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Liberals call for province to veto Norfolk-Haldimand's medical officer appointee

Last Updated Sep 9, 2021 at 6:05 pm EDT

Newly-appointed Acting Medical Officer of Health for Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit Dr. Matt Strauss. TWITTER/@strauss_matt

The Ontario Liberals are calling for the health minister to veto the appointment of the new acting medical officer of health in Haldimand-Norfolk because he is against COVID-19 lockdowns.

But a spokeswoman for Health Minister Christine Elliott says Dr. Matt Strauss’s appointment did not need ministerial approval because he is merely acting medical health officer, and the Haldimand-Norfolk Board of Health has not sought to bring him on permanently.

Nonetheless, Liberal health critic John Fraser says Strauss cannot be allowed to continue in the role, describing the doctor as opposing “life-saving public health measures.”

The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit announced Strauss’s appointment to the role in a statement Friday, saying the board of health voted for him unanimously.

Strauss, who is an assistant professor of medicine at Queen’s University, has tweeted repeatedly about his opposition to lockdowns, arguing they’re not effective at preventing COVID-19-related deaths.

In one post, he called a business owner a “hero” for keeping his gym open under Reopening Ontario Act guidelines that make exceptions for people with disabilities who need physical therapy.

Strauss and the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Correction: This is a corrected story. An earlier version incorrectly said Strauss described business owners who open in violation of public health orders as “heroes.”