With a group of people having congregated outside of city hall on October 19, some with placards, two men inside council chambers outlined to the committee of the whole their concerns about how unvaccinated people are being treated, and potential effects of being vaccinated.
Wade Larson appeared before councillors to summarize what he termed public health concerns. Larson said when he spoke to the mayor about the matter privately, his concern was that those with similar worries are not being heard.
“I thank you for giving me this opportunity here today,” added Larson. “I’m here to speak as a concerned citizen here in Powell River, the town I was born and raised in and the town I love. What I see going on in this town that I love doesn’t agree with moral correctness and what is right in my eyes. Freedom is no longer free. In fact, some of us here today are being forced from our work and our ability to earn a living based on these mandates that are here in town.
“These people we supported last year for being frontline workers – we had hearts on our windows at home and our businesses. Now, these people are looking at losing their livelihoods because they have become zeros, instead of the heroes they were last year.”
Larson said with the censorship going on that is keeping people from being able to bring forward truths about what is happening throughout this pandemic, vital information is being lost.
“There are doctors, virologists, medical staff and patients who have all had a story to tell, but then censorship takes these away,” said Larson. “Why have these people we have supported all of a sudden just disappeared? What is their value for all of their hard work and effort of last year?”
Larson asked when did it become okay to forcefully take away people’s livelihood and freedom of choice?
“In a day and age where we are more accepting of people, regardless of race, sexual identity, or belief, when did it become okay to discriminate against someone based on their freedom to choose?”
Larson said the stage was set for councillors to be today’s heroes instead of being tomorrow’s zeros.
“The choice is yours,” said Larson. “You can stand up and do the right thing.”
Larson then said he wanted to invite a friend of his, Byron Fader, to speak. Larson said Fader thought he was doing the right thing by getting vaccinated.
Fader said he is sick from adverse effects after getting the COVID-19 shot. He detailed getting his vaccination on May 11 and the various health effects he experienced afterward, which he described as detrimental. He said he has been hospitalized with heart problems. He said ultimately, the hospital couldn’t do anything for him because they don’t know what to do.
“Basically, they just observed me and sent me home,” said Fader. “I had no help and I felt really lost and left out. There’s no one out there doing anything for me, or for us.”
Fader said his doctor finally told him that his symptoms were vaccine-caused and to report it to Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH). Fader said he spoke to a representative of VCH, who said she would not report it. Fader said he asked to speak to someone higher up in the organization and the connection was made. He said he was told he was not alone and that there were high case numbers.
Fader said he has since been seeing a naturopath and has made some improvements.
“I’m not alone; there are so many of us,” said Fader. “I’m on chatrooms now around the world with people like me. There’s no answer. This is an experiment for all of us. I just feel bad that people are going to be mandated.”
Councillor Maggie Hathaway said the rules come from above at the provincial level.
“I absolutely agree with individual freedom of choice; unfortunately, some of the ramifications of that choice are very negative,” said Hathaway. “I know people are losing their jobs and my heart breaks for them.
“I just don’t know what to do. I hear you and agree with you. Do you have any suggestions on what we, as a municipal council in a small town, can do?”
Larson said that noncompliance is the way to go about it.
“I believe if we stand up to these people who are trying to enforce these policies and mandates that aren’t even being passed in legislation, there’s always a way,” he added. “I believe you have the power to take it to the next level.”
Mayor Dave Formosa said council members are not medical professionals.
“We are your local government,” said Formosa. “We have basically zero powers. We are following the governments above us. We have no authority to act.”
Formosa said he operates a restaurant and is being “totally abused.”
“Our business is down some 40 to 50 per cent since this issue came down,” said Formosa. “I asked the health officer why we couldn’t have COVID-vaccination and non-COVID-vaccination seating, like we used to with smoking. We could have people in one section without a passport and a bigger section of people who are vaccinated.
“I was told by this person who works under Dr. Bonnie Henry: ‘that’s above my pay grade. I have no answer.’ I’m now going through our association to see if that’s something we could do as a restaurant.”
Formosa said he represents everyone in the community, he understands people’s feelings and fears, and wishes there was more council could do.
“I applaud you for fighting for your beliefs,” said Formosa. “I believe our rights are being harmed but we are following the rules we have been given and that’s that.”