Politicized Medicine

What would Hippocrates Do? Ontario Doctors who Dissented from Covid-19 Doctrines Fight for their Professional Lives

Jason Unrau
February 19, 2023
It hardly seemed the stuff of “professional misconduct and incompetence.” The wrong kind of hand towel hung in a patient washroom. An incorrectly worded report. Some pointed Tweets. Pushing the bounds of patient advocacy. Yet these are among the triggers used by Ontario’s medical college to destroy the careers and livelihoods of physicians who departed from the official Covid-19 narrative and exercised independent professional judgment in treating their patients. In so doing, the regulatory body also robbed patients of their doctors amidst a worsening physician shortage. Jason Unrau reports on three suspended Ontario doctors who – like psychologist Jordan Peterson – are waging a spirited defence. There are many more like them across Canada.
Politicized Medicine

What would Hippocrates Do? Ontario Doctors who Dissented from Covid-19 Doctrines Fight for their Professional Lives

Jason Unrau
February 19, 2023
It hardly seemed the stuff of “professional misconduct and incompetence.” The wrong kind of hand towel hung in a patient washroom. An incorrectly worded report. Some pointed Tweets. Pushing the bounds of patient advocacy. Yet these are among the triggers used by Ontario’s medical college to destroy the careers and livelihoods of physicians who departed from the official Covid-19 narrative and exercised independent professional judgment in treating their patients. In so doing, the regulatory body also robbed patients of their doctors amidst a worsening physician shortage. Jason Unrau reports on three suspended Ontario doctors who – like psychologist Jordan Peterson – are waging a spirited defence. There are many more like them across Canada.
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The day Crystal Luchkiw’s medical licence was suspended by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, nearly 1,700 patients – many of them elderly and in palliative care – lost their family doctor. Even the referrals and prescriptions Luchkiw had already provided were nullified. “The very next morning, we’re getting phone calls from all the pharmacies in my community saying, ‘What is going on? We can’t fill any of these prescriptions,’” the Barrie-based Luchkiw, a 2012 graduate of McMaster University, recalls in an interview. “Every single one I wrote, every single test I ordered prior to my suspension, all of those were denied.”

The fateful event – effective midnight last March 17 – came as a shock to Luchkiw, and was potentially devastating to her patients. Hardly a Canadian needs reminding of the long waiting times for nearly anything to do with publicly funded health care. Suddenly, Luchkiw’s patients had to start over at the back of the queue. “My patients were denied medications and denied access to the tests that were essential for life-threatening illnesses,” says Luchkiw, still in disbelief. They included at least one patient who urgently needed a biopsy for a likely cancer.

The doctor is out: Crystal Luchkiw, a palliative care specialist at Barrie, Ontario’s Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre, had her medical licence suspended over allegations of “professional misconduct.” Her apparent transgressions? Exercising caution and rational skepticism in a healthcare system twisted by pandemic politics.

Such a serious move by a professional regulatory body implies a serious professional or ethical transgression, or posing a threat to someone under the professional’s care. Was Luchkiw suspected of over-prescribing addictive painkillers to a patient who only needed Tylenol? Of failing to spot early signs of cancer in a patient who quickly became terminally ill? Of fraudulent billing? Of sexually harassing a patient or employee? It was nothing of the sort. Instead, Luchkiw’s suspension for “professional misconduct or incompetence,” yet to be proven, is for allegedly spreading Covid-19 “misinformation” on social media (i.e., exercising her right to free speech on her own time), allegedly seeking to treat Covid-19 infections by writing “off-label” prescriptions (a highly common practice in many other contexts), and allegedly writing medical exemptions for patients concerned about possible serious side-effects from the mRNA vaccine.

“Every patient matters”: Becoming infuriated at the “complete deviation from any kind of compassion or empathy” in the healthcare system, Luchkiw continued advocating for end-of-life visits by family which had been all-but outlawed in Ontario. (Source of photo: AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

The palliative care specialist at Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre, admittedly, has been stubbornly independent since the opening weeks of the pandemic. As provinces locked down in spring 2020, Luchkiw soon fell at odds with colleagues by lobbying for end-of-life visitations, which were basically outlawed in Ontario. Luchkiw was determined to prevent her patients from dying alone. She puts it simply: “To me every life, every patient matters, because that is how we provide equitable, compassionate care.”

