Toronto Public Health’s vice-chair responds to backlash over Sun column about COVID-19, says her only aim was to ‘promote discourse’
As Toronto Public Health (TPH) continues the public education campaign “The Facts About COVID,” the director of communications for TPH, Christine Lefebvre, spoke to the Star last week from the National Air Traffic Control Centre (ATC) in Trenton, N.J., where she is overseeing a team of nurses, doctors, and technicians who are working to find the best way to manage the current pandemic.
“I have to go back to what I’m told is the safest place for us to be doing our jobs and for us to be learning as much as we can,” she said.
“I know that I’m not going to get a lot of satisfaction out of this, as much as I would love to, if I can’t learn anything from this,” she said. “We’re not allowed to touch anything, we’re only supposed to touch the outside of the plastic walls.”
After the first stories in the Star broke about the “facts” column and the online reaction to it (it was later amended), Lefebvre was forced to address the public health workers who were criticized for not being prepared for the pandemic.
“I’m very happy to hear people are looking at what we’re doing and having questions,” she said. “But I’m sure that in the end, it’s going to be a lot better than if it was all just a bunch of people sitting around talking at each other.”
“And we’ll be able to answer those questions better, to explain things,” she said.
A few days after the column appeared, and with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continuing to unfold, Lefebvre again spoke to the Star in Trenton, N.J., at the National Air Traffic Control Centre (ATC) of the FAA, where she and her team of pilots, technicians, and nurses are working to get planes flying again.
We asked Lefebvre to respond to various critics and critics’ critics who said they were offended, attacked, or otherwise felt like Lef