richard schabas

Ontario's former top doctor supports Toronto politician ousted for anti-lockdown views

Dr. Richard Schabas, a retired physician that served as Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health for a decade, has publicly come out in support of Toronto MPP Roman Baber, who was famously removed from Caucus days ago for posting a statement opposing provincial lockdown restrictions.

Schabas, who says he worked on the front lines of the SARS outbreak, published an open letter to Premier Doug Ford on Monday in response to Ford deeming Baber's stance "irresponsible" and calling the data he shared "misinformation."

"MPP Baber made five key points and I believe he was correct on all five items," Schabas wrote.

"COVID is a natural disaster with tragic consequences. Our well-intentioned but misguided efforts to control COVID are only compounding the tragedy... Baber deserves great credit for his courage in trying to open the discussion."

The points on which Schabas agrees with Baber, in his expert opinion, include that the pandemic is largely a long-term care issue — "deaths are concentrated in the frail elderly"  — and that lockdown has significant consequences and was "not a part of our planned pandemic response nor is it supported by strong science."

He also questions how ICU capacity is being touted as so at-risk when the province claimed to have expanded its number of critical and acute care beds by over 2,000, and currently has only 394 COVID patients in intensive care.

Lastly, Schabas points to what he sees as "fearmongering to encourage compliance," including the removal of Baber from PC Caucus after the York Centre elected official posted his own open letter.

"Instead of addressing his point about COVID Infection Fatality Rates (IFR), the government cited COVID's reported case fatality rate (CFR)," he writes.

"Every knowledgeable observer of COVID understands that CFR is in itself an irrelevant number... CFR's only 'virtue' is its ability to frighten by overstating the real risk of dying from a COVID infection."

This isn't the first time the doctor has expressed such views: he wrote an op-ed about how he felt the health crisis was being blown out of proportion back at its onset in March.

Much like Baber's letter, Schabas's statement has already caused quite the stir in just one day's time, with strong reactions on both sides of the issue as the discourse surrounding our government-mandated lockdown continues.

Lead photo by

Jeremy Gilbert

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