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letter

Observations from inside a freedom rally

Letter writer surprised by ‘overt’ anger directed to participants in Dec. 12 demonstration

Editor:

Over the last two decades, I have come to believe the individual rights and freedoms guaranteed in our Canadian Charter are being systemically stripped of their relevance. That these rights exist only as is reasonable in a free and democratic society and leaves freedom-loving people vulnerable to activist “progressive” courts as well as politicians that in many cases no longer work for the people, but are focused on a partisan agenda, often global in nature, that leaves many of the issues that are closer to home unaddressed.

As our national anthem patriotically speaks of “the true north strong and free,” and I highly value the founding principles such as freedom of thought, choice, speech and assembly, this “free” citizen sought out and found a group of like-minded citizens. Working together, we arranged a freedom rally in Smithers on Dec. 12 to let other like-minded people know that they were not alone in their beliefs.

The first and most powerful characteristics of the participants were the joy and positivity, the lack of anger or fear. Though we had many different viewpoints, I found that people were thoughtful, had educated themselves and listened to various competing perspectives politely and without rancour. We were a diverse group with a common goal: to peacefully rally in order to publicly express our concerns.

This was not a rally to protest COVID 19 and masks. Physical distancing from symptomatic individuals makes sense.

Our common belief being freedom, it would be hypocritical to tell other citizens how to live their lives. It was the reactions from the public that most interested this guy. From individuals in cars and freight trucks we received varying reactions, honks of support to being totally ignored. It was surprising to see people wearing masks in their cars, though many who are required to wear them at work have probably become so accustomed to them it becomes routine.

The most alarming reaction was the overt, almost visceral, anger that was displayed on a few faces and verbally expressed by one driver as he screamed out at his mother has COVID, as if it were the fault of a few peaceful, happy participants rallying.

On a positive note, was that a couple of candidates who ran in the last federal election took the time to actually, physically participate in what could be considered a real town hall, to listen to real citizens trying to cope with the real issues that affect us all now. Of our elected representatives were “virtually” not there.

Covid-19 is real, lockdowns are real. Facts can be real, but it is sometimes difficult to recognize them, when, like statistics, they are politically weaponized. The effects on small business are real. How we deal with them must be well-thought out in order to ensure both health and freedom. Actions taken must protect the vulnerable while allowing the healthy to both live their lives and exercise their freedoms.

We can do both.

The last Provincial election was, in my opinion, an insult to all British Columbians. It was coldly calculated, undisguised political opportunism at best. To spring a “surprise” election, during COVID, after commitments to the contrary makes a mockery of the entire democratic process, where we, the people, were not able to personally challenge the policies of candidates in a public forum.

Closing small business, restricting access to health care here at home while dipping into the piggy bank, spending money we don’t have. Rather than taking COVID-19 as an opportunity to work on local issues here in British Columbia, Premier Horgan has chosen to pursue the NDP agenda. How can we believe that our Premier is working on our behalf when he so blatantly used the pandemic to leverage his political position. He is no longer working for the people, he is working for an ideology.

BC communities have been “gifted” significant sums of COVID cash. Will that money be used to help “the people.” or will it go onto the hands of political institutions for the purpose of furthering agendas? My personal opinion is that this money should be used solely for reducing the property taxes and/or rent of private (not corporate) businesses that were shutdown or restricted from fully operating during the lockdowns.

Small business should never be declared non-essential. These entrepreneurs are the backbone of our society, not our spineless politicians.

I would suggest that the “morally superior” people who attacked us on Facebook and other platforms read CS Lewis’s Robber Baron piece:

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet, at the same time, likelier to make a Hell of Earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason, or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”

Sincerely,

Doug Gould

Smithers