Government & policy
Ex-deputy health minister takes city
VANCOUVER – Dr.
Penny Ballem (pictured), a former deputy minister of health in British
Columbia, has accepted a position as city manager in Vancouver. Dr.
Ballem is a physician at St. Paul’s hospital and a clinical professor at
the University of B.C.’s department of hematology and bone marrow
She is also a corporate director for Bentall Capital G.P. Ltd. and a
senior advisor to RPO Management Consultants. Trained as a clinical
hematologist, Dr. Ballem has served as a vice- president at the
Children’s and Women’s Health Centre of B.C.
Said to be a staunch defender of harm-reduction strategy and universal
health care, she was recruited by Premier Gordon Campbell to be deputy
health minister in 2001. But in 2006 Dr. Ballem abruptly left her job,
giving no notice and seeking no severance, and criticized the
government’s approach to her ministry.
According to a report in the Vancouver Sun, her newest transition has
also raised eyebrows. Judy Rogers, city manager since 1999, was ousted
within a week of Gregor Robertson taking office as the new mayor of
Vancouver. The report said that Ballem’s appointment came without a
traditional national search.
Describing her as a serious talent, Robertson said Dr. Ballem will be
key to implementing the new council’s ambitious agenda.
“Her background in health will be a real asset to the city, particularly
on the homelessness initiatives and her understanding of public health
and mental health,” Robertson said. “But more broadly she has a
fantastic track record of public service and a commitment to the city of