About 400 people attended a rally at Calgary’s Olympic Plaza on Sunday afternoon, protesting mandatory vaccination policies.
Earlier this month, the City of Calgary announced that workers must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by November 1.
Alberta Health Services also requires that all of its employees and contracted healthcare providers be fully immunized.
Lindsay Perry went to the rally to support her sister, who is a nurse and has chosen not to get vaccinated.
“She faces being disciplined, possibly fired or put on leave without pay for her decision to do what she thinks is right for her body,” Perry said.
Another demonstration against mandatory vaccination took place on Tuesday in the town hall. In anticipation of Sunday’s rally, the Calgary fire chief said he had requested that the firefighters’ memorial at City Hall be cordoned off from the protest.
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“This, for me, is one of the greatest insults that can be made to the police or firefighters who have given their lives to defend their country or their cities. This is wrong, ”said retired RCMP officer Clay Farnsworth.
He was at the rally speaking on behalf of the Police on Guard for You, a group of retired and active duty peace officers seeking to see an end to what they call unconstitutional public health orders.
“I can’t imagine being a uniformed cop today or a lifeguard in that sense. Everyone has the right to autonomy of their body, ”said Farnsworth.
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The city of Calgary said employees who are unable to receive the vaccine for medical reasons or due to an exemption for protected reasons will be accommodated. But those who refuse vaccines without a valid reason could face disciplinary action, including termination.
On social media, the Calgary Firefighters Association said it is concerned about groups that have been actively protesting public health measures that have referred to the support of firefighters and other first responders.
The CFA said vaccines are a vital part of keeping the public safe, noting that 85 percent of members are vaccinated.
“The whole thing comes down to freedom of choice and conscientious objection, and we should still have that right no matter who you work for,” said retired Calgary firefighter Allan Vandersteen, who was at the rally Sunday.
“Now you have divisions, and this cannot get worse. I think people should stand down and be reasonable and respect the opinion of others. “
Coun. Shane Keating points to recent figures from Alberta showing that 92 percent of ICU patients were either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.
“The last thing you need is an unvaccinated front-line worker to come to your aid,” Keating said.
“This whole aspect of freedom is so over the top in my opinion. It overshadows the good that would be done if you were vaccinated. “
Beginning Monday, September 13, city employees will be required to disclose and provide proof of their immunization status or reasons for exemption. Unvaccinated staff members without an exemption require their first dose by this date.
About 400 people gathered for the Frontline for Freedom rally in Edmonton on Sunday.
The event was made up, at least in part, of first responders and health workers, and they also called for freedom of choice when it comes to masking and vaccinations.
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