Canada Politicians issue warnings ahead of hospital protests expected across Canada
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So far, some hot button issues in B.C. include the Fairy Creek logging protests, the housing crisis, and calling an election while thousands of people are displaced during one of the province's worst wildfire seasons on record. Meanwhile, a recent poll has revealed growing anger among Canadians about voting during the fourth wave of a pandemic. Although the number of seats in B.C. doesn't rival those in Ontario and Quebec, the province does hold enough influence to make it worth the parties' attention. On Vancouver Island, the Greens hope to maintain their two seats in a region where the NDP dominated last federal election.
Some high-ranking Ontario politicians and prominent health-care organizations are issuing warnings ahead of a number of protests expected to take place at hospitals across Canada today.
An organization calling itself Canadian Frontline Nurses posted notices of "silent vigils" expected to take place in all 10 provinces, saying they're meant to critique public health measures put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Prospective locations include the Winnipeg Health Sciences Centre, Toronto General Hospital and the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre in Halifax.
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After being cooped up at home for much of the past 18 months, at least one reason to leave house has been tossed at Canadians — a call to get out and vote on Sept. 20 to decide the political leadership of our nation. The decision by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to announce a federal election has caught many across the country off guard — particularly with a fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic emerging. Exactly what impact that will have on the ballot box “is the big question,” says University of Windsor political science professor Lydia Miljan, who questions whether the campaigning tainted by protests over the last couple weeks should be a “concern” to Liberals intent on reta
Organizers say they want to take a stand against what they call "tyrannical measures and government overreach," adding that they are not encouraging nurses to walk out on their shifts or abandon patients.
But Ontario Premier Doug Ford, whose province was among those targeted by similar past protests after he announced plans for a proof-of-vaccine system, condemned the latest round on Sunday in a tweet describing such events as "selfish, cowardly and reckless."
The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario and Ontario Medical Association issued a joint statement "strongly condemning" the planned disruptions and calling for designated safe zones around health-care facilities to protect staff and patients -- a proposal the province's New Democrats have also floated.
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Video: Province reviewing options to protect B.C. hospitals from protest (Global News)
"Nurses, doctors and other health-care workers have been working around the clock on the front lines of the pandemic for 18 months helping to keep our communities safe," Sunday's joint statement reads. "These COVID-19 heroes need the resources and supports to continue the battle – now in the thick of a fourth wave. They cannot and must not be distracted, or worse, discouraged by protests at the doorsteps of their workplaces."
Toronto Mayor John Tory also took to social media to condemn the protests planned for some city hospitals, adding he's been in contact with the local police chief about the events and received assurances that staff would be protected and patients could access the buildings.
"I support police in taking whatever action is necessary to protect the lives of innocent people seeking medical care and all of our healthcare heroes," Tory wrote on Twitter. "We have long passed the time when we can have this tyranny of a few interfere with access to healthcare during a pandemic."
Past protests have centred on both public health measures and the prospect of proof-of-vaccination systems that would limit access to many public settings for those who have not been immunized against COVID-19.
British Columbia's system takes effect on Monday, while Ontario's is set to launch on Sept. 22.
Quebec's rolled out earlier this month, Manitoba began issuing vaccine cards in June, and both Nova Scotia and Yukon have said proof-of-vaccination systems are in the works.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 13, 2021.
The Canadian Press
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