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Peterborough politicians condemn protests outside home of medical officer of health

Click to play video: 'Peterborough Medical Officer of Health continues to be harassed at his home' Peterborough Medical Officer of Health continues to be harassed at his home
Peterborough’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Thomas Piggott has been the target of several protests over the past few weeks which have all been related to the COVID-19 pandemic – Jan 20, 2022

Peterborough’s top politicians say protesting at the residence of medical officer of health Dr. Thomas Piggott crosses the line of what is acceptable.

Peterborough Mayor Diane Therrien says the actions of a “handful” of individuals are “not OK.”

As of Thursday afternoon, police arrested two people after responding to reports of a protest at the home of Piggot, the MOH for Peterborough Public Health.

Police also attended the East City home due to a protest on Saturday.

Read more: Protesters return to Peterborough medical officer of health’s residence

Piggott began his role at the health unit in December 2021 and “hit the ground running,” and has been a “great leader,” says Therrien.

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“I hear about these things and hate giving these people air-time,” she told Global News Peterborough. “It’s basically a handful of people who peaked in high school who are desperately trying to convince themselves and others that they’re at all interesting and significant.

Therrien says public health leaders like Piggott need to be supported.

“To disagree is one thing, but to go after somebody at home with young kids … it saddens me that’s the welcome he’s got to our community,” said Therrien. “I know it’s just a handful of people who could better spend their time doing a puzzle, volunteer at One Roof — actually do something productive.

“But I think he knows the general community is supportive and has his back,” she said.

It’s a sentiment shared by Peterborough-Kawartha MPP Dave Smith who said he was “extremely disappointed” with a number of individuals following the latest incident.

He says while he supports an individual’s right to protest, do so by writing letters to him or his federal counterpart MP Michelle Ferreri, or protest outside their constituency office, or visit Queen’s Park in Toronto or Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

“But it is 100 per cent unacceptable — I cannot emphasize it enough — to harass and to intimidate an individual who is trying to help our community by going to their home and doing that,” said Smith

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“Everyone in our community should be standing up and saying ‘I do not accept this, I will not accept it as the norm.'”

Read more: ‘Idiots’ protest at Saskatchewan chief medical health officer’s home: Moe

Smith called the individuals “hypocrites” for accessing personal property to protest.

“Some individuals say they are doing it for their constitutional rights — you just tramped on another individual’s constitutional rights,” he said. “So don’t be a hypocrite.”

In a statement to Global News Peterborough, Ferreri repeated her condemnation following Saturday’s initial protest.

“I want to be clear, I condemn this behaviour,” said Ferreri. “When protests turn into personal attacks on our public health workers, a line must be drawn.”

Piggott was unavailable for comment on Thursday. His regular weekly online media briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic was cancelled and was rescheduled for Friday. Peterborough police are also expected to attend the session.

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