Ontario Health Minister George Smitherman has apologized for calling some members of the Ontario Association of Optometrists "terrorists" after a party fundraiser last week. Association president Shirley Ha wrote a letter to members quoting Smitherman as saying optometrists are "a bunch of terrorists, and I don't negotiate with terrorists." Ha said it appeared to be a reaction to the association's Preserve Your Sight Grassroots Advocacy Campaign, which is appealing for funding for primary vision care.
"The minister regrets his remarks," David Spencer, a spokesman for Smitherman, said Sunday. "He's already conveyed his apologies to the association for his poor choice of words. He recognizes his comments were not helpful in the overall approach to this issue." Spencer said the comments were made in response to some optometrists who suggested they might withdraw some services because of concerns about fees.
If optometrists are terrorists, what does Smitherman think dentists are?