Hirji hopes there is no real threat against him
Niagara's Acting Medical Officer of Health hopes there was no real threat against him.
Dr. Mustafa Hirji was the aim of a number of social media posts this week criticizing his recommendation that Niagara move to the 'Grey' zone on Tuesday.
Some of the posts called for him to resign, be fired, some even threatened physical harm against him.
Dr. Hirji tells CKTB that he is not taking those threats too seriously at this point. "Hopefully there actually wasn't any real intent here and this was just the usual opposition of people who were unhappy, and have a right to be unhappy I think." He adds that the Niagara Regional Police reached out to him to advise him that they are investigating, "Hopefully they will find that there is not too much of concern."
We are aware of the social media posts in reference to Dr. Hirji that have been reported in the media. We have commenced an investigation. We will not be commenting any further at this time regarding that investigation.— NRPS (@NiagRegPolice) February 13, 2021
Condemnation of the online conduct has been coming in from many in the medical field. Niagara Health President and Interim CEO Lynn Guerriero sent this statement to CKTB.
“The toll the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on Niagara has been devastating, and the pandemic is not over.
Niagara Health’s staff and physicians have been on the front line since this highly contagious and deadly virus arrived in our region in March 2020.
Our team has worked closely with Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr. Mustafa Hirji and his team at Niagara Region Public Health throughout the pandemic. Caring for our patients and protecting the health and safety of Niagara residents is essential work.
Threatening public health officials who are doing their jobs to keep us safe must be strongly condemned by our community and by provincial and municipal elected officials. This type of behaviour is unacceptable.“
This follows reaction that came in late yesterday from various political voices including the Prime Minister.
I am outraged to hear threats have been made against Dr. @MustafaHirji, the Medical Officer of Health for Niagara Region. This rhetoric is unacceptable, and I strongly condemn it. He, and all public health officials working to keep us safe, deserve nothing but our sincere thanks. https://t.co/tZqJlRenLA— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) February 14, 2021
Click HERE to read more reaction.
Dr. Hirji notes that he supports the region moving into the 'Grey' zone as there are still a number of ongoing outbreaks across the region. However, it was not his decision to make even though he was consulted with the province. "We have seen in the past where I have argued for Niagara to re-open more quickly than the province has moved and that shows some of the limits of the influence my comments may have. I don't know how that decision played out and how much my comments were weighed but I am sure it wasn't the only consideration."
Below is a thread Dr. Hirji tweeted regarding the situation.
The excessive anger of a few today should not distract from the suffering of many during this pandemic—of social isolation, of loss of income, of losing a business built through a life’s work. Frustration is understandable. Their tragedies aren’t receiving the attention I am. 2/6— Mustafa Hirji (@mustafahirji) February 14, 2021
Some accuse @samoosterhoff of inciting today. I disagree. I don’t read his tweet as criticism. All pandemic, he has always supported @NRPublicHealth as have all our MPPs (@Wayne_Gates @JennieStevens_ @JeffBurch_). Let’s not turn today into a political attack on @fordnation. 4/6— Mustafa Hirji (@mustafahirji) February 14, 2021
#InThisTogether has been a slogan of the pandemic. I hope we can all return to that ethos. Violent threats, political attacks, denigrating those who disagree splinters us rather than unifies us. Let’s listen more, understand each other, & come together through dialogue. 6/6— Mustafa Hirji (@mustafahirji) February 14, 2021