Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates defends Betty’s Restaurant in Ontario Legislature where Niagara West Tory MPP appeared early this October in a maskless group photo shoot
The Decent Thing for Niagara West Tory MPP Sam Oosterhoff to do it go back to the Restaurant – Mask On and in Front of the Media – And Issue a Public Apology to the Restaurant’s Family Owners and Staff!
A News Release from the Constituency Office of Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates, followed by some brief comments about Oosterhoff’s irresponsible conduct by Doug Draper at Niagara At Large
Posted October 30th, 2020 on Niagara At Large
QUEEN’S PARK – Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates rose this October 29th) to defend Chippawa restaurant Betty’s, following the controversy that arose when a photo surfaced of (Niagara West and Ford government) MPP Sam Oosterhoff and his family at the restaurant in close quarters without a mask.
“As the MPP who represents Chippawa where Betty’s Restaurant is located. I’ve seen the backlash caused by the story about the member from Niagara West this week,” said Gates.
“I want to add my voice on behalf of my community. I know the restaurant’s owner, Joe Miszk, who is a friend of mine. He’s a good man, a good father and a great community leader. I know he’s doing everything he can to keep Betty’s safe and his staff.
“To anyone listening: I want you to know that Betty’s is a wonderful restaurant and encourage you to continue to support it. I want to ask people to stop holding Joe responsible for what happened. You must understand that Betty’s is a restaurant that was overjoyed to have the MPP from Niagara West there along with his family.”
Gates went on to share comments from Bernadette Miszk, wife of the owner Joe Miszk.
“I can no longer tolerate the cruel, nasty and threatening comments and phone calls my husband, Joe, or his staff have been receiving these past few days. Honestly, we are losing much-needed sleep over this situation.
“To attack the character of my husband is both ignorant and hurtful not only to him but to our entire family. For those of you who made all these terrible comments about my husband without even knowing him, let me tell you, he is a man of integrity and a well-respected man in our community,” she wrote in a post on Facebook.
Gates continued, “Joe and his staff should never have been put in this position. I want to say before this House that Joe is a good man who has experienced the unimaginable loss of his daughter this year. I know Joe and his staff tried their best to enforce safety guidelines. Be kind, wear your mask and I hope you join me in supporting the staff and the owner of Betty’s,” said Gates.
A Brief Footnote from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper –
Niagara At Large sent an email this October 29th to Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff asking him if he might consider offering a public apology to Betty’s Restaurant in Niagara Falls, Ontario, including its owners and staff, for taking advantage of the restaurant to take a large group photo with not one in it wearing a mask, despite requests from the restaurant’s staff that he and his entourage wear masks.
Oosterhoff later published that photo on his Facebook page, then took it down after it began receiving widespread public criticism.
The MPP, who also serves as parliamentary assistant to the province’s education minister, issued a brief apology for the photo at the time, and his political boss, Premier Doug Ford, asked us to cut Oosterhoff slack because “we all make mistakes.” Pivoting away from Oosterhoff’s failure as a public role model, Ford also went on to suggest that “we can all do better.”
Indeed, there are at least some individuals among the public at large who could do better – a few have even made a libertarian crusade out of not wearing masts – but that misses the point.
As I just mentioned, Oosterhoff is a public figure, representing a government and an Education Ministry that has, among other things, stressed the need for elementary and secondary school students, their teachers and others in the school system to wear masks and take other safety precautions for the sake of themselves and others around them.
If Oosterhoff, either through ignorance or arrogance or some zoned-out Trumpian views he harbours about the danger we all face here, cannot be entrusted to accept his responsibility in that role then, as everyone from the head of the Ontario Hospital Association to leaders of Teacher Unions have said, he should resign his role as a parliamentary assistant for education.
Just by coincident, a story was reported by CBC, just a day or two after the Oosterhoff maskless photo incident, about a teacher at a North York school facing charges and a possible fine for not wearing a mask.
Do we conclude from that that there is one standard set for abiding by the province’s COVID safety precautions for members of Ford’s government and another for the rest of us?
As of this posting, I have yet to receive a response from Oosterhoff or his office on whether he might issue a public apology – not a private one – to Betty’s Restaurant in Niagara Falls.
Doug Draper, Niagara At Large
To read a news commentary Niagara At Large posted earlier on this issue, click on – https://niagaraatlarge.com/2020/10/28/bad-news-calls-for-resignation-continue-to-dog-oosterhoff-following-maskless-photo-shoot/
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