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Ford defends Dr. David Williams

Ontario premier backs his chief medical officer of health, despite some calls for him to step down over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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TORONTO -- Ontario Premier Doug Ford leapt to the defence of his chief medical officer of health, former Thunder Bay physician Dr. David Williams. 

Ford on Friday said he has all the confidence in the world in Williams, adding the province has fared well because of his efforts. 

"They've been calling for Dr. Williams' head since the beginning," Ford said at a news conference in Bracebridge, Ont. asked about criticism of Williams from some in the health community, including Doris Grinspun, the CEO of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, who has called for Williams to resign. 

"I take personal offence to that. Dr. Williams has worked around the clock. This man doesn't sleep. He's out there protecting the people and the numbers speak for themselves. Because of the leadership of Dr. Williams and his entire team and the 34 chief medical officers around the province, we have the lowest cases per 100,000 in North America." 

Ford continued, asking what more does the public want from Williams. 

"The guy is working his back off, giving his best judgment. And by the way, I say it over and over again. Dr. Williams is an absolute champion. He works collaboratively." 

Ford said Williams talks to health experts around the country before formulating any COVID-19 plan. 

"I'll stand beside Dr. Williams any day, any pandemic. He's given us great guidance and protocols to follow, along with his team. 

Grinspun told QP Briefing she was furious at William's response to a question about teacher safety in the classroom, and part of his response suggested health-care workers who contract the virus often do so in the community, suggesting they were too casual in their personal lives, not wearing masks or visiting areas with high case numbers. 

She then criticized Ontario's response, particularly in the long-term care sector and his advice on the reopening of schools. 

"Is this because now he wants to say if a teacher contracts a virus, it's their fault too?" she said. "It's very upsetting — very, very, very upsetting and inappropriate and not characteristic of a person that should be playing a leadership role. It's the opposite of a person that should be playing a leadership role, blaming those that gave their life, or contracted the disease and put their families and themselves at risk. Not fit for the job," she told QP Briefing.

Others have also called for Williams to step down. 

Williams is the former medical officer of health at the Thunder Bay District Health Unit.

Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith is Dougall Media's director of news, but still likes to tell your stories too. Wants his Expos back and to see Neil Young at least one more time. Twitter: @LeithDunick
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