Friday, February 13, 2015

The Ontario College Of Physicians And Surgeons External Consultation and the Inappropriate Forum Moderation

Screen shot of the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons own forum post

Today's post is an update to my previous post, Professional Obligations and Human Rights - An Anti-Life Policy From Ontario's College of Physicians and Surgeons. If you have not been following the freedom of conscience issue surrounding this policy, I respectfully encourage you to read my previous post. Here is some basic information you need to be aware of. The Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons or CPSO has drafted a new policy entitled, Professional Obligations and Human Rights as part of their policy review cycle. It is to replace and build upon the previous 2008 policy, Physicians and The Ontario Human Rights Code. According to the CPSO's web site, this new draft policy has been approved by Council and "...sets out physicians’ existing legal obligations under the Ontario Human Rights Code (the “Code”), and the College’s expectation that physicians will respect the fundamental rights of those who seek their medical services. The draft policy also sets out the College’s expectations for physicians who limit the health services they provide due to their personal values and beliefs." Part of the CPSO's policy review process includes an external consultation in which the public are invited to provide input in the form of an email, on line survey or forum at the CPSO's web site.

My initial post on the CPSO's policy development was my effort to identify and denounce what was morally wrong with this draft policy, as well as to spotlight the new inclusion of gender ideology language that was never apart of the 2008 policy. Since that initial post, there have been other troubling developments in the form of inappropriate forum moderation and public comments made from the CPSO's past president, Dr. Marc Gabel and its current president, Dr. Carol Leet.

Anyone who is concerned about the sacredness of human life needs to read the draft policy and participate in the CPSO's external consultation. In would be an effective way to put faith into action. To quote scripture, "What good is a faith that does nothing in practice. It is thoroughly lifeless." (James 2:17) We all need to defend life, support the freedom of conscience and stand in solidarity with Catholic physicians and surgeons and others of good will.

If you are wondering if I have participated in the CPSO's external consultation, think no further. My forum comment was submitted on January 10, 2015 at 2:55am. It is listed as forum post 80 with the respondent categorization as "Member of The Public." It was a scaled down version of my initial blog post, but it included the main points that identified what was morally wrong and unacceptable. After a few days, I checked it and discovered that it had not been published; its status was "pending." It took approximately ten days before my comment was posted. Clearly there was something about my post that concerned the CPSO and only after they published a moderated version, did that concern become abundantly clear. The CPSO omitted a segment on gender ideology; which was inappropriate considering that it was a new inclusion from the 2008 policy. Below is the gender ideology text in bold that was omitted from my comment: 
...If there is any intention to encourage conscientious Catholic medical students and others of good will to pursue careers as physicians and surgeons in Ontario, then freedom of conscience and moral and religious beliefs must be guaranteed and protected. The college must also illustrate that it recognizes and acknowledges the truth and dignity of the human person. Such an illustration can begin with the removal of the gender ideology wording of "gender expression and gender identity," that are current inclusions at line 39 under the subheading, Human Rights, Discrimination and Access to Care. Such wording does not reflect the truth and reality of the human person. An individual's sex is not determined by desires, perceptions or feelings. A person is either male or female and for anyone to deny this reality and consider themselves contrary to what is biological true, is to give way to delusion and deception. Gender ideology has no place in the policy...
As to why the above noted text was omitted, one can only speculate that it is a function of political correctness, which sadly these days, caters to the homosexual agenda. The college does state at its Posting Guidelines that:
The College reserves the right to refuse to post feedback, in whole or in part, that, in its sole discretion: it deems to be unrelated to the policy or issue under consultation; contains complaints and/or compliments about identifiable physicians; contains personal identifiers and/or other information that may identify a third party; is abusive, obscene, harassing/threatening or otherwise inappropriate; may include defamatory or libelous comments; or does not comply with the College’s Privacy Policy or its Social Media Terms of Use.
Although the college's Posting Guidelines do seem to be fairly reasonable, it does grant the college a "carte blanche" to remove any aspect of a comment that they deem inappropriate for what ever reason. Does the omitted part of my forum post qualify as such? In my view, it does not. The omitted comment deals directly with actual text inclusions of the draft policy, that is in fact part of the deceptive language emanating from gender ideology. I consider the omitted part of my comment an inappropriate moderation of the forum.

In addition to other respondents whose comments have also been "moderated," in a similar like manner, as discovered through my social networking, there is another reason why I consider the forum to have been inappropriately moderated; the college's effort to defend itself against a misquote of its past president, Dr. Marc Gabel. The misquote came from the National Post's Margaret Somerville who in her article, Margaret Somerville: A modest proposal for respecting physicians’ freedom of conscience wrote that Dr. Gabel was reported to have stated, "...physicians unwilling to provide or facilitate abortion for reasons of conscience should not be family physicians..." In response to this misquote, the college posted a reply on its own forum on January 29, 2015 at 4:40pm. The college took the liberty of posting this same reply several times throughout the forum, categorized at times as "Anonymous" and other times as "Organization." The above image published with this post captures that first instance. The CPSO's inappropriate forum moderation was first noted by Sean Murphy of The Protection of Conscience Project, whose article was published by LifeSiteNews. Below is a list of all the instances of this same reply at the CPSO's forum:

