A recent presentation by Ron Voss to Cochrane town council has encouraged Councillor Patrick Wilson to join the Liberty Coalition Canada's End the Lockdowns Caucus.
While July 1 will see the removal of most health restrictions in Alberta, the organization and its supporter believe actions taken have set a precedence that will make it easy to enact again, and along the way trample civil liberties.
That's the mains reason Wilson cites for deciding to join the caucus. He has expressed concerns on multiple occasions in council debates on pandemic restrictions, particularly the face mask bylaw, which he consistently opposed.
"It's a concern that if it happened this easily this time, it could happen more easily for the next emergency event."
Joining the coalition aligns with his views, and he didn't push for the entire council to join because there didn't appear to any support.
"It was a civil liberties position that I've argued a few times. I don't believe there were appropriate balances taken in several incidences with COVID lockdown measures, and masking was one example of what I didn't agree with. There were several others, obviously, too."
He says he was angered and depressed by a lot of the things that have happened.
"Our businesses have suffered, kids weren't able to engage in sports, schools were closed down. I thought the trampling of a broad base of liberties was not balanced, and I was concerned by the lack of pushback we saw against it."
Some masking will continue to be required in certain situations after July 1. This week, Dr. Deena HInshaw, Chief Medical Officer of Health, announced their use will remain mandatory in cabs and on public transit for an undetermined period of time.
Wilson says some municipalities appear to be keeping measures in place beyond what the province requires. He points to the current Calgary bylaw that calls for the use of masks until the end of 2021.
"It's kind of scary that the municipalities would overrule the provincial health guidelines. I'm glad it's not Cochrane, anyway."
Council voted 4-3 to not extend its mask bylaw beyond May 1. Instead, it is following provincial directives. Wilson says he was surprised by the vote.
"That was our third vote on it, and I assumed more of the same 5-2 as it had gone a few times previous. I was kind of surprised."
The coalition is formed by political leaders at the municipal, provincial, and federal level. It is in response to what they call unprecedented mass violations of Canadian’s Charter Rights in response to the pandemic.
On June 14, Ron Voss provided town council with the other side of the story. He sought their rejection of lockdowns and wanted them to join the Liberty Coalition Caucus.
Instead, his presentation was accepted as information, and only Councillor Wilson opted to join.
Voss says countering viewpoints on the pandemic have been subject to censorship, even by local media. There were nearly a dozen supporters in the audience for his presentation.
"That counter-narrative is being suppressed. Somebody like Roger Hodkinson, if you ever see any of his videos and you put it up, YouTube will take it down. If you put it on Facebook, they'll take it down. I think that's one of the horrible things here, and I pointed out in my talk that the best way to come to the best solution is to allow divergent opinions to take place."
He says the Great Barrington Declaration was signed by 50,000 doctors and scientists, including world-renown epidemiologists he believes Dr. Hinshaw couldn't hold a candle to.
Dr. Hodkinson has called the pandemic the biggest hoax ever perpetrated on an unsuspected public and is merely a bad flu. His views have been condemned by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.