please, Mr Chair.

The Chair: Let's hear your point.

Mr Kormos: I understand the informality that goes on here. But for Mr Conway to put to this witness that the Deputy Premier is in a flurry, when I -- I have not heard anything from any of the participants since we began here on Monday to that effect. For him to put this to this witness when he knows that this witness has not been here for all of this hearing is really something that you should be intervening on and controlling, is it not?

The Chair: Thanks very much for your opinion, Mr Kormos.

Mr Scott: He does not flurry easily, but, boy, today he was certainly flurried.

The Chair: Mr Scott. Thank you very much, Mr Kormos, for your opinion, but it is within the responsibilities and the role of members of this committee to pose the questions that they feel.

Mr Conway: We have senior officials in the office of the Minister of Health, senior political staff aides to the Minister of Health, on record telling us that there is a great deal of interest and urgent concern in the office of the Treasurer, it seems to me quite understandably, because of what Dr Donahue is publicly threatening to do and citing the framework agreement as his reason for so doing. Dr MacMillan made this plain yesterday, that it was in large part because of the Treasurer's urgent concern that a request for the so-called Teatero memorandum of 11:41 went out. It came back. It went rather quickly into some interesting places, right back into the hands of senior political aides to the minister. It went down into the communications branch of the ministry. We know that.

The question that I need to have you help me with is that at some point on the 14th you and Dr MacMillan are having an -- well, you are not having an argument, but you are discussing. You said, I think, in your earlier testimony that you had something of a difference of opinion about where and what was confidential.

Mr LeBlanc: No, that is not, I think, what I said. What I meant to imply is that I had made some assumptions that the material was known and that with the changes that I had made it was appropriate to share it with Corea. He, assessing it without those corrections and from his particular vantage point, thought otherwise. I was prepared to allow his judgement to reign, since it in fact had come from his shop.

Mr Conway: Just so I am clear, what exactly did you do to that memorandum again? I want to be absolutely clear. You put "confidential" on top and you inked out the names?

Dr LeBlanc: All the names.

Mr Conway: All the names.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Conway: And you did no more than that?

Dr LeBlanc: That is correct. I did not do it; I asked --

Mr Conway: No. Dr MacMillan obviously felt that that perhaps still left some room for understanding that might breach confidentiality, that you did not quite share.

Dr LeBlanc: No. There are two things. One is that I am not aware whether he fully appreciated what I had done vis-à-vis Mr Corea. But number two is that he and I agreed that that information was confidential in the form in which it was provided. There is a view as to whether it was usefully applied to answering these questions in an appropriate way or not. I think his sensitivity was affected by his looking at the totality of the memorandum, and I did not distribute the totality of the memorandum.

Mr Conway: You inked out and inked in the abovementioned additions?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes, all of the names, which was --

Mr Conway: That is all.

Dr LeBlanc: But in my view, that was a highly significant modification.

Mr Conway: You really believe that?

Dr LeBlanc: Well --

Mr Conway: Dr LeBlanc, I want to move on, because I do not want to cause your counsel heart failure.

The Chair: Mr Conway, I wish to inform you that we are quickly coming to the end of that.

Mr Conway: Oh, I appreciate that. I am learning all I want to learn.

You mentioned in your testimony this morning a couple of other things; I want to quickly clarify those. The incident in Thunder Bay occurred in the evening of Thursday, November 5. I think you indicated that by morning or midday on Friday, December 6, it was your understanding that Bob MacMillan knew what had happened at Thunder Bay.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Conway: And therefore, as a result of your discussions with Dr MacMillan, you knew what had happened, more or less.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes, I had spoken to Ms Martel first, and Bob MacMillan subsequently.

Mr Conway: Did you, at any point on Friday in your normal course of business, talk to anyone in the office of the Minister of Health?

Dr LeBlanc: No.

Mr Conway: Now, there was a policy and priorities board of cabinet committee meeting to which you made reference.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Conway: That was Sunday, was it not?

Dr LeBlanc: No, my recollection is that it was on Mondays. It is normally held Mondays, late in the afternoon.

Mr Conway: So it is your recollection that it was not a weekend; it was the following Monday.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes, the day after I got back.

Mr Conway: Between the time you left the office on Friday, you had no discussions with anybody in the Health minister's office on Friday at all?

Dr LeBlanc: That is correct.

Mr Conway: Because you were up north, you were in Sudbury.

Dr LeBlanc: That is correct.

Mr Conway: You came back to Toronto when?

Dr LeBlanc: Sunday evening.

Mr Conway: And you had no discussions throughout the weekend with anyone in the Minister of Health's office about any of these matters?

Dr LeBlanc: No, I did not.

Mr Conway: Your first discussion with anybody in the government, outside of your chat with Dr MacMillan, was just in the ante-room of the cabinet room on Monday?

Dr LeBlanc: With members of the government, that is correct. No, I had met with the minister earlier in the day, briefing her on Sudbury and the time that I had spent. So I spoke with my minister before I went to the meeting with the other people.

Mr Conway: And at that p and p committee meeting you had some discussions with which ministers, again?

Dr LeBlanc: First of all, it was in the ante-room.

Mr Conway: Yes, I know exactly where it was.

Dr LeBlanc: No, but to catch people it was not in p and p; it was to take advantage of their being in that geographical area. It was the Treasurer, the Minister of Health, the Minister of Northern Development and Ms Murdock, who was in, I think, the regulations committee on the same floor, the deputy minister, myself. I think that was about it. But we never got all of them at once, because the plan to do so was thwarted by the problems that beset ministers, and they dropped in and dropped out.

The Chair: Mr Scott?

Mr Scott: I just have one question, and it is this. Is it your view that if political people, either ministers or staff, ask you for a personal OHIP profile on Dr X, you can deliver that up in whatever detail is achieved and preserve confidentiality by simply crossing out the name that was referred to in the request made to you?

Dr LeBlanc: No, I do not think that. I do not think that is what I said. What I said was that one issue that, in my judgement, had no relevance to the issues at hand was to be removed, and my instructions were to remove it. With respect to the numeric information and some descriptive information that remained, I believe that should have been preserved, outside of the ministry, confidential. But for the purposes of formulating policy and deliberating the issues it was necessary information to meaningfully do that. I believe that if such a need exists one has to provide such information as will permit the useful discussion.


Mr Scott: But you would agree with me about this, at least within the ministry: that if you are requested to produce a memorandum, an OHIP profile on Dr X, and the name of the doctor is given to you to assist your search, nothing that matters is gained when you later in the day or later in the week deliver up to the minister's staff the profile and say, "Oh, by the way, I've scratched out the name of the doctor," because everybody knows who the request was about and crossing out his name at that stage does not make any difference, does it?

