Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP candidates react to Wednesday's anti-vaccine mandate protest

Candidates react to protest

Wednesday’s anti-vaccine mandate protest on Columbia Street has Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP candidates speaking out on all sides of the issue.

Corally Delwo, People’s Party of Canada candidate, was involved in Wednesday’s protest and spoke to the group gathered near Royal Inland Hospital prior to the march.

Delwo told Castanet Kamloops after the event she thought it was a peaceful protest the media had “completely spinned.”

“The People’s Party is the only party that is fighting for freedoms and against the vaccine passports and the mandatory vaccines," she said.

"And I don’t think that is right."

Delwo said she was assaulted at the protest by an individual who threw eggs at a group with which she was standing.

“They literally missed me by one person. When I took his picture, he actually charged [at] me and shoved me and elbowed me in the side of the head. So I will be pursuing charges,” Delwo said, adding the suspect was arrested and she has since filed a report with the RCMP.

“I will be pursuing this as a hate crime because he was very vocal and spewed a lot of hatred towards our groups.”

Iain Currie, candidate representing the Green Party, was among a group rallying outside Royal Inland Hospital on Thursday afternoon with signs of support for healthcare workers — a group he said has “borne the brunt” of the pandemic.

“The disrespect is just galling, and as a Kamloopsian, I need to do something," Currie said on Thursday afternoon, before the counter-protest.

"So we're heading out there and we're going to show our support.”

Currie, whose wife is a heathcare worker at RIH, said he was “so sad” to see the protest Wednesday.

“The right to protest is just fundamental, and I love that I live in a country where people can do that. … But protesting against healthcare, against people who are trying to keep us safe and healthy, is just an absurdity. And it just makes me so sad that vaccines of all things have become a political issue.”

Jesse McCormick, Liberal candidate, said his wife is an emergency physician who also works in the hospital.

“Every day her and her colleagues are providing care to individuals who have contracted COVID-19 and are unvaccinated — people who are making the choice not to receive a vaccine, although they are eligible,” McCormick said.

“They're creating risks to those frontline health care workers, they’re creating risk for the people in their communities and they're impacting our ability to move the economy forward.”

McCormick said proof of vaccine requirement has his “strong support,” and he strongly encourages people to get vaccinated to protect communities, and ensure the economy is put back on track.

NDP candidate Bill Sundhu and Conservative Frank Caputo thanked healthcare workers for their role in battling COVID-19.

“I sincerely thank all healthcare workers for the sacrifices they've recently had to make and for being there for the citizens of Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo since the outbreak of the pandemic,” Caputo said.

Sundhu said he acknowledges the daunting work these professionals have undertaken in the last 18 months.

“While across Canada and North America we see the rise of intolerance and fear, we must meet that surge with love, hope and optimism for a post-COVID-19 future,” Sundhu said.

“As a candidate in this election, I am fighting to make our communities safer and more welcoming places. I affirm my focus to ensure those who serve on the frontlines, often thanklessly, can do so safely and without threats of violence or harm.”

Bob O’Brien, independent, said there should be a “degree of separation” between COVID-19 and the federal election, as he believes other issues, such as climate change, have more long-term impacts.

Independent candidate Wayne Allan said he attended Wednesday’s gathering in protest of the government’s vaccine mandate, as he believes people have the right to individual freedoms and individual choice.

“I think people have the right to voice their opinion,” Allan said.

More Kamloops News