  • January, 29, 2015 at 4:40pm Forum Post 225 - As previous mentioned, the college inappropriately posted a comment in its forum, identifying itself as "Organization." 
  • January 30, 2015 at 4:45pm Reply To Forum Post 226 - The college posted the same comment, this time not identifying itself, but listed the respondent as "Anonymous." (screen shot)
  • January 30, 2015 at 4:46pm Reply To Forum Post 169 - The college posted the same comment and again, did not identify itself, but listed the respondent as "Anonymous." (screen shot)
  • February 2, 2015 at 11:31am Changed Respondent Identity - At their reply to forum post 169, the college changed the respondent's identity from "Anonymous" to "Organization." (screen shot)
  • February 2, 2015 at 11:59am Reply To Forum Post 228 - The college posted their comment again, this time as a reply to forum post 228 and identified itself as "Organization." (screen shot)

The Posting Guidelines at the CPSO specifically states that, "The College does not review any content of any feedback for accuracy. The College does not review any references or links in any feedback either for accuracy or with respect to the content of the document referred to or the site linked, and the College is not responsible for any content of any document referred to or site linked." According to these guidelines, it was inappropriate for the CPSO to have published a reply to the misquote at every instance when the National Post's article by Margaret Somerville was referenced in respondents' comments.

In my view, what the CPSO should have done is publish a statement addressing their concerns at their Professional Obligations and Human Rights external consultation page. That statement could have also included the letter by Dr. Carol Leet that was sent to the editor of the National Post. This would have afforded them an opportunity to express their concerns in full about the National Post's article without compromising the integrity of the forum. Another option for the CPSO would have been to create a separate web page under the "external consultations" section of their site and detail the above noted information.

To be fair to both Dr. Gabel and Dr. Carol Leet, the article from the National Post is in need of correction and should be edited and republished as soon as possible. A retraction from Margaret Somerville is in order. This is basic responsible journalism. Regardless of the issues of this draft policy and different points of view and beliefs, Sean Murphy did paraphrase Dr. Marc Gabel in his article, Ethical Cleansing in Ontario. This is what was used by Margaret Somerville as an official quote, which we have learned, is not an accurate one. 

If we take a look at what Dr. Gabel actually did say, there is good reason to be concerned; in essence, his comments amount to what has been misquoted by Margaret Somerville. The source that properly quoted Dr. Gabel comes from an article written by Michael Swan from The Catholic Register entitled, Catholic doctors who reject abortion told to get out of family medicine. Below is what Michael reported:
Catholic doctors who won’t perform abortions or provide abortion referrals should leave family medicine, says an official of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. “It may well be that you would have to think about whether you can practice family medicine as it is defined in Canada and in most of the Western countries,” said Dr. Marc Gabel, chair of the college’s policy working group reviewing “Professional Obligations and Human Rights.”
In addition to the The Catholic Register, comments made by Dr. Gabel have also caught the attention of LifeSiteNews, which published an article on December 19, 2014, by Steve Weatherbe entitled, Doctors who oppose abortion should leave family medicine: Ontario College of PhysiciansIt included further disturbing comments from Dr. Gabel, whose language was intimidating and served as a warning for doctors who do not intend to comply with the policy: 
Dr. Marc Gabel, a Toronto psychotherapist and past president of the college, told LifeSiteNews on Thursday that if his committee’s proposed revision of the college’s “Professional Obligations and Human Rights” is adopted, then if doctors refuse to refer patients to abortionists, or to doctors willing to prescribe contraceptives, they could face disciplinary action.
“If there were a complaint, every complaint is investigated by the complaint committee,” Dr. Gabel said. The complaint committee could deliver a mild private rebuke or turn over the matter to the disciplinary committee, which Gabel chaired for several years.
The draft policy potentially becomes a foundation with which to implement disciplinary penalties and persecute doctors on a professional level. This is further supported by the comments made by Dr. Carol Leet, the CPSO's current president, which was noted in the same LifeSiteNews article:
According to Dr. Carol Leet, the new president of the college, a doctor found guilty of professional misconduct by the disciplinary committee could face anything from remedial instruction to loss of his or her medical licence...Dr. Leet believes that "the religious beliefs of some doctors cannot outweigh the patients’ right to choose” whatever medical service they believe is appropriate. Patients have a right to receive “an effective referral” from any doctor.
Compounding the concerns of this draft policy is the recent Supreme Court of Canada Carter vs. Canada euthanasia decision, making "doctor assisted suicide" legal which is nothing but an exercise in "judicial activism." Is it not fair to assume from the language of the draft policy, that euthanasia if not already, will be considered as an inclusion in the college's "elements of care" or part of "health care services." Such ambiguous language is used by the CPSO with no reference to what exactly they include; they can be found at lines 49, 52, 138, and 156. 

There is much to be concerned about with the Professional Obligations and Human Rights draft policy. At stake are: two fundamental aspects of human rights, the right to life and the right to refuse to take part in committing an injustice; freedom of conscience for physicians and surgeons; the opportunity for Catholic medical students and those of good will to pursue a career as a physician or surgeon; and the opportunity for patients to have a Catholic doctor available who will practice medicine in accord with the moral teachings of the Catholic Church.

The draft policy demands a proper response by all Catholics and people of good will. Help restore Canada to a "culture of life." Please consider participating in this external consultation which closes on February 20, 2015.

Most importantly of all, pray and fast for a total revamping of this draft policy.

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