PM and AIDS conference

I was saddened to see that HMO used the podium of the BCMJ to berate the prime minister for not attending the AIDS conference. Such a political statement has no place in our journal.

—Guy Screech, MD

Dr Oetter replies

I thank Dr Screech for his comments, but disagree with his statement that there is no place in the BCMJ for politics. The BCMJ is both an academic journal and a political vehicle. Our journal carries many opinions: editorials are by nature opinions; the president’s Comment column every issue is an opinion; letters are opinions; anything the journal runs under the Premise banner is an opinion—and many of these opinions are political. We like to think that we have struck the right balance between science and politics, but the mandate of the BCMJ, as printed in every issue (see page 426 of this issue, for example), is to provide “a vehicle for continuing medical education and a forum for association news and members’ opinions.” Politicians are asked to attend everything from parades to ribbon cuttings to conferences. The events are not just photo ops; there are messages in what they choose to attend. It is my opinion that the prime minister has chosen to distance himself from a significant health issue of concern to most physicians in Canada.


Guy Screech, MD,, Heidi M. Oetter, MD. PM and AIDS conference. BCMJ, Vol. 48, No. 9, November, 2006, Page(s) 434 - Letters.

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