Prime Minister Justin Trudeau landed in hot water again following an untimely, bizarre photo op at Toronto’s University Health Network (UHN). On the UHN's website, they claim to restrict access to the public and other visitors unless an appointment is booked ahead of time.
Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner spoke about the unsettling experience of a close friend who lost her husband due to COVID. She could not visit him in his dying days because of stringent public health restrictions at the hospital.
"Trudeau's photographer posted pictures of Trudeau campaigning in a hospital, with said photographer whose account is now locked," she tweeted.
She denounced the "gratuitous photo ops" and said it "feels so wrong."
"It feels like these front-line heroes are being used as a prop during a time when loved ones can't readily see their families in the same setting," added Rempel Garner, who also found the photo of Trudeau's abdomen area "very strange."
Another Conservative MP also took the prime minister to task over the event, having lost two of her sisters due to COVID. Candice Bergen posted to Twitter, "How many Canadians like me were heartbroken when we couldn’t see our family members in the last 18 months?"
On the UHN website, the organization writes, "We know family, friends and the people who support you are important partners in your care. They may provide physical and emotional support, care for you at home and help us understand your health. Although they may not be allowed to come with you into the hospital, we do our best to include them in your care."
Bergen was outraged by the "vanity pics" of him and "his entourage" at a Toronto hospital. "One rule for him, another for the rest."
While the UHN said, Trudeau nor staff broke its protocols, as Trudeau supposedly stayed in large open spaces and never entered a ward, Trudeau's official photographer Adam Scotti took and posted a picture of Trudeau in a ward. He then deleted his Twitter.
UHN also writes they are limiting who can enter the hospital or visit on hospital property to "lower the risk of spreading COVID to patients and the staff who care for them. COVID-19 spreads more easily when people gather in groups, even outside."
Scotti appeared to have locked his account over potential blowback faced by the prime minister for campaigning in a hospital during the fourth wave.
"How many weren't able to visit loved ones in the hospital? How many times has the Trudeau campaign broken COVID rules now?"
"Rules for thee, not for me."
UHN was among Ontario’s first employers to mandate that unvaccinated employees submit to regular COVID testing before their shifts. Vaccine uptake increased by seven percent last month to 92 percent as of August 18.
Smith said that despite a small group of unvaccinated employees refusing the program that it has been a "remarkable success." He told them that that's not an option. The hospital administration then told those individuals to take a "cooling off period" from work.
Smith clarified that the UHN would "love to avoid termination wherever possible" and considered the drastic action a last-resort option. However, he said, "The needs of the patient come first."
He said hospitals need to be the safest possible environments for patients, families and at-risk staff, concluding that they may need to make "very difficult decisions" to protect the "best interests of patients."
UHN’s Executive Director of Social Medicine and Population Health, Dr. Andrew Boozary, previously criticized Alberta’s reopening plan in July as a "cruel experiment that is being imposed at a public policy level."
He insisted the announcement was "one of the most egregious policy disconnects" he saw nationwide, adding it would not protect and save people’s lives.