January 16th, 2021

Don’t criticize for taking a stand

By Lethbridge Herald Opinon on September 10, 2020.

The right to protest peacefully is one which every Canadian and every Lethbridge resident has. And as long as it remains peaceful, that right is sacrosanct.

On Tuesday about 80 people came to a city council meeting to protest the temporary face-covering bylaw. Agree or disagree – call them COVIDIOTS or defenders of freedom – the people who came out protested while not exactly legally, (they had no permit, wore no masks, defied provincial public health orders and entered city council chambers after being asked not to in such numbers), they did so peacefully and left promptly after making their point to city council.

What followed was a free-for-all on social media with some praising the protesters and others disparaging and maligning them – calling for them to be punitively fined under the City’s masking bylaw for daring to engage in such a civil protest action.

On Aug. 31 about 100 harm-reduction advocates also protested peacefully in front of city hall. They had a proper permit. They held a “Die-In” protest on a public sidewalk. They were passionate in making their point. They harmed no one. Interfered with no one. And left peacefully after making their point.

What followed was a free-for-all on social media with some praising the protesters and others disparaging and maligning them for daring to express their opinions publicly.

We live in a strange society where some people seem to think their opinion is the only one that matters, and that others of contrary opinion should be silenced or shunned. That is not democracy. Nor is it an expression of democracy to advocate for the silencing of any voice, regardless of your political affiliation, just because you don’t like to hear a contrary opinion to your own.

It is good to see we have such an engaged citizenry in Lethbridge who are willing to take specific actions to express their political viewpoints. It means we have a healthy democracy, and have found the right balance between free speech and respect for the political system we have in the city. And, of course, the ultimate expression of that is the vote.

Don’t like something going on in city council or provincial politics? Get out and vote for the change you want. Volunteer with a political campaign. Help organize a community action.

Sitting back and slagging others on social media for being brave enough to express their political views in public forums and engage in peaceful protest is not democracy in action.

More often than not, sadly, it amounts to nothing more than, as Shakespeare once said, “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Comment on this editorial online at https://www.lethbridgeherald.com/opinions/

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Citi Zen

There needs to be some balance here. Does this now mean that I, or anyone, can storm a Council meeting to make a “presentation”? Does this now mean that I cannot be penalized if I walk into City Hall without a mask?
What these people did was unlawful. If I did that, I would be thrown out instantly, and penalized.
The Mayor stated that he didn’t want them penalized. He has absolutely no authority to do that; once a bylaw is passed, it becomes entirely law enforcement matter.

Last edited 4 months ago by Citi Zen

The very definition of disingenuous can be found in an article which espouses free speech and involvement and berates those who voice criticism or advocate a contrary position yet proceeds to quote the Bard to suggest such people may be idiots.
CitiZen : If this editorial is to be accepted as Gospel the short answer to your query is YES . Storm away …speech and free expression are now a sign of weakness or mental defect whereas illegal mob activities are signs of civic involvement and earn you a free pass from our civic “leaders?”.


Entering the City Hall and the Council Chambers was an illegal act in blatant defiance of Municipal legislation and could be interpreted as contravening the UCP government’s Bill 1 and current Health Orders from the office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health.
This act can in no way be referred to as being a brave expression of anything of substance.
Storming City Hall and the Council Chambers and refusing to abide by legislation and requests to remove themselves is nothing more than bullying and intimidation.
This act also carried the very real potential for spreading COVID-19 to others.

Southern Albertan

It needs to be kept in mind here, at the bottomest of lines, is the very, dangerous, and tricky COVID-19 virus. Case in point, the 2020 Sturgis motorcycle rally in South Dakota where over 500,000 gathered without distancing, masks, ?hygiene…., and is now being dubbed a ‘super-spreader.’ Over 260,000 who were there have acquired COVID and it is being estimated that it will cost over $12 billion in health costs. Money, always, talks, in the long run.

Southern Albertan

To add:
“She was 28.
She taught 3rd grade.
She tested positive for COVID19 on Friday.
And died Monday.apnews.com/4ee025ba6c4c19….”
Perhaps, we all need to get more real here.


The logic underlying your editorial “Don’t criticize for taking a stand” seems somewhat suspect. Many municipalities (e.g. Calgary, Taber, etc.) have bylaws against public spitting, urination, or defecation. According to the logic of your editorial, any person could peacefully (non-violently) protest against these bylaws by spitting, urinating or defecating in public at their City Hall. And by the way, the threat to the public from any of these particular disgusting activities doesn’t even come close to the dangers posed by not wearing a mask during a pandemic which continues to spread.