N.B. doctor accused of breaking COVID-19 rules sues province, RCMP and Facebook
A doctor who says he faced a barrage of hate and racism after being accused of breaking COVID-19 rules in New Brunswick in 2020 is suing the provincial government, the RCMP and Facebook's owner, Meta.
"It's a battle for rights, for human dignity and against racism," Dr. Jean Robert Ngola told reporters Thursday.
The lawsuit was filed earlier in the day in the New Brunswick Court of Queen's Bench.
"We expect the battle to be a needless and protracted long fight but we are ready for it," Ngola's lawyer Joel Etienne said.
Ngola, a family doctor who was working in the northern New Brunswick city of Campbellton, was accused of violating the province's Emergency Measures Act, but the Crown later withdrew the charge after concluding there was no chance of conviction.
On May 27, 2020, in the face of a growing outbreak in the Campbellton area, Premier Blaine Higgs referred to an "irresponsible" health-care worker and said the matter was being handled by the RCMP. The outbreak eventually affected 40 people and resulted in two deaths.
News got out that Ngola was the suspect in the RCMP's investigation after his positive COVID-19 status was leaked on social media.
Before he tested positive, Ngola had driven to Montreal to pick up his daughter, because her mother was travelling to Africa to attend a funeral. He did not self-isolate for two weeks when he returned, as provincial health guidelines directed, but Ngola later said that was consistent with the practice of other physicians at his hospital.
Ngola, who is now based in Louiseville, Que., has sought an apology from Higgs, but the premier has repeatedly said he did nothing wrong.
The statement of claim says the premier should have known his actions would be instrumental in endangering Ngola's life and creating fear for the safety of Ngola and his child.
"Dr. Ngola was barraged with death threats (some of which called for his lynching) and racist insults," the claim states.
No one for the provincial government would comment on the lawsuit Thursday.
"We don't comment on cases or potential cases before the courts," Geoffrey Downey, a spokesman for Justice and Public Safety, said in an email.
Ngola's legal team says the RCMP assigned 21 members to investigate the allegations against the doctor. "On that fateful day, Jean Robert became a citizen of a police state," Etienne told reporters.
"The singling out, the shaming, the racism, the 21 police investigators in the middle of a pandemic turning every rock, turning every stone, the threat of losing his daughter to child services, the inability to stay in his home. How was that a democracy for Jean Robert Ngola? Could any one of us endure what this man has gone through?"
The suit accuses Facebook of allowing the dissemination of hateful, racist statements and wilfully promoting the posts against Ngola by refusing to remove them. It says Facebook's safety budget allocated to monitor harmful contents outside the United States "is grossly disproportionate, especially as it applies to Dr. Ngola."
The court document does not specify the amount of damages being sought but says it should be enough to hold those responsible accountable and to discourage similar wrongdoing in the future.
"Dr. Ngola was a clear victim of racial profiling caused and spurned on by state action and Facebook/social media," the claim states. It adds that the court should award punitive damages and that restorative justice is also a necessary remedy.
Officials with the RCMP and Facebook could not immediately be reached for comment.
Ngola calls what happened to him "a serious injustice" and "dehumanizing."
"I dare believe, in the end, that nothing similar could ever happen again to a citizen, to suffer such degrading, inhuman treatment in our big, beautiful country of Canada," he said.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2022.
Atlantic Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Families are sharing photos and stories of their loved ones, who lost their lives in a mass shooting in Texas that killed at least 19 children and two adults on Tuesday afternoon.
A news conference about the shooting at a Texas elementary school broke into shouting Wednesday as Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke blamed Republican Gov. Greg Abbott for inaction ahead of the latest in a long string of mass shootings in the state.
The six candidates on the ballot to be the next leader of the Conservative Party of Canada are debating face-to-face in French, in Laval, Que.
The gunman who massacred 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Texas had warned in online messages minutes before the attack that he had shot his grandmother and was going to shoot up a school, the governor said Wednesday.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau cancelled plans to appear in person at a Liberal fundraiser in British Columbia Tuesday after RCMP warned an aggressive protest outside the event could escalate if he arrived, said a source close to the decision. The source spoke to The Canadian Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the situation publicly.
Do oil companies control the price of crude? CTVNews.ca asked experts to explain.
Several parts of the country, including British Columbia and Canada's Maritime provinces, are likely to see wetter-than-normal conditions this summer, according to AccuWeather's annual summer forecast.
A jury in Portland has convicted a self-published romance novelist - who once wrote an essay titled 'How to Murder Your Husband' - of fatally shooting her husband four years ago.
The Public Health Agency of Canada says it has now confirmed a total of 16 cases of monkeypox in the country, all in Quebec.
Was your home damaged by the Ontario storm? Insurance companies say payouts could take weeks to process
The insurance industry says it could take up to six weeks to get an idea of how many hundreds of millions of dollars in pay outs will be required from the weekend storm that brought death and destruction to Ontario and Quebec, but that early estimates are substantial.