Dr LeBlanc: I disagree. You impute to my thinking that the purpose of crossing out the name was for the individual receiving it to be unaware whom it was about. That was not my intent.

Mr Scott: The person receiving it would clearly know whom it was about.

Dr LeBlanc: Exactly so. It was to preclude en passant knowledge. You are aware that everything from --

Mr Scott: Can I ask you this: Does that mean that you crossed out the name because you understood perfectly the risk that it might fall into other political hands outside the ministry?

Dr LeBlanc: No. The analogy for me is equivalent to the various hearings and reports on same that come out of discipline bodies in which within one context people know, but if you simply read it without additional information you cannot identify the individual.

Mr Scott: Dr LeBlanc, you and I go almost six years back.

Dr LeBlanc: Only six years? It seems longer.

The Chair: Mr Scott, can you finish it up?

Mr Scott: Let's just be real. If crossing out the name of the doctor whose profile was requested was meaningless within the ministry because anybody receiving it in the minister's office would know whose profile it was, crossing it out -- I agree it would be a useful exercise -- would only be meaningful if you were trying to protect against others outside the ministry concluding who the doctor was.

Dr LeBlanc: Or just people in the ministry who had no need to know the information.

Mr Scott: But you were very wise. I am simply saying that it was a wise thing to cross it out. You crossed it out, precisely as Mr Conway suggests, because you recognized as an old hand on board the risk that this might get out -- not the document, but word of mouth about what it contained might get out to other ministries or other political persons.

Dr LeBlanc: Crossing out would not protect against people speaking of it, but it would provide a measure of security if the piece of paper went anywhere.

Mr Scott: And it would have provided that measure of security if anybody in the Ministry of Health who did not know the doctor repeated what was in the memorandum outside the ministry -- they would not then have the name -- and it would also help if it was leaked outside the ministry.

Dr LeBlanc: Or went astray by inadvertence.

Mr Scott: Yes. But anybody in the minister's office who elected to convey the information in the memorandum to others would not have been prevented from disclosing the name, because they knew it.

Dr LeBlanc: They would be prevented from disclosing the second name, absolutely.

Mr Scott: But not the name of the subject doctor.

Dr LeBlanc: I understand.

Mr Scott: Right. Thank you very much.

Dr LeBlanc: But I hope you appreciate the sensitivity of the second name.

Mr Scott: Oh, yes.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Scott.

Mr Harnick: All of this seemed to begin because there was an urgent request from the Treasurer. Is that correct in terms of this flurry of exhibits we now have before us?

Dr LeBlanc: "Begin" is perhaps a bit of a strong word. The issue of thresholds had been developing from September, but I think this punctuated the activity in and around that --

Mr Harnick: And it was the Treasurer's request that started the development of the documentation that is confidential but before us, and the documentation that you have produced today?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Harnick: As I understand what you are telling us, on November 14 the document that was in possession of your office had been doctored by adding the word "confidential" and deleting the names.

Dr LeBlanc: Before it left. As it existed in my office, it was as received.

Mr Harnick: As it existed in your office --

Dr LeBlanc: It was as received.

Mr Harnick: And then alterations were made to it.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes, before it left my office, that is correct.

Mr Harnick: Now, on the day before, you were out of your office all day?

Dr LeBlanc: That is correct.

Mr Harnick: But the document, the e-mail that is the confidential piece of information, was in your office from approximately 11:41 am on November 13?

Dr LeBlanc: The Wednesday, yes.

Mr Harnick: That is right. That is correct, is it not?

Dr LeBlanc: If the 13th is the Wednesday, that is right.

Mr Harnick: Yes.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes, the Wednesday.

Mr Harnick: And, as well, there was was a second piece of e-mail that came at 2:40 or 2:40-something?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes. Later in the day, yes.

Mr Harnick: On the 13th, on the Wednesday?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Harnick: And that was in your office as well?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Harnick: Was any of that material delivered from your office to any sources outside of your office on the 13th?

Dr LeBlanc: According to my assistant, the answer is no.

Mr Harnick: All right. In the course of any of your discussions with people outside of your office, did you learn whether this documentation had been sent from the place where it originated -- Mr Teatero -- to any other areas in addition to your office?

Dr LeBlanc: I subsequently learned that it had been.

Mr Harnick: And I gather that it had in fact been sent to the communications branch.

Dr LeBlanc: That was my understanding.

Mr Harnick: Do you know from any of your investigations whether the communications branch forwarded that material to anywhere beyond their office?

Dr LeBlanc: I do not know for certain if they did. It had been suggested to me that it may have been, but I do not know.

Mr Harnick: All right. Now, if we follow through on the evidence that you have given us, you came in on the 14th and made the additions and deletions to the document and you felt it was in proper form to then send it out?

Dr LeBlanc: To have it hand-delivered to specifically the individual that it was taken to, yes.

Mr Harnick: And in fact that hand delivery took place?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Harnick: What time did that occur?

Dr LeBlanc: Very close to the first thing in the morning when I came to work. My best estimate would be around 9, since that is the normal hour of people in the minister's office being there. I am usually there a bit earlier, but it was around 9 o'clock.

Mr Harnick: And you then had to review the material yourself.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes, I looked at it before I gave the instructions.

Mr Harnick: And then the deletions and additions were made?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Harnick: And then the material was sent out?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Harnick: And Dr MacMillan arrived, I gather --

Dr LeBlanc: Subsequent to that.

Mr Harnick: -- subsequent to that.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes, but very close in time.

Mr Harnick: All right. And what you are telling us now, then, is that as soon as Dr MacMillan arrived you then recalled the material?

Dr LeBlanc: At his request, yes.

Mr Harnick: And the very next piece of documentation that you have provided us with are exhibits 30 and 31 -- and 32, I guess -- which are dated November 20.


Dr LeBlanc: Exhibits 30 and 31, you are talking about?

Mr Harnick: Yes, I am just following the trail of paper.

Dr LeBlanc: Sure.

Mr Harnick: So that there was no other documentation that was created and delivered anywhere between the 14th and the 20th?

Dr LeBlanc: There was, I believe, a briefing note ultimately prepared, which I believe is in your material. But the next bundle of paper that was prepared was that very large chunk prior to -- you are saying before the 30th or before the 5th?

Mr Harnick: I just want to know if there is any documentation between this period of the 13th and 14th and the next papers that you have, of the 20th.

Dr LeBlanc: You have a briefing note dated -- I guess it is exhibit 14.

Mr Harnick: Could I see yours rather than hold up -- who was exhibit 14 delivered to?

