A rally outside Nanaimo City Hall drew more than 50 people who expressed their opposition to mandated vaccinations for city workers.
The demonstration was in response to the City of Nanaimo’s vaccine mandate that was announced in November and comes into effect Monday, Jan. 10. The mandate applies to all city employees and contracted employees.
“We are just citizens of Nanaimo who are concerned about what’s going on with the mandates and, basically, the destruction of our freedoms and rights here in Canada,” said Michelle Rosauro, one of the demonstrators. “What Mayor [Leonard] Krog and what every other politician seems to be doing these days is ignoring … our charter of rights and freedoms and we, as Canadians, have the right to protest. We have the right to be mad as hell about this.”
Another protester, Kevin Sharma, said the main issue was over the mandate being applied to city employees and not to the mayor and council.
“It’s not sitting well for a lot of people; one rule for me, one rule for thee … we’re not anti-vaxxers. We’re not against vaccines. Everybody’s got their freedom of choice, but also what’s happening – taking away the freedom to choose – it’s not OK,” Sharma said.
At one point, while speeches were being made on the city hall front steps, three of the protesters entered the building. Krog came out moments later to speak with the gathering.
“From my perspective, it’s hard to reason with people who simply do not agree on the medical evidence,” Krog told the News Bulletin afterward. “So, it’s not really a debate – it becomes a yelling match.”
Krog said he supports the city’s position on mandated vaccination for its employees and said no mandate was imposed on council because all council members had voluntarily received vaccine and therefore there was no need for a mandate.
The Regional District of Nanaimo is also bringing in a vaccine mandate for its workers and the City of Parksville, this week, announced it is mandating vaccines, too.