‘I wouldn’t pass it in my ethics class’: medical ethicist criticizes London professor who spoke out against vaccine mandates at PPC rally


“Welcome to the strip.”

Those words won enthusiastic applause from Chelsea Hillier, the People’s Party of Canada candidate for Elgin-Middlesex-London, at a rally held at a berry farm Wednesday night. The topic? Pushing to end vaccine mandates.

The southern Ontario riding, the very site of the now infamous Justin Trudeau pebble-throwing incident, is becoming a hotbed of activity for the populist PPC, led by Maxime Bernier, who has made the removal of restrictions on public health a cornerstone of your choice. platform.

Now, a London-area ethics teacher is adding her voice to the PPC crowd in that drive, speaking at the Hillier rally about blocking her teaching job for rejecting the COVID-19 vaccine.

Julie Ponesse, who teaches ethics at Huron University College, affiliated with Western University, made a video on social media this week saying she believes vaccine mandates, including her own employer’s, are “ethically wrong.”

“I am facing imminent layoff after 20 years on the job because I will not have an experimental vaccine injected into my body,” Ponesse said in the video.

“I don’t work in a high-risk environment. I am not a doctor in an emergency room. I’m a teacher. I am a university professor, ”she said.

Ponesse, who did not respond to Star’s request for comment Thursday, used her credentials as a doctoral professor as a way to bolster her argument against Huron’s mandatory vaccination policy.


At Wednesday’s rally, he said he was there in lieu of his first college lecture of the semester because he was not allowed to do his job as an unvaccinated person. He hugged Hillier before handing him the microphone.

“I am hopeful that we will pick the right person later this month,” Ponesse said at the rally, “and I am hopeful that we will have a country where we can raise our children in a way that they will not. “. just be safe, but they can live exactly the kind of life they want. “

The appearance of the rally was not Ponesse’s first interaction with the PPC. He appeared on Bernier’s YouTube show in early August to criticize the vaccine mandates.

Huron University College said Thursday afternoon that it cannot comment on specific HR cases, but confirmed that it has not allowed anyone who has refused to be vaccinated onto campus as of Tuesday. The school also confirmed that no one had been fired due to the vaccine policy.

Ponesse told the National Post that they had put her on paid leave.

A medical ethicist working in the field of vaccines said just because Ponesse is an ethicist doesn’t mean she is right about vaccine ethics, including mandatory vaccine policies imposed by employers.

“I think she’s completely wrong and it’s not just a difference of opinion about morals, some of her facts are just plain wrong,” said Arthur Caplan, founding director of the Division of Medical Ethics at New York University Langone Medical Center. “She is contesting the vaccine, calling it experimental, those are just not true claims.”

Health Canada approved vaccines are safe and effective in preventing illness caused by COVID-19. This has been proven in extensive clinical trials before the vaccines were available in Canada.

Caplan said it is Ponesse’s biased facts that led her to the wrong ethical conclusions.

“It is well established in Canada and the United States that employers can set the safety standards they want as long as they are not inconsistent with basic public health,” Caplan said. “There is the idea that you can’t tell me what to put on my body. It’s true, I can’t make him do it, but I don’t have to hire him. “

He cautioned that Ponesse’s credentials should not convince Canadians that she is an authority on this issue.


“People spend a little more time listening to ethics professors about ethics,” he said. “I’ve been working on vaccines for nine years and I wouldn’t pass it in my ethics class.”

With a file from Simran Singh


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