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Indo-Canadian veterinarians seeking inquiry

August 22nd, 2007, 05:46 PM
Sunny Freeman, Vancouver Sun
Published: Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Three Indo-Canadian veterinarians filed a petition to the B.C. Supreme Court Friday asking it to order a B.C. Veterinary Medical Association inquiry into discriminatory remarks made by Dr. Robert Ashburner after the BCVMA deemed it was outside its jurisdiction to pursue an inquiry in June.
Hakam Bhullar, Arminder Singh Brar and Teij Paul Bhatia petitioned the BCVMA in June 2006 to launch an inquiry into unprofessional conduct by Dr. Ashburner.
They allege that while treating a client's cat, Dr. Ashburner made racial and defamatory statements against Indo-Canadian vets.
Registrar of the BCVMA Valerie Osborne advised the petitioners in June 2007 that an inquiry into the comments made by Dr. Ashburner was denied because the council did not have legal jurisdiction to cause the inquiry, according to court documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun.
In a new petition filed to the B.C. Supreme Court August 17th, the vets allege Dr. Robert Ashburner, who is also the chair of the conduct review committee for the B.C.
Veterinary Medical Association, made slanderous comments about low-cost clinics run predominantly by Indo-Canadian veterinarians.
"They are innocent until proven guilty. And what can you do? You have to let the system do it," Ashburner is quoted as saying in the petition.
"Gone are the days when we could go there with a torch and burn it down, a quicker way."
Ashburner's comments were allegedly recorded in September 2005 by Heather Pendragon, who filed an affidavit stating she took a hidden camera into Ashburner's office to get treatment for her cat.
While there, Pendragon complained about the care her cat received at a low-cost clinic run by Dr. Hakam Bhullar, one of the plaintiffs in the suit, which led to Ashburner's comments about the clinics.
"There were days I was embarrassed to admit that I was part of the Caucasian culture," Pendragon said in her affidavit.
"I adore Dr. Bhullar for having the tenacity to stand tall and fight for what he and the rest of us who support him know is right."
The dispute between some Indo-Canadian vets and the association first erupted in 2005 when the vets claimed the association's insistence on new members passing an English proficiency test is a way to prevent India-trained vets from opening a practice in B.C.
They claim it is an attempt to stop any more "low-cost" vets from opening shop in the Lower Mainland and taking customers away from colleagues who charge higher fees.

August 22nd, 2007, 05:50 PM
Well does that ever sound like an ugly mess... :yuck:

August 23rd, 2007, 06:33 AM
I'd heard this story before but now that the low-cost vets are taking legal action, it has made the papers. Let me guess: the defense will claim entrapment. Can this be claimed if it is not the police doing the entrapment?
Embarrassing and foolish and once again, all about money.
The low-cost vets saw an opportunity and a need, and ran with it. Good for them.