Luchkiw became infuriated at the “complete deviation from any kind of compassion or empathy” that she witnessed in the health care system and in many of her colleagues. Despite an increasingly “adversarial” work environment, however, she says she never wavered from advocating for her clients. Luchkiw’s dying patients would turn out to be some of the luckier ones; across the nation thousands of others died neglected, alone, afraid and in some cases starving and dehydrated.

It did not take long for Luchkiw to notice that the medical process was being twisted by pandemic politics as the healthcare system became fixated on Covid-19. She says she was pressured to change a death certificate from what she considered the primary cause – an advanced cancer in an elderly patient – to Covid-19 merely because test results came in positive just after the patient passed away. Luchkiw refused, but the pressure continued from multiple levels.

From Caution to Coercion

Luchkiw is anything but an “anti-vaxxer.” Like tens of millions of other Canadians, she had as a child received the usual battery of immunizations. As a doctor, she recommended the same to her pediatric patients and counselled older patients where appropriate for optional vaccination against shingles and pneumonia – which her nurse administered in the practice. Nor was Luchkiw opposed to the new mRNA injections against Covid-19 at first. “There were patients that I absolutely recommended it for,” she states.

The mother of two was not prepared to surrender caution or rational skepticism, however. After all, the mRNA technology is a sharp departure from conventional vaccines which, due to its rapid emergency approval, had not been comprehensively tested and posed unknowable long-term effects on recipients. “There were patients that I had very serious informed consent discussions with, so they knew that they were not part of the group that was studied – pregnant women in particular – and that there were no long-term studies, there were no genotoxic studies,” Luchkiw explains. “There was just absolutely insufficient evidence for me to be able to recommend it as a blanket approach to a complex human problem.”

“Insufficient evidence”: Luchkiw is anything but an “anti-vaxxer” but she rejected the “blanket approach” to using vaccines without comprehensive studies proving they were safe. (Source of photo: afhto.ca)

Initially, governments seemed to share this caution, and Luchkiw appeared to be steering within the lanes of government and regulatory guidance. A trickle of Covid-19 vaccinations commenced in Canada in late December 2020, mostly for elderly residents of Quebec and Ontario nursing homes. Canada’s botched deal with China’s CanSino Biologics had put Canadians at the end of order queues for the Astra-Zeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. By early 2021, countries like the U.S. and Israel had already given millions of first doses.

But within weeks of things at last ramping up in Canada, the hoped-for omnipotent antiviral shield was showing scratches and dents. That May, Ontario’s government acknowledged medical concerns about the shots and shelved AstraZeneca’s version due to its blood-clotting risks, especially among over-50 patients. The next month Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, announced a compensation program for those “who have experienced a serious or permanent injury after receiving a Health Canada authorized vaccine.” This was unprecedented in the history of vaccination in Canada. The federal government also indemnified the vaccine manufacturers. Then, with Pfizer and Moderna’s mRNA technology the only option for Canadians, came concerns of heightened risks of myocarditis and pericarditis (serious inflammations of the heart), particularly among young men.

“When I started to see all of these issues, and evidence emerging, it became very clear to me that there was no way at this moment in time that we could claim any kind of safety for the Covid-19 vaccines,” recalls Luchkiw. She soon came to regard the mRNA injections as “an experiment, an investigational product” that “was being forced upon everyone.” (The unique aspects of mRNA treatments, how they differ from traditional vaccines and some of the risks they might pose are discussed in this C2C essay.)

In August 2021 Ontario’s Doug Ford government imposed a “vaccine mandate” for public-sector employees, healthcare workers and support staff in healthcare facilities. In effect, it meant get the shot or lose your job. Yet in late September, Nancy Whitmore, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario’s (CPSO) Registrar, published an “eDialogue” column emailed to member physicians. It cited advice from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) that Covid-19 vaccination exemptions could be given if the recipient of a first injection suffered a severe allergic or anaphylactic reaction or if the recipient of a first injection suffered diagnosed myocarditis or pericarditis.

