Ontario MPP Roman Baber kicked out of caucus for criticizing lockdown

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has kicked Jewish York Centre MPP Roman Baber out of the Progressive Conservative caucus for calling on the province to end its COVID-19 lockdown measures.

In a statement issued Friday morning, Ford called comments in a two-page letter from Baber “irresponsible,” saying the MPP will not be allowed to seek re-election as a PC member.

“By spreading misinformation, he is undermining the tireless efforts of our frontline health-care workers at this critical time, and he is putting people at risk,” Ford said, as reported by the CBC. “I will not jeopardize a single Ontarian’s life by ignoring public health advice.

“There is no room for political ideology in our fight against COVID – rather, our response has been and will always be driven by evidence and data,” Ford stated.

“Furthermore, Mr. Baber has put himself ahead of his PC Caucus team, who have worked around the clock for months to support and protect the people of Ontario through this public health crisis.”

Baber Tweeted COVID-19 message

Baber’s letter to Ford, posted on Twitter on the morning of Jan. 15, argues that while the virus is real, “the fear of COVID is exaggerated.”

“The medicine is killing the patient,” Baber wrote. “The lockdown isn’t working. It’s causing an avalanche of suicides, overdoses, bankruptcies, divorces and takes an immense toll on our children. Dozens of leading doctors implored you to end the lockdowns.”

He said the crisis is largely limited to long-term care (LTC) homes. “With all LTC residents in ‘red zones’ to be vaccinated by Jan. 21, Ontario should end the lockdown & the catastrophic toll it’s causing Ontarians,” Baber wrote.

“We should focus on & fix LTC!”

In his letter, Baber said about 3,500, or 70 percent, of deaths in Ontario were over age 80. “While we mourn every death, only 200 people, or four percent, of all deaths were under age 60 and ZERO children died from COVID in Ontario.”

Warns of catastrophic impact on children

He said the lockdown is having “catastrophic” effects on the health of children. “Premier, we should stop scaring children,” he wrote, saying “this generation of kids will grow up with an anxiety disorder and will be afraid of normal life.”

He also said Ontario’s hospital capacity is “better than pre-pandemic.”

In a series of tweets posted later on the morning of Jan. 15, Baber called Ford’s move to boot him from caucus “a regretful decision since many colleagues agree with me.”

He said he doesn’t regret “speaking out for millions of lives & livelihoods decimated by Public Health, I serve the public.”

Baber said the lockdown “is grounded in false public health narrative, poor planning & bad data. While [Ford] only cares about re-election, lockdowns are killing more than saving. I couldn’t watch the suffering anymore.”

He called his letter to Ford “respectful.”

The Soviet Union-born Baber was elected in the 2018 election with about 50 percent of the vote, ending 19 years of Liberal representation in the riding.

York Centre is about 20 percent Jewish. Baber is one of three Jewish MPPs on the government benches.

He was unavailable for comment on Jan. 15.

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