Ontario’s regulatory college for doctors has dismissed complaints lodged by members of a firearm advocacy group against a Toronto trauma surgeon advocating for tighter gun control.
Najma Ahmed, the physician at the centre of about 70 complaints lodged by gun advocates, said Wednesday the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario informed her it will not investigate the complaints.
The response from the college says a committee has determined the complaints are “frivolous” and “vexatious” and don’t warrant further investigation, she said.
“I’m pleased with the CPSO’s statement and that it affirms the important position that physicians have as integral stewards of the health-care system and that we have an important role to play as health-care advocates in the public-health realm,” Dr. Ahmed said Wednesday.
The Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights (CCFR) started a campaign last month encouraging members to file complaints about Dr. Ahmed with the CPSO, using the “stay in your lane” mantra in online posts – the same line the U.S. National Rifle Association has directed at doctors advocating for stricter gun control.
Dr. Ahmed has been singled out by the group since she helped found Canadian Doctors for Protection from Guns, an advocacy group formed last month highlighting the public health implications of gun-related injuries and deaths. The group is calling for a handgun and assault-weapon ban, as well as other measures to reduce gun-related deaths and injuries.
On its website and social media channels, the CCFR has described Dr. Ahmed and the other members of the advocacy group as “radical” and “unethical” and said their push for gun control is “unprofessional.” An online post dated Feb. 5, the CCFR provided step-by-step instructions to its members how to file complaints about Dr. Ahmed and told her “stay in your lane.”
CCFR director Rod Giltaca could not be reached immediately on Wednesday.
Complainants have 30 days to appeal the decision and prove the college has failed to consider concrete evidence demonstrating the complaints are not frivolous or vexatious.
In an interview last week, CPSO registrar Nancy Whitmore said it is unusual for the college to receive complaints relating to a doctor’s advocacy work. The college primarily handles complaints tied to patient outcomes or a doctor’s conduct.
The debate over gun control has become heated in Canada recently as the federal government considers the possibility of a handgun and assault-weapon ban and Bill C-71 makes its way through the Senate. The bill would require more detailed background checks and require retailers to keep records of firearm sales.
The CCFR’s position is that firearm owners are law-abiding citizens and that further restrictions won’t solve the problem of gun violence in cities like Toronto, where illegal guns are being used in many crimes.
Canadian Doctors for Protection from Guns argues that reducing the amount of guns available will result in a reduction of gun-related injuries and deaths.