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'Vancouver doesn’t want you here': Mayor addresses Saturday's planned protest convoy

"Hate has no place in our city," says Kennedy Stewart
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Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart has issued a statement in response to a planned "Freedom Convoy" anti-vaccine mandate protest due to arrive in Vancouver on Sat. Feb. 5, 2022.

With another anti-vaccine mandate trucker "convoy" protest slated to arrive in Vancouver Saturday morning (Feb. 5), Mayor Kennedy Stewart has issued a firm warning: "Vancouver doesn’t want you here."

Stewart issued a statement in response to the planned convoy, which is targeting the media and will see vehicles arrive in downtown Vancouver after driving via convoy from Langley.

Dubbed the "Stand United 'The Media is the Virus' Convoy/CTV Rally", supporters will start out in Langley on Saturday around 9 a.m. The convoy will then make their way to Nanaimo St., make a left at East Broadway, a right at Burrard St. to arrive at the CTV Vancouver headquarters on Robson St. One plan is for participants to turn in forms of "media liability" accusations

Stewart says he has been briefed on the event and law enforcement's planned response by the City Manager and the Vancouver Police Department's Emergency Planning and Operational Section (EOPS).

"EOPS is closely monitoring the situation and taking necessary steps in preparation," states Stewart. "I have full confidence in VPD Chief Palmer and his team who will be directing the response to the Vancouver portion of this protest."

Among the primary concerns is the fact that the convoy's planned route goes by "three important healthcare facilities," points out Stewart. Specifically, the route will pass St. Paul’s Hospital, Mount Saint Joseph Hospital, and Vancouver General Hospital. 

Hospitals and vaccination clinics have been the site of organized and one-off protests over the past several months, where people objecting to federal and provincial COVID-19 prevention measures, masks mandates, vaccination policies and the like have gathered, sometimes harassing staff and volunteers or interfering with emergency vehicle access.

"While every Canadian has a right to peaceful and respectful protest, nobody has the right to promote hate, jeopardize the safety of our communities, or interfere with access for patients, staff, or first responders," says Stewart.

Stewart also spoke out Friday to address allegations that the trucker or "freedom" convoy participants have been sharing racist and anti-Semitic symbols and language, and included health care workers in his message: "Hate has no place in our city. We all have to stand together against hate in all its forms, including when it targets frontline and healthcare workers."

Here is Mayor Kennedy Stewart's statement about the Feb. 5 convoy in full: 

This weekend we are expecting to see anti-COVID mandate protests making their way across the Lower Mainland, ending in downtown Vancouver.

As the Mayor of a city with an over 95 per cent vaccination rate, my message to the convoy is this: Vancouver doesn’t want you here. Make your point and then go home.

To prepare for this event, I have been briefed by the City Manager and the VPD Emergency Planning and Operational Section (EOPS). EOPS is closely monitoring the situation and taking necessary steps in preparation. I have full confidence in VPD Chief Palmer and his team who will be directing the response to the Vancouver portion of this protest. 

The proposed route passes three important healthcare facilities. While every Canadian has a right to peaceful and respectful protest, nobody has the right to promote hate, jeopardize the safety of our communities, or interfere with access for patients, staff, or first responders.

Hate has no place in our city. We all have to stand together against hate in all its forms, including when it targets frontline and healthcare workers.