In an unprecedented move, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Theresa Tam announced a compensation program for those who suffered serious side-effects from vaccinations. Yet doctors were not supposed to question pushing the new mRNA vaccines on their patients. (Source of left photo: The Canadian Press/Adrian Wyld)

At time of this article’s publication, Canada’s public health agency counted nearly 10,600 “serious” adverse events caused by Covid-19 vaccination, including 5,800 Canadians who suffered from vaccine injuries of “special interest.” Among these are 55 cardiac arrests, 87 “spontaneous abortions,” nearly 1,150 cases of myocarditis/pericarditis, 287 strokes, 144 heart attacks, 519 pulmonary embolisms, 327 blood clots and 185 cases of Bell’s Palsy. Luchkiw says her brother suffered myocarditis after his first dose and a heart attack in front of his children after his second shot.

There was, in other words, a solid basis for physicians and patients to remain cautious about the Covid-19 vaccines. Such caution appeared to be backed by guidance or implied in other actions by recognized authorities. And it would be borne out by evidence that continues to accumulate today. Yet Luchkiw was being treated like a heretic. In October 2021 she resigned her position at the Barrie hospital after herself declining the Covid-19 vaccine. She was by far not the only one to do so; across Canada many tens of thousands of medical personnel lost their jobs – usually without pay and often without even EI – at a time when the healthcare system needed them most.

A Sinister Knock on the Door

There had been a few complaints about Luchkiw’s social media posts in late 2020. That appears to have been all until the following summer, when a patient lodged a complaint for Luchkiw’s alleged failure to observe some Covid-19 protocols in her practice and for discouraging people from taking the vaccine. That September the local health authority asked the CPSO to investigate Luchkiw’s practice for not following some Covid-19 protocols. The same month someone complained to the CPSO by e-mail about an interview Luchkiw gave that, allegedly, convinced one viewer to decline their second Covid-19 shot. Schedule 2 of Ontario’s Registered Health Professionals Act requires “reasonable and probable grounds” to commence an investigation. And in early November 2021, the CPSO’s Family Practice Complaints Committee dismissed the latter complaint for insufficient evidence.

Two CPSO investigators sent to Luchkiw’s practice demanded to see confidential patient files, and threatened suspension if she did not comply; Luchkiw would later sue the College seeking a judicial review but the court denied her application. Shown on top is the CPSO’s headquarters in Toronto, Ontario. (Source of photo: drtrozzi.org)

Yet six days later, the CPSO launched its formal investigation, pursuant to s.75(1)(a) of the Health Professionals Procedural Code, into whether Luchkiw “in her family medicine practice, and also in her conduct, including in relation to infection prevention and control practices and communications and conduct regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, has engaged in professional misconduct or is incompetent.” That same month a senior doctor at Royal Victoria wrote the CPSO to complain that Luchkiw had provided a vaccination exemption to a liver transplant recipient (it would later turn out the patient in question never produced the document, so it remains unclear whether it exists).

But none of this was as intimidating as what occurred on November 29, 2021, when two CPSO “investigators” showed up unannounced at Luchkiw’s practice, located in a Barrie retirement home. They demanded patient files and, according to Luchkiw, threatened to suspend her licence if she didn’t comply. “They had no grounds or any right to investigate my office and go through my patients’ private confidential medical records,” Luchkiw said in the interview. “It was terrifying.” Luchkiw phoned her lawyer, who advised her to give them nothing and not to let them enter the practice.

Luchkiw quickly realized the CPSO’s associated orders authorized the college investigators to examine not only her infectious disease protocol but her social media posts as a private citizen and “my entire family medicine practice.” Luchkiw concluded the college wanted to “take every patient record to find whatever to nail me on later.” In her mind, she was now the target of “a witch hunt.” Unfortunately, following a shift change the incoming office receptionist allowed the CPSO duo to enter, and although they were unable to seize records they entered the patient washroom and took photos of a hand towel that violated public health guidelines (Luchkiw says directly beside it sat a stack of paper towels, which the investigators apparently did not photograph).

Things slid further downhill. In March 2022 came Luchkiw’s abrupt suspension. On the advice of her lawyer, she then sued the CPSO in Ontario divisional court seeking a judicial review. Sixty-six patients signed affidavits attesting to the negative effects of her suspension on their wellbeing. The divisional court declined to accept the affidavits as evidence and last October denied her application.

