Statement by Dr. Merrilee Fullerton on Jack MacLaren’s comments

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Let me be clear: There is no place for sexual abuse in our society by anyone, anywhere, anytime.

As a family physician I feel compelled to comment in light of a statement made by Jack MacLaren, MPP for Carleton-Mississippi Mills while debating the Regulated Health Professions Act amendments.

Mr. MacLaren and I are both seeking the Ontario P.C nomination in the new riding of Kanata-Carleton, and while he has said numerous things over the past year which I find appalling, I have been reluctant to criticize him for the sake of a cordial nomination race.

However, Kanata-Carleton needs a Progressive Conservative candidate who understands our community and who understands Progressive Conservative values. Mr. MacLaren’s comments are the most recent in a series of astonishing remarks which indicate that he neither understands the residents of Kanata-Carleton, nor our Progressive Conservative values.

A zero-tolerance policy for sexual abuse of patients by any regulated health professional, is imperative. Respect for patients and respect for physicians who provide ethical and responsible care demand it. A zero-tolerance policy for sexual abuse is not, as Mr. MacLaren stated, overly harsh, harsh on doctors, dangerous, nor does it go overboard. Never in my 26 years as a physician was a zero-tolerance policy for sexual abuse of patients ever mentioned in these terms.

Tolerance in our society must not be twisted to mean tolerance for sexual abuse. It is baffling that in 2017 a politician, or anyone for that matter, could come to this conclusion.

On Monday, March 27th, while debating Bill 87, Mr. MacLaren stated the following:
JACK MACLAREN (MPP for Carleton-Mississippi Mills): “I’d like to address schedule 4, the Regulated Health Professions Act amendments. I’d like to read a sentence here, because I am concerned that this goes overboard and will be extraordinarily hard—overly harsh—on doctors, to the detriment of health care in general, and certainly to the detriment of doctors in many cases:
“A zero-tolerance policy on sexual abuse of patients by any regulated health professional.”
“Any time you hear the term “zero tolerance,” I find that dangerous, because there always has to be consideration of leniency, of understanding and of tolerance. We are a tolerant society, so now to prescribe that we want to be, by law, intolerant, I think, is a very wrongful way to go, and we are doing ourselves a great disservice as a society, and to our people and to the patients of Ontario.”

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