News   Mar 05, 2021
 4.6K     9 
News   Mar 05, 2021
 590     0 
News   Mar 05, 2021
 2.1K     3 

Premier Doug Ford's Ontario

W. K. Lis

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
Dec 24, 2007
Messages
18,651
Reaction score
7,510
Location
Toronto, ON, CAN, Terra, Sol, Milky Way
The propaganda wing of the (Progressive) Conservative party is at it again.

Doctors critical of the Ford government’s COVID-19 response are under fire. Is there a pattern here?


From link.

It looks like a pattern. First, three prominent critics of the Ford government’s pandemic response were targeted by a newspaper with close ideological ties to the Ontario PC government. And now, a doctor is alleging he was terminated from a leadership position over complaints from the province.

All in all, it looks like a concerted effort to attack and discredit some of the most vocal critics of the government’s policies.

Tuesday, it was Dr. David Fisman of the University of Toronto, and a specious column attacking him in the Toronto Sun that prompted Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland to come to his defence. Then came Dr. Brooks Fallis, and a more alarming allegation: that his contract as medical director at William Osler Health System was terminated because the government complained.

“When I met with some of the members of the senior leadership team about this, I was told I was being let go as interim medical director — not because of my performance as a physician or as a hospital leader — but because of my outspoken, public statements regarding Ontario’s pandemic response,” wrote Fallis, the head of critical care and medical director at William Osler. “As a result of my actions, the hospital was under pressure from the provincial government, leading to concern about the possible loss of funding for the hospital.”

The premier’s office claimed to have never heard of Fallis. Osler denied there was any external pressure, but sources indicate Fallis told colleagues at the time about what was said at the meeting.

As well, Fallis was a popular and respected medical leader, co-ordinating the COVID-19 response at one of the hardest-hit hospitals in Canada. The Star had obtained a protest letter written by the entire critical care team at William Osler, save Fallis’s replacement; the 23 doctors who signed strongly objected to the move, and praised Fallis’s leadership and voice in the pandemic. When reached by email, Fallis confirmed the letter’s authenticity.

Fallis said he was offered a contract for the position in December, but was told he was being terminated in a letter from Osler CEO Naveed Mohammad and chief of staff Dr. Frank Martino on Jan. 18. Fallis also said he was told the reason in a Zoom meeting last Friday with Martino and Osler vice-president, medical affairs Dr. Rardi Van Heest. Osler, asked specifically, refused to confirm or deny their presence at the meeting.

The picture is that there was no compelling internal reason to fire Fallis unless there was external pressure. The letter, notably, described the termination as shocking.

But maybe it shouldn’t have been. Ford’s pandemic approval rating is dropping. This was a paranoid government when it arrived, and a mean one.

Dr. Michael Warner, the head of critical care of Michael Garron Hospital, was targeted by the Toronto Sun’s Brian Lilley in a piece written Nov. 17 for the childish gotcha of not having enough COVID-19 patients in his ICU, while expressing concern about Ontario’s ICUs and the province’s response. At the time the nearest hospitals to the east in Scarborough were among the hardest-hit hospitals in the GTA, and still are.

Warner says he subsequently received harassment and even death threats, many of which cited the Lilley column, causing Warner to leave Twitter on Dec. 1, and that there were complaints from representatives of the government to his hospital regarding his patient advocacy.

There was also Dr. Nathan Stall, geriatrician at Mount Sinai hospital who was targeted last week in a Lilley tweet for getting vaccinated nearly a month before advocating for vaccination of long-term-care home residents over medical professionals.

It was a fingerpainting gotcha, not even a column; Stall is a front-line doctor who goes into troubled LTCs and works with vulnerable populations, and was asked by his hospital to take the vaccine shot. To highlight this as hypocrisy was gutter work, and coincidentally came the day after Stall had testified in front of the long-term-care commission, which the government has been accused of stonewalling.

And then came Fisman. Tuesday, the Sun’s Anthony Furey reported Fisman had not put paid consulting work for the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario on his science table conflict-of-interest disclosure form, which hadn’t been updated since last summer, until he was contacted by the Sun.

Fisman should have disclosed. But this was dishwater-thin stuff, aimed at perhaps the most vocal high-profile critic of Ontario’s pandemic response. Forget for a second that the science table is the only provincial advisory table whose membership is made public, and which requires disclosure forms at all, while the province’s public health advice is hidden.

Or that the province has mothballed the medical transparency bill passed in 2017, which would require the medical industry to publish potential conflicts of interest once per year. Or, as Stephen Maher of Maclean’s pointed out, that every living Progressive Conservative premier has a job with the long-term-care industry, which the current government shielded from lawsuits last year.

No, what’s important to understand that the Toronto Sun and the premier’s office and family are a politically and ideologically overlapping ouroboros of sorts. Jamie Wallace, Ford’s chief of staff, was an executive at the Sun before taking the job. He was replaced at the Sun papers by Mark Towhey, who had been Rob Ford’s chief of staff, and who left the Postmedia job in 2020. Furey has been billed as a guest speaker at local Conservative party fundraisers, before pulling out under scrutiny. The Sun’s editor-in-chief, Adrienne Batra, was Rob Ford’s press secretary before joining the Sun as their comment editor in 2013. No other Canadian newspaper operates like this.

And while Ford’s office claimed to say the consulting was a disturbing surprise, the ETFO said the province knew. Either way, it takes some guts to claim that Fisman was hiding something involving his vocal and consistent advocacy for stronger safety in schools, when the province watered down its own school reopening plans.