Three Doctors Fight Back – The “Moving Parties” Challenge

During this same period the CPSO also set its sights on a number of other independent-minded physicians, employing similar tactics as against Luchkiw. Many of these physicians remain unknown to the public. Medical colleges in other provinces reportedly duplicated Ontario’s approach. There are possibly hundreds more such cases across Canada. The CPSO refuses even to acknowledge how many doctors it has investigated or suspended.

Two of them, however, decided to publicize their situation: Patrick Phillips and Mark Trozzi. They got together with Luchkiw and launched a three-way “moving parties” challenge of the CPSO’s reasons for investigating them. The three physicians are charged with “making misleading, incorrect or inflammatory statements about vaccinations, treatments and public health measures concerning COVID-19,” “failing to cooperate with College investigations,” and “issuance of vaccine exemptions.” They challenged the CPSO’s actions on the basis of administrative and constitutional law.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) warned that doctors “publicly contradicting” public health recommendations could face investigation and disciplinary action. CPSO Registrar Nancy Whitmore later claimed this was not intended to stifle “healthy debate” – but the college was soon investigating doctors for exactly that.

At the heart of the challenge lies a strange statement the CPSO posted on its website and social media channels on April 30, 2021 warning physicians “who are publicly contradicting public health orders and recommendations” that they “may face an investigation by the CPSO and disciplinary action.” This seemingly direct assault on Charter-protected freedom of expression (as well as statutory and common-law rights of professional judgment) triggered nationwide pushback from physicians, who signed the Declaration of Canadian Physicians for Science and Truth. It accuses the college of denying the scientific method by stifling debate and violating the principles of evidence-based medicine and the right to informed consent.

Following this, CPSO Registrar Whitmore sent a letter to members claiming the statement was merely directed at a “small group of physicians spreading blatant misinformation” including “anti-vaccine and anti-masking sentiments.” She insisted that, “It is not intended to stifle physicians from engaging in healthy debate about other measures aimed at addressing public safety during the pandemic.” This placed Whitmore in the curious position of implicitly selecting which particular public health measures Ontario’s physicians were now allowed to debate (if not masking, could they criticize lockdowns?), as well as which physicians were allowed to participate (anyone not in the “small group”?). As it happened, the college was already or soon would be actively investigating doctors for doing what Whitmore said she was not attempting to “stifle.”

The CPSO’s assault on Charter-protected freedom of expression triggered nationwide pushback from physicians who signed a declaration saying it denied the scientific method by quashing debate and violated the principles of evidence-based medicine and the right to informed consent.

Michael Alexander is a Toronto lawyer representing Luchkiw, Phillips and Trozzi. Alexander argues that the CPSO committed multiple violations of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in targeting his clients. In addition, its attempts to restrict what its members could say about pandemic measures were arbitrary and ill-founded, lacked the force of law and, accordingly, could not form the basis of a charge of professional misconduct or incompetence.

“These restrictions just showed up at various times on the college website, they have nothing to do with the [Registered Health Professionals Act], they are not regulations passed by [the provincial] cabinet,” Alexander says in an interview. “They are not policies passed by college council, they just all of a sudden got thrown into the mix on the website and the college has gone forward and used them as a basis for prosecuting doctors and taking away their licences.”

The doctors also challenged Whitmore’s authority to issue sweeping demands for documents, including patient records, which amounted to a “fishing expedition.” This also placed the physicians in the dilemma of either violating federal privacy laws or refusing the CPSO’s demands – a refusal which itself has formed charges against Luchkiw and Phillips.

Alexander believes that not only the CPSO but medical colleges across the country have stepped far outside their legal mandates in a coordinated effort and that their attempts to seize more power for themselves threaten the integrity of healthcare for all Canadians. “There are dozens of doctors across the province and hundreds of doctors across the country who are in the same situation because all the colleges have adopted the same restrictions, and in the same way,” Alexander says. “On its face it’s so outrageous, it boggles my mind that they would even dare to do this.”

“Boggles my mind”: Toronto lawyer Michael Alexander, who represents Luchkiw and two other doctors targeted by the CPSO, calls the College’s attempt to silence its members “outrageous.”

