COVID-19 - Barrie Permits Weekly Superspreader Events, 2021
During the past few weeks, including on Saturday, April 17, 2021, the public space at Meridian Place in Barrie has been occupied by hundreds of unmasked ‘protesters’ who are demanding an end to all public health restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. They are demanding an end to masks, social distancing, retail capacity restrictions, and all other health-focused measures. They are also claiming to have the authority to hold trials and to demand the arrest of Premier Doug Ford and others who have taken measures to end the pandemic.
We are not saying the government of Ontario has handled the pandemic well, nor the distribution of the vaccine. Premier Ford’s emotional apology confirms they understand the public’s lack of support for what they have done and how they have dedicated their focus to helping big business over Ontario’s once-flourishing family-owned business sector.
Regardless, an illegal Trump-style super-spreader event being held in downtown Barrie every weekend is NOT the way to air their grievances. Our hospitals are already overwhelmed, and the situation will only get worse with hundreds of unmasked people congregating at an event where they hug and interact like everything is normal.
The organizers of these events claim they are ‘fighting for freedom’. However, when their claims were fact-checked, we realized they are in fact dishing out misinformation, false stories, and fraudulent claims to hundreds of people who clearly lack the intellect and education required to understand the risks to which they are taking. Their actions will affect not only them but also every person they meet for at least the next fourteen days.
These organizers and promoters are not experts in viral medicine, epidemiology, or the law. In fact, their idea of legal authority is in fact an instructor at a martial arts dojo. We have researched his ‘credentials’ and found no education or experience arguing the law. During the event, he inaccurately labeled organizations upon which he was basing his claims.
This was not a ‘freedom’ festival. It was a white privilege self-pity party where toddler-minded self-absorbed malcontents whined about how they should be free to do as they like, regardless of the loss of life that would result from their actions. It was also very easy to see that these events are appealing to individuals who support hard-core social conservatives, which means they could be used for purposes of recruitment into groups such as the Proud Boys that is now listed in Canada as a terrorist entity.
Several of the upcoming speakers, including politician Derek Sloan, are well-known for racist, white supremacist, and anti-LGBTQ comments. On January 20, 2021, Sloan was expelled from the Conservative Party caucus after it was learned that he had received a donation from a white supremacist group. So, what is the true purpose of these illegal gatherings?
These ‘protests’ are also not wanted by local downtown merchants who say their businesses are being hurt by unmasked thugs who are reported to be intimidating law-abiding citizens who choose to protect themselves and others by wearing a mask. Our crew was confronted by several of these wannabe bullies who did not like that we chose to abide by the law and think of others.
You need to look no further than local posts on social media to see that the vast majority of Barrie residents and business owners do not support these unsafe superspreader events being held in the core of our city. As such, we call on Mayor Jeff Lehman, the members of our City Council, and Chief Kimberley Greenwood of the Barrie Police Service to take appropriate action to end these dangerous gatherings that bring risk to us all. We would like to thank the sponsors of the Ontario Community Awareness Network. These businesses show they care about our shared community by helping us to provide a not-profit-motivated truly local voice to you and your neighbors. They also enable our crew to be able to continue providing donated services to promote local benevolent community groups and charities based in The City of Barrie, the Town of Innisfil, and the Township of Oro-Medonte.
If you wish to add your voice, consider signing the petition of Barrie Author Anita Avast at https://www.change.org/p/barrie-city-council-freedom-doesn-t-come-without-responsibility-barrie or the one by former City Councillor Rose Romita found at https://www.change.org/p/local-residents-and-businesses-demand-action-against-illegal-public-gatherings-happening-downtown-barrie Videography by John Ironside and Tiffany Scott Script and Post-production by John Ironsid
We would like to thank the following sponsors of the Ontario Community Awareness Network. These businesses show they care about our shared community by helping us to provide a locally-focused truly local voice to you and your neighbours. They also enable our crew to be able to continue providing donated services to promote local benevolent community groups and charities based in The City of Barrie, the Town of Innisfil, and the Township of Oro-Medonte.
Videography and post-production by John Ironside
the OCANetwork, also known as Five Points Media, is currently in transition to become a provincially registered not-for-profit corporation. To the best of our knowledge, ours will be the only community channel of its kind.
We are looking for new programming ideas, with our focus being mostly on fringe and minority groups whose members are mostly ignored by mainstream media. These include, but are not limited to, the Indigenous population, People of Colour, members of the LGBTQQIP2SAA community, and people of various cultures and religions.
We will continue to donate all video and media services to registered charities and benevolent not-for-profit groups that promote unity and support all members of the community. Our eventual goal will be to expand our programming to cover all of Ontario through a network of regional bureau facilities. This service will help all people in Ontario to learn about each other and work in unity.