Small anti-vaccine passport demonstration in Vancouver
Posted September 13, 2021 2:28 pm.
Last Updated September 13, 2021 9:47 pm.
VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — A small group of demonstrators in Vancouver gathered to protest the COVID-19 vaccine passport system which was ushered in by the province Monday.
Some of the people taking part in this demonstration are holding signs reading “stop the shot” and “make Canada free again.”
Just before the planned protest, a small unmasked group gathered outside the BC Supreme Court Monday, claiming to support an injunction hearing against the new vaccine card program.
However, court staff have confirmed there are no hearings scheduled and no application has been approved.
Small group of UNMASKED protesters outside #BCSupremeCourt in downtown #Vancouver claim they are there to support an injunction to be heard against #BC vaccine card program.
Court staff have confirmed NO application has been approved or will be heard today. #bcpoli @NEWS1130 pic.twitter.com/zLcUIUyhzx
— Marcella Bernardo (@MBernardoNews) September 13, 2021
Most of the group from the courthouse dissipated by about 1 p.m. to make their way to Vancouver City Hall to join the 2 p.m. demonstration.
Across B.C. a group that calls themselves “Canadian Frontline Nurses” are behind four protests in the province (Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna, and Kamloops). Dozens of others are planned across the country where demonstrators have planned to hold silent vigils and many protests are set to take place in front of hospitals.
Organizers are the same group responsible for the major demonstrations that took place across Canada on Sept. 1 when thousands showed up, blocking several streets in front of and around Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) and city hall.
They are calling for people to stand together “for informed consent & medical freedoms.”
Moments ago an ambulance moved past the picketers.
This group is much smaller than the crowd that halted traffic outside #Vancouver General Hospital on September 8th —delaying cancer patients heading in for chemotherapy. #bcpoli @NEWS1130 pic.twitter.com/riVTLoCxZ4
— Marcella Bernardo (@MBernardoNews) September 13, 2021
The demonstration in Vancouver was initially set to take place in front of VGH again, however, organizers changed the location. It’s unclear what prompted the move, but it did come amid a growing outcry from the mayor, public, and even some would-be protesters.
“We will be preparing for this. My message, though, would be: Don’t do this. Don’t risk people’s lives for the sake of making a political point,” Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart pleaded before Monday’s protest location was changed. He was among a chorus of people speaking out against protesters targeting hospitals, saying there is a time and a place for people to demonstrate.
Vancouver police have said while they “strongly support people’s rights to peacefully assemble and express their views,” officers “must also balance those rights with public safety.”
“We will monitor this demonstration and have a number of options should public safety be put at risk,” Sgt. Steve Addison said in an email to NEWS 1130.
‘Protests have stunned and saddened exhausted health-care workers’
Meantime, the Candian Nurses’ Association is denouncing the protests and taking aim at some organizers’ use of the word ‘nurses.’
“The reckless views of a handful of discredited people who identify as nurses have aligned in some cases with angry crowds who are putting public health and safety at risk,” says a statement issued last week.
“They have drawn in anti-science, anti-mask, anti-vaccine, anti-public health followers whose beliefs align with theirs.”
Recent protests across the country have stunned & saddened @canadanurses. Where public safety is concerned, science & evidence must be the only decision making factor. Read president, @timgp37 & CEO, @Mike_villeneuve's open letter: https://t.co/Jux4ciY6RL
— Canadian Nurses Association (@canadanurses) September 9, 2021
The association makes it clear that the profession stands behind science and public health measures informed by science.
“Anti-public health disinformation threatens to confuse a tired and bewildered public by deliberately misrepresenting personal ideology as facts, and science as conspiracy. The public should be assured that the vast majority of Canada’s 448,000 regulated nurses are united in their commitment to operate from a stringent code of ethics, and they are duty-bound to use science, evidence, and facts in assessing, planning, and evaluating the care they deliver to people across Canada. This scientific approach is a fundamental ideology of modern nursing,” the statement continues.
“These protests have stunned and saddened exhausted health-care workers. They are demoralizing, infuriating and dangerous. The situation is completely unacceptable, and it must stop immediately.”
Another protest is happening in downtown Toronto, where leaders and health care workers have been speaking out.
— Tara Overholt (@CityTara) September 13, 2021
The Ontario Hospital Association called the demonstrations “truly disheartening,” noting the irony that should any of these protesters get sick or seriously ill from COVID, “it will be hospitals and frontline workers that they turn to for care, perhaps even to save their life.”
Toronto ICU physician Dr. Michael Warner took to Twitter Saturday to share his thoughts, saying while people are entitled to make their voices heard, his hope is that the authorities will not tolerate any form of harassment.
“If you have something to say, tell your elected officials, go to the legislature. Use whatever other means are necessary to make your voice heard. But leave the hospital alone, leave the patients alone, and let the healthcare workers continue to do their work unencumbered,” he says in the video shared online.
Hospitals are not the place for anti-vaccination protests. pic.twitter.com/ymeYiustTH
— Michael Warner (@drmwarner) September 11, 2021
Toronto frontline workers and first responders protested against a vaccine mandate, holding a silent rally outside Queen’s Park as a crowd of protesters gathered outside Toronto General Hospital to denounce COVID-19 measures.
Demonstrators linked arms for the last few minutes of their event. They joined a chorus of separate anti-vaccination demonstrations provincewide. Though considered a “silent protest,” some frontline workers could be heard chanting “freedom.”
Ahead of an anti-mandate demonstration outside Toronto General Hospital this aft (coordinated with similar events at hospitals across Canada), a group of first responders against vaccine mandates stages a silent protest in front of Queen’s Park. @680NEWS pic.twitter.com/gM90F9mNLc
— Mark Douglas (@DouglasCityNews) September 13, 2021
Other Ontario-based rallies were held outside Toronto General Hospital, where one staff member staked a spot on the front lawn to counter-protest, saying such an event should never happen at a hospital.
“These protests should not be happening here,” ER Doctor Raghu Venugopal told 680 NEWS. “All of the people that work behind me in this hospital do not pass laws. Laws are passed at Queen’s Park. Not at this hospital.”
Read More: Anti-vaccine protests rage outside Toronto General Hospital despite pleas from healthcare workers
Meanwhile, Ottawa Hospital says it has increased security at its facility and while it respects everyone’s right to free speech, it completely disagrees with the protest group’s position.
“Staff and physicians at the Ottawa Hospital have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to protect those most at risk in our community. They all deserve to come into work safely, free from risk or harm,” the hospital wrote in a Twitter thread.
“Those demonstrating outside of the hospital are putting not only staff and physicians at risk, but also the hundreds of patients who come to the hospital for care every day.”
In Alberta, protesters gathered in front of hospitals in Calgary and Edmonton.
“It’s hard to feel compassion for individuals who are putting the lives of their fellow Canadians at risk, but they’ve been duped, they’ve been lied to in a systematic way, and have fallen for something that is really, deeply problematic,” said Aengus Bridgman, the director of the Canadian Election Misinformation Project.
— Carly Robinson (@CarlyDRobinson) September 13, 2021
Though protesters have continued to demand their right to make their own medical decisions, the COVID-19 vaccine is not mandated in Canada. Many employers, however, including governments, have made vaccines required for workers.