Haldimand-Norfolk’s controversial acting medical officer appointee once taught at McMaster

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Published September 3, 2021 at 7:16 pm

Dr. Matt Strauss previously taught at McMaster. (Twitter)

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.

Strauss is a former professor at McMaster University in Hamilton.

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.

He has also described business owners who open in violation of public health orders as “heroes.” He also asked in a tweet whether he could apply for refugee status in Florida, where Governor Ron DeSantis has opposed mask mandates. The state, with a population of 21.5 million, has had an estimated 44,000 deaths related to COVID-19. Canada, with a population of 37 million, has had about 27,000.

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

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