VANCOUVER, B.C. – The Green Party of Vancouver stands in strong opposition to the dangerous and deceptive two-day ‘freedom rally’ scheduled for this weekend in Vancouver. While we unequivocally support the right to free speech and political protests, the rally and its organizers are promoting inaccurate, divisive, and harmful information which directly oppose Greens’ commitment to evidence-based policies and a healthy participatory democracy.
The Party, backed by its full Caucus and Board, has signed on to the letter of concern put out by the Vancouver & District Labour Council (VDLC) and are supporting their effort to shed light on the growing movement of conspiracy theorists, hate-groups, and those spreading misinformation about Covid-19.
“We at the Green Party have serious concerns regarding this event and others like it which have taken place over the past few months” said Anthony Hughes, Chair of the Green Party of Vancouver.
“As Greens our founding values include Non-violence, Social Justice, and Respect for Diversity; as such we stand staunchly opposed to all forms of hate and bigotry, as well as any groups or individuals who put the public’s safety at risk with misinformation.
“We want to be clear that hate and untruths in any form go against our Green values and our code of conduct, and we will always stand up against anyone furthering hatred and misinformation.”
Green Party of Vancouver School Trustee Lois Chan-Pedley fears the impact it will have on students in Vancouver.
“We have seen how divisive rhetoric and misinformation about Covid-19 in America has put the health and safety of students at risk,” said Chan-Pedley. “The consequences are long term and far-reaching. We have to combat this by making a united stand against this dangerous movement.”
Stuart Mackinnon, Green Party Park Board Commissioner, is concerned about how quickly this movement and its message could spread.
“In our role at Parks, we’ve seen a lot of untruths and falsehoods propagate since the pandemic began,” said Mackinnon.
“The rhetoric we’ve seen coming from proponents and supporters of the rally has become increasingly hateful and deceitful; it puts people’s physical, mental and emotional wellbeing at risk at a time when people are already struggling.”
City Councillor Pete Fry stressed the importance of standing up to bigotry.
“None of us can afford to shirk away from these difficult conversations,” said Fry.
“We need to stand firmly against hate, racism, and bigotry in all forms, shed light on untruths, and be clear about the dangerous divisive nature of these types of events and the kinds of rhetoric and anger they foster.”
The Green Party of Vancouver will not be taking part in any in-person events opposing this rally in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Instead the Party is encouraging their supporters and the public to speak out against hatred and misinformation wherever and whenever they witness it.