Dr. Matt Strauss is known for speaking out against pandemic lockdowns and mandates, while supporting measures that protect those most at risk.
Dr. Matt Strauss, the former acting medical officer of health for Haldimand-Norfolk who was a vocal critic of pandemic mandates and lockdowns, has won the Conservative nomination for his hometown riding of Kitchener South-Hespeler.
“Thank you to the Conservatives from my hometown, Kitchener South—Hespeler for making me their candidate in the next election!” Dr. Strauss said on platform X on Nov. 19.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Strauss worked at Queen’s University as an assistant professor of medicine from July 2019 to November 2021, as well as working in intensive care at Kingston General Hospital.
He became well-known for speaking out on social media against public health restrictions, arguing against lockdowns and mask mandates and in support of interventions focused on people most at risk.Dr. Strauss resigned from his position at Queen’s University on Nov. 19, 2021, despite his contract being set to end on June 30, 2022.
In November 2022, Dr. Strauss sued Queen’s University and the head of its medicine department for over $600,000, arguing he was forced to resign from his university position because of “malicious, aggressive, condescending and defamatory statements” that were made about him.
In the statement of claim filed on Oct. 20, Dr. Strauss said that his supervisor at the university, Dr. Stephen Archer, regularly berated him over his public criticism of COVID-19 public health restrictions. The defence stated that Dr. Strauss’ “harmful commentary” on social media undermined the work being done to save lives during the pandemic, and accused him of trying to bypass COVID-19 screening at the hospital.
Medical Officer for Haldimand-Norfolk
In September 2021, Dr. Strauss was hired as Haldimand-Norfolk’s acting medical officer of health, a job he said he took on partially because community members had reached out to him with concerns about “the direction of pandemic policy” in Ontario.
In a letter penned shortly after taking the position, Dr. Strauss said he had found that “nuanced, personalized and non-coercive conversations” were necessary to help patients make decisions around vaccination, adding that he had always taken an “evidence-based” approach to his medical practice.
“My life’s work has been to save lives. Any suggestion that I am ‘anti-science’ or opposed to ‘life-saving measures’ is untrue and inappropriate,” he added in the letter.
Towards the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Strauss penned several op-eds where he was critical of public health restrictions. Dr. Strauss argued that studies had shown cloth masks were “of almost no value and community masking is of little value to individuals under 50,” and condemned “coercive” COVID-19 vaccine mandates that violated “a central principle: freely given consent.”
In the middle of his term in May 2022, Dr. Strauss told the Epoch Times that when considering the health of an individual, a range of aspects should be considered, not just one.
“I don’t think that you have health if you can’t go to your dad’s funeral, if your wedding is cancelled, if your prom is cancelled, if your sports league is cancelled,” he said.
“The purpose of life is not to stay alive as long as possible. The purpose of life is to live it.”
Dr. Strauss resigned from his position as acting medical officer of health in January 2023.
As the Conservative nominee under leader Pierre Poilievre, Dr. Strauss will be running on a platform of building more homes, reigning in inflation, “fixing” health care, stopping foreign interference in Canadian elections, and a pledge to “restore freedom.”
His nomination comes as the Tories have been surging in the polls, with a recent Abacus Data survey finding that 39 percent of Canadian voters say they would vote for the Conservatives, compared to the Liberals at 26 percent and the NDP at 18 percent.
The Liberal Party won the riding of Kitchener South-Hespeler during the 2015 federal election, with Marwan Tabbara winning 42 percent of the vote to the Tory candidate’s 36 percent. After Mr. Tabbara won re-election in 2019 with 40 percent of the vote to the Conservative’s 33 percent, Liberal MP Valerie Bradford won a tight race in 2021 with 37 percent of the vote to the Tory’s 35 percent.
According to polling website 338 Canada’s latest projections, the Conservatives now have the lead in the province with 45 percent, followed by the Liberals at 27 percent, and the NDP at 17 percent.