Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty speaks in the House of Commons. (House of Commons Photography)

Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty speaks in the House of Commons. (House of Commons Photography)

‘Violence is not in their job description’; MP Doherty on protecting healthcare workers

MP Todd Doherty is advocating for making assault on healthcare workers an aggravating factor

The Cariboo’s Member of Parliament thinks a proposed law criminalizing the interference of healthcare services and intimidation of healthcare workers doesn’t go far enough.

In a Facebook post Monday, Dec. 6, Todd Doherty noted the House of Commons was debating Bill C-3, which criminalizes both the interference of the delivery of healthcare services and the intimidation of healthcare workers.

While he said Bill C-3 was “a step in the right direction” Doherty said he tabled a bill in the House of Commons in February of 2020 which would add an aggravating factor at sentencing if the victim of an assault is a healthcare worker or first responder.

“Sadly, I have heard countless stories of healthcare workers and first responders who have experienced violence at work,” he wrote in the post. “Let’s be clear: violence is not in their job description.”

Provincial legislation to prevent protesters from blocking COVID-19 services has already passed. A new law went into effect in November of 2020, and it is set to continue until July of 2023.

“While everyone has a right to protest, interfering with patients accessing hospital care or with kids trying to get to school is completely unacceptable,” Premier John Horgan said in a news release announcing the new rules.

“This legislation will help to keep these important facilities secure and ensure the safety of both those who use them and those who work in them.”

READ MORE: B.C. moves to create protest ‘bubble zones’ for COVID-19 services

The act gives police the power to arrest or issue tickets to anyone preventing access to a COVID-19 facility, disrupting services or intimidating anyone within access zones. The act does not apply to lawful strikes.

“Now, more than ever, we need to ensure our healthcare workers and first responders are protected from violence,” Doherty said in his post.

“I’ll be there to fight for them!”

READ MORE: ‘I don’t run and I don’t hide’: Cariboo-Prince George MP Doherty speaks out after family threatened

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