Dr LeBlanc: This goes into general circulation. When they get down to the final form they are distributed ultimately electronically to an internal circulation list.

Mr Harnick: What I am wondering is what documentation the Treasurer ultimately received.

Dr LeBlanc: I am afraid I do not have the answer to that. I do not know what he received.

Mr Harnick: Because with all the urgency -- somewhere along the line he generated the urgency. I want to know what he got.

Dr LeBlanc: I cannot help you.

Mr Harnick: If you take a look at exhibit 29, you have a memorandum from Susan Colley. Can you tell me what advice -- she says in the very last paragraph: "Please could you let me have advice on this tomorrow. Thank you."

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Harnick: What advice was given to Sue Colley the next day?

Dr LeBlanc: I believe that the response to that is what you have just seen.

Mr Harnick: Exhibit 14?

Dr LeBlanc: No, I do not know for certain, but given the dating and it was on topic, that is the most probable response, which was done by noon of the day that she requested some response.

Mr Harnick: So you are telling me now that exhibit 14 was the replacement document?

Dr LeBlanc: No, I would not say it was a replacement document. It was a document that could be more widely distributed. The other document was background to it.

Mr Harnick: So that, in a sense, they really go hand in hand?

Dr LeBlanc: No, one is precedent to the other, because there were questions asked that one had to consider, and that information was pertinent to considering the questions.

Mr Harnick: So all I am saying is that the document that we now have, that is a confidential document, continued to be a relevant document?

Dr LeBlanc: I believe so.

Mr Harnick: All right. Now, I understand that after the meeting on, I guess, the Thursday night in Sudbury --

Dr LeBlanc: Yes, okay.

Mr Harnick: -- you remained in Sudbury on the Friday?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes, I did, and the Saturday and the Sunday.

Mr Harnick: Was there any particular reason you remained there?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes. The purpose for the meeting, if you saw in the material, was to provide information and to have discussions. The way the meeting was structured, the meeting virtually adjourned before the deputy minister was allowed to speak. So, against our objective of having had a discussion in which we would explain the policy and to hear comments on it, that had not yet been achieved. The deputy and Dr MacMillan were unable to stay. I was; I did stay and I spent the next three days talking to physicians, hospital administrators and others on what I must say was a very constructive basis. Outside of the public arena the physicians were very helpful in helping to think through some of the policy options.

Mr Harnick: During that period of time, did you meet with Dr Donahue?

Dr LeBlanc: To the best of my knowledge, no. If you remember, I referred to -- there was almost a meeting I went to, and I did not meet everybody who was there, so it is possible, but my understanding was that at the time I was there he was in Toronto and not there. But I cannot say that for sure.

Mr Harnick: One other comment that you made I found interesting. When you talked about your discussion with Miss Martel on the Monday you described the incident that she had been involved with -- you said that "describing it as a heated affair was an understatement." Those were your words.

Dr LeBlanc: With respect to the Thursday night?

Mr Harnick: Yes.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Harnick: Why did you describe the incident that Miss Martel had been involved with --

Dr LeBlanc: No, I said I communicated to her about the Thursday meeting I was at.

Mr Harnick: Okay, all right. I was not sure about that.

Dr LeBlanc: And to refer to it as heated, having experienced it, was an understatement.

Mr Harnick: Thank you, doctor.

The Chair: Mr Eves.

Mr Eves: I just have a few brief questions, Mr Chairman.

Dr LeBlanc, I believe you indicated this morning that Paul Howard went to Sudbury as well. Is that correct?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Eves: Do you know why Mr Howard went to Sudbury?

Dr LeBlanc: I think that there was some sensitivity to the fact that the Sudbury meeting could not be scheduled in a way that either the Minister of Health or the Minister of Northern Development, or even the Treasurer, who did make a special attempt, was to be there. My sense was that the minister's office was very interested in the information that was coming there. So at the last minute he was added to the group to go.

Mr Eves: Under questioning this morning by counsel, you indicated that it would be a reasonable inference to infer, to assume that the infamous e-mail would go to all the people who were shown on the memorandum.

Dr LeBlanc: It is a reasonable inference that when a memorandum is constructed and the names are there, to assume that it goes to them. You cannot conclude it absolutely, because unless you press a special key it does not go and yet you can still copy it without it ever having been sent. But if you assume that the person wrote it for the purpose of sending it, all the names that are electronically listed would receive it.

Mr Eves: Did you make an effort to ensure that a copy of the e-mail was retrieved from in fact every person who was shown as being copied on the e-mail?

Dr LeBlanc: I think the question for that was around the memorandum that was written by Miss Allen, I think. I was not the originator of that. I think that was the context in which I was asked, was it reasonable to infer that all the listed -- I think my name was listed there and I said I did not remember having received it, though my name was listed there.

Mr Eves: Dr MacMillan seemed to be under the impression that Larry Corea rather than Mr Howard received the infamous e-mail.

Dr LeBlanc: That is correct. It was Mr Corea and not Mr Howard who received the copy from me.

Mr Eves: From you.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Eves: But whether Mr Howard received one electronically or not, or one was sent to his office, you have no way of knowing.

Dr LeBlanc: No, I have no way of helping you there.

Mr Eves: Was Dr MacMillan present when Mr Corea's e-mail was returned?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes, we were still in the meeting and Mr Corea came, delivered it and participated in the discussions around threshold at that time.


Mr Eves: Because Dr MacMillan, I believe -- I am doing this from memory and partially from one quote I have of his from Hansard of the last few days -- seemed to be under the impression that he did not find out until some time later that it was in fact Larry Corea as opposed to Mr Howard who had received it. I will read you a quote of the question I asked him on February 11:

"Larry Corea -- now to be fair, you indicated that you did not know about Mr Corea gaining access to the e-mail in place of Mr Howard until some time later; is that correct?"

Dr MacMillan: "I believe so."

If Dr MacMillan was present while Mr Corea delivered in person, returned in person the copies of the e-mail that he had received -- and Dr MacMillan was asked this question more than once -- do you not think it would have made a big enough impression on him that he would know that Larry Corea appeared in person at the meeting and in person delivered the two copies of the e-mail that you had asked to be retrieved?

Dr LeBlanc: I cannot account for what Dr MacMillan attended to or remembered. It is my quite clear impression that he in fact delivered it and that he did so while I was there, but I cannot help you as to why he would not have attended to it. But it is not unknown to me that on some details people's memories differ on given events.

Mr Eves: Do you know exactly what material was sent to the Treasurer or the Treasurer's office?

Dr LeBlanc: No, I was not a part -- I received no copy nor was I explicitly told. I believe there may have been a telephone conversation about that. I do not know what --

Mr Eves: So you have no way of knowing what information he or his office received?

