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
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.”