Anti-mask sentiment got a little louder this past weekend with a rally in Vancouver and a disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel, and the B.C. premier said he’s always worried when misinformation is being spread.

NDP leader John Horgan, in a phone interview, was asked about recent anti-mask protests including Saturday’s incident on a ferry sailing from Nanaimo to West Vancouver. Horgan said he thinks the vast majority of British Columbians understand what it means to be a good citizen.

“If people aren’t prepared to live by the rules in a civil society, they don’t have to participate,” he said. “If you don’t want to take a B.C. ferry, get a water taxi, buy a boat, but do not put people at risk because you don’t believe that COVID-19 exists. It does, hundreds of people have died in British Columbia … and I’m personally not prepared to accept people disregarding facts and science.”

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He said one only needs to look to the United States to see consequences of misinformation about COVID-19. He contrasted the U.S. experience with B.C., which he said has led the continent “if not the world” in keeping mortality rates and cases per capita low.

Horgan said British Columbians need to continue to depend on one another. Health officials don’t want people to think that masks are “shields of invincibility,” he said, but have repeatedly advised that masks can help protect others from the spread of the virus.

Horgan said talking to people during the election campaign, “it’s all about getting through COVID-19,” but that comes with unknowns – he said there will still be a pandemic in the spring, likely next fall as well and maybe into 2022.

He said “healing will happen” in B.C. politics after the election and he hopes that whatever the next government looks like, there will be the kind of co-operation that he saw early on in the pandemic “so that we could get to that place we were in March and April where we were all focused on making sure our communities were safe, healthy and secure.”

To read the full interview, click here.

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editor@nanaimobulletin.com

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