Dr LeBlanc: No, I would not.

Mr Eves: Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Eves. Mr Christopherson.

Mr Christopherson: Mr Chair, I would just like to pick up perhaps where Mr Eves left off and stay with the meeting, Dr LeBlanc, in your office, I believe, November 14, where Dr MacMillan is present --

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Christopherson: -- and Mr Corea, I believe you just said, came into the room and returned personally a hard copy of the memo to Dr MacMillan.

Dr LeBlanc: No, I did not remember -- what I remembered was it was delivered and destroyed. It is not clear to me whether it was delivered to me or Diane or somebody who was there; it was that it was delivered to my office and destroyed within my sight.

Mr Christopherson: Fine. But it was Mr Corea who walked in and handed it to someone in the room for the purpose -- stop me if I am wrong -- of returning it as per instructions or requests, and that indeed did happen.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Christopherson: Now, Mr Eves just asked you about Dr MacMillan not being able to give as precise testimony. I would like to just read you something from Tuesday the 11th. Dr MacMillan is saying:

"I know Mr Howard because he attended in Sudbury for the second meeting, the town hall meeting, with the physicians. That is the first time I had an opportunity to really get to know him, other than his name and his face. Mr Corea, I have not had occasion to work with and I do not know."

I then asked him: "So you never met him. But the rest of them you do know?"

He responded, "I may have met him, but I just cannot recall."

Then I asked him: "If he walked in right now you would not be sure that was Larry Corea?"

Dr MacMillan: "I do not think so."

So I would ask you if that recollection by Dr MacMillan is consistent with the way you recall, inasmuch as you did know it was Larry Corea and Dr MacMillan has testified that he is not sure he would recognize Larry Corea.

Dr LeBlanc: I know Mr Corea and do recognize him and was able to comment on his arriving. I think it is speculative to know whether that is the basis of Dr MacMillan not remembering or not.

Mr Christopherson: Fair enough, but you do not believe that contradicts in any way what you recall happening.

Dr LeBlanc: No, nor do I see it as earthshaking that in some detail two people in the same meeting may not have comprehensive identity.

Mr Christopherson: Thank you very much. I would like to now move us to the November 30 breakfast meeting in Sudbury. Again, I know you have been over this but I would like to just be sure we are absolutely clear. Again, I would refer to Dr MacMillan, who has stated -- the date is Monday the 10th from Hansard:

"It was definitely a discussion about dermatology. Dr Donahue's name was definitely mentioned. I can recall it. I do not recall, and I have thought a lot about it, immediately after this, about the extent of that conversation, and I do not feel in any way that we divulged any private or confidential information that would be seen as being in breach of the legislation we live under. I am so sensitive to that, having gone through personally the Evelyn Gigantes release of information. I am above that. I just do not believe that I could have inadvertently even slipped out something about an amount of income or any other matter relating to Dr Donahue."

That was testimony given by Dr MacMillan about what he recalls of what may or may not have been said that was confidential.

And again I come back to an article in the February 11 Ottawa Citizen, where one of the members of this committee on the opposition side states, and I quote, "It stretches one's credulity to believe that this particular doctor's practice, the size of his billings, were never discussed at any of these meetings with ministry officials."

I ask you again very directly: With all of that in mind, do you recall anything at all being talked about regarding Dr Donahue that might be considered to be captured by the privacy of information act?

Dr LeBlanc: At the meeting on the -- I do not recall the conversation turning itself to Donahue at all, so it goes without saying that I am not aware of anything that would have been construed even loosely as confidential information.

Mr Christopherson: Thank you. Further, do you recall any discussion about Dr Donahue -- and I do not want to fly in the face of what you are suggesting -- but any discussion at all about him being on the UAP list?

Dr LeBlanc: I think I was asked that this morning. I was aware. Given that I was in charge of the program at the time that he entered the program, was the responsible official, I cannot say how I knew, but yes, I did know that he was in the underserviced area program. But I do not remember when I knew it or how, but my logical deduction, since I was responsible over the period in which he came in, is that I knew from some time in the past.

Mr Christopherson: Do you recall at all whether or not Dr Donahue's name being on that list was discussed?

Dr LeBlanc: Again, I was not aware of any discussion of Dr Donahue that morning, so it follows that that issue was not discussed.

Mr Christopherson: Fair enough. I will be very brief. I would just like to just touch on the "political response" quotations contained in the November 13 memorandum from Susan Colley. I know you have testified to it again this morning, but since there have been further questions, I would just like to revisit it for a moment. As one of the people who received this, how did you interpret "political response"? What did that mean to you?

Dr LeBlanc: You have to read the whole paragraph. You see the reference. "It would appear...that this" -- the "this" is what I read in terms of a political response. What was not narrowly required was technical information, but what would be an approach to the situation. There had been prior discussion, following the minister's letter not to extend categories, as to how one might respond to issues that would arise, and I mentioned too this morning alternative payment schemes in independent health facilities. Subsequently another model was developed, which were potential alterations of the underserviced area program, which were in fact mentioned in the deputy's text in the subsequent February meeting.

Mr Christopherson: A briefing note, not the one in question where there is some concern about whether it was a properly formed briefing note or not, but a regular briefing note that appears in a minister's House book, briefing book -- they have different terms -- question period briefing book: Would you consider those briefing notes to be a political response?

Dr LeBlanc: Absolutely.


Mr Christopherson: Do you assign any sinister connotation to the meaning "a political response" when you are drafting up a briefing note?

Dr LeBlanc: No. I think it is the litmus test in most cases of the appropriate construction of a briefing note, that it is in fact suitable for who is in fact consuming it, a politician working in a political environment.

Mr Christopherson: Do you believe that there is any kind of connotation to "partisanship" when a reference is made, as it is here, to a political response?

Dr LeBlanc: Not as I would function within it, no.

Mr Christopherson: And to the best of your knowledge, is this the same kind of briefing note/political response that any minister, regardless of the party, would be likely to have in the Legislature when preparing themselves for question period?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Scott: Or at a cocktail party.

Mr Christopherson: And the last thing I would like to ask is the --


The Chair: Order. Mr Christopherson.

Mr Hope: They just do not want to listen to the facts.

Mr Christopherson: There were some questions raised about the fact that minister's staff would be on a mailing list for some of these briefing notes, urgent or otherwise. Is that unusual?

Dr LeBlanc: I think it is required.

Mr Christopherson: I am sorry? I could not hear you.

Dr LeBlanc: I think it is required.

Mr Christopherson: Why do you think it is required, Dr LeBlanc?

Dr LeBlanc: My experience has been, in doing the work that I do, including the preparation of briefing, that the contributions of minister's staff have been constructive and useful.

