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Letter: Shocked to see support for Innisfail protest

As a health-care professional, I am aware of the effects of COVID-19
MVT Innisfail protest pic
Innisfail anti-racism rally participants hold signs protesting inequality on June 13. File photo/MVP Staff

As a resident of Innisfail, taxpayer and health-care professional, I am shocked to see the mayor and town council support the protest that was held on June 13.

Seeing as our town was in a state of emergency, as of June 10, and that Jean Barclay references of Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, frequently during council meetings, perhaps you should have considered the public health restrictions as directed by the government of Alberta.

As the organizer of this event went on national news advertising this protest, the projected numbers in attendance were much greater than 50, which is what at the time was the limit for outdoor gatherings.

The expected participants included not only residents who live in our town who may choose to join, rather it included an invitation for anyone from anywhere, not only in Alberta but from across our country.

It was at this time that our mayor released his letter stating that he and the “rest of town council will be standing in solidarity with those attending.”

The mayor can also be quoted, as retrieved in the Town of Innisfail website, by saying “We must remain vigilant, however, and remember that we’re still in the midst of a global pandemic, and we’re asking all residents to be mindful of the restrictions and guidelines that have been put in place. Let’s all work together to ensure we don’t end up having to take a step backwards.”

These quotes contradict each other when looking at the projected numbers for this protest.

Jean Barclay is quoted in the electronic copy of MountainViewToday from June 13, 2020 as saying, “We wish we could have had more people from Innisfail come here today, but they were scared because of the fear that has been stoked by certain individuals in this community. Shame on them.”

Did it occur to you, councillor Barclay, that people from this community did not attend because, unlike yourself, we were following the direction from the government of Alberta regarding COVID-19 restrictions?

Did it occur to you that the residents in this town are intelligent and are free to make their own decisions regarding attending a protest?

Are you aware that there are many ways for all people to educate themselves, be kind, loving individuals and improve social and racial issues without attending a protest?

Do you not think we have enough shaming going on in our society without you making statements such as this?

While looking at Town of Innisfail’s website, I noted that under “Our values,” respect and spirit are listed. Do you believe that your previously quoted statement is respectful or gives any residents in this town a sense of spirit?

As of June 12, 2020, public gatherings limits in outdoor spaces was expanded to 100 people, yet the reported number of people in attendance of this protest range from 200-500 people, depending on the source.

It does not take much sleuthing to see that physical distancing was not occurring nor were masks worn by all, regardless the limit is set in a number form as not to exceed 100 people even with additional precautions being used.

As a health-care professional, I am aware of the effects of COVID-19. The impact of this pandemic is astronomical in many different capacities.

I will thank you to consider this when you are making decisions that affect the good people of Innisfail in the future.

I sincerely hope that as a council, you will be working towards positive working relationships within.

You are not exhibiting professional behaviour, there is obvious double standards and hypocrisy occurring, and I for one am very disheartened by the disconnection amongst you.

Debbie Carritt,


(Editor’s note: Debbie Carritt is the wife of Innifail town councillor Glen Carritt)