The moving parties challenge before the CPSO’s medical tribunal did not appear to go well for the three doctors. On January 19, the tribunal dismissed their challenge outright and they will now face a full disciplinary hearing, along with all of the stress, time and expense that this entails.

The tribunal did not, however, rule their Charter-based arguments invalid, merely saying that these ought to be part of the disciplinary hearings. More remarkably, in rejecting the doctors’ attempt to invalidate the investigations, the tribunal held that the CPSO’s April 2021 postings and related statements were, indeed, merely guidance. “The College agrees that the Statements are properly characterized as guidance documents, not binding rules,” its decision reads. This seemed like a major win for the challengers. Nonetheless, the tribunal held that the CPSO had suspended them for other alleged infractions, thereby sending the entire dispute onward to the next level.

The disciplinary hearings for Luchkiw, Phillips and Trozzi have not yet been scheduled.

From Emergency Room Physician to Bankrupt Cabin-Dweller

In the spring of 2020, as he and hospital staff in Englehart, Ontario (population 1,479, located 560 km north of Toronto) prepared for SARS-Cov-2 to spread across Canada and into their community, Patrick Phillips recalls how everyone was scared of the unknown. But as lockdowns wore on and the threat of actual Covid-19 markedly eased, his skepticism and professional independence put him on a collision course with the college regulator.

Similarly to Luchkiw, Phillips, an emergency room locum physician in Kirkland Lake and Nipigon Lake as well as Englehart, believed that regardless of lockdowns and the non-stop barrage of public health and media messaging, the practice of medicine as such would continue as before: physicians were bound to care for their individual patients and take account of their unique circumstances, were entrusted with substantial latitude to exercise professional judgment in selecting treatments and medications (including off-label use of otherwise-proven medications), should never coerce their patients, and were supposed to report the truth as they saw it. And like Luchkiw, Phillips has had all four beliefs shattered, enduring not only public ridicule and slander but professional and financial ruin at the hands of the medical system and CPSO. Today the doctor lives in a small cabin outside Englehart and subsists on modest speaking fees from supporters.

Patrick Phillips, a former emergency room physician in northern Ontario, criticized public health measures and vaccine coercion; the CPSO suspended his licence and he’s now facing financial ruin.

“In the spring of 2020, I was buying into [the danger of Covid-19] and of course we saw all the state propaganda from Chinese television and were preparing for the worst,” Phillips recalls in an interview. “But then we learned that Covid-19 doesn’t cause people just falling over in the street.” Phillips began noticing that the official public health narrative contradicted some of his core beliefs about the practice of medicine as well as his observations and research about Covid-19. He was perplexed, for example, by the intensifying official hostility towards off-label use of drugs like hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin for early treatment of Covid-19.

“There has never been anything like this against drugs that have been around for a long time and proven themselves to be effective,” says Phillips. But then, he notes, the prestigious British medical journal The Lancet “put out a study showing that hydroxychloroquine was dangerous, that it caused cardiac arrhythmia.” Canadian doctors were soon barred from using it and ivermectin, even though section 5.1 of Ontario’s Medicine Act prohibits the prosecution of a doctor for “non-traditional therapies.” The Lancet later retracted the study – but only after hydroxychloroquine had been discredited throughout the developed world.

Phillips was perplexed by the official hostility toward off-label use of drugs like hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin. “There has never been anything like this against drugs that have been around for a long time and proven themselves to be effective,” he says. (Source of photo: Shutterstock)

Phillips also became deeply concerned about the destructive effects of cancelling in-person schooling, closing businesses, forbidding healthy everyday activities and other lockdown-style measures, effects he witnessed among patients presenting in emergency rooms. Already by May 2020, the data clearly showed Covid-19’s severity was stratified according to age and overall personal health. More than 80 per cent of victims suffered from multiple co-morbidities, and the mean age of death was 83.8 – older than Canada’s average life expectancy. Why, then, did governments persist with their whole-of-society approach? Very few in the medical system seemed interested in questioning how things were being done, however.