Mr Christopherson: Thank you, doctor. Thank you, Mr Chair.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Christopherson. Mr Owens.

Mr Owens: Dr LeBlanc, Mr Kormos had raised the issue of the censored document, and during that discussion you testified that, first of all, you yourself did not censor the document, and you started to state that there was another issue but stopped. Could you tell us what that second issue was?

Dr LeBlanc: A patient is mentioned in the document, and I think that there was nothing in the questioning or pertinence of anything that was to be developed that would require identification of the physician's patient. So the removal of that name removed that issue from further transmission.

Mr Owens: Without referencing the content of the note specifically, why was a briefing note of that type prepared?

Dr LeBlanc: Why was the Teatero material --

Mr Owens: Of that type.

Dr LeBlanc: I would remind you that the background questions that would ultimately have to be addressed by a briefing note involve some specific series of questions, such as, "What would be the effect?" and so on. In order to in fact look straight in the eye at those kinds of situations you would have to have more than general information, and I would emphasize that the material that was provided included summary information that, as I alluded to, would be necessary to assess some of the questions that had been specifically posed, and the ultimate disposition of that material would be shaped by a document that would go further abroad. But you have to have detailed information that would be in and of itself confidential in order to evaluate and prepare material which does not itself have to be confidential to go the next stage.

Mr Owens: The issue that caused some concern in northern Ontario and perhaps other areas of the province was the issue of the threshold. It is my understanding that the threshold was part of the agreement to reduce the high-volume, low-service practices. Is that correct?

Dr LeBlanc: It had a number of functions. It was in fact part of the agreement, and it would have the effect of deterring high-volume, low-efficacy practices. It would have other effects as well, but that would certainly be one of them.

Mr Owens: Did you say high-volume, low-efficacy?

Dr LeBlanc: Well, in the sense that if one had a practice which was constructed to deal with high volumes of low demand, meaning not-difficult-to-execute procedures, one could generate a form of mill which would produce a large amount of payment. There would no longer be a possible incentive to do that because the discount procedures would preclude that. But there were other advantages to it than that. For example, it would encourage the limitation of total workloads and the displacement of such work to new practitioners entering the system.

Mr Owens: Thank you, Mr Chair, wherever you are.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Owens. Mr Kormos.

Mr Kormos: Physicians are entitled to seek exemptions from the threshold, are they not?

Dr LeBlanc: The agreement permits two types of exemptions, one which flows automatically from being in the underserviced area program, and the second was a permissive one that allowed the minister to consider. She decided for this year not to consider extraordinary exemptions.

Mr Kormos: Notwithstanding that, Dr Donahue was actively seeking an exemption from the threshold, was he not?

The Chair: Excuse me. On the basis of that question, on the advice of counsel, I am advised that that question is one that is not properly put in public.

Mr Kormos: Thank you. Well, the question is proper; it is the answer you are suggesting is improper.

The Chair: I said the question and answer posed in the public.


Mr Kormos: Oh, give it a break.

The Chair: Mr Kormos --

Mr Kormos: Thank you.

Mr Scott: Try something else.

Mr Kormos: Mr Scott, I had fish and chips for lunch and they left me with a little bit of indigestion. I do not know what you had for lunch, but please do not eat it again on Monday.

Mr Scott: I can get my indigestion right in here.

Mr Kormos: You are certainly creating a remarkable impression on everybody and we will think well of it over weeks to come.

Mr Scott: Don't waste your time.

Mr Kormos: I have a lot of time here. Mr Scott has used up his time to ask you questions and now it is mine, and I want to hear what you have to say about the fact that Dr Donahue has been, in so far as you are aware, hard pressed to turn down a venue, has he not?

Dr LeBlanc: Hard pressed to turn down --

Mr Kormos: To turn down a venue, to decline to comment on his plight, as he sees it, with the threshold.

Dr LeBlanc: He was broadly available to the media and communicated through written material as well.

Mr Kormos: And he spoke at length on frequent occasions about his practice publicly, did he not?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Kormos: And he spoke at length about his search for an exemption from the threshold, did he not -- publicly?

The Chair: Prior to you responding to that question, once again I remind you of that warning that was previously provided to you.

Dr LeBlanc: Could you repeat the question?

Mr Kormos: He spoke at length about his search for an exemption, publicly. That is to say, he spoke publicly about his search for an exemption, did he not?

Dr LeBlanc: I think I am in somewhat the same position as your counsel. I would have to do some confirmation before I would categorically say that it was said in a public arena.

The Chair: It could be posed in camera.

Mr Kormos: As well, he was clearly engaged in a public fight against the threshold, was he not?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes, that certainly is the case.

Mr Kormos: And he took that fight to, it would appear, as many people as he could possibly reach who would be relevant to that struggle.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Kormos: And that would include people like Floyd Laughren, who, although also the Deputy Premier, was an MPP for Nickel Belt.


Dr LeBlanc: I believe that he used all --

Mr Kormos: Excuse me; just a minute. I am having a hard time hearing what this gentleman has to say while Mr Scott is --


The Chair: Order. Mr Kormos.

Mr Kormos: Either Mr Scott should speak up so we can all hear him or pipe down so we can hear the doctor.

Would it surprise you to learn that it has become public record, be it accurate or not, that Dr Donahue's practice is a good two or three times larger than doctors' in the south?

Dr LeBlanc: Would it surprise me?

Mr Kormos: Yes.

Dr LeBlanc: No, it would not surprise me.

Mr Kormos: Would it surprise you to learn that it has become public record that Dr Donahue has indicated that to maintain a viable practice he would need a billing allowance of anywhere from $800,000 --

The Chair: Mr Kormos --

Mr Kormos: Please let me finish the question.

The Chair: No, I am responding to counsel.

Mr Scott: That question is improper.


The Chair: Excuse me, please, Mr Scott.

Mr Scott: Sorry.

The Chair: Mr Kormos, I was responding to a concern raised by counsel to the doctor.

Mr Page: I am concerned that any response to that question has got to involve the witness, considering what he has vis-à-vis his confidentiality responsibilities, which we have struggled not to disclose at this hearing. Perhaps a fairer way is to put on the record the statement that is in the public record and ask if the doctor has heard that in the public domain. But to confirm something in the public domain when his only source of information is of a confidential nature I do not think is a proper way to deal with it.

The Chair: If there is a concern with respect to the witness responding to the question, then you are free to put that forward in an in camera question.

Mr Kormos: Got you. You are familiar with at least some of the newspaper articles written about Dr Donahue and his fight against the threshold, are you not?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Kormos: And you are aware that in those newspaper reports Dr Donahue is speaking of his own practice?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Kormos: Newspaper reporters, journalists, have attributed statements about Dr Donahue's practice to various sources.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Kormos: It has been suggested in at least one newspaper article that Dr Donahue bills as much as $1 million a year, has it not?

