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Mayor opens hornet’s nest with comments about Board of Health changes

Mayor opens hornet’s nest with comments about Board of Health changes

A group of medical providers, representing, racialized, Indigenous communities, and environmental experts have taken exception to comments made by Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger at the most recent meeting of the Board of Health. A number of racialized members of the local medical professions had appeared as delegates to press for a reorganization of the Hamilton Board of Health that would see more citizen members representing the local medical profession and marginalized groups. At the meeting the Mayor expressed some frustration that in calling for the changes the delegates were implying that the Board was nor functioning properly.

An open letter, issued today was signed by a number of those who had delegated to the Board along with about 60 others, many of whom were members of the medical community, or who lead other community groups. The letter charged, “Hamilton’s Board of Health is entirely comprised of elected members of Council and lacks structural representation and analysis from local health experts, medical/post-secondary institutions racialized, indigenous communities and environmental experts.”

The letter went on to “ask that the Mayor formally apologize for his dismissive comments and take seriously the need for diverse, representative, inclusive, community health and medical expertise in health governance and leadership in Hamilton.”

Dr Natasha Johnson commented, “the mayor’s clinging tight to the status quo and subsequent allegations regarding “unfounded accusations” of the delegates is very worrisome.”

Dr Kassia Johnston wrote, “the mayor’s comments have created a narrative that criticism negates hard work, that years of healthcare education do not supersede politics and that healthcare improvements can wait on political processes.  They can’t. People are dying because we can’t face the uncomfortable but necessary conversations about health reform and equity.”

Councillor Judi Partridge said the criticisms should not be taken personally and she supported a motion by Councillor Nann to have an outside expert hired to advise the Board on how to address the equity and inclusion issues. The discussion was a precursor to plans by the Province to look at a re-vamp of local Health Boards. They are looking for input from municipalities, but preliminary materials from the ministry suggested the equity and inclusion issue is high on the government’s radar.

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  • It is right in from of the community’s face, we are led by people who are not trained or even competent in health.

    When the pandemic hit, the most marginalized were left with nothing not even access to washrooms. The city places a person who majored in geography as EOC because at one time he worked as a drone at one of the organizations that makes up The Hamster Wheel of Despair aka Shelter Health Clinic Network.

    Even today over on the CBC, there is an article of a woman and her children who were placed into a cockroach infested shelter space. My own recent dealings with the same organization has further instilled in me, they are not there to help only to cause chaos, meaning a fight or flight response in people.

    It is time now for people to rise up and shake the chains of oppression off them.

    Clr Nann is a disappointment when she motions to hire an outsider yet the greater need is for social housing, instilling in people they have the right to self determination. Election next year, hopefully as restrictions lift, in the streets organizing can occur to clear wards 1 thru 4, who spend too much time appeasing the upper middle at the expense of those all those who struggle.


  • I just read the letter from the community and it was impressive. A change must occur.

    It is unacceptable that the mayor and councillors who make up BOH are actively resisting change. Dr Richardson has sat in her position for far too long and her tenure has not been advantageous to marginalized communities. Inspection process of food banks and drop in crntres are not random they warn them before coming in. That is why eating once at Sally snn I got food poisoning. How about all those people in the Rosslyn, nope Dr public health waits till peiple are sick and dying before closing it down.

    In Toronto yesterday, an unjustified use of force to remove 20 to 25 homeless people from an encampment occurred. Same tactics are used here in our city as the HAMSTER WHEEL OF DESPAIR, AKA SHELTER HEALTH CLINIC NETWORK, which has created a new and improved poor house mentality has failed.

    The status quo who reside in a bubble of privilege needs to fall.

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