The Salmon Arm RCMP are investigating a Saturday, April 10 gathering at Blackburn Park for provincial health order violations. (Jim Elliot/Salmon Arm Observer)

Letter: We should be working together, not against each other

Writer disappointed by silence of political leaders regarding weekend rally/demonstration

This weekend a rally took place for what was promoted on the surface as a seed swap and food security rally, but clearly proved to be more about discussing masks and “experimental jabs.”

Attendance estimates range from 200 on the low end to more than 350 on the high end, in a time where we are encouraged to meet in groups of no more than 10 people. These are to be the same trusted 10 each time.

There are so many people doing their best to follow the provincial health orders, staying at home, not visiting friends or family, missing a family trip for the second year in a row, so that we can keep our numbers low and so that we can work towards fully opening our economy. But, there is STILL a growing number of people who are blatantly defying the rules and promoting toxic rhetoric that is sounding very similar to some of our Republican neighbors to the south.

A member of our community, who chose to document the rally as part of the free media, was harassed and threatened for being there and was called out for wearing a mask saying she didn’t belong. This is not what we need to be promoting in our community, this is not how we come together in a time of crisis for the betterment of society.

Read more: Shuswap Middle School parents notified of potential COVID-19 exposure

Read more: Suspicion of ‘fake news media’ makes rally uncomfortable for Salmon Arm event photographer

Where are our community leaders right now? Our city council, our mayor, our MP, and our MLA need to step up and start doing something about these demonstrations. Our leaders need to speak out against the people that are putting the rest of us at risk. The orders of our Provincial Health Officer need to be enforced by bylaw and the RCMP. There were several RCMP in attendance to ensure the peace was kept, but they did not act on the safety violations of each person in attendance. The safety of our community is at risk when massive groups of people get together — potentially exposing themselves to the virus, and continuing to visit our shops, restaurants, malls and grocery stores with little regard to the others that are following the rules.

The common ground we can all meet on – regardless of which side of science you choose to stand on – is that we want to be able to go to a restaurant with no restrictions, we want our economy to open up and we want businesses to be able to run again. We want to see friends, we want to see family and we want to go on trips again. This will never happen if we can’t follow a few simple rules to get us through this.

Many of us are trying to do the right thing; it’s a profound disappointment that I can’t say the same for more.

Shelley Desautels

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