Usually when police see an offence taking place before their very eyes, they move in and take appropriate action.
But that certainly wasn’t the case in the Sault on Friday.
Despite warnings from police and public health earlier in the week about the heavy penalties that could be applied to those organizing and also those attending public gatherings, more than 100 people showed up at Bellevue Park for the “Stand for Freedom” rally protesting the restrictions imposed because of Covid-19.
Sault police officers were there but according to news reports, they only took pictures.
The idea, it seems, is to identify those involved by pouring over the pictures and then issuing fines.
I see this as being patently unfair. Police undoubtedly will not be able to identify all who attended and therefore those whom they can’t identify will escape the fines.
“The whole thing boils down to safety of everyone involved as well as officers,” Lincoln Louttit, a spokesman for Sault Ste. Marie Police Services, was quoted as saying. “By going into a potentially aggravated crowd does not ensure public safety. Public safety is the No. 1 priority there.”
I thought this comment was disingenuous at best.
This was a peaceful protest by people who, although woefully misguided and ill-informed, I can’t see resorting to violence if issued tickets.
I have no doubt some would get mouthy but violence, no.
In warning about the gathering, police stated anyone attending could face fines of up to nearly $1000 under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act and those deemed to be organizers could face fines up to $10,000.
I thought this would be enough to keep people away but apparently not.
Some of those attending were quoted as saying they weren’t anti-mask or anti-vaccine but saw them as infringing on their freedom, that they had had enough of the restrictions.
This is about whether you want to wear a mask, whether or not you want to send your kids to school with masks on, whether or not you want to inject yourself with experimental injections, one said.
Another said lockdowns are extremely damaging and are destroying livelihoods.
“If we do not take these masks off and start rolling our economy back, we’re in big, big trouble,” said the speaker who identified himself as a Canadian Forces veteran.
A woman who identified herself as a personal support worker denied that hospitals were overwhelmed with Covid patients, claiming that the virus has been exaggerated and that the measures taken against the virus by government and public health authorities are an overreaction.
Where have these people been? Do they not read about or see on television what is going on around the world?
Or is it that they just don’t, or can’t, think?
It is all there for everyone to see, especially the situation in India where fires have to be kept burning in cleared areas to get rid of the bodies which, because of Covid, are now too plentiful for the crematoriums to handle.
And you can rail about lockdowns all you want, they along with the continued use of masks are going to help us keep the virus at bay until we all can be fully vaccinated.
But my central point here concerns the police. In future I would prefer that they nail on the spot those who are defying the edicts that have been put in place to protect us all.
They did it at a protest at Station Mall a couple of weeks back. They should have done it here and should especially do it if it happens again.
Unless you are from the Sault or quite old you might not recognize that name since his exploits on the ice were way back in the 1940s and 1950s..
But John Manzo and Gary Trembinski are on a mission to change all that; they want to see Klukay given a spot on the Sault Ste. Marie Walk of Fame.
Named one of the Top 100 Toronto Maple Leafs of all time, Klukay grew up in Bayview. He played more than 560 games with the Leafs and Boston Bruins during a 10-year career that started in 1946 and he won four Stanley Cups during his time with the Leafs.
I came to the Sault in 1975 but I knew about Klukay long before I even knew the Sault existed, hearing his name come up often as my father and I sat in front of our radio to hear Foster Hewitt broadcast Leafs games on Hockey Night in Canada.
I had an 8 by 10 picture of him as I had of all the Leafs. You could get the pictures by sending along a cut-out from Quaker Oats cereal.
Klukay never made it past the third line in those days, the scoring left to the first line of Syl Apps, the captain, at centre with Bill Ezinicki and Harry Watson on the wings and the second line with Ted Kennedy at centre and Vic Lynn and Howie Meeker on the wings.
But he got to play with some real talent shortly as the Leafs got high-scoring Max Bentley from the Chicago Blackhawks.
I didn’t stick around to listen to the Leafs win the Stanley Cups that followed because to get Bentley the Leafs gave up Gaye Stewart, Gus Bodnar and Bud Poile. I went with them as they were my favourite Leafs as they were all from Fort William, the closest big city to my hometown of Dryden.
But I diverge. Klukay is the man at play here.
Manzo and Trembinski are getting a lot of support for their mission, the latest coming from President Brendan Shanahan and general manager Kyle Dubas, also a Sault native, of the Leafs.
I say to those who decide who gets on the Walk of Fame, get it done.