DIDSBURY - Town council has denied a request from the Mountain View Freedom citizen group for an emergency in-person meeting regarding provincial COVID-19 lockdowns.
The move came by way of motion at the recent regularly scheduled council meeting.
In a letter sent to council requesting the meeting, the Didsbury-based group said, in part, that, “We are requesting that this (in-person) meeting be done as soon as possible. We want to work with the town so we can put our heads together so we can find a solution to his crisis.”
During the Feb. 9 council meeting, Coun. Bill Windsor recommended that the request go to the strategic planning committee for consideration and review.
On Feb. 16 following discussions, the committee made a recommendation that, in accordance with procedural bylaw 2020-21 “the request does not meet the criteria for a delegation and further recommend the members attend the organization and/or business virtual town halls best suited for their interest.”
During the Feb. 23 council meeting, Coun. Windsor said the delegation request involved provincial and federal information “which is certainly not within our purview and those were the reasons the recommendations of the committee are what they are.”
On Feb. 23 council passed a motion accepting the committee’s recommendation.
The group is welcome to submit a delegation request regarding local business, he said.
Mayor Rhonda Hunter said an in-person meeting with the group might be possible under Step 2 of the province’s reopening plan.
Mountain View Freedom has held two rallies, one in Olds and one in Didsbury.
Although many people attending the Feb. 21 anti-lockdown rally in Olds did not socially distance or wear masks, no tickets were issued by peace officers or RCMP for violating those rules.
In an email, the town noted the rally was not a town-sanctioned event. The email said peace officers did not attend it “and had no interactions or requests from AHS for investigation of citizen complaints.”
Olds RCMP Cst. Morley Statchuk said a police officer attended the rally but saw nothing of concern so he left it.
“There were absolutely no issues. It was very peaceful and he said there were no problems at all,” Statchuk said.
The Olds rally attracted over 100 people, some of whom were there raising awareness of related pandemic issues, like the jailing of a Parkland County pastor who refused to abide by conditions of his release after being charged for not abiding by public health orders.
Others in the crowd handed out their own information, unrelated to the organizing group, said a spokesperson for Mountain View Freedom.
One such piece of paper featured a headline that said, “Sick And Tired Of the COVID police state? Help us take back the Nation Now! A message from the Republic of Kanata and its assemblies.”
The message, in part, said, “fake pandemics and official hysteria cannot hide the fact that democracy is dead in Canada. Parliament and the courts are closed.
“A few unaccountable bureaucrats are expecting us to co-operate with their police state measures, including imprisoning and forced vaccination of our own children. But many of us are fighting back!”
At the bottom it said, “Live Free Or Die!”
- With files from Doug Collie