“This (maskless photo gathering) was more than a mistake; it is a serious breach of trust for the students, parents and educators he serves. Masking rules apply to everyone and it is hypocritical for the Ford government to excuse his (Niagara West MPP Same Oosterhoff and parliamentary assistant to Ontario’s Education Minister) behaviour.” – Sam Hammond, President of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario
Oosterhoff has set “such a bad example that removing himself (from his role as parliamentary assistant for education )at least for some period of time would reflect the seriousness of his actions.” – Harvey Bischof, President of the Ontario Secondary Teachers’ Federation
A Brief Foreword by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper
Posted October 28th, 2020 on Niagara At Large
Since a photograph surfaced in recent days, showing Niagara West Ford Government MPP Sam Oosterhoff in a tightly gathered group of people – none of them wearing masks – things have turned a little turbulent for the MPP who also serves as a parliament assistant for an Education Ministry that has been working overtime to encourage students and others to wear masks in the province’s elementary and secondary schools.
This past Monday, October 26th, coverage of the maskless photo shoot began in Niagara area print and online news venues, and CBC Radio weighed in with repeated on-air reports.
While Oosterhoff circulated a brief statement of apology, calls for his resignation as parliament assistant for education were coming in from the likes of John Vanthof, Deputy Leader of Ontario’s NDP Official Opposition Party and from Anthony Dale, CEO and President of the Ontario Hospital Association representing more than 150 public hospitals across the province where taking precautions to protect against this deadly COVID-19 virus is very serious business.
Meanwhile, more calls for Oosterhoff to resign from his parliamentary assistant role have come in from representatives of Ontario’s school teachers.
And news coverage of the photo incident continued in other media across the province and country, including The Toronto Star and the following story published this October 27th in The Globe and Mail.
Here is the headline and first few paragraphs of the Globe story followed by a link you can click on to read the entire story on the newspaper’s website –
Ontario PC MPP Oosterhoff facing calls to step down from education file over maskless gathering
By Caroline Alphonso, Published October 27, 2020
A Progressive Conservative MPP who serves as an aide to Ontario’s Education Minister is facing increasing calls to step down from the portfolio after he failed to wear a mask or practise physical distancing at a large gathering.
Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff, parliamentary assistant to Education Minister Stephen Lecce, has apologized for not wearing a mask after posting a group picture on social media on the weekend that was later deleted. He characterized the incident as a mistake while posing for a “quick pic,” although the restaurant where the gathering was held later said the group wasn’t following the rules.
Mr. Oosterhoff’s role as one of the government’s key voices on education has become the target of stakeholders, who say he failed to set an example for the province’s students.
To read the entire story on The Globe and Mail’s website, click on – https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-ontario-pc-mpp-oosterhoff-facing-calls-to-step-down-from-education/
To read a news commentary posted October 26th on Niagara At Large on this issue, click on – https://niagaraatlarge.com/2020/10/26/niagara-west-mpp-sam-oosterhoff-slammed-over-maskless-photo-in-clustered-gathering/
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