“I thought there needs to be some sort of debate on this subject,” Phillips notes. “We need to weigh the benefits, if there are any, but also the costs.” So in December 2020 he took to Twitter to report what he was seeing in the hospitals. That New Year’s Eve he did an interview with Bright Light News in which he criticized Covid-19 public health measures and expressed concerns about the lack of long-term safety data for the fast-tracked vaccines which had just begun to roll out. Phillips New Year’s Eve statements were prescient; many of his worries would come to bitter fruition.

Phillips was especially disturbed by much of his profession’s decision to distance itself from patients, such as through so-called telehealth. “People were being treated over the phone with opioids when it was actually a giant tumour,” Phillips alleges. “And because we switched to phone medicine [such a patient] didn’t get a proper physical. And lots of serious health issues were missed because people were too afraid to come to the hospital.” Concurrently, “there was also an uptick in suicidal tendencies and drug use, an uptake in suicidal children, not just teens or older people, but children six to eight years old.”

Phillips also raised concerns that the move to so-called “telehealth” was putting patients at risk and that keeping children inside was leading to serious mental health issues, even suicidal ideation among the very young. (Source of photos: Pexels)

He decided to buck Ontario’s attempt to limit people to one short walk or shopping trip per day for “essential” items. “For some kids I told their parents to let them go outside and play, ‘get some fresh air and exercise,’” Phillips recalls. “So that was me counselling them to break public health rules but at that point, what else are you going to do?” As the pandemic passed its one-year anniversary, the Ontario government and much of the medical system seemed oblivious to the harms they had already caused. In April 2021 the Ontario Medical Association called for more severe lockdowns. Phillips kept speaking out in opposition.

That same month, Phillips received a curious letter from Glenn Corneil, acting medical health officer for Timiskaming Health Unit, admonishing Phillips for filing five “adverse event following immunization” reports for reactions to Covid-19 vaccination. Only one of these met the Ontario government’s then-diagnostic criteria, which recognized only seven mRNA-caused adverse reactions. At that time, the vaccines had existed for barely six months; it seems arrogant for any organization to claim such certainty. “I encourage you to review the [December 2020] Provincial Case Definitions for Diseases of Public Health Significance,” Corneil wrote. “I hope you will find this useful in identifying these reactions.”

Phillips says it is not the physician’s job to conform to a government list. “We’re not supposed to determine if there was a causal relationship,” he explains. “We’re supposed to report new or worsening symptoms after taking the pharmaceutical product and that’s exactly what I did.” These included, for example, severe allergic reactions or symptoms of blood-clotting and strokes in patients who came to the emergency ward at Englehart & District Hospital.

While Corneil did forward Phillips’ reports to the provincial system, he also reported Phillips to the medical college and on April 23, 2021 Whitmore ordered an investigation against him. “There were nine vaccine injuries altogether that I reported,” says Phillips. “They charged me with professional misconduct for reporting them and the reason they cited was because [injuries] aren’t generally expected.” The CPSO also cited his social media activity and a seemingly minor medical incident at the hospital.

Glenn Corneil, acting medical health officer for Timiskaming Health Unit, admonished Phillips for filing five “adverse event” reports following Covid-19 vaccinations, noting they didn’t all meet the government’s limited diagnostic criteria at the time. (Source of photo: Facebook/Timiskaming Health Unit)

Phillips was not immediately suspended; nor was he deterred. As governments responded heavy-handedly to the growing doubts about the Covid-19 vaccines, Phillips like Luchkiw stuck to the centuries-old medical principle of informed consent. “Patients [were] coming to me crying because they’ve been forced to take this or they’re going to lose their jobs,” he recalls. “If you’re under duress, you cannot give valid consent. Up until the end of 2020, that was considered assault and battery and you could press charges. The criminal law didn’t change, but the whole culture did.”

In May 2022 the CPSO suspended Phillips’ medical licence pending a disciplinary hearing. Phillips expects the college to permanently revoke his licence to practice. With his livelihood gone, he continues to do speaking engagements financed by supporters, most recently in Hamilton for a live panel discussion with other doctors and scientists. His Twitter account, suspended in late 2021, was recently reinstated under new owner Elon Musk.