“You probably want to discredit the people who said, watch out, this is going to get bad,” said Fisman in an interview. “Because it did get bad, and they didn’t listen, and they should have listened to us. People pointed out that there is an appearance of (conflict of interest), but I have nothing to hide. I think it’s about discrediting people, and that’s the Trump approach.”

Fisman said he opted out of the science table’s August 2020 brief on schools. Dr. Steini Brown, the dean of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto and head of the province’s independent science table, turned down Fisman’s offers to resign.
“This is a slip-up by an academic, and I don’t see any malice or forethought in this at all,” said Brown. “There’s no intention to deceive. He is an exceptional scientist, and he does have opinions, but you’re allowed to have those.”

Indeed. But we also live in a province where a machine tries to attack people trying to save lives, and you should ask yourself what that means. The U.K. variant may be loose; ICUs are still straining. So many LTCs are a horror. People are still getting sick and dying.

But the government and its allies, it seems, have other things on their mind
. It sure looks like a pattern. Maybe it is.
 

Thinker

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jun 5, 2014
Messages
541
Reaction score
778

AlvinofDiaspar

Moderator
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 22, 2007
Messages
29,232
Reaction score
18,955
Location
Toronto
You'd think they are (or had taken) taking notes on how this worked out south of the border. Intimidation and silencing science and medical experts has never worked out.

They also know that there is a floor of about 30% of voters who will choose them no matter what.

AoD
 

Northern Light

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
May 20, 2007
Messages
10,493
Reaction score
15,291
Location
Toronto/EY
They also know that there is a floor of about 30% of voters who will choose them no matter what.

AoD

You made me look..........I had to go back to the provincial election of 1990 to find a result for the Conservatives below 30% of the popular vote.

That year (the election of Bob Rae), Harris in his first election as leader got 23.5% of the vote.

As that was 31 years ago, I don't know that it says anything useful about how low one could reasonably hope to see the Conservative vote fall.
 

Towered

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 24, 2007
Messages
5,881
Reaction score
4,250
You made me look..........I had to go back to the provincial election of 1990 to find a result for the Conservatives below 30% of the popular vote.

That year (the election of Bob Rae), Harris in his first election as leader got 23.5% of the vote.

As that was 31 years ago, I don't know that it says anything useful about how low one could reasonably hope to see the Conservative vote fall.

I'm guessing that was probably their lowest percentage in a very long time too, considering how the "Big Blue Machine" ruled Ontario for more than a 40 year stretch at one point. I'm surprised that Harris survived that election round as leader - imagine how things might have turned out differently had the party turfed him after that result...
 

SunriseChampion

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Mar 5, 2009
Messages
6,754
Reaction score
2,691
Location
Parkdale
You'd think they are (or had taken) taking notes on how this worked out south of the border. Intimidation and silencing science and medical experts has never worked out.

I don't know how much there's to it. On the other hand, they booted a MPP who went against the government's propagandising from the other side.

They just don't like criticism, not sure it has anything to do with science.
 

W. K. Lis

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
Dec 24, 2007
Messages
18,651
Reaction score
7,510
Location
Toronto, ON, CAN, Terra, Sol, Milky Way
From link.

Starting pay for the humblest burger-flipper at McDonald’s in Denmark is about $22 an hour once various pay supplements are included. The McDonald’s workers in Denmark get six weeks of paid vacation a year, life insurance, a year’s paid maternity leave and a pension plan. And like all Danes, they enjoy universal medical insurance and paid sick leave.
 

Northern Light

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
May 20, 2007
Messages
10,493
Reaction score
15,291
Location
Toronto/EY

lenaitch

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Sep 5, 2017
Messages
2,677
Reaction score
2,223
It appears Laurentian University is teetering in terms of its solvency.

It has filed under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA)


That seems really odd; has a crown institution done that before in Ontario????

CBC Story here:


Lead quote:

'Despite our best efforts … Laurentian is insolvent,' top official says​


I'm not sure I'd call it a Crown Institution, but not a good sign regardless. The CCAA is a step to hold creditors at bay while they try to restructure. I imagine a lot of smaller universities are in nearly the same boat, particularly those that can't rely on a resident population. I can certainly see a streamlining of courses, and maybe that's not a bad thing - for all institutions. Their foray into medicine was, I think, a good thing to try and attract medical professionals to the north.
 

Northern Light

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
May 20, 2007
Messages
10,493
Reaction score
15,291
Location
Toronto/EY
I'm not sure I'd call it a Crown Institution, but not a good sign regardless. The CCAA is a step to hold creditors at bay while they try to restructure. I imagine a lot of smaller universities are in nearly the same boat, particularly those that can't rely on a resident population. I can certainly see a streamlining of courses, and maybe that's not a bad thing - for all institutions. Their foray into medicine was, I think, a good thing to try and attract medical professionals to the north.

Perhaps I'm incorrect in my understanding of the law.

But as I understood it, the Crown cannot go bankrupt; ergo the institutions of the crown cannot.

The province is ultimately responsible.

I can't recall a hospital running deficits (which has happened quite often) ever filing CCAA.

Nor a university or school board.

I can recall financial difficulties and the province appointing a trustee and sacking the board.

But again, perhaps I'm missing information here; perhaps there is precedent of which I'm unaware.
 

Top