'Cut it out' Premier Doug calls for calm in Niagara as threats grow against Dr. Hirji
Even Doug Ford is calling for calm in Niagara, as anger from some grows towards the Acting Medical Officer of Health.
Various social media comments have criticized Dr. Mustafa Hirji for recommending Niagara move to the 'Grey' zone on Tuesday.
Some of the comments directed towards Dr. Hirji call for him to resign, be fired, or even threaten physical harm against him.
"There is absolutely no place for these kinds of threats in Ontario. Cut it out. Our health officials have only one priority: the health and well-being of their communities. We’re lucky to have such dedicated public health officials in Ontario." Doug Ford, Ontario Premier.
For more on why Dr. Hirji made the recommendation click here.
Niagara's Regional Chair issued a statement:
"On behalf of Regional Council, I want to formally address specific public comments regarding the Provincial decision to keep Niagara in the grey lockdown zone starting this Tuesday.
I want to be unequivocally clear in my rebuke of these public comments: there is no place for violence, disrespect or viciousness in Niagara. This type of language is completely unacceptable and entirely counterproductive. Rhetoric of this kind is embarrassing and does little but discredit any argument an individual may have.
I want to remind members of the public that Dr. Hirji is doing what he believes necessary to protect the health and lives of those in the community. While I can appreciate that there are those who are frustrated, any call for violence, regardless of the passion a person may be feeling in the moment, is not acceptable.
I call on all of Niagara to practise respect and civility in their communications, and be mindful of how they conduct themselves on social media. I appreciate that we are living in challenging and unprecedented times, but there is no room for violence in Niagara."
The Mayor of St. Catharines also issuing a statement:
It is disturbing to see the threatening behaviour towards Niagara’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Mustafa Hirji over the last 24 hours since the provincial government announced Niagara would be in a grey – lockdown stage of reopening on Feb. 16. Working with the rest of the Niagara Region Public Health team, Dr. Hirji, the region’s lead medical professional since the start of the pandemic, has prioritized the health and safety of Niagara residents since day one. He remains committed to keeping the best interests of our residents in mind as we continue to navigate the second wave of COVID-19. While I understand the frustration and disappointment following Friday’s provincial announcement, Dr. Hirji and the medical professionals across the province have been clear over the past several days that while progress to contain COVID-19 has been made we are not in position to let down our guard. The emerging contagious variants of COVID-19 pose a real threat and medical professionals are making very calculated decisions to best protect their respective communities. Meaningful and passionate engagement is always welcome - and while we may not always agree - any type of bullying and harassment is not acceptable - PERIOD. We are better than this Niagara. People are hurting. People’s livelihoods have been torn apart due to COVID-19. People have lost loved ones. Many people in our community are struggling - really struggling due to the impacts of the pandemic. We must all acknowledge this - and we must ensure that there are supports for people to access to get through these troubled times. But we cannot afford as a community to come apart. Now is the time to come together. Support local businesses in any way that you can. Check out www.loveSTC.ca for the businesses in our community that are finding new ways to reach you. Dr. Hirji is in one of the most difficult positions that very few people would want to be in right now. He is making decisions based on what he sees as the best for Niagara - right now - and into the future. His decisions are based on data and science that he has been trained to understand and interpret. We will never know the full impacts of any of our decisions during this pandemic — but I can assure you Dr. Hirji is doing what he thinks is right for the greater good of our community and for that we should be understanding and grateful.
Tim talks to Jens Hansen the James Bond of the bench. He does wine tours in classic cars as Secret Agent 007 James Bond. He recently lent his voice to Burlington author Margaret Lindsay Holton’s novel “Trillium”