VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – B.C.’s top doctor is weighing-in on the dark side of being the public face of the province’s COVID-19 response, saying comments wishing harm upon her are “not acceptable” and have an impact on her loved ones.
In a recent livestream, Metro Vancouver conspiracy theorists made hateful and violent comments about Dr. Bonnie Henry, suggesting “She needs to be hanging by the nooses” and “Some lead between the eyes would be good for her.”
Asked about how she deals with such outrageous comments because of her position, Henry said she understands that when some people are in crisis, they lash out.
“That is a reaction that is sometimes fed by certain groups, by certain media — social media posts, etc. It’s not to condone it. But it’s to recognize that … the psychology of what we’re dealing with leads some people to react that way. And I do believe that it is our collective support for each other that helps mitigate the impacts of these things,” Henry said.
But she points out that doesn’t make it okay.
“It really is not acceptable and what I find most disturbing is how it impacts the people I work with and my family and my close contacts and they’re concerned,” she said.
In September, Henry said she had received death threats and had to have security at her home.
She says she does have a security system and admits her counterparts across the country are dealing with similar comments.
Health minister condemns ‘disgraceful’ comments
Health Minister Adrian Dix says we live in a democratic society and it’s “absolutely legitimate” to disagree, about even the pandemic.
“But some of the disagreement is totally unacceptable,” he said. “Dr. Bonnie Henry is an extraordinary leader. And that doesn’t mean she’s right all the time, certainly doesn’t mean I’m right all the time. Doesn’t mean the government’s right all the time … or the federal government, World Health Organization, or anyone else.
“The kind of personal attacks … are just completely unacceptable,” he said, adding Henry cares about all people in regard to the pandemic.
“Regardless of the criticism, she continues to show compassion for everybody — every single person — and regardless of one’s view of what we’re doing from a day to day basis, that is worthy of respect for an extraordinary human being in our province,” he said.
Dix believes we we need a higher level of debate, and that people can disagree with health policy or actions without suggesting they be harmed.
“There are unacceptable comments … disgraceful comments, and I condemn them utterly,” he said.
He says everyone involved on the front lines and in government are dedicated to getting people through the pandemic and saving lives.
“All of our medical health officers, our deputy ministers, our healthcare workers, are giving everything they have — not five days a week, but seven days a week — to this pandemic and have since began for us, which was more than a year ago in January of 2020,” Dix said.
-With files from Kelvin Gawley