Crowds gathered outside Terrace City Hall and Mills Memorial Hospital Sept. 1 to protest against proof of vaccination requirements imposed by the province of B.C. which will come into effect this month.
The protest in Terrace was in sync with events across Canadian provinces where people gathered outside designated spots in cities at 1 p.m. to voice out the rights of citizens to “freedom of choice.”
“This is not about being anti-vaccine or anti-masks, this is about our own personal rights and freedoms, which are all being forgotten because the government is doing whatever they want, whenever they want,” said the Terrace organizer Brittany Kinaham.
On Aug. 23, B.C. announced its plan for a vaccine card – to be effective from Sept. 13 – for residents to access many non-essential services and events. The B.C. Vaccine Card will be needed to show a first dose of vaccine as of Sept. 13, with a second dose requirement as of Oct. 24.
It will be required for entry to restaurants, including patios, ticketed indoor sports events and concerts, casinos, night clubs and high-intensity fitness classes. The proof of vaccination will also be required for organized indoor events such as weddings, parties, conferences and workshops
The move was criticised by some businesses and groups across the province that opposed its implementation, citing the violation of their freedom of choice when it comes to receiving the COVID-19 vaccines.
In Terrace, the demonstrators said that they were not anti-vaxxers nor opposed to vaccinations, but rather a mixed group of vaccinated and unvaccinated people that had come together to voice their concerns against the government making proof of vaccination mandatory for several events, services and businesses.
“Most people here believe in the individual’s right to choice, it’s part of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms and there’s no way the government or employers or anyone else gets the right to choose what you do with your body,” said Kinaham.
Other participants at the demonstration expressed concern that the B.C. Government’s move to mandate proof of vaccination sets a dangerous precedent concerning health related issues in the future.
“Vaccine passports are creating discrimination and segregation in the society and that’s an illegal act by the government and it must be stopped,” said Tammy a protester from Terrace.
Kinaham said that the process of introducing proof of vaccinations would exclude people who are choosing not to take the vaccines for personal or medical reasons from enjoying benefits and freedoms usually available to each Canadian.
“We all pay taxes to the municipality but people who are not vaccinated will no longer have access to the swimming pool or the skating rink … My child might not be able to go to school if they decide to impose it there too,” Kinaham said.
“How is that fair? How is that not discriminatory and exclusionary?”
Kinaham also said that she reached out to the mayor of Terrace with her concerns but has not yet received a response.