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Port Coquitlam mayor on Terry Fox protest flag: 'You don't get to appropriate his legacy'

Port Coquitlam's mayor didn't mince words when he criticized protesters' use of Terry Fox as a prop to protest COVID-19 vaccine mandates
Vaccine protest
Protesters in support of truckers waved Canadian flags and freedom posters on the Brunette overpass in Coquitlam on Jan. 29. 2022.

Port Coquitlam's mayor had harsh words today (Jan. 29) for vandals who put anti-vaccine mandate posters on a statue of hometown hero Terry Fox during a protest in Ottawa.

In tweets, Brad West called for the items to be immediately removed from the statue, which included an upside-down Canadian flag, a ball cap and a sign that read "mandate freedom."

The PoCo mayor acknowledged he did not support the use of the statue as a way to raise awareness about protesters' concerns.

"I’m the Mayor of Terry Fox’s hometown," West wrote.

"He’s our city’s hero, national inspiration and a unifier. Whatever your cause, you don’t get to appropriate his legacy and you don’t touch his statue. Ever. This should be removed immediately."

Later in an interview with Global News, West said the defacement of the Terry Fox statue was "sickening" and, like many Port Coquitlam residents, if he lived closer he would drive his truck to the monument and remove the "crap" himself.

Saturday's protest in Ottawa was the culmination of several days of a convoy of Canadian truckers crossing Canada to raise concerns about vaccine mandates.

Though the aim of the protest is ostensibly to oppose vaccine mandates for truck drivers crossing the Canada-U.S. border, attendees have said that is only a small part of their demands.

A long-time former Tri-City Conservative MP also took to Twitter to oppose the placing of protest material on the Terry Fox statue.

James Moore, who was most recently the MP for Port Moody-Westwood-Coquitlam from 2004 to 2015 also criticized the draping of signage and a Canadian flag.

"Terry Fox died of cancer that he exacerbated on his Marathon of Hope running across Canada trying to raise money to fight a deadly disease - quite the opposite of what’s happening here. Have a protest, do your thing, don’t disrespect this monument of a Canadian hero," stated Moore.

Port Moody-Coquitlam MP Bonita Zarrillo retweeted a tweet criticizing the use of Terry Fox as a prop for protest signs and Coquitlam-Maillardville MLA Selina Robinson also raised concerns about the use of swastika imagery.

Trucks outfitted with Canadian flags and signs joined in a convoy in Metro Vancouver Saturday, driving down the freeway to Vancouver, with many honking their horns and supporters on the sidelines showing their agreement for the convoy by holding their own signs and flags.

About two dozen protesters stood on the Brunette overpass late Saturday morning waving flags and urging drivers to honk in support.

- with files from The Canadian Press