B.C.’s top doctor continues to face disturbing abuse – including death threats – for her efforts to lead the province through the global pandemic, sparking condemnation by ministers and residents alike.
On Thursday (Feb. 25) Dr. Bonnie Henry addressed some of the “unacceptable” abuse she’s faced from British Columbians over the past year, which has included letters and emails, escalating to more serious threats.
“What I find most disturbing is how it impacts the people I work with and my family and my close contacts and their concerns, so that’s the most challenging piece right now.”
The provincial health officer, who has helped combat Ebola and was on the front lines of the SARS crisis, acknowledged the threats in the same way she’s led more than a hundred conferences over the last year: with kindness and calmness.
“I recognize that when people are in crises, part of the way they respond or react is to lash out or be angry,” she said.
Henry has become a staple on televisions in homes across B.C. since January 2020 – leading to fan clubs, apparel and even shoes made in her honour.
With ongoing rallies against the current restrictions happening in cities big and small, some have demonized Henry through posters and posts on social media. Most recently, a video showing an anti-masker making violent and harmful comments towards the doctor circulated online.
Health Minister Adrian Dix condemned the behaviour during the Thursday briefing, pointing to Henry’s compassion in an unprecedented time.
“Dr. Bonnie Henry is an extraordinary leader and that doesn’t mean she is right all the time – certainly doesn’t mean that I’m right all the time,” Dix said, adding that as someone who meets with Henry every day that “she never loses sight of people in this pandemic.”
On Friday, Premier John Horgan also condemned the attacks, saying there is no place for this kind of hate.
“Your parents should be ashamed of you.”
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