In the Ontario legislature as far as you can get from the Speaker’s chair there is a little corner where sit three MPPs-Mike Schreiner, the Green Party leader and lone MPP, Randy Hillier who was recently booted from the PC caucus for making disrespectful comments to the parents of autistic children, and Jim Wilson who was removed from the PC caucus amid allegations of sexual misconduct. It appears they will soon be joined by Roman Baber who was kicked out of the PC Caucus for distributing an open letter to Premier Doug Ford calling for an end to the COVID lockdown. Baber will also be blocked from running as a PC in the next election.
Baber’s political career got off to an auspicious start when he wrested the York Centre PC nomination from Joe Oliver who had served as Federal Finance Minister in the Harper Government. He then went on to capture the seat which had been the stronghold of Liberal MPP Monte Quinter, who did not contest the seat in 2018. Born in Russia and having spent several years in Israel Baber was seen as a champion of diversity and inclusion. But TVO journalist John Michael McGrath says Baber’s ouster will rid Doug Ford of an MPP who “had a habit of getting attention for the wrong reasons. There was his heckling of former premier Kathleen Wynne, which was so egregious that even the Tory leadership tried to disavow it. Earlier in the pandemic, he advised a constituent that that he could “see [his] parents,” despite the risks to the elderly from COVID-19.”
In his open letter, Baber wrote “The medicine is killing the patient…The lockdown isn’t working … It’s causing an avalanche of suicides, overdoses, bankruptcies, divorces and takes an immense toll on our children,” Baber wrote. “Dozens of leading doctors implored you to end the lockdowns.”
In expelling Baber Ford issued a statement that read in part, “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. “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-19 — rather, our response has been and will always be driven by evidence and data.” Ford said. “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.”