Health unit unaware of Amir Farahi’s involvement with Blackridge Strategy until after he took over their file

Dr. Chris Mackie in London, Ont.
Dr. Chris Mackie in London, Ont. 980 CFPL

Medical officer of health for the Middlesex London Health Unit, Dr. Chris Mackie, says he knew that Amir Farahi was lobbying against supervised consumption sites in the city, but he initially had no idea that Farahi was deeply involved in the firm the health unit hired to promote the sites.

READ MORE: Health Minister defends rejection of York St. application but promises permanent supervised consumption site for London

Earlier this week, 980 CFPL first learned that the province had rejected a funding request for a permanent site at 446 York St.

Mackie says they hired Blackridge Strategy last summer to help them parse through documents as the province reviewed policy surrounding supervised consumption sites.

“The Minister of Health, Christine Elliott, was consulting with experts about this. We wanted to make sure that our input in that process was as productive as possible. [Blackridge] did some review of documents that helped us to get involved in the expert review that Minister Elliott did and those were the main goals that we had set together.”
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Patrick Sackville was on their file until he left to work in the premier’s office and Mackie says he didn’t even know Farahi was involved with the firm until later in the summer.

“It sounds like he had already taken over our file. This is a person who, I know, has been lobbying against supervised consumption locally in the past… it’s not a surprise that he’s continued to lobby against supervised consumption since then, but it was a surprise that he was involved A) in the company and B) on our file,” he explained.

“We know a lot more about Blackridge Strategy now and, you know, the people who are advocating against supervised consumption are not a best fit with the work that we do.”

READ MORE: Blackridge Strategy defends fake campaign websites

Farahi is also embroiled in controversy surrounding fake websites targeting councillor candidates that court documents have since revealed were registered in his name.

In that case, Blackridge released a statement doubling down on the creation of the websites and arguing that the allegations they contained were harsh but factual.

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