The Conservative leader said he wouldn’t weigh in because Derek Sloan is running for Tory leader.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer won’t discuss a Tory backbencher’s broadsides against Dr. Theresa Tam, which have been blasted as “race-baiting,” because that member of Parliament is a leadership candidate.
Scheer had some chippy exchanges with reporters in Ottawa Thursday when pressed about an email and video released this week from Ontario MP Derek Sloan, one of four candidates left in the Tory leadership race, targeting Canada’s top doctor.
In an email to supporters Tuesday, Sloan called for Tam to be fired over her advice to the government during the COVID-19 pandemic as the country’s chief public health officer. He accused Tam of prioritizing the World Health Organization, which has faced questions over its data and its relationship to China, “over the health of Canadians.” He charged that the United Nations agency covered up the COVID-19 virus “at the behest of the Chinese Communist Party.”
Sloan accused Tam, who was born in Hong Kong and has served as an international expert on WHO committees, of “dutifully” repeating China’s “propaganda” by not, among other things, supporting travel bans for travellers arriving from virus hotspots months ago.
“Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer needs to work for Canada. Not for the WHO or any other foreign entity,” Sloan said in the email.
He repeated those accusations in a short clip posted online that sparked backlash, but also brought attention to his long-shot leadership bid. “Does she work for Canada or for China?” he asks, at one point.
Perry Bellegarde, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, said he fully supports Tam and that “this is not the quality of dialogue Canadians expect from our Parliamentarians to keep Canada safe.
But the outgoing Tory leader refused to say Thursday if he agrees or disagrees with Sloan, a rookie MP first elected in the Ontario riding of Hastings-Lennox and Addington this fall.
“As a rule, I don’t comment on leadership candidates or on policy announcements or positions leadership candidates have taken,” Scheer said. “I’ll leave it to each leadership candidate to speak for themselves and explain their views. And ultimately it will be up to members to select the next leader of the party.”
The Liberal government needs to be held accountable for its decisions during the pandemic, he said, including its reluctance to close the border until mid-March.
“I don’t believe that we should allow this government to have a scapegoat, to pin the blame on anybody else,” he said. “These were ministers who chose to ignore some advice and chose to listen to other advice.” SOURCE