Nova Scotia

Supporters of Dr. Gabrielle Horne turn to the Opposition for help

In the summer, a judge awarded Dr. Gabrielle Horne $1.4 million in a lawsuit against the Nova Scotia Health Authority. The health authority has since appealed.

Pictou East MLA Tim Houston has joined those calling for a resolution

Supporters of Dr. Gabrielle Horne want Nova Scotia Health Authority to stop its appeal in her case. (Anjuli Patil/CBC)

Supporters of Dr. Gabrielle Horne have turned to a member of Nova Scotia's provincial Opposition for help because they say efforts to push the government to resolve her case have been unsuccessful.

In the summer, a judge awarded Horne $1.4 million in a lawsuit against the Nova Scotia Health Authority for damages due to lose of reputation and career stemming from the 2002 shutdown of her cardiology research.

The health authority has appealed the decision on a number of legal grounds, including that Horne should not have been able to seek monetary damages for loss of reputation, and that the claims for damages are insupportable by law.

Horne called on Premier Stephen McNeil to stop the appeal, but he refused. Now, Horne's friends and neighbours have enlisted the help of Pictou East MLA Tim Houston to raise the issue to the government. 

"We've given the government enough time to … at least to take some actions to resolve this matter," Dan Moscovitch, Horne's neighbour and supporter told CBC's Information Morning.

"Since they haven't, we thought it was time for the Opposition to play a role in this and shed some light and increase the pressure on the government and the health authority."

'This is wrong'

Houston said while the case has been going on for 14 years and covers the tenure of three separate governments, it makes sense to ask the current Liberal government why it continues to drag on, and how much it has cost taxpayers.

"We've had different governments over time and everyone has a part to play," he said. "What I'm looking for is somebody who today has the authority, the power and … the will to say, 'This is wrong and I'm going to intervene.'"

Houston could use the public accounts committee or question period in the legislature to ask the government to intervene in the appeals process and provide an accounting of costs, which he said "will be staggering for sure." 

"I'm happy to stand beside Dr. Horne and the other supporters and many people across the province who are just wondering why is our government doing this, and don't we have a better use of the money."

Health authority wants resolution

Two days have been set aside in November for the appeal.

The health authority said in an email that it remains committed to resolving the legal action filed by Horne and continues to participate in settlement discussions through legal counsel.

The authority also said that it agrees that a resolution to the 14-year matter is desirable.

For his part, Moscovitch said he and other supporters are happy to have an ally in bringing to case to a close.

"All of our neighbours and her supporters further afield in the province are very enthusiastic that Mr. Houston is prepared to take this on. We really appreciate it, given our lack of success as private citizens." 

With files from CBC's Information Morning