Canada Faces Divison in the Fight Against COVID-19

A Canadian Flag is held in a sea of protestors

The following views and opinions expressed are solely my own.

Alberta’s COVID-19 hospitalizations are the highest they have ever been. As of writing, 1,377 are currently hospitalized due to COVID-19. Despite this, hundreds of protestors attended a ‘freedom rally’ at Calgary’s downtown Central Memorial Park, across the street from the Sheldon Chumir Hospital.

“If I had been told 3 years ago that there was a virus which ravaged the healthcare system, and then we found a vaccine which decreased the rate of hospitalizations and severe virus outcomes, I would have never predicted that there would be a huge portion of the population that refused to do their part”.

A healthcare worker sits at their workstation overlooking the protest below

To me, it was a shocking dichotomy. Healthcare workers, strained from a pandemic, were forced to listen to protestors outside their windows. Some of which, deny the fact that COVID-19 has ravaged our healthcare system.

Protestors stand in front of an ambulance exit

During an unrelated visit to Sheldon Chumir Hospital at the same time as an earlier protest I recall the nurse saying “If I had been told 3 years ago that there was a virus which ravaged the healthcare system, and then we found a vaccine which decreased the rate of hospitalizations, I would have never guessed nor predicted that there would be a huge portion of the population that refused to do their part”.

A protestor holds a sign denying the existence of COVID-19

Looking down at the protest today from my balcony, I saw a unified crowd. Children danced and played. Friends embraced, and upbeat music played. At one point, the crowd sang O’ Canada. For a moment I thought to myself that these people aren’t the bad guys. That the protestors who filled the streets meant no harm. Then I looked into the window of the hospital across the street, and I faintly saw an elderly man being cared for by a nurse — and I realized that the people on the streets below cared more about their supposed freedom than his wellbeing.

Medical equipment is seen in the windows of the Sheldon Chumir Hospital, ‘freedom’ protestors are shown in the reflection

The thing is, there are no forced vaccine mandates. There is no lack of choice. You have a choice. However, when you make a choice you have to understand that there may be consequences. If you want to go sit down at a restaurant so badly, then get vaccinated, if you don’t want to get vaccinated; provide a negative test result.

Protestors flock towards Central Memorial Park

Every Saturday, when the protestors engulf Central Memorial Park, I remember that the true patriots are those who bravely fought to protect our Countries freedom, those who are memorialized in this park and are not those who lay their protest signs on the Cenotaph.

Photos taken by Max Howse.

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Maximus Howse

Maximus Howse

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