An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
THE ANTI-VAX CONSPIRACY has revealed itself at last. There’s a grand plot afoot to take over the world.
It all became clear on election night, when the anti-vaxxer party led by Maxime Bernier — the People’s Party of Canada — outpolled the Greens and suddenly became something of a political force.
We may write off the anti-vaxxers and far-righters as a passing thing that will soon disappear but don’t be so sure. They thrive on negative publicity and we’re playing right into their hands.
Crazy like a fox might be one way to describe the movement. For example, there’s the protests staged in front of hospitals and then schools.
“Completely unacceptable,” “appalling” and “disgraceful” are among the adjectives used to describe these rallies. After a number of protesters entered schools in Salmon Arm, authorities temporarily locked down the schools.
Before the protesters take exception to being called “anti-vaxxers,” let’s clarify that for the purposes of this discussion, the term encompasses those who are against all vaccinations, those who are against COVID vaccinations and those who are simply against the vaccine card.
All it takes to understand that they’re a very small percentage of the total population is to look at the vaccination rates. Almost 78 per cent of British Columbians have received at least one dose, and the numbers are increasing, especially since the card was announced.
When you’re small in numbers, you have to shout louder. In the case of the anti-vaxxers, that includes making lots of people mad by protesting at inappropriate venues.
Staging rallies at hospitals and schools has gotten the anti-vaccination crowd more publicity than they could ever have gotten by waving their placards in public parks or in front of government offices. And now, their disaffection has found a national voice in the PPC.
OK, maybe they won’t take over the world but the anti-vax, far-right bunch is obviously here to stay.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at email@example.com.