Effigies featuring the faces of Premier John Horgan and other provincial ministers were hung by the neck by demonstrators on the steps of the B.C. Legislature on Thursday (Dec. 9).
The effigy hanging act occurred as hundreds gathered outside the government buildings during an anti-vaccine card event billed as the 75th anniversary of the Nuremberg Trials. The faces of the premier, Health Minister Adrian Dix and Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth were among four effigies seen in videos posted to social media.
In a Monday statement to Black Press Media, B.C. Attorney General David Eby said the “implied or actual threats of violence are totally unacceptable.”
“One of the things that makes Canada and British Columbia a wonderful place to live is that we can strongly disagree without threatening each other’s safety,” said Eby, “when people cross that line and move to threats and physical intimidation as a political tactic or for any other reason, it’s up to all of us to speak out against this threat to everyone’s quality of life.”
A Victoria police spokesperson said they are aware of the incident and “are gathering information about the nature and circumstances of what occurred.”
The event also called for an end to the province’s proof-of-vaccination system. In some social media videos, speakers at the event are heard using a derogatory term for Indigenous people as they compared the B.C. vaccine card to the pass system – where Indigenous people had to get permission from an Indian agent in order to leave and return to their reserves. The proof-of-vaccination system requires people to show they’ve received two doses to access some events, services and businesses.
The event at the legislature was sponsored by Common Ground magazine, which describes itself as “dedicated to health, wellness, ecology and personal growth.” Black Press Media has reached out to Common Ground for comment, but has not yet received a response.
The Dec. 9 event’s page advanced several falsehoods about COVID-19 vaccines and compared Canadian officials to those presiding over Nazi Germany.
“Just as our parents and grandparents fought the Nazis in the 1940s to protect our democratic freedoms, we are fighting these medicalized fascists and their corrupted government actors now,” the event page states.
A day before the event, the Jewish Federation of Victoria and Vancouver Island condemned the sponsoring magazine and the event.
“Common Ground has devoted their most recent publication and has organized an event aimed at equating the horrors of the Holocaust with our current science-based public health policy which is containing the coronavirus pandemic,” wrote federation president Jeff Kushner. “Through their actions, a fringe group of extremists is trivializing the Holocaust – a well-known tactic used by Jew-hating groups everywhere.
“There is no room for Jew-hatred or indeed any form of racism in Canadian society, and there is equally no room in our society to equate those on the front line of combating the pandemic with the demented monsters of the Nazi regime.”
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