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Barrie Freedom Rally shows people are fed-up

April 2021

On Saturday, 24 April, around 300 protesters gathered at Meridian Square in downtown Barrie, Ontario, to protest the lock-down measures imposed by all levels of government, in an ineffective attempt fight the pandemic.

The two-hour-plus rally was the seventh Saturday rally held in downtown Barrie this year, protesting the provincially mandated lock-down orders, with more promised on future Saturdays. Special invited guest was independent (formerly Conservative) MP Derek Sloan.

This time a year ago, people willingly shut down their businesses and offices and people stayed at home. Those who could could work from home did so, but many were effectively unemployed, with their paycheques replaced by government support programs and loans to business owners to help keep them afloat.

We were told that we needed two weeks to flatten the curve, so as to not overwhelm our already strained health-care system; one that has routinely been underfunded by government after government for decades, both at the provincial and federal level. We succeed in doing that, and by the summer of 2020, things were looking relatively good.

Now a year later, we are under our third lock-down order, a problem that has been exacerbated by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s abysmal failure in actually closing our borders and securing a reliable and adequate vaccine supply.

People are fed up at the incompetence of our politicians. People are fed up at having been lied to; our trust in our leaders destroyed. We are told that we can’t leave our homes, except for essential travel, yet plane load after plane load arrived every day at our international airports, bringing people from countries where newer and more-fatal variants of the Communist Chinese Party (CCP) Virus are popping up and ravaging their populations.

Rapid testing at the airports could have helped prevent infected asymptomatic essential travelers from infecting others, along with contact tracing to determine problem spots in our communities, but governments at all levels have dropped the proverbial ball on those issues.

The Trudeau government was reckless to allow our National Emergency Strategic Stockpile to dwindle to minimal levels (you had one job Public Health Agency of Canada!), compounding the problem by shipping 16 tonnes of PPE to China back in early February 2020, just weeks before it was badly needed in Canada.

All levels of government were foolish in failing to learn the lessons from SARS in 2003 (like Taiwan did), H1N1 in 2009, and even the MERS epidemic in 2012.

We have reports sitting on dusty shelves, like the one written as a result of the 2007 SARS Commission, which let to the creation of both Public Health Agency of Canada itself and the position of Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, currently occupied by Dr. Theresa Tam.

Dr. Tam also co-authored the 2006 report titled, “The Canadian Pandemic Influenza Plan for the Health Sector,” which also sits on a dusty shelf.

Last year, we were banging pots and pans to show our support to the essential workers who have kept our communities safe, our stores stocked with essential supplies, and the cash registers ringing.

Now, the only thing we are banging are our heads against a wall at the sheer futility of yet another province-wide lock-down imposed upon us by politicians and health unit officials who are bereft of any other ideas that may actually work. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Business owners are done with being told to shutter their businesses and slowly watch them go into bankruptcy. People are done with being forced into unemployment; receiving a small government stipend that barely replaces their usual salaries.

People are done with the B.S that we are all in this together, because we’re not. All of the politicians and health unit officials implementing the lock-downs have continued to receive their full salaries, while many business owners and private sector workers are facing financial ruin and mental health issues due to the stress of this seemingly unending pandemic.

Since the beginning of this pandemic, I have been staying at home a lot more than I usually would. I spent most of last summer, when I wasn’t at work, sitting on my back deck with a radio and my laptop computer. I often joked that this past year would have been a perfect time to have been sentenced to house arrest.

I’ve also discovered a positive aspect to having PTSD: there are many times that I really don’t want to be around anyone, especially in large groups or at social gatherings where I don’t know anyone, something that never used to bother me, but that’s another story.

I’ve been lucky enough to remain fully employed the past year and haven’t suffered financially.

I would venture out whenever I felt like it, not necessarily for “essential travel,” but when I wanted to go. It’s not that I didn’t care if I killed grandma; far from it actually. From the beginning of this pandemic, I have been following all the recommended health protocols. When I do travel, I either travel alone, or only with those in my household. I limit my contact with other people, and follow the recommended protocols when I have to interact with others.

I’m not the only one who would venture out. While the traffic on the major highways was certainly lighter than normal last year, that’s certainly not the case now. I routinely see many cars on the road along my routes and in the parking lots of malls and plazas that I pass.

I’m not claiming that lock-downs don’t work under any circumstances. Lock-downs that target problem areas or businesses can be effective, along with an effective vaccine program, but the province-wide lock-downs we have been subjected to since the spring of 2020 are becoming less about control of the virus spread, and more about draconian control of the citizens by their government, who hide behind the seemingly uncontrolled authority of un-elected health care officials.

If the problems are in high population areas like Toronto, why should communities like Timmins or Thunder Bay be subjected to economic and mental health damaging lockdowns?

All this on top of the mixed messages that we may still have to endure things like mask wearing and restrictions on our ability to travel, even after all citizens who want to be vaccinated, have received their two doses.

Governments are supposed to rule at the consent of the people they govern. The people who have been attending anti-lockdown rallies are telling their politicians that they are going too far. Let’s just hope they listen.

Sources: Anti-protest protesters rally in Barrie to ‘defend freedom’ (6 photos) – Orillia News (orilliamatters.com), https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/coronavirus-canada-sars-1.5766021, https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-ottawa-had-a-playbook-for-a-coronavirus-like-pandemic-14-years-ago.

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/barrie-freedom-rally-shows-people-are-fed-up/

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