VANCOUVER Mayor Kennedy Stewart on Friday in a statement on the planned convoy protest said: “This weekend we are expecting to see anti-COVID mandate protests making their way across the Lower Mainland, ending in downtown Vancouver.
“As the Mayor of a city with an over 95 per cent vaccination rate, my message to the convoy is this: Vancouver doesn’t want you here. Make your point and then go home.
“To prepare for this event, I have been briefed by the City Manager and the VPD [Vancouver Police Department] Emergency Planning and Operational Section (EOPS). EOPS is closely monitoring the situation and taking necessary steps in preparation. I have full confidence in VPD Chief Palmer and his team who will be directing the response to the Vancouver portion of this protest.
“The proposed route passes three important healthcare facilities. While every Canadian has a right to peaceful and respectful protest, nobody has the right to promote hate, jeopardize the safety of our communities, or interfere with access for patients, staff, or first responders.
“Hate has no place in our city. We all have to stand together against hate in all its forms, including when it targets frontline and healthcare workers.”
MEANWHILE, Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, in a statement said: “Our government believes in a welcoming and inclusive society and recognizes the public’s right to engage in peaceful protest and lawful assembly. While the police will respect lawful protests, they will also consider all the tools and options available to them to protect people, preserve public safety and investigate unlawful conduct.
“British Columbians have been navigating the ongoing challenges of the pandemic together, and it is unfair to have one group disrupt the lives of so many others as we are seeing in Ottawa and other cities throughout Canada. We understand the strain of this pandemic, but we must come together to beat COVID-19. With 90% of eligible people in B.C. having their first vaccine shot, we are moving close to a new milestone on potentially lifting more restrictions by Family Day.
“For people in Victoria, I want you to be aware of the potential of a truck convoy protest heading to the legislative buildings this weekend so you and your family can plan accordingly. We are aware of the chance of disruption to residents and businesses in the area, and planning and communication by law enforcement is underway.
“We all want this pandemic to be over, and we will get through it by working together.”