The largest crowd to date in more than a month of anti-lockdown protests in Barrie gathered at Meridian Place on Saturday afternoon to hear from Maxime Bernier, leader of the People’s Party of Canada.
The mostly unmasked crowd was made up of young and old, many carrying signs denouncing the Ford government.
Bernier told Barrie 360 he was in Barrie because the most important message he had was to fight for freedom.
“We can’t take our freedom for granted anymore with these authoritarian governments,” said Bernier. ” I think it is unfair what is happening in Ontario and across the country.”
Barrie police confirmed late Saturday afternoon they issued eight provincial offence notices to those in attendance including the event organizer. The notice carries a fine of $800. The event organizer was also charged last Saturday.
Earlier today, the #BarriePolice attended a demonstration at Meridian Place. Despite provincial restrictions, the peaceful crowd began to disperse shortly after 2pm. A total of 8 Provincial Offence Notices were issued to those in attendance including the event organizer. pic.twitter.com/WlfLTcT0ms— Barrie Police (@BarriePolice) April 17, 2021
Before getting on the stage, Bernier mingled with the crowd and posed for pictures.
Bernier said he is against a society where police will ask for your papers.
He was referring to the Ford government’s decision to enhance police powers allowing them to stop motorists and pedestrians to ask them where they live and why they are not at home.
Many police services including Barrie and South Simcoe have said they will not be performing random stops of motorists or persons.
“The People’s Party of Canada is the only national political party that is against these draconian measures,” explained Bernier. “It’s about our way of life. People understand that what is happening is wrong and they know there is never a bad time to fight for freedom.”
Bernier told Barrie 360 the lockdown is a disaster for anyone who owns a business.
“The governments are killing the economy. The cure is worse than the disease and people are fed up. We need to help our small businesses. For us, every business is essential.”
Bernier said he was not going to get the COVID-19 vaccine, and added it’s not because he is opposed to vaccines.
“I have had a lot of vaccines in my life, but not this one because I am in shape. I am 58-years-old and I am in shape, and I have a point-95 per cent chance of surviving if I have COVID.”
Bernier said the People’s Party of Canada is about freedom of choice.
“People must be free to choose if they want a vaccine or not. We are against a vaccine passport.”