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Author of sex-selection editorial loses bid for top job

Rajendra Kale says he is proud of the editorials he wrote as interim editor of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, and of the public interest they generated.

The Canadian Press

The outspoken doctor who wrote a controversial editorial on immigrants seeking sex-selective abortions has lost his bid to become editor-in-chief of the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Rajendra Kale has been the interim editor-in-chief of the CMAJ since October, 2011. In that time he wrote a number of editorials that generated widespread public interest. In addition to his call for a ban on revealing the sex of a fetus until the 30th week of pregnancy, he had earlier demanded an end to hospital parking fees and criticized violence in hockey.

Just one day after publishing his most recent piece, in which he argued for new guidelines to prevent parents from aborting unwanted girls, Dr. Kale confirmed he has been told he won't be getting the editor's job.

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He said he was disappointed not to be selected. He plans to take a holiday, consider his position and see whether there's a role for him in the new setup. He said he's proud of the editorials he wrote as interim editor, which seemed to engage the public.

Dr. Kale said he tried to focus on issues that mattered to people. His decision to call for an end to parking fees at hospitals came from speaking to patients in his Ottawa neurology practice who asked him to cut short their appointments so they could get back to their cars.

"I'm really happy I wrote those three articles in the interim period and that I was able to generate all that debate. I think the job of an editor is to generate informed debate and I think I've succeeded," he said.

As for why he wasn't hired, he said he couldn't say. That decision lay with the selection committee.

"You can judge from what I've written that I'm an outspoken person and that if I find that there is something wrong I will say that … That probably makes you popular with some people and not so popular with other people. I can't say more than that."

Dr. Kale joined the CMAJ as senior deputy editor in 2008 from the British Medical Journal, where he had worked for several years as senior editor.

The CMAJ was in a rebuilding phase at the time, following the controversy that surrounded the 2006 firing of editor John Hoey. The new editor-in-chief is expected to be announced Wednesday.

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