SONIA FURSTENAU -- We must name racism, homophobia, transphobia and all other forms of hate for what they are, and combat them
In response to the recent anti-vaccine mandate protests, Sonia Furstenau, leader of the B.C. Greens and MLA for Cowichan Valley, has issued the following statement:
"It has been a difficult weekend for people across the country. Explicitly racist imagery has been paraded through our cities and white supremacy has been allowed to find a home within this movement. Like many Canadians, I am frightened by these events.
“We must reject white supremacy in all its forms. This means standing with all those who experience true marginalization and violence. These protests took place at the end of a week when we observed Holocaust Remembrance Day, the anniversary of the Quebec City mosque shooting, and at the beginning of Black History month.
“We must name racism, homophobia, transphobia and all other forms of hate for what they are, and combat them. We must focus on the scientific facts about the benefits of vaccines, masks, filtration and other public health guidelines, and the role these play in keeping society functioning during a global pandemic. We must always have the expectation of clear, transparent, science-based, and reliable action from our governments. We must have public health guidance that focuses on the health of the community as a whole.
“These two years have been difficult for everyone. This pandemic is not over and public health measures and policies can help us stay healthy and protect our already overburdened healthcare system. Millions of Canadians have supported public health measures for close to two years, and continue to do so.
“As a historian, I am reflecting on how we have arrived at this place; how easily misinformation has thrived and divided communities, how trust in government has been deeply shaken. It prompts the question, where do we go from here?
“Good governance must start with acknowledging the present, and commit to moving forward in the pursuit of a compassionate democracy that focuses on rebuilding trust, creating community, and leading with honesty.”