Deputy Minister of Health, New Brunswick
As the new Deputy Minister of Health for New Brunswick, Watkinson was tasked with prepare a document for Cabinet setting out proposals for new hospitals in Moncton, Fredericton and Saint John. In the following six years, Watkinson oversaw the construction of additions to the Georges Dumont in Moncton (15 million dollars), a new hospital in Fredericton – the Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital (45 million) and a new hospital in Saint John, costing over a hundred million dollars.
One controversial episode during his tenure that found Watkinson reported on by national media was the connection of Reye's Syndrome with the spraying of pesticides on Spruce trees by the Forestry Industry. Another episode was the riots caused by Watkinson's decision to close certain rural hospitals due to the increasing costs of Canada's new national medicare program.
In 1976, Watkinson retired from Public Service and moved to the Toronto area, where he lived with his wife, Dorel, was cherished by his son John Stephen Watkinson, his Daughter-In-Law Marja Kristiina Kimppa Watkinson, and his many grandchildren. He continued to extol the virtues of public service until his death on December 22, 2011. He enjoyed the pleasures of life each day.. but with moderation; He celebrated his Platinum Jubilee (70th) Marriage Anniversary to his wife, Dorel, in 2009.
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