Top docs say they've received threats from people disgruntled about safety measures
HALIFAX -- Two chief doctors of health in the Maritimes have received threats in recent days.
Dr. Robert Strang, the man leading Nova Scotia's effort to contain the COVID-19 pandemic confirmed Friday he's not only been dealing with criticisms of how he's performed his duties, but a few times those criticisms have escalated into personal threats.
"Most times, it doesn't bother me," Dr. Strang said. "To me, it is more of a concern that there are people out there who feel that they can use that kind of language, if you will, to anybody."
Strang wouldn't specify their exact nature, but he says it's become so bad he's now staying off social media.
"I don't go there anymore because of the personal and unpleasant stuff that a small number of people do," Dr. Strang said.
Threats have also been directed at Prince Edward Island's chief public health officer.
"It can be frightening," said Dr. Heather Morrison.
And Dr. Morrison says she is taking them seriously.
"There have been threats at times," Dr. Morrison said. "It makes me concerned for my family and children and for my staff."
Social media expert Giles Crouch says in today's online world with texting and multiple media platforms, society has changed the way it communicates.
Criticisms have become sharper and he adds they often cross legal lines and line of civility and decency.
"If they were actually out in real world society, they actually wouldn't behave this way," Crouch said.
As for why people would threaten Strang and Morrison?
Crouch says it's all likely linked to COVID-19 protocols and enforcement.
"They don't want to wear a mask," Crouch said. "They don't want to be told what to do."
Crouch says that also includes some people who know what they are being told to do is actually keeping them safe.
This is not just happening in the Maritimes. British Columbia's chief medical officer of health also confirmed this week that she, too, has received some threats.