Every Saturday and Sunday, protesters gather on the square outside Calgary City Hall to voice their angst and disapproval with the ongoing coronavirus restrictions handed down by the province.
Churches and retail space are limited to 15 per cent of capacity. Restaurants are closed except for takeout. Personal care businesses, gyms, hair and nail salons, barbers and recreation facilities are shut too.
The government has been advising against non-essential travel for months, however, you wouldn’t know it if you paid attention to the actions of our lawmakers themselves. Several United Conservative Party MLAs and staffers travelled outside of the country during the Christmas break. Municipal Affairs Minister Tracy Allard was fired by Premier Jason Kenney for her holiday trip to Hawaii.
Allard wasn’t the only one spending time in the Aloha State. Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi’s chief of staff also enjoyed some fun in the sun over the holiday season. It’s ironic, since Nenshi has been one of the loudest voices calling for increased lockdowns, and a heavier crackdown on the protesters who gather outside of his office every weekend.
I caught up with the protesters on Saturday to see if they had a message to send to their hypocritical leaders at City Hall.
COVID Madness in Calgary — Moslem Mayor Imposes Another Year of Forced Masking & Increases Fines for Dissenters
[If you thought the arrival of the COVID vaccines might mean an end to lockdowns and masks, you were deluded, mislead and wrong. Masks were never about protecting people. They are virtually useless. They were all about CONTROL and scaring or threatening people into conformity. Calgary’s is in for another year of forced masks and fierce fines for dissenters. Once the heart of the rugged Western individualist, poor old Calgary is now just another communist style Medico-Stalinist tyranny! The Mayor and six councillors who voted for repression MUST be defeated on principle in the next municipal election.]
Under the new bylaw, masks will be mandatory in most non-residential places until December 2021.
On Saturday, I was at Calgary City Hall to cover the weekly “March For Freedom” rally, where several thousand people showed up to protest Calgary’s coronavirus restrictions imposed by their tyrannical Mayor Naheed Nenshi.
Little did they know, it wouldn’t take long for Alberta Premier Jason Kenney to follow Nenshi’s lead. On Tuesday, Kenney announced province-wide gathering limits and business closures in our already economically battered province.
Protesters met at Calgary’s City Hall before marching through the city’s downtown core, then reconvening back at the plaza for speeches. The protest was technically illegal, but those in attendance were undeterred — despite Calgary police sending out $1,200 fines to those in attendance last week.
Click here to watch my full report and find out why these brave Canadians risked getting a fine to go to the protest. Alberta was the last bastion of freedom in this country until Premier Kenney caved to political pressure and betrayed Albertans with the same copy-cat policies devastating every other province in the country. If this is happening here in Alberta, what hope is left for the rest of Canada?
City looks at bolstering COVID-19 penalties amid weekly protests
[Apparently anti-free speech voices like Councillor Druh Farrell want more repression against freedom fighters trying to exercise their Charter right of freedom of assembly.]
Coun. Farrell said anti-COVID-19 restriction protesters have been ‘intimidating’ nearby businesses, and asked if limits would be placed on the illegal weekly demonstrations at city hall that have attracted several hundred peopleAuthor of the article:Bill KaufmannPublishing date:Dec 08, 2020 • Last Updated 1 day ago • 3 minute read
Calgary city council voted Monday to consider increasing fines and to review its mask bylaw, which made wearing masks in public indoor places mandatory as of last Aug. 1.
The review includes the possibility of raising the current $50 fine, an amount Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said is insufficient.
“Those measures we put in two weeks ago look to be insufficient in bending the (infection) curve,” said Hinshaw.
Also Monday, Coun. Druh Farrell said anti-COVID-19 restriction protesters have been “intimidating” nearby businesses, and asked if limits would be placed on the illegal weekly demonstrations at city hall that have attracted several hundred people.
“I’ve been getting reports from businesses and some of the residents who live in the area that participants in these protests are going into shops, disrupting (them), in order to intimidate customers as well as staff,” Farrell told council.
Calling the demonstrations “plague-spreaders,” Farrell said the behaviour is harming businesses along Stephen Avenue which anti-restriction activists use as a marching route.
“This is happening frequently. Is there a plan to limit the protests and the damage they cause?” she said, adding she’d prefer a short, sharp so-called circuit breaker business lockdown to smother the virus.
A city bylaw official said peace officers were monitoring the latest protest — as they have in the past — and tickets for those violating a provincial health order, limiting outdoor gatherings to no more than 10 people, are being prepared.
“We have a number of investigations pending from this week’s demonstrations and we anticipate laying more charges,” said Richard Hinse, director of Calgary Community Standards.
“If (businesses) feel threatened, we can get officers there to assist them.”
There will now be more bylaw personnel to do just that, as the city announced Monday its Level 2 Community Peace Officers have been given clearance by the province to enforce public health orders.
“This change means there are now more than 100 peace officers working alongside Calgary Police Service to support the City’s pandemic response in situations where individuals are in blatant violation of the Public Health Act and bylaws,” said Ryan Pleckaitis, Chief Bylaw Officer, Calgary Community Standards.
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The protesters contend city and provincial mask-wearing mandates and restrictions on gatherings and business operations violate civil liberties and harm livelihoods. Many of them also allege the impact of COVID-19 — which has led to hospitalizations in Alberta more than tripling in the past month — is vastly exaggerated and that measures to quell it are more damaging than the virus.
The legal group Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms has filed a constitutional challenge to the pandemic restrictions in Alberta and several other provinces.
Its lawyers have said they’ll work to overturn those tickets, which have included penalties of $50 and $1,200 and have been handed out to at least six participants from a Nov. 28 demonstration.
Nenshi, however, condemned the demonstrations as dangerous, while the city and province grapple to contain the virus.
“You have every right to be an idiot but you don’t have the right to crash shopkeepers, scare away people from their stores at this time of year and to expose your children,” he said.
More protests by Walk for Freedom and other like-minded groups are planned for next Saturday.