Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }
Coronavirus information
Coronavirus information
The Zero Canada Project provides resources to help you make the most of staying home.
Visit the hub

Leader of the Opposition Andrew Scheer listens to a question during a news conference, April 23, 2020 in Ottawa.

Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

The Conservative Party, its departing leader, and prospective candidates are refraining from criticizing widely condemned comments made by leadership candidate and Tory MP Derek Sloan, who suggested Canada’s top doctor is a pawn for China.

Mr. Sloan, a rookie Ontario MP, called for Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam to be fired in fundraising e-mails and social media posts this week. In one video, he asks: “Does she work for Canada or for China?"

Those comments have been criticized by politicians including the Prime Minister, NDP Leader, and some Conservative MPs but not by current Leader Andrew Scheer, the party’s leadership committee executive nor the three other leadership hopefuls. People of Asian descent have faced a spike in hate crimes and slurs since the COVID-19 pandemic began in China last year and experts say the comments from an elected official give licence for the attacks to continue.

Story continues below advertisement

“Words totally matter" and have a “real impact on people living in Canada,” Avvy Go, clinic director of the Chinese and South-East Asian legal clinic in Toronto, said Thursday.

Mr. Sloan’s “racist, xenophobic” comments exposes the racism that Chinese-Canadians have experienced for generations in Canada and that continues to this day, Ms. Go said. If his comments about Dr. Tam are allowed to stand, she said, the message is that it’s okay to treat Chinese-Canadians as foreigners.

“If she can be attacked, then people like me can be attacked,” Ms. Go said, “the 92-year-old Chinese senior can be attacked, the nurse working in Toronto can be attacked, ‘it’s all okay,’ that’s what they’re saying.”

Mr. Sloan won the party’s nomination to run in the 2019 election under Mr. Scheer’s tenure. Asked six times Thursday about the MP’s comments and whether they were welcome in the Conservative caucus, Mr. Scheer refused to answer.

“As a rule, I don’t comment on leadership candidates or on policy announcements or positions that leadership candidates have taken,” Mr. Scheer said. “Ultimately, it will be up to members to select the next leader of the party.”

Asked whether the Conservative caucus would review Mr. Sloan’s status in its ranks, Mr. Scheer said: “Any other questions?”

Conservative MPs Michael Chong, Eric Duncan, Eric Melillo and Michelle Rempel Garner all condemned Mr. Sloan’s comments, leaving them out of step with their party’s most senior officials. The Conservative Party did not provide comment nor did the party’s leadership committee co-chairs. None of the other three leadership candidates would criticize Mr. Sloan.

Story continues below advertisement

Former cabinet minister and co-founder of the Conservative Party Peter MacKay, who was active on Twitter and Facebook on Thursday, was not available to provide a comment and his campaign also said it couldn’t send a written statement.

Ontario MP and former cabinet minister Erin O’Toole said he "would not impugn [officials’] motives without a clear justification to do so.”

Another candidate, Toronto lawyer Leslyn Lewis, said it’s not racist to be “critical of the government’s slow reaction to this pandemic.”

In a post on Twitter late Tuesday, Mr. Sloan, who did not respond to an interview request, said “Dr. Tam must go! Canada must remain sovereign over decisions.” He repeated his claims on Twitter on Thursday.

Dr. Tam told reporters the comments would not distract her.

“My singular focus is to work with all of my colleagues to get this epidemic wave under control. I don’t let noise ... detract me from doing that," she said.

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Trudeau described Mr. Sloan’s remarks and separate incidents of anti-Asian hate as intolerant and racist and said they have “no place in our country.”

Ms. Go described that response as “lip service” and said to truly have an impact, Mr. Trudeau should appoint an advisory board to address the issue.

Chris Lee, director of the Asian Canadian and Asian Migration Studies program at the University of British Columbia, said the scapegoating of Asians makes them more vulnerable and affects their well-being. He said to address it requires a “community-wide response, or a nationwide response."

The warden and chief administrative officer of Hastings County, which Mr. Sloan represents federally, sent a letter to Mr. Scheer on Thursday calling on him to show Mr. Sloan’s “cruel, racist and completely unbecoming” comments aren’t welcome.

"If this means expelling him from the Conservative Party, so be it,” the letter said.

Warden Rick Phillips told The Globe and Mail he hasn’t received a reply.

Story continues below advertisement

Know what is happening in the halls of power with the day’s top political headlines and commentary as selected by Globe editors (subscribers only). Sign up today.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies