Indo-Canadian minister expelled by party in Canadian province

By Gurmukh Singh, IANS
Tuesday, November 23, 2010

TORONTO - An Indo-Canadian deputy minister in Alberta province was Monday thrown out of his party for slamming health policies of his own government after poor emergency care given to his critically ill father.

Indian-born Raj Sherman, who moved to Canada as a child and served as Alberta’s deputy health minister, paid for lashing out at his Progressive Conservative Party and premier (chief minister) Ed Stelmach for not addressing the problem of poor emergency services in Alberta.

Sherman, who himself is an emergency room doctor and deputy to health minister Gene Zwozdesky, went public last week after poor emergency services almost cost his father his life. His 73-year-old father almost died as many as five times this year after waiting on a stretcher outside the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton, according to reports.

“With only 10 per cent of his heart working properly, Sherman’s father was left foaming at the mouth and needed a machine from paramedics to keep him from suffocating” during his last trip to hospital emergency services, reports said.

“If this has happened to my dad and I am a doctor and I am the junior health minister, I am not asking for special care. I know every paramedic and every front-line doctor knows, this is happening to other people’s mothers and fathers, it’s happening to other people’s children,” Sherman said last week.

The ruling party acted after the Indo-Canadian junior minister emailed his colleagues last week, saying he “no longer supports the health care decisions” made by his own government.

His expulsion “is an issue of caucus (party) discipline,” the expulsion order said.

Sherman, who will now sit as an independent, said he won’t back down.

” I ran for public service advocating for patients. I guess the rules of parliamentary democracy are such that you advocate behind the scenes. I advocated publicly. As you know, I’ve been quite vocal… for me, it’s a matter of principle. I took an oath as a physician, a covenant that I make to patients. I have a moral and ethical duty to report to the public what’s happening,” the Indian-born doctor-minister said.

Sherman is among five MLAs of Indian origin in Alberta. They were elected in the 2008 assembly elections.

(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at

Filed under: Medicine, World

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