Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

MESSAGES FOR THOSE IN CHARGE – Protesters who gathered outside the Yukon Government Main Administration Building early Friday afternoon carried a variety of placards expressing their messages about the current COVID-19 restrictions.

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

Erin Giesbrech

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

Image title

Photo by Vince Fedoroff

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

COVID restrictions spark protest rally

Against the wishes of Liberal Leader Sandy Silver and NDP Leader Kate White,

By Tim Giilck on April 12, 2021

Against the wishes of Liberal Leader Sandy Silver and NDP Leader Kate White, about 45 people braved the weather Friday afternoon to rally against the territory’s COVID-19 health measures.

The rally was held at the Yukon Government Main Administration Building with minimal security in attendance.

The protestors were mostly well-behaved, with the exception of a couple of people who attempted to block Second Avenue traffic briefly.

Another protestor – who didn’t give his name – also took exception to the presence of a CBC reporter.

“All I can hope is that you print the correct information, unlike the CBC,” the man told the Star.

He was busy shooting video of the demonstration, but didn’t explain what he planned to use it for.

He’s currently “offline” he said, so won’t be posting it publicly.

Several of the protestors were more than happy to talk to a Star reporter about the reasons for opposing the health measures brought in by the Yukon government and the chief medical officer of health, Dr. Brendan Hanley.

Stephen Robertson was one of the more articulate attendees at summing up his concerns.

“We’re just trying to get the government to listen about (our concerns),” he said.

“My big thing is that the lockdowns have done more damage than they’ve helped. It’s been over a year now, and the lockdowns obviously don’t work.

“We need to get the economy working again,” Robertson said.

“Lots of people have suffered, but the business people are scared to say anything. We need to re-open, we need the tourism industry open, we need the borders open. We need to get things moving again.”

Robertson added “about the only way we’re going to pay for all this (COVID-19 support and costs) is to get things moving again.”

Robertson said he wants the government to have “a clear vision” for easing the restrictions.

“We need clear goals, not vague promises. They told us that maybe once a lot of people have vaccines they would ease restrictions, and now they’re saying the vaccines might not help with preventing the spread of the virus and the restrictions have to say. I think they’ve kind of misled us.”

Erin Giesbrecht said she’s a government worker who is opposing the measures.

She told reporters she had already been called to the government Human Resources department to explain why she is publicly speaking out against the COVID measures.

“I’ve been personally affected by the lockdowns and restrictions. I watched my elderly grandparents get locked up in a facility (in Alberta) where he contracted the virus,” Giesbrecht said. “He died alone because of the restrictions, and nobody was allowed to be alone with him.”

She clarified she suspects he died of heart failure rather than COVID.

“My grandmother, who is suffering from dementia, was sent home by herself to self-isolate for 14 days,” Giesbrecht said.

“In my world, this is inhumane, and we need to start thinking about the people who are really hurting and dying from this.

“That’s our elders. This is just an overreach by the government, and I want to know what science they are using to justify calling this a pandemic.”

Giesbrecht said she “just wanted Silver and Hanley to recognize things are changing quickly,” and questioned “why aren’t they answering questions.”

As well, she queried whether masks work as claimed to help control the spread.

She pointed to Texas and other American states who have dropped mandatory masking and seen their case counts drop considerably.

“Their cases are at a record low,” Giesbrecht said.

“I don’t know the answer, but we have questions that are going unanswered. It’s important that we ask questions, and have our democracy return. The elected officials should no longer be calling the shots.”

She and other protestors weren’t impressed with Silver’s call late last week to condemn the protest.

“He needs to realize we’re not in a state of emergency ... we’re losing hope this will ever end.”

Comments (31)

Up 5 Down 17

Chris Fox on Apr 17, 2021 at 4:12 pm

LMAO !

So a bunch of typhoid Andys and Annies think it's horrible here in the YT.
I can easily get them a job in an Alberta meat packing plant at any time.