Police have released new video of a recent incident in which a vehicle was caught doing doughnuts and speeding along the shoulder of busy Ontario roadways.
People all across Ontario are getting creative when it comes to netting a secondary income, otherwise known as a “side hustle,” and many are turning to secondhand economies thriving on online platforms.
Those who haven't receive their bill by the first week of June are asked to contact 311.
Milan Lucic is a veteran of 135 Stanley Cup playoff games and has seen it all through the years. He's been up three games to none in a series and lost. He's also been up three games to one and had to play a seventh game.
The mayor of Calgary says the increase in local gun violence and hate-based crimes needs to be addressed and it's past time the public demand better of its elected officials.
Quebec politicians were not pleased with the federal Liberals' comments on Bill 96 and Bill 21, firing back with a slew of protests and even raising sovereignty as the solution.
Quebec's public health department is set to give its first press conference on the growing monkeypox outbreak as the province recorded its 16th confirmed case Wednesday.
Montreal police says it is working to dismantle a 'major amphetamine trafficking and production network.'
Even though they cheer for opposite teams, a proposal by a Flames fan at Game 4 of the Battle of Alberta received a resounding "yes" from the Oilers-loving bride to be.
"Blunt force injuries" have been determined as the cause of death for both men attacked in Edmonton's Chinatown on May 19.
Alberta's justice minister is facing criticism for "strange" and "remarkably unhelpful" comments he made in the legislature on Tuesday when an NDP MLA asked him to help fight crime in Chinatown.
A candidate in the provincial election in Greater Sudbury has been named in a $306 million lawsuit related to last winter's trucker convoy in Ottawa.
The partnership between the Sudbury Theatre Centre and YES Theatre has many people wondering what it means for arts in the city -- and why it was put in place without consulting the arts community first.
An Orillia man responsible for causing a head-on collision when he drove the wrong way on Highway 11 four years ago, sending a woman to the hospital with life-altering injuries, has been acquitted.
Two men and one woman are facing charges Wednesday after police say their vehicle struck a London police cruiser and then fled the scene on foot over the weekend.
OPP and Southwest Middlesex fire are on the scene of a fatal collision Wednesday afternoon involving a tanker truck and a passenger vehicle.
Jeff Ducharme was in his home office when a young man in a truck pulled up, ran up to the front of his home in Norwich, Ont. and stole his pride flag in broad daylight.
The Manitoba Government could turn to the military for help as it struggles with staffing shortages, overcrowding, and in some cases, temporary closures of emergency rooms.
The Manitoba government says it is planning to make alcohol sales more convenient, which the opposition says sounds like privatization.
Officers with the Manitoba RCMP are investigating after a 75-year-old man was found dead in the water near a culvert.
The president of Hydro Ottawa says "with a little bit of luck" power will be restored along the Merivale Road area on Thursday, bringing power to another 15,000 to 20,000 customers still in the dark following Saturday's storm.
The Ottawa Catholic School Board says all schools with power will be open on Thursday, but 14 schools without power will remain closed.
Out of the tragedy of Saturday’s storm, come stories of people helping each other.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced $32 million in funding for long term care in Saskatchewan.
Saskatoon Police Service says that the use and presence of potent new synthetic opioids known as nitazenes are difficult to track and monitor.
A 48-year-old semi-truck driver was killed in in a rollover near Meadow Lake on Tuesday.
Ryan Reynolds shared some of what it was like growing up in Vancouver in a new interview with David Letterman this week, including the fact that he said he was going out to get gas when what he was really doing was moving to Los Angeles.
B.C. committee recommends honorary degree given to principal of former residential school be rescinded
A sub-committee formed by the University of British Columbia has recommended the honorary degree granted to a former principal of a residential school where unmarked graves were detected last year be rescinded.
B.C. woman's 'elaborately concocted alibi' for hit-and-run included fake letters, false accusations, court says
A B.C. woman who was convicted of a fatal hit-and-run despite her "elaborately concocted alibi" which included forged letters and lying about her truck being stolen by a panhandler, has lost her bid to have her sentence reduced.
A new art exhibit at the George Bothwell Library is hoping to examine and remove the feeling of shame associated with people who are deaf and hard of hearing.
For those looking to hop the border into Manitoba for their camping seasons, it started off on the wrong foot for Duck Mountain Provincial Park.
The City of Regina is considering implementing a rebate program to encourage energy saving and emissions reducing upgrades to residential homes.
Authorities are investigating Wednesday after the body of a porpoise was discovered on a beach near Victoria.
The only family medical practice in Ucluelet, B.C., will continue to operate for another 18 months, Island Health announced Wednesday, just one week before the clinic's lease was set to expire.
A British Columbia company that was once at the forefront of the booming plant-based meats industry is shuttering stores and production plants as it struggles to survive.