My Encounter with a Protest

Protest in Nelson BC

All photos by Aaron

In Nelson BC, people gathered to protest. Their demonstration surrounded the busiest intersection of town, rallying support from cars and trucks passing by.

Read the full article in The Nelson Daily: Opposition to mandatory vaccination rally draws huge crowd in Nelson

People made a big impression in Nelson.

Although media may brand this protest as an “antivax” group, supporters included the vaccinated and unvaccinated alike.

This protest seemed aimed at the current vaccine mandates for health care workers, vaccine passports, and mandatory rapid test screening for select workers.

As of Sept 13, unvaccinated people will be restricted from entering a list of businesses, workplaces, and public spaces, or in some cases be allowed access only after rapid testing demonstrates no infection from Covid.

The Right to Demonstrate vs the Right to Public Safety

Protest in Nelson, BCThe demonstrations continued with a gathering in front of City Hall and the courthouse. People were loud, but peaceful.

One obvious impact from a large social gathering is the risk of transmission and spread of respiratory viruses in packed crowds.

Some chose to keep their distance, or wear masks. Others were happy to stand in packed crowds voicing their position on current mandates.

With tongue in cheek I say, “come to the Covid rally and catch Covid.”

Choice and Informed Consent During a State of Emergency

Protestor in Nelson, BCIn principle, I support the idea of choice and informed consent with regards to medical treatment and autonomy of person.

These freedoms are understood as absolute, but there is a line. Freedom of speech is invalid when what is being voiced is hateful, and we have anti-hate laws, just as we have anti-racism laws. During a state of emergency, “freedoms” can be limited.

It seems that the current law directing healthcare workers, such as myself, to be vaccinated or be subject to a rapid Covid test at the start of every shift means that non-compliance leads to loss of job. This is my choice to make.

And yet, stepping back from work during a pandemic is also a choice that many people cannot afford. So, there is an element of pressure which is being placed on workers who don’t feel that they have a choice.

protest in Nelson BC

Will we Ever Return to Normal?

We are consistently told that these measures are temporary, that they are in place for the duration of our current crisis. While there is no requirement for the general population to be vaccinated, strict mandates follow healthcare workers and others ordered to comply.

I am asking myself what the issue really is for me. When I look at vaccine mandates, mask mandates, and other temporary health measures, I sit well with them, so long as they are temporary. But many at this protest are shouting in opposition to mandates overall.

Protestors in Nelson, BC

It seems to me that as long as the plexiglass comes down once the emergency is over, we are going to be okay. Some are voicing concern that these new mandates are an infringement of our freedom indefinitely, and that we are in “Orwellian times”.

This is my hope, that we can withstand the current crisis until we have passed through and can return to the way of life that we miss so much. The current orders are in place until January 31st, and unless our government decides to renew the health order, it will pass into history.

That is, unless we alter history…

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