BC To Impose Collective Punishment; While Covid Scofflaws Go Free, Uncharged

Collective punishment against an entire civilian populations is considered such a heinous , unjustifiable, discriminatory action worldwide, it is banned in international treaties.

But in BC, collective punishment will become LAW this Friday, imposed by a provincial government misusing and abusing the Emergency Program Act.

Under the new restrictions, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth will BAN any BC resident from crossing/travelling from one BC Health region into another, except for “essential” reasons.

Under the Act, it will be illegal for anyone, say, living in Vancouver (Coastal Health Region) to cross Boundary Road and enter Burnaby (Fraser Health Region) … even if they live within a few blocks of the municipal border … to shop, do restaurant take-outs or visit family and friends, under outdoor Covid-safe protocols.

And vice-versa: no one living in Burnaby, for example, will legally be able to cross into Vancouver to frequent their favorite businesses there or get together, even outside, with family and friends.

But ironically, if you live in Vancouver, you will legally be able to drive all the way to Squamish for lunch, because it’s in the same regional health region!

And the same ludicrous rules/controls will be LAW throughout the province … establishing arbitrary “Do Not Cross” lines between communities just feet apart, while allowing hundreds of kilometres travel WITHIN any artificially-established “health” region.

This is a ridiculous, ill thought out, unfair and dictatorial over-reach by politicians … made easier by BC’s mostly complacent, compliant media. … who should be screaming like hell about how the NDP government is now trampling on our citizens’ basic civil rights.

All the while as BC authorities at every level FAIL to enforce existing Public Health Orders against massive public violations/gatherings.

Where were Public Health Officials, Vancouver Police, Park Board Officers when hundreds of partying yahoos gathered in English Bay; when masses of people piled into a Surrey cavalcade of vehicles and gathered downtown to protest farm rules in India; when hundreds gather/crowd in a mass 4/20 smoke-in at Second Beach???

With few or zero tickets/charges laid or handed out at ANY of them, hitting the REAL Covid-rule violators and potential virus spreaders!

Much easier to pick on and punish those who are trying very hard and have been succeeding in following the rules?

The BC government regularly preaches to the converted: admonishing us to follow the rules; expressing exasperation at those ignoring them (and I daresay not watching Horgan or Farnworth rant on tv either).

And has imposed almost incalculable suffering and closures on Covid-careful and law-abiding restaurants, bars and religious gatherings.

But don’t have a backbone to actually go after and DO anything to the large groups who gather and openly flaunt and mock the Public Health Orders.

Yet, in true dictatorial fashion, police will be carrying out border checks, empowered to impose $750 fines for “violators”!

Premier John Horgan called it “random audits”, but let’s keep it real: these will be road blockades, manned by armed police, interfering in citizens’ basic rights just to move around from one community to a neighboring one.

For ALL law-abiding citizens, this is totally unacceptable … an abuse of power in any free and democratic state.

Does anybody really believe, there won’t be accusations and possibilities that these traffic stops/enforcements/tickets won’t be administered totally equally: regardless of colour, ethnicity, clothing (hippies, turbans or hijabs)?

And, once stopped, what’s to stop police from searching a vehicle if, in the course of the identification of the driver/passengers, they have “reason to believe” other legal violations “may” be occurring?

This is unacceptable collective punishment … a serious violation of British Columbians’ civil rights … going well beyond any reasonable, defensible health measures.

Harv Oberfeld

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