May 17, 2022

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Alex Lambert is out as head of Group Health Centre days after his financial support of Freedom Convoy became known.

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The president and chief executive officer’s departure was announced in a press release issued late Thursday afternoon.

Lambert’s abrupt exit follows the revelation he donated $50 to the so-called Freedom Convoy that arrived in Ottawa several weeks ago to protest vaccine mandates.

Board chair Dr. David Fera, a family medicine doctor at the health centre, and Lambert “agreed it was the right timing to bring new leadership to the organization,” the release said.

The board plans to find an interim CEO “to assist the organization during a formal leadership recruitment process.”

More than 80 primary and specialty physicians work at the community health centre.

Lambert started work at GHC as chief financial officer in 2012 and succeeded Grant Walsh to become CEO in 2014.

Communications manager Giordan Zin could not be immediately reached for additional comment on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Lambert told The Sault Star he disagreed with COVID-19 vaccine mandates and thought public response to the so-called Freedom Convoy arriving in Sault Ste. Marie on Jan. 27 en route to the nation’s capital was “pretty cool.”

The Sault Star’s interview with Lambert drew more than 100 comments on the newspaper’s Facebook page. Most feedback backed Lambert.

“It’s his money,” said Ildiko Giczi. “He can donate it to whatever cause he sees fit. It is unfortunate that the media chooses to report this of all things.”

“I’m glad we have some people in places of leadership that believe in bodily autonomy,” said Aleigha Meredith.

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“Good for him,” said Susan Taylor.

“Who cares what a person does with their own personal money?” said Lisa Ouellette.

A minority suggested the head of a health-care organization shouldn’t be financially backing the so-called Freedom Convoy.

“Does not reflect well on GHC,” said Mary Runde.

“This is a bad reflection on the Group Health Centre,” said Sandra Sandy. “Would question his judgment.”

More support for Lambert followed when The Sault Star posted an article about his departure.

“And people wonder why health-care professionals don’t want to come here or leave shortly after transferring here,” said Susan Taylor. “Talk about a witch hunt over $50.”

Lambert’s financial support of Freedom Convoy became known when hackers targeted GiveSendGo, the protest’s fundraising platform, and leaked a list of nearly 100,000 people said to be donors.

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On Twitter: @Saultreporter

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