Toronto Public Health’s vice-chair responds to backlash over Sun column about COVID-19, says her only aim was to ‘promote discourse’
In light of the public Health Ministry’s decision to temporarily stop distributing hand sanitizer, Toronto Public Health has been fielding calls from concerned residents.
One of those residents is Toronto Public Health vice-chair and former Toronto Star journalist Sarah Béland, who wrote a column for the Star last week about people who are worried about the government’s “hand-washing” measures and the unintended consequences of its COVID-19-related guidelines.
In the column, Ms. Béland called on people to “let the community” know what they think, and stressed that her goal is to “promote public discourse” about how “to protect our communities.”
But the reaction around the city has been mixed.
A letter to Béland from the Toronto Public Health Association and Toronto Public Health has expressed concerns about the tone of her column. The association also took issue with some of the points Béland made in the column, including suggesting that the government has “failed” to inform the public about COVID-19.
In her response to the criticisms this week, following a request for comment from the Star, Ms. Béland said that her column is designed to “propose some questions, get the community talking” and to “provide some context for the actions of the government.”
But she also said it was important to note that her column was intended to be “informative and informative pieces” and that she received “calls from some of my own readers.”
Béland says it’s unfortunate that some of her critics perceive her column to be hostile or provocative.
“In fact, they have every right to be concerned,” she wrote in a response to the criticisms. “The content of this letter is intended to reflect a conversation that is occurring in the community.
“I’m very mindful of that, and I take as much responsibility for the context in which I wrote the piece as the Star readership (and the readership of many online publications) deserve to.”
It wasn’t the first time