“As you can imagine, (a parent and child) being told (during one incident at a vaccination clinic in Niagara) “…the government is experimenting on you” and “You are going to die” at 7 years old only causes immense anxiety on a child.” – Jennie Stevens, NDP MPP for St. Catharines
An Open Letter to Premier Doug Ford from St. Catharines NDP MPP Jennie Stevens
Posted December 6th, 2021 on Niagara At Large
A Brief Foreword from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper –
As COVID-19 vaccines began rolling out in Ontario late this November for children age 5 to 11, members of the anti-vaxxer cult went straight to work, verbally harassing parents and children at vaccination clinics across the province.
During at least one recent incident reported to St. Catharines MPP Jennie Stevens at a clinic in Niagara, anti-vaxxers outside warned a mother going in with a seven-year old, that she was allowing her child to be experimented on and that the child will die from the vaccine.
In another egregious case of harassment in the North Bay, Ontario area, a mother taking her young son into a clinic was told by anti-vaxxer demonstrates that she was participating in an act of “genocide” by vaccinating her child because she was “murdering” him.
Unlike those who choose not to take a vaccine that has already proven to keep people from getting seriously ill and dying, and is making life safer for everyone else, parents across Niagara and the rest of Ontario are going to vaccination clinics with children who, in many cases, are already afraid of getting a needle.
How disgusting it is that these parents and children then find themselves running a gauntlet of anti-vaxxer fanatics going out of their way to verbally assault them with language that reportedly has brought at least some of the kids to tears.
How disgusting! And why aren’t police and other authorities doing more to crack down on behavior that is a gross abuse of the right we all have in this country to engage in civil protest.
It is in this context that St. Catharines NDP MPP Jennie Stevens wrote the following open letter this December 3rd to Ontario Premier Doug Ford –
‘I am writing today on behalf of families in my riding of St. Catharines and across Niagara that are attempting to get their children vaccinated.
With the rollout of vaccines for children aged 5-11, parents are doing all they can to quickly book appointments, ensuring their children can return to school and to a life of normalcy.
As you know, the vaccination process can be frightening for many young children and the provincial government needs to enact policy to ensure no child will face harassment while attempting to receive their vaccine.
I heard from a very concerned mother yesterday, whose child was met with anti-public health harassment outside a vaccination centre earlier this week.
The group of protestors tried intimidating not only the mother, but turned their scare tactics toward this young child as well, impeding access to the clinic and forcibly putting pamphlets into the child’s hand. It took the mother and centre staff thirty minutes to calm the child down.
As you can imagine, being told “…the government is experimenting on you” and “You are going to die” at 7 years old only causes immense anxiety on a child. Children aren’t able to differentiate the quality of information from a doctor or a protestor. They aren’t able to ignore the shouting, look the other way and keep walking.
As a result of these instances, I contacted our municipality, local public health unit and Niagara Regional Police.
As you are aware, these instances of harassment have impacted other communities like North Bay and Whitby.
Similar to those regional police forces, Niagara Regional Police are stepping up, but it would help if we had a consistent policy for all of residents of Ontario Niagara Public Health has worked hard throughout the pandemic to keep people safe in St. Catharines, and while they are working on a policy to deal with the matter of harassment experienced this week, it is deeply disappointing to see the provincial governments inaction.
Your government already has policy on-hand to create safety-zones and prevent harassment – step up and do the
We already have legislation on the books that can be passed through the assembly this week. The Leader of the Opposition, Andrea Horwath, brought forward the Stopping Anti-Public Health Harassment Act, which creates safety zones around our public health spaces.
Safety zones that will protect children from being harassed while trying to get their vaccination.
Our children deserve to calmly attend a vaccine centre without heckling, shouting, intimidation and feeling scared.
The Niagara community has done their part since the beginning of the pandemic to keep each other safe. Now, it’s time you do your part and approve legislation available to combat harassment against children and families.
I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible.’
Sincerely, Jennie Stevens, MPP for St. Catharines
To read some related stories on this issue, click on the following links – https://www.insauga.com/noted-anti-vaxxer-arrested-at-whitby-childrens-vaccine-clinic/ https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/sudbury/north-bay-childrens-vaccine-clinic-harassment-1.6266942
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