The Chair: If there is --


The Chair: Excuse me, Mr Harnick, please; Mr Kormos is asking some questions. Mr Kormos, I would just like to advise that I have received advice by counsel.

Mr Kormos: Got you, Mr Chair.

The Chair: No, if you could let me finish, please. If you are responding to a particular article with the dollar amount, the way in which it could be posed is if you show that article to Dr LeBlanc.

Mr Kormos: I appreciate the help, Mr Chair.

The Chair: Thank you.

Mr Kormos: Let me stumble along. You are also aware, are you not, that it is public record that Donahue has some 10,000 to 15,000 new referrals per year, not counting repeat visits by existing clients?

Mr Harnick: On a point of order, Mr Chair: I do not understand what these facts are illustrative of, what the probative value of these are. What we are here for is not to character-assassinate the doctor, and that is all that these questions are related to.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Harnick; that is a point of opinion. The way in which the questions are posed and the importance of them will be up to the questioner, Mr Kormos.

Mr Kormos: Are you aware of that? Are you aware of the public statement that Donahue has some 10,000 to 15,000 new referrals per year, not counting repeat visits by existing clients?

Dr LeBlanc: No, that does not come to mind.

Mr Kormos: Are you aware of the fact that Dr Donahue has indicated that 65% of his revenues from billing went to cover salaries and overhead costs?

Dr LeBlanc: That explicit number, no.

Mr Kormos: Are you aware of the fact that Dr Donahue is reported to have reached his cap, his threshold, in early November 1991?

Dr LeBlanc: I was aware that it was in the early fall. I do not remember it specifically as mid-November.

Mr Kormos: And the threshold is not applicable during the period of time when he is in the UAP, is it?

Dr LeBlanc: That is correct.

Mr Kormos: And the threshold starts at $400,000? That is when the threshold kicks in?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Kormos: If he had reached that threshold in some mere three months upon leaving the UAP program, his $400,000 in three months would suggest that his gross annual earnings are well in excess of $1 million, would it not?

Dr LeBlanc: I made one incomplete answer earlier. The $400,000 only applies to professional fees, not to technical fees, which are not counted for the threshold. Having said that, one can draw inferences about annual incomes by looking at when a person hits the threshold after coming off underserviced area programs. So it can only be estimates.

Mr Kormos: Fair enough. There is no secret about the fact that Donahue services a large area around Sudbury, from Cochrane to Parry Sound and Sault Ste Marie to North Bay?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes, he serves a very large area.

Mr Kormos: That he has 14 staff?

Dr LeBlanc: That I have seen reported repeatedly, and I believe it was in a document tabled in this room.

Mr Kormos: Six of them, only six of them, RNs?

Dr LeBlanc: I believe that I am also aware of the "six" figure as well, yes.

The Chair: Mr Kormos, I am sorry to interrupt, but again, on the advice of counsel, we are taking a presumption that the questions you are asking are gleaned from public documents, newspaper articles and the like.

Mr Kormos: Quite frankly, no. I am reading from a memo that was prepared October 31, 1991, to Floyd Laughren from one Nuala Doherty.

Mr Scott: Mr Chairman, could I make one point for the record? This inquiry, as I understand it, arises because the Minister of Northern Development dumped on a doctor in Thunder Bay with information that was either confidential or that was unsubstantiated. That is the inquiry; that is why we are here, because the propriety of that was raised in the House and was referred to this committee by the House. It did not seem to me starting out that the purpose of the committee was to continue the exercise further than it had gone at Thunder Bay and just repeat it. The issue is what the minister said and what the minister knew. The issue is not whether we can extract more information now that will be critical of a named doctor. This line is just not responsive to what we have to deal with at all.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Scott. Mr Kormos, again --

Mr Kormos: I want to respond to that and I welcome the opportunity. I am somewhat concerned that here we are on Thursday, the fourth day of this process, and this committee has been marred throughout the last three and half days by persistent commentary from people like Mr Scott, who is a member of the bar of this province -- you would not know it from his conduct during the course of this process -- by Mr Conway and indeed by others, including Mr Eves, who to the press would prejudge and predetermine determinations that this committee has been required to deliberate on and reach upon hearing all the matters put to it.

I find it a particularly repugnant thing for those people to be raising objection to, quite frankly, a pretty innocuous series of questions, questions which indeed will go a long way towards indicating that what appears to be confidential is far from confidential and indeed has been very, very public for a long period of time. We have had to listen to --


Mr Kormos: We have had to listen to their interruptions time and time again and they display a blatant disrespect for a process which their House leaders have committed themselves to. Perhaps if they are not capable of engaging in this process with integrity, their leaders ought to replace them with caucus members in their caucuses, if there are any, who can approach this process with integrity.

Mr Harnick: Give us a break, Peter.

The Chair: Mr Kormos, with respect to the calling of the witnesses and the rotation --

Mr Harnick: I am going to be ill.

The Chair: Order, please. Mr Kormos, with respect to the calling of the witnesses and the order of rotation and the time permitted, that is one which has been discussed and decided upon by the subcommittee. It has rotated. You now have the floor, Mr Kormos. One moment, please.


The Chair: Excuse me. Order, please. Mr Kormos has the floor for the government caucus. They do have time remaining. Mr Kormos, just prior to resuming your questioning, I understand and expect without interruption, counsel to the committee would like to express a certain caution for you to keep in mind as you proceed in your questioning, without interruption from the committee, so that the rotation and the questioning of witnesses may continue.

Mr Kormos: I look forward --

The Chair: Excuse me, please.

Ms Jackson: I am not sure that I would have characterized it as a note of caution, Mr Kormos. I simply said to the Chairman that it seems to me that the tenor of the decisions of the subcommittee, as I have been there, is that the purpose of the exercise, which all members share, is not to further disseminate information that ought not properly have been disseminated in the first place, let alone to misstate information that was never stated in the first place about Dr Donahue.

That said, to the extent that Dr Donahue has already put information about his practice into the public sphere, that clearly is proper cross-examination. Whether it is cross-examination, it is certainly proper evidence for the committee to hear.


The one note of caution that I expressed to the Chairman for all members is that if those propositions are being put in evidence, I would hope that the members putting them have ascertained for sure that the statements have been put in the public domain by Dr Donahue.

The Chair: Mr Kormos, you may continue.

Mr Kormos: You are aware that Dr Donahue has stated that he has no cash flow?

Dr LeBlanc: For when?

Mr Kormos: During that period of time since the threshold kicked in, since his departure from the UAP and obviously after the three-month period or four-month period of time when he says he reached the threshold.

Dr LeBlanc: No, I am not aware that he said he had no cash flow.

Mr Kormos: Are you aware that he has indicated he has had to borrow from the Royal Bank to pay staff wages?

Dr LeBlanc: Him particularly, no.

Mr Kormos: Are you aware that he has indicated to MPPs for the north, both directly and publicly, that he would have to close his practice and return to the United States if he cannot get the exclusion or the exemption from the threshold on his billings?

Dr LeBlanc: The specific destination, no; but moving, yes.

Mr Kormos: He is essentially the only dermatologist serving northeastern Ontario?

Dr LeBlanc: No. There are two others.

Mr Kormos: The other two dermatologists are Dr Hradsky, who flies up to the north three times a month from Toronto --

Dr LeBlanc: He is one of them.

Mr Kormos: -- and Dr Rinne, a retired doctor --

Dr LeBlanc: But he was still in practice.

Mr Kormos: -- who has a modest number of patients.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Kormos: Dr Rinne has relatively few patients. The dermatologic consultation fee is $49.60?

Dr LeBlanc: I do not keep that sort of number in my head.

Mr Kormos: Fair enough; the travel grant from Sudbury to Toronto is $130.

Dr LeBlanc: That sounds about right, but I do not keep that number in my head.

Mr Kormos: Removing the threshold or cap would cost OHIP more money.

Dr LeBlanc: That has been a contention made publicly.

Mr Kormos: Are you aware of the extent to which Dr Donahue has enlisted the assistance of Ms Martel in his pursuit of exemption from the threshold?

Dr LeBlanc: I am aware that she has taken on the interests of northern physicians, in presenting a case, that they should be handled differently within the physicians' agreement.

Mr Kormos: Similarly for Floyd Laughren?

Dr LeBlanc: I do not have the same sense that he was as active. I think the Minister of Northern Development felt a special advocacy responsibility because of her responsibilities and that the Treasurer has some tension between his responsibilities as a northern member and as Treasurer -- on this issue, I should say.

Mr Kormos: The Toronto Star, in the Kevin Donovan article of January 26, 1992, indicates, based on information derived from its source: "An investigation of Donahue began in June of last year." Are you aware that the Toronto Star article states that?

Dr LeBlanc: I do not remember that article.

Mr Kormos: Are you aware that in the Toronto Star article Kevin Donovan quotes sources as indicating that --

Mr Harnick: Why don't you put the document --

The Chair: Order, please, Mr Harnick.

Mr Harnick: On a point of order, Mr Chair: How is the witness supposed to memorize verbatim what the Toronto Star said? At least Mr Kormos could have the courtesy to put the document in front of the witness so he can at least say, "Yes, that's what the article says."

Mr Scott: I would agree that he could file the whole article here and we will all make copies and read it again.

Mr Harnick: To sit here and listen to them --

The Chair: For your purpose, it is exhibit 21, by the by.

Mr Kormos: If these people keep getting excited like that, OHIP fees are going to go up even higher in this province. You are aware that it was reported in Kevin Donovan's Toronto Star article that Dr Donahue billed approximately $1.25 million a year?

Dr LeBlanc: Where is that?

Mr Kormos: On the final page.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes. I see it in the middle of the left-hand column on the second side of the paper.

Mr Kormos: And have you heard that figure or a similar figure from sources -- and I am not talking about sources that would be contained within OHIP or the ministry -- in addition to Kevin Donovan in the Toronto Star?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Kormos: The article in the Toronto Star this morning, the one written by Ms Todd, leads with a paragraph which indicates: "Health ministry officials requested confidential information about a Sudbury doctor opposing New Democrat medicare policies after he took his complaints to the airwaves, an inquiry has been told."

You have read the memos which prompted Mr McBride and Mr Teatero to write the document that they did?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Kormos: Was there anything untoward about either of the memos that were conveyed requesting the information, which resulted in the memo prepared by Mr Teatero?

Dr LeBlanc: There is nothing improper in the request memorandum, no.

Mr Kormos: Was there a request for anything that the authors of those requests did not have a right to ask for?

Dr LeBlanc: No.

Mr Kormos: Was there anything less than usual about the request for information?

Dr LeBlanc: I do not say this to be flippant. These memoranda were particularly helpful in that there was some specificity of request rather than a more general, "Give us some information." In that sense they were somewhat unusual.

Mr Kormos: They were better than the usual?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Kormos: And more helpful to you than the usual?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Kormos: And the concern that you have expressed about the sensitivity of information --

Mr Harnick: That is because it was spread all over.

Mr Kormos: Mr Offer, the public paying attention to this has got to have one heck of a time understanding how the people on this committee are going to engage in any degree of fairness, listen to what is being said to them and arrive at their conclusions only after hearing everything they have said, when they are subjected to outbursts like that of Mr Harnick. I would ask that the Chair caution the members of this committee to control themselves.

The Chair: Mr Kormos, please.

Mr Kormos: Thank you, Mr Chair. "Please" does not appear to work, Mr Chair.

The Chair: Mr Kormos, you have the floor. We have attempted to confine this to a certain time frame. I would very much appreciate, as I imagine all members would, if you would continue your questioning.

Mr Kormos: Thank you, Mr Chair. I appreciate the opportunity to do that. What has been spoken of as this sensitive information and the concerns about the fact that it was relayed has nothing to do with the fact that the recipients were not entitled to it, does it?

Dr LeBlanc: They were entitled to it, in my view.

Mr Kormos: The recipients of the e-mail from Mr Teatero and Mr McBride were entitled to receive what in fact was sent to them, were they not?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Kormos: By virtue of being either staff of the Ministry of Health or staff of the Minister of Health.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Kormos: And both those staffs swear oaths which require them to maintain confidentiality, do they not?

Dr LeBlanc: They are required, as a condition of their oath, to maintain confidentiality, yes.

Mr Kormos: And the concern, then, by Dr MacMillan and, I trust, shared by you was perhaps in direct reference to the Gigantes incident?

Dr LeBlanc: He certainly had his nerves closer to his skin by having been directly involved in that and, second, I do not believe that at the time he was forming his opinion he was aware that the name of a patient had been removed before the material went further.


Mr Kormos: Because it is not a matter of the minister or her staff not being entitled to that, but it is a matter of why give it if it is not necessary?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes, I think that is fair to say.

Mr Kormos: Why engage in overload in terms of overinforming, such that information could inadvertently find its way to the inappropriate receptacle?

Dr LeBlanc: I think you would have to ask him directly, but that is a reasonable analysis.