“I’m sad about my career, I don’t see it at all that I threw it away though,” Phillips reflects. “I did what I thought was right, I still feel that way. I couldn’t have lived with myself, knowing what I know about the science, about the vaccines, for me to just shut up and say nothing. That would’ve thrown away much more in my life than my medical career.”

Silence! In charging Phillips with professional misconduct, the college cited his social media activity.

As time advances, the evidence continues to accumulate in Phillips’ favour. For one thing, Ontario’s list of recognized adverse vaccine events has been expanded to 16 reactions – encompassing most of those he previously identified. More broadly, multiple European countries, including all of Scandinavia, have either stopped recommending Covid-19 shots for children or never did so at all. Last year, Denmark halted its Covid-19 vaccination program altogether. The Canadian corporate media ignored all of this. Perhaps most surprisingly, in early February Quebec officially recommended that healthy adults under age 60 stop taking boosters. This went almost unreported outside Quebec.

An ER Specialist Goes into Self-Imposed Exile

The provocateur: Before his licence was suspended, Mark Trozzi wrote vaccine exemptions of a sort bound to upset the CPSO. “I wrote saying if so-and-so doesn’t want the vaccine, it’s basically against the law to give it to them,” he says. “You don’t need a reason to refuse a medical intervention like this.”

Among the trio of Ontario doctors, Mark Trozzi comes closest to what a critic might call a provocateur. Prior to the pandemic, Trozzi had racked up 25 years of emergency and trauma care experience and had taught advanced clinical trauma resuscitation at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, the University of Ottawa and Queen’s University. Unlike Luchkiw and Phillips, who were bewildered and dismayed by what befell them, Trozzi anticipated how the establishment would respond and prepared his affairs accordingly.

Trozzi would later write of how, in the pandemic’s first year, he watched hospitals and clinics “submit to the endless top-down roll out from governments, of questionable new rules, protocols, and procedures.” As more and more workers bought into or knuckled under pressure to conform to the official narrative, honest dialogue deteriorated from being merely “uncomfortable,” as one administrator put it, to all-but impossible. While Trozzi first decided to “bite my tongue” in order to get along, soon he felt this was “ethically impossible.” In November 2020 he began to wind down his emergency room work.

Early the next year Trozzi decided to break his silence in dramatic fashion, launching a website as a clearinghouse of all-things Covid-related, from the virus’s origins to the experimental mRNA shots. His first post was entitled “Useful advice to improve your Immunity,” followed by a video called “This is Not a Vaccine” and then a lengthy article, “Covid Testimony” (from which the quotation in the previous paragraph is taken) about what he saw during the first pandemic year.

Convinced that medical regulators would soon come after him, Trozzi began to prepare systematically. In February 2021 he resigned from his ER positions and soon thereafter sold his house. “I didn’t want to destroy a career that I’d spent my life building, so I resigned,” Trozzi recalls in an interview. “I thought, ‘Well, it’s better to chip it down a bit and to be able to rebuild it, than let it be destroyed.’” Remaining silent, however, was no longer an option: “There’s no way I’d live with myself if I didn’t do something, you know, basically get on a rooftop and shout the truth.”

Based on his belief that no medical treatment should be pushed until the patient has achieved informed consent, and that patients always have a right to refuse, Trozzi had been writing vaccine exemptions of a kind and in a manner bound to be considered provocative. “I wrote on a piece of paper basically saying if so-and-so doesn’t want the vaccine, it’s basically against the law to give it to them,” he says. “You don’t need a reason to refuse a medical intervention like this.”

Deciding it was “ethically impossible” to stay silent, Trozzi launched a website to push back.

The CPSO pounced, in February 2021 barring Trozzi from writing mask and vaccine exemptions and in December 2022 suspending his licence entirely. Curiously, the suspension came after Trozzi and another physician, Chris Shoemaker, travelled to Barrie to assist some of Luchkiw’s patients left in the lurch by her suspension. They were providing what is known as “locum” work at another physician’s request – an everyday practice in medicine. But within half a day of their arrival, Trozzi asserts, “The college got wind of it and [soon after] suspended us.” Since then, Trozzi has continued to post material to his website almost daily.

