College of Physicians responds to disturbing comments at UCP fundraiser

Controversy continues to grow following a United Conservative Party (UCP) fundraiser in Calgary Lougheed on Monday. The town hall event, titled “An Injection of Truth,” was attended by over 500 party members, including five UCP Members of the Legislative Assembly.

During the event, keynote speaker Dr. Viliam (William) Makis attacked the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA), suggesting the organization be renamed “The College of Pedophiles and Child Sex Abusers of Alberta,” adding, “it will be much more indicative of what they’ve been doing for the last four years.”

CPSA Registrar Scott McLeod responded, stating that Alberta’s physicians and physician assistants are dedicated to delivering safe, high-quality healthcare. “The defamatory comments made at a recent event reflect the ongoing negative rhetoric we’ve seen online from this speaker in recent months,” McLeod said. “The comments are disturbing, unfounded, and inflammatory.”

McLeod also noted that Dr. Makis does not hold a license to practice medicine.

Opposition leader Rachel Notley condemned the accusations made by Dr. Makis and the UCP event itself. “The spectre of the governing party fundraising off events where physicians are attacked in such a hateful way, along with the endorsement of those views by the attendance of five government MLAs, including one in a caucus leadership position, will jeopardize the recruitment and retention of physicians,” Notley said. “Smith and her MLAs must apologize to physicians, disavow these views publicly, and donate all funds raised through this event to a charity of the CPSA’s choice.”

NDP Health Critic and MLA for Calgary Varsity, Dr. Luanne Metz, expressed concern about the implications the event sends regarding vaccines. “The UCP is sending a clear message to Albertans with this event that their government prioritizes ideological warfare over science-based health care solutions,” Metz said. “The research is abundantly clear. Vaccinations save lives and improve outcomes for Albertans. The UCP’s failure to comprehend this is harming Albertans.”

Former Deputy Premier, Thomas Lukaszuk did not mince words. Lukaszuk said Premier Danielle Smith, was wrong in attempting to assure Albertans she only agrees with speakers at UCP fundraisers when she attends.

“Smith, her cabinet, and her MLAs are twisting themselves into a pretzel trying to assure Albertans that they only condone and agree with the outrageously dangerous speakers at their fundraisers when they attend these events,” said Lukaszuk.

“Albertans are to believe that Danielle Smith and her caucus members hold one set of core values and beliefs when they act as government members, and yet subscribe to an opposite set of values and beliefs when they act as UCP party members. This is nonsense.”

Andrea Smith, spokesperson for Minister of Health, Adriana LaGrange also called out the comments made by Dr. Makis.

“Alberta’s government supports our front line health care workers including physicians and is thankful for the work they do each and every day to heal and care for Albertans,” said Smith. “Inflammatory comments questioning that dedication and care are simply untrue.”

Dr. Makis has a contentious history with the CPSA. Terminated by the Cross Cancer Institute of Edmonton in 2016 and later stripped of his medical license, he has sued both the CPSA and Alberta Health Services. In 2018, Dr. Makis was deemed a vexatious litigant by the Alberta Courts.

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