Mr Kormos: So there is really nothing sinister about this conveyance of information by Mr Teatero to Mr McBride?

Dr LeBlanc: I thought not then.

Mr Kormos: But do you think now that there was anything sinister about it?

Dr LeBlanc: No, but perhaps in hindsight I would have proceeded somewhat differently if I was aware that it was going to become embroiled in such a public event.

Mr Kormos: Oh, sure. I mean, if we could wish this away, it would have been wished away a long time ago.

Now, look, we have got this memo from Sue Colley to Michael Decter, yourself, and Larry Corea -- the November 13, 1991, memo. It references, "Subject: Dr Donahue," and it reads, "The Treasurer," first paragraph --

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Kormos: "The Treasurer, as you know, is quite committed to cutting back costs and sticking to the government agenda, but he is unable to appreciate how/why capping the services of this dermatologist would be cost-effective."

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Kormos: That is consistent with the Treasurer having taken up the cause of Dr Donahue, is it not?

Dr LeBlanc: He skated pretty close to it.

Mr Kormos: The expression of the Treasurer's concern, querying how threshold was going to improve the cost-effectiveness when it was applied to this dermatologist, Dr Donahue, is clearly stated here, is it not?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes. I inferred from that that the case analogous to the one that you had put relating to travel grants and so on had been put to him, and this was being communicated, seeking an analysis and a response.

Mr Kormos: Now, your breakfast meeting, that is November 30?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Kormos: Ms Martel's position was once again that of attempting to do what she could for her northern doctors, is it not?

Dr LeBlanc: Yes.

Mr Kormos: Her position was one of trying to see if there were ways and means whereby they could be relieved from any harshness that might result from the application of a threshold?

Dr LeBlanc: In whole or part, yes.

Mr Kormos: There was nothing to suggest to you that Ms Martel had access to any information about Dr Donahue at that point that was less than public, is there?

Dr LeBlanc: No, there was nothing that I was aware of.

Mr Kormos: As a matter of fact, and I am referring once again to that October 13 memo that I have made reference to -- I wonder if maybe we should not file this, Mr Chair.

Mr Conway: Agreed.

Mr Kormos: The October 31 menu. Menu -- what do they call it? -- memo. They are for distances only. The October 31, 1991, memo from Nuala Doherty to Floyd Laughren. You know, what has happened to this one is that the names have been kept in but the numbers have been removed; like the estimated population of Sault Ste Marie, that number was blacked out.


Mr Kormos: You see what has happened around here, doctor? How do I get this to you, Mr Chair? And my handwriting is on there in blue ink. And once that is an exhibit, I wonder if that could be shown to the doctor, to Dr LeBlanc?

Mr Scott: Could I ask who prepared this, who the author --

Mr Kormos: It is just something I came across. You will get it in just a minute, Mr Scott. Relax, relax, relax. You are going to hurt yourself.

Mr Harnick: I think that is an obligation to produce those documents for us.

Mr Kormos: And I did as soon as I got it.

Mr Harnick: I'll bet.

The Vice-Chair: Mr Kormos, our counsel has asked that it be reviewed and she will make a decision on it, or the subcommittee will review it to make a decision on it, to determine as to whether it has confidential information or not. Thank you.

Mr Kormos: Trusting, Mr Chair, that the subcommittee will make appropriate investigations in that regard.

The Vice-Chair: Yes, I think they will.

Ms Jackson: I think the answer, Mr Kormos, is that the subcommittee is not set up to provide investigations of what is true or not in this document, but it strikes me that there are things in it that appear to be confidential information. There may be an easy answer as to why they are not. That is something that I think would be appropriately considered by the subcommittee. I am sure that you and all members are sensitive to the fact that once confidential information is out there it cannot be pulled back, so we want to be very careful.

Mr Kormos: Now, Dr LeBlanc, you told us that although Dr MacMillan may not be overly familiar with Larry Corea, you know who he is.

Dr LeBlanc: That is correct.

Mr Kormos: And he is the coordinator of customer service at the Ministry of Health for the minister, is he not?

Dr LeBlanc: I am not familiar with his exact title, but he has a general policy responsibility.

Mr Kormos: And did you know that it reports to the executive assistant, Minister of Health?

Dr LeBlanc: No.

Mr Kormos: No? I will tell you what, I have got another document here, Mr Chair, and it is a job description for the coordinator, customer service. Perhaps we had better file that too. I do not know whether this is subject to the freedom of information guidelines or not. Again, counsel will undoubtedly tell us about that.

Mr Scott: I thought government job descriptions were closed to you, Peter.

Mr Conway: I would ask my friend from Hamilton to call a huddle to restore some order, if I could.


The Chair: Order. It is getting very difficult for the Chair and for counsel to hear.

Mr Kormos: To hear the discoherent ramblings of Mr Scott, one is troubled by the impression the public has as to whether he could ever properly or ethically fulfil his responsibilities on this committee. I would hope that the Chair is as disturbed about it as people are who are watching this proceeding.


The Chair: Mr Kormos, you started some statement as I was --

Mr Kormos: Listen, we have got --

The Chair: Excuse me, Mr Kormos --

Mr Kormos: We have got a job description there.

The Chair: Mr Kormos, as I was asking members of the committee to tone down so that the Chair and counsel could hear some of the questions --

Mr Hope: Tone down?

The Chair: -- and the responses. Thank you very much, Mr Hope. Mr Kormos, you were making some statement which we were unable to hear.

Mr Kormos: Okay, we have got a job description there; let's just leave it at that. There is nothing in your mind that prohibits Larry Corea from receiving, indeed, even confidential information, is there?

Dr LeBlanc: No.

Mr Kormos: And nothing improper about it?

Dr LeBlanc: No.

Mr Kormos: And in the normal course of doing things in the ministry, it would not be unusual for Larry Corea or any other number of people to receive the confidential information.

Dr LeBlanc: If it was pertinent to the work that they were doing, it would not be.

Mr Kormos: And was the e-mail from Mr McBride pertinent in the manner that you have just spoken of it?

Dr LeBlanc: My understanding is that the McBride memorandum was essentially a duplicate transmission of the Teatero --

Mr Kormos: Teatero-McBride.

Dr LeBlanc: Yes, and the Teatero memorandum was pertinent, I believe.

Mr Kormos: Thank you.

Dr LeBlanc: Except for the deletions I made.

Mr Kormos: Quite right. Thank you. That is all, Mr Chair.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Kormos. As there are no further questions, I remind members that we are now going to recess for, I would think, 10 minutes, to move into camera, to disengage from Hansard and to re-engage a transcript service and to replicate a certain piece of information. Ten minutes.

The committee continued in closed session at 1609.