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RCMP join effort to dismiss lawsuit of doctor accused of breaking COVID-19 rules

Click to play video: 'Racism concerns in New Brunswick rise after doctor blamed for COVID-19 outbreak'
Racism concerns in New Brunswick rise after doctor blamed for COVID-19 outbreak
In New Brunswick, there are concerns a controversy is causing medical professionals to leave the province. Dr. Jean-Robert Ngola says he was wrongly blamed for causing a COVID-19 outbreak in the spring of 2020, and has now launched a lawsuit. Ross Lord looks at the growing uproar over the claims made against Dr. Ngola, and why some people believe those accusations could undermine the province's immigration efforts – Jan 21, 2022

The RCMP is seeking the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by a doctor who says he faced a barrage of racist abuse after he was accused of breaking COVID-19 rules in New Brunswick.

In a motion filed with the Court of Queen’s Bench in Moncton, N.B., on July 22, the force seeks to strike out the statement of claim filed by Dr. Jean Robert Ngola on the grounds it “does not disclose a reasonable cause of action.”

“The pleadings fail to contain a concise statement of the material facts upon which the plaintiff relies,” the motion states.

Read more: N.B. seeks dismissal of lawsuit filed by doctor accused of breaking COVID-19 rules

In late June, the province of New Brunswick also sought to have the suit dismissed for failing to make a reasonable case against the province. The province’s motion said the suit’s 61-page statement of claim is repetitive, unnecessarily complicated and “an abuse of the process of the court.”

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Ngola’s lawyer, Joel Etienne, said in an email Friday he is in the process of finalizing a response to the motions from the province and RCMP.

“We note that none of the materials filed in court by the defendants provide a satisfactory factual response to the pleadings advanced by Dr. Ngola,” he wrote.

Ngola’s suit names the province, the RCMP and Facebook’s owner, Meta, as defendants.

2020 outbreak

He was working as a family doctor in Campbellton, N.B., in May 2020 when he was accused of violating the province’s Emergency Measures Act amid a growing COVID-19 outbreak. The Crown later withdrew the charge.

The doctor had driven to Montreal to pick up his daughter and had not self-isolated when he returned to New Brunswick. He said he was following the practice of other physicians at his hospital.

The Campbellton outbreak eventually affected about 40 people and resulted in two deaths.

Read more: Doctor accused of spreading COVID-19 launches lawsuit against N.B., RCMP and Facebook

Ngola’s suit alleges, among other things, that Premier Blaine Higgs should have known the doctor would face abuse when the premier referred to an “irresponsible” health-care worker during a news conference in 2020 and said the matter was being handled by the RCMP.

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Ngola has said he faced a torrent of racism, hate and threats, and he has asked Higgs to apologize.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 29, 2022.

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