Up 24 Down 1

Groucho d'North on Apr 16, 2021 at 10:22 am

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”
George Orwell, 1984

Up 46 Down 11

marylaker on Apr 15, 2021 at 12:19 pm

Two disturbing items illustrating government arrogance and over reach:

1. Sandy Silver condemning a legal, peaceful, democratic assembly / protest. Less than 50 people out of doors is even within the covid rules. Why did he condemn it? Because he does not agree with their message. Heads up, Sandy, that's exactly why they were there. Because THEY DISAGREE WITH YOU! Suck it up. You are not a dictator and do not enjoy the priveleges of being one.

2. One of the organizers was called into Human Resources to explain herself. This would feel like a threat to her employment, and I bet it was meant to feel like a threat. I hereby call Human Resources into my office to explain THEMSELVES. On what basis is their investigation into the private life of an employee, legitimate? She was breaking no laws, and was speaking to an issue like a responsible citizen should, when concerned about policy. It is absolutely unacceptable that an arm of the same government she is disagreeing with uses her employment status in an attempt to shut her up. And that's what I believe happened.

The election is over and I do believe many Yukoners voted for the Yukon Party who otherwise would have voted Liberal, because the Liberals are enjoying Covid based totalitarian too much, and are seeming unwilling to let go of it. Bullying protestors, whether it be the Premier or the Yukon Government through Human resources, is wrong and should be sending a warning signal to all of us. Not about covid, but about the way power is being used.

Up 36 Down 10

Melanie on Apr 14, 2021 at 3:00 pm

Finally an article that supports Democracy!!!! Thank You Whitehorse Star.

Up 28 Down 43

Duane Gastant' Aucoin on Apr 13, 2021 at 7:09 pm

Oh look...all the Qanadians spewing their conspiracy theories anonymously here!
Surprise, surprise!

Up 51 Down 14

Yukoner ‘71 on Apr 13, 2021 at 3:32 pm

In other news CKRW has a story about a Yukoner who had to be medevacced to Vancouver a while back after having a severe medical reaction to the Moderna vaccine. I may have missed this but did any of the other news organizations even make mention of someone having a severe reaction to being vaccinated? Was it kept on the hush, hush intentionally?

Up 36 Down 22

TheHammer on Apr 13, 2021 at 3:13 pm

'Done more damage than they have helped', an absurd statement. The only way to prove that is to lift the lockdown and see what kind of damage happens.

Up 44 Down 20

DL on Apr 13, 2021 at 3:04 pm

Post election comment: The fact that 40% of the April 12 popular vote went to the Yukon Party (vs 33% to Liberals) is most likely a result of the Liberals mishandling the covid lockdown issue, with top-down orders of restrictions & mask mandates, that don’t make sense. AND Sandy Silver’s irrational opposition to this protest illustrates an anti-democratic agenda with the LibGov.

When you have a population essentially held hostage on the claims of a pandemic, you better be able to provide facts and data. The LibGov failed to do this, again and again. Hence the protest.

Up 27 Down 7

Discussions with HR at Yukon Government on Apr 13, 2021 at 12:42 pm

This person has been very ... active?... on social media, including speaking about the department she works for. She should be allowed to have her own opinions, but I'm betting she's not a designated spokesperson for her department, and that may have been what prompted the discussion.

Up 17 Down 10

My condolences, but on Apr 13, 2021 at 12:39 pm

I don't see how relaxing or removing restrictions is related to this woman's loss. There's lots of blame to go around when it comes to how elderly and vulnerable Canadians weren't protected. My family has several dearly-loved members in assisted living and extended care facilities, and we are so grateful for the care they are being given. We can't visit now as it's too risky - but lots of phone calls, and staff-organized zoom sessions, and everyone's doing their best to stay close and keep them safe. Now that we are vaccinated, and they soon will be, we're all looking forward to physical visits 'soon'.

Up 19 Down 5

I don't want to argue about Texas, but... on Apr 13, 2021 at 12:33 pm

@Corrections, I did read the article that you provided the link to and ... no surprise ....it comes from a sketchy writer writing for a sketchy website. But I do agree with you that so-called facts change depending on where a person looks for them. According to the Johns Hopkins data as of this morning, over the 7-day rolling average, Texas cases have increased 33.1%, deaths have decreased 19.3% (and as I said in original post, 'thank goodness'), hospitalizations have risen 1%, and number of tests have decreased by 34.3%. I'll take that data as more accurate than some guy's on a site called yukon freedom. And enjoy? No I didn't 'enjoy' it but I did read the whole danged thing.

