Despite the threat of fines and an appeal from Premier Jason Kenney that they halt their large gatherings, opponents of COVID-19 restrictions gathered outside Calgary City Hall again this past Saturday (05 Dec 2020). Similar rallies are expected to take place in Edmonton and Red Deer while Canmore will see another anti-mask protest on Sunday. Looking at the large crowd that marched up Stephen Ave, I’d estimate between 600-750 people attended, making it one of the largest “Walk for Freedom” marches to date.
People from all walks of life turned out to protest
Regardless if you support the cause or not, what struck me about this particular march was the mix of people attending. Main stream media would have you believe that the march was attended by far right wing extremists but it was clear that people from all walks of life were marching for their perceived freedoms. Young couples, seniors and families marched along Stephen Ave, Calgary, voices raised calling out both provincial and federal governments. Many waved signs calling for people to sign petitions, calling out the main stream media for spreading misinformation.
Indecision, double standards and failure to take action
The Police, City Hall and even the provincial government have backed themselves into a corner somewhat when it comes to the call to issue tickets. Back in June 2020 during the first lockdown, hundreds of people marched through the streets in support for BLM movement. No tickets were issued against organizers or protestors. If mass ticketing is actioned now, calls for discrimination against the protestors will be quick and loud. Again regardless of whether you support either protests, consistency has to be seen to be done. If you now start to issue fines against one group, fines have to be issues against the others given the similar circumstances of lockdowns and health restrictions in place.
Whatever the fall out from this weekends protests, the risk to health remains. While people have the right to protest, people also have the right to work, wear masks or choose not to. The people in power need to strike the right balance between peoples rights and the need to protect the public from theirselves. At the moment, all levels of power are failing on all fronts. Indecision, double standards and failure to take action by those in charge means protests like the ones we are seeing at the moment will continue to happen. What isn’t clear at the moment is what will be left of our freedoms, our abilities to earn a living and the economic future of our country post Covid19.