What do we need to know? - Macleans.ca

What do we need to know?

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Colin Horgan explores the question of public life and personal health.

Privacy is an important consideration, says Asselin. “Unless something’s very meaningful in terms of disease or condition, I don’t think people should have the obligation to tell everyone about everything,” he said.

Meisel says it raises questions of the public’s reach into the private lives of those who serve their communities. “My guess with the media now being so invasive, we’re in danger of really depriving politicians of so much privacy that some people who could make a great contribution in politics won’t enter politics because they don’t want to expose themselves to that.”

This question came up yesterday on the specific of what type of cancer Jack Layton is now dealing with (it was later reported that doctors don’t yet know). There’s certainly a case to be made that the public isn’t necessarily entitled to much more than the basic information about the health issue and whether the politician will be remaining in his elected position. In batting the issue around yesterday on Twitter, I did wonder whether a prime minister might be expected to be more thorough in disclosure and explanation.