Up 37 Down 39

Gordon of Riverdale on Apr 13, 2021 at 10:14 am

These IQ Impaired can probably get jobs in Ontario hospitals if
they think it's so horrible here.

Up 46 Down 6

Jayne W on Apr 13, 2021 at 10:00 am

I am confused....we are permitted to be outside up to 50 people still being careful. I have no opinion on what this gathering was protesting, but it is allowed right? Would there have been different opinions if they were in a park having a BBQ outside? (again allowed)

Up 37 Down 27

ProScience Greenie on Apr 13, 2021 at 6:02 am

A CV19 Conspiracy Rally? Cool. Was there a QA non shaman buffalo horn dude there?

Up 36 Down 10

Milmfader on Apr 13, 2021 at 5:06 am

70%+ of Yukon has received the first dose of the vaccine. You're a conspiracy theorist if you *don't* think we're safe to open internally, while keeping border restrictions.

Up 32 Down 28

Atom on Apr 12, 2021 at 11:16 pm

Covid sucks but since the world sees the best way to keep the spread of it down is by limiting contact, can anyone come up with a better way to limit contact?
Nobody had any suggestions at the protest obviously.
If folks could lose the 'me' in Covid discussions they would see it is an incredibly difficult situation for leaders around the world. But that's likely never going to happen.
Otherwise we can just continue to expect mocking and belittling of those in charge because those not in charge have nothing to offer that would make any difference in the management of this pandemic.
Kind of gives an insight to the difficult discussions leaders have with constituents who are experiencing tough times....just bitching and moaning really.

Up 48 Down 9

DMZ on Apr 12, 2021 at 10:51 pm

Sandy Silver's remarks against this protest had me considering going, even though I don't go to protests generally. Partly because there seems to have been quite a few protests lately, and there has been no similar tone in relation to them. I don't like the precedent he set there.

Up 38 Down 24

Juniper Jackson on Apr 12, 2021 at 10:15 pm

Silver..and the rest of the ******** *******, I couldn't give a rats *ss what you want. Putting people at risk? The Virus in the Yukon is you. The people putting people at risk is you and the inept, wanderers in the cabinet. Hanley? Silver? The votes are not in as I write this...but I soooo hope you are done and kicked to the curb.

Up 7 Down 16

Correction? on Apr 12, 2021 at 8:43 pm

To: Well, whatever
About facts: They seem to change with whoever you listen to. If you check out this post https://yukonfreedom.com/texas-has-fewer-covid-cases-than-michigan-despite-nearly-20m-more-people-and-no-restrictions/
you will see the following about Texas:
"Numbers often lie, or at least don’t tell the full story. Reports show Texas has been testing less amid the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, which means the government might be missing more positive cases. This might explain why COVID deaths have not fallen quite as fast as cases (though the drop since lifting restrictions is still profound)." There is a lot more to this article. Enjoy.

Up 30 Down 8

SUNJE PETERSEN on Apr 12, 2021 at 6:53 pm

The fundamentals of both - democracy and science - are discussion, hearing the other side, coming to a consensus if possible, probing and evaluation of all sides. None of this is currently happening. Instead we are told a bunch of rambles and told to 'believe'. Personally, I operate on logic, common sense, evaluation of risks, the weighing of positives and negatives, innovation, truth seeking, research, organization, information, debate, listening, idea forming, transparency, hard work. None of this is visible from the Liberal government on a territorial or national level, and none of this is apparent from the health officials. Consenting voices are simply swept under the table as strongly as possible. Not only is our democracy broken but so is our health care system and with it my trust in any government institution. My voice, and the voice of others purposely go unheard, ridiculed, demonized. The fundamentals of democracy and science have been disposed off by politicians and health officials. The results are leading into complete disaster.

