PPC leader Maxime Bernier to attend anti-lockdown rally in Barrie, Ont.
BARRIE ,ONT. -- Political leader Maxime Bernier plans to attend a controversial anti-lockdown protest Saturday at Meridian Place in downtown Barrie.
The People's Party of Canada (PPC) leader's tweets about the event caught the attention of city councillor Keenan Aylwin who calls Bernier a "dangerous political figure."
Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman took to Facebook to post an open letter to "anyone planning on coming to the protest this Saturday."
"You are putting lives at risk by illegally gathering. Not just your own lives, but the lives of nurses, doctors, paramedics, police officers, and everyone else in our community. We're writing to urge you to think about these people and reconsider how you choose to protest," the letter reads.
Recurring anti-lockdown demonstrations have drawn hundreds of people to Meridian Place since early March. Barrie police slapped the organizer with an $800 fine for defying provincial restrictions last weekend after roughly 300 people gathered, most not wearing face masks or social distancing.
Aylwin posted to Twitter Bernier should "stay away."
On Thursday, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit reported 132 new infections and one more death.
Hospital officials warn health care is at a tipping point.
Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre's president and CEO said the third wave "is nothing like we've seen before and perhaps never wanted to imagine."
Janice Skot went on to add the number of infected patients in the past month has surged. "We have 32 COVID-19 positive patients at RVH. Seven of those patients are in our intensive care unit, and six are on ventilators." The Barrie hospital has been admitting patients from overwhelmed GTA hospitals.
"You may think this is about freedom, but it isn't - you are only contributing to the spread of this virus, which in turn robs people of their freedom by getting them sick. You are endangering the very people you think you are advocating for by making it unsafe for them to be in a public square," Lehman states in the letter signed by city councillors.
Ontario implemented a Stay-At-Home order on April 8 that requires residents to leave their households for essential reasons only in an attempt to curb transmission.
Barrie police said officers would continue enforcement efforts and recognizes "the right to participate in demonstrations," however, the service added it "is committed to ensuring that provincial orders are followed, and community safety and public health measures are respected."
The demonstration is planned for Saturday at noon.