former horizon health network chair critical of how n b health minister handled her departure

Former Horizon Health Network chair critical of how N.B. health minister handled her departure

Canada Health

The former chair of the Horizon Health Network’s Board of Directors says the circumstances leading to her resignation could have been handled better by Health Minister Ted Flemming.

Grace Losier, the long-time mayor of the town of Grand Bay-Westfield and former Liberal candidate, delivered her resignation letter on Thursday, two-and-a-half years into a four-year term.

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READ MORE: Grace Losier resigns after nearly two years as chair of New Brunswick’s Horizon Health

She was appointed to the position by then-provincial Health Minister Victor Boudreau in 2016.

Losier says news of her impending exit from the chair’s position came at a weekend event of the Horizon Health Network on Dec. 1, 2018.

“An employee was asked to come to me on Dec. 1 and tell me that I could either resign or I could be removed,” said Losier. “And that if I wanted to talk to the minister I could call him.”

Losier says the minister has the right and responsibility to run his own department. She does feel the way in which the message was delivered could have been handled differently.

“That’s mean,” said Losier. “You don’t ask an employee. Your position is appointed at the pleasure of the minister and it should be relieved in the same way.”

She says she felt she had no option but to resign.

“I wasn’t going to let anybody indicate that they had fired me from a job that to all my knowledge I was doing quite well,” she said.

Minister Fleming has not been available for interviews. In a statement released Thursday, Flemming thanked Losier for her service but pointed out “board chairs of the regional health authorities are appointed by, and serve at the pleasure of, the Minister of Health.”

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Saint John Harbour Liberal MLA Gerry Lowe says the move by the Conservative health minister didn’t come as a huge surprise.

“But I did think that the premier was going to do things differently,” said Lowe. “Ted being Ted, I guess he wanted somebody that he knew and that meant that Grace was out the door.”

“It is what it is,” added Lowe. “Nobody says politics is easy or nice. It’s a dirty sport.”

Losier pointed out she replaced a Conservative appointee as board chair in 2016, but not until he had served his four-year term.

Losier is the first woman to hold the post. She doesn’t think this latest development will serve as an incentive for women to enter politics.

“I think this is a glaring reason why women don’t get into politics,” said Losier. “Who needs all this garbage?”

A replacement for Losier has not yet been named. As of Friday afternoon, she was still listed as Horizon Health Network Chair on its website.