Up 31 Down 47

Woodcutter on Apr 12, 2021 at 5:31 pm

Well, we've confirmed that there are at least 45 far right cooks willing to gather. I sure wouldn't use Texas as a benchmark for anything other the crude oil prices. The worry about the economy is the ultimate red herring as at the time of posting this, there is 570 jobs posted on the yuwin site. Perhaps less far right web sites and more looking for work should be the efforts Stephen Roberts spends his time on. Get to work all you free loaders, my taxes can't support all of you.

Complete waste of time to Bash the hard work our medical professionals are doing to keep my family safe. Go cry around else where.

Up 38 Down 12

bonanzajoe on Apr 12, 2021 at 5:23 pm

In reference to the government worker who was called in to explain her actions, I can only say, the Stasi is at work. If I were her, I would find out if her actions are being recorded and on file by the government. The government had no business questioning her if she was doing this on her own time. I smell a possible law suit here.

Up 30 Down 21

bonanzajoe on Apr 12, 2021 at 5:17 pm

I wanted to be there but, because of my age and health, the weather didn't permit me to attend. And because of the blizzard, I thought it would be cancelled. So, I think the organizers of this protest demonstration should have another one soon. If the weather is good, I will be there.

Up 33 Down 14

bonanzajoe on Apr 12, 2021 at 5:12 pm

Just a bit off the topic of the protest demonstration, the gentleman was right about the CBC. This overpaid national media outlet is a Liberal voice. The taxpayer has to foot 1.2 billion of taxpayer money to support it. The CEO and many of its high up staff take home hundreds of thousands of dollars a year salaries. Maybe it's in the millions (each). Not to mention their millions of dollars expense accounts. I read all about the CBC and its high ups. With all the private media outlets out there now, there is no more need for a national media. Especially one that favours a particular political party. I think there should be a national referendum on the CBC.

Up 91 Down 24

Yolande Cherepak on Apr 12, 2021 at 4:44 pm

In response to the protest on Friday: “We believe there are other ways to disagree with government policy without putting lives at risk,” Silver added. (WH Star, April 8, 2021). Over the last year, I personally know many people who have been contacting Dr. Hanley, the Premier MLAs, Directors in Government Departments by email and letters. I have also noticed a few Letters to the Editor and opinion pieces in the local papers. I imagine some of the politicians are having in-person discussions with constituents, especially when the vaccine was rolled out. And frankly, I have yet to see one public response from the government other than the usual covid rhetoric being parroted worldwide. (If there were some meaningful responses from government, someone please post). So really, what does the Premier expect people to do after 14 months and no end in sight?

Up 77 Down 73

Bankrupt Yukoner on Apr 12, 2021 at 3:48 pm

Check out yukonfreedom DOT com for more info, the other side of the story that the corrupt government officials are hiding and lying about.
They'll keep moving the goalposts until everyone is dependent on socialism to have total power and control, agenda 2030.

Up 78 Down 41

Josey Wales on Apr 12, 2021 at 3:48 pm

...as is their right to do so.
for all those eager state compliant SHEEP...you may have forgot about that?

or those things are called rights!

Up 92 Down 23

But if there is a rally for MWIW or Asian hate then its a-ok? on Apr 12, 2021 at 3:33 pm

Funny you're against rallies that question gov, but anything else is a-ok

Will you condemn pride parades and asian hate rallies?

Up 74 Down 18

Bingo on Apr 12, 2021 at 3:29 pm

If people are allowed to fly out and in, or drive out and in of the territory then open the whole dang place up because otherwise it’s totally useless locking people down while others come in and out. If we were serious, Canada wide, we would have shut it ALL down like New Zealand and be done with it.

Up 66 Down 20

Well, whatever on Apr 12, 2021 at 3:25 pm

They absolutely have a right to peacefully protest, no matter that their opinions are based on incorrect information or misguided intentions. Texas, for instance, has seen cases (in spite of decreased testing) increase significantly over the past week - deaths, thank goodness, have decreased, but hospitalizations are creeping up again. But at this stage of the game, I doubt if anyone will be swayed by facts.

Up 56 Down 5

Oya on Apr 12, 2021 at 3:13 pm

Uh oh.
Already called to the HR offices to explain.... I sure hope you've completed your probationary period!

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