The Upcoming Disciplinary Hearings and their Nationwide Implications

Alexander and his clients are buoyed by last month’s tribunal decision, even though it went against them. “The panel simply refused to address our key submission, which was that [Whitmore] did not have reasonable and probable grounds to order investigations of the doctors,” Alexander asserts. “Furthermore, the panel also ignored our submission that the College had failed to establish that the doctors had violated a standard of practice.”

Importantly, the tribunal created a glaring contradiction in holding that the CPSO’s pandemic-related rules were mere guidelines. “In taking this position, the panel could not explain the basis for the charges brought against the doctors,” Alexander notes. “This decision does not meet the most basic standards of legal reasoning.” This prompted Alexander to go back to the chair of the CPSO tribunal and argue that his clients deserve a chance to explore the implications of that finding in advance of the disciplinary hearings. The chair agreed and, on March, 10, Alexander will make that case in a public hearing before an adjudicator.

Fellow Toronto lawyer Rocco Galati is representing four other physicians suspended by the CPSO: Chris Shoemaker, Rochagne Kilian, Caroline Turek and Jean-Marc Benoit. Galati says none of the four will be speaking directly to the media for the time being. But he is pointed in his description of what the CPSO is attempting to do to his clients. “Overreach by the college is understatement,” Galati says in an interview. “This is not just suppression of speech, but dictatorial, fascistic conduct, which actually endangers people’s lives. Because we’re not getting the best medicine coming out of a one-sided, politically/pharmaceutically driven agenda. You know, when has science debate ever been stifled or censored to this degree?”

Chris Shoemaker (left) and Rochagne Kilian (right) are two more physicians who have been suspended by the CPSO – actions that jeopardize their careers and reputations, not to mention the health of their patients.

In milder fashion, Alexander agrees with Galati that “there is no foundation in law” for licensed medical practitioners to be required to parrot public health orders under threat of sanction, or for a professional college prohibition against writing medical exemptions and prescribing alternative treatments. But if, on the other hand, “the Tribunal is going to say these things are just recommendations, the investigation orders are invalid,” Alexander says. “And in fact, that ends the prosecutions.” In these circumstances, that the CPSO failed to meet any threshold for investigating or sanctioning his clients, Alexander argues, “is Law School 101. This is not an esoteric argument. There’s an internal logic to this stuff. If you were writing a law exam for me, and I was your professor and you didn’t make this argument, you’d fail.”

A great deal is riding on this process. The livelihoods, careers, reputations and emotional wellbeing of Luchkiw, Phillips, Trozzi, Shoemaker, Kilian, Turek and Benoit, of course. The health care needs of hundreds if not thousands of patients who have not yet found a new family doctor or are languishing far down on a waiting list.

“Overreach by the college is understatement,” says Rocco Galati, a Toronto lawyer representing Shoemaker and Kilian. (Source of photo: The Canadian Press/Trevor Hagah)

But the implications extend much farther. “If we’re successful, that means the prosecution of all the other doctors being investigated by the college would have to come to an end as well,” says Alexander. And if that happened in Ontario, it would be huge news to similarly-situated physicians in other provinces whose colleges aped Ontario’s tactics – in Alexander’s view, colluding with Ontario to have a uniform Covid-19 policy across Canada.

A victory for these doctors would also make waves throughout Canada’s professions and quasi-professions, whose governing organizations are pursuing increasingly oppressive woke agendas. The most famous of this growing number of cases is Jordan Peterson, the Ontario psychologist and public intellectual whose college attempted to force him to endure “social media etiquette re-education” at his own expense on pain of expulsion. As Peterson recently noted on Twitter, “Canadians: your physicians, lawyers, psychologists and other professionals are now so intimidated by their commissar overlords that they fear to tell you the truth. This means that your care and legal counsel has been rendered dangerously unreliable.”

Governing organizations of other professions are also going after those who challenge official narratives; the best-known case is Jordan Peterson – but there are many more across Canada. (Source of photo: Gage Skidmore, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0)

In the meantime, however, these seven doctors and their unnamed colleagues are being ruined, and the health and wellbeing of thousands of their former patients are imperilled, because they exercised their freedom of conscience, their freedom of speech and their independent professional judgment.

Jason Unrau is an Ottawa-based freelance writer, researcher and contributor to C2C Journal.

Source of main image: Shutterstock.


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