Dozens of Calgary firefighters, EMS and police, stood for one hour in silence Tuesday at City Hall in solidarity against government mandates. More first responder demonstrations are in the works and will be announced soon, according to Calgary Freedom Central.
"My Body, No, My Choice," read a sign from one of the protestors.
Another read, "Frontline for Freedom."
"No Mandates. First Responders United."
The City of Calgary declared a State of Local Emergency (SOLE) on September 3 to combat the spread of COVID. The decision redirected resources for "essential services" in light of growing COVID cases and hospitalizations and to protect Calgary's most vulnerable.
"We are going to continue to use every tool in our toolbox and work extremely hard in the best interests of our citizens, communities and businesses," wrote a City release.
Shortly after, the first responders linked their arms as they continued their silent protest. Several onlookers honked their horns in support.
They proceeded to pay their respects to a City Hall plaque honouring the bravery and sacrifices of first responders, which states "Duty with Honour."
Other protesters present cheered them on, chanting "freedom, freedom" repeatedly.
Last Friday, the City also mandated COVID vaccinations for its employees, citing the "ample scientific proof" that vaccines are the "most effective way" to minimize the spread and protect City staff from acquiring or spreading COVID.
The announcement comes as Premier Jason Kenney and Health Minister Shandro instated several public health measures, including a province-wide mask mandate, ending liquor sales past 10 pm and a $100 vaccine incentive program to bolster vaccination rates.
In a letter penned by 12 Edmonton area mayors, they state that “Residents should not be expecting municipal councils to assume public health policy development and responsibilities,” writes the letter, adding concerns over costs to municipal taxpayers.
The signatories called on the Alberta government to release regional COVID-19 data, adding that “more responsive and transparent public communications” would protect “the prosperity of our economy.”
A recent Leger poll found that 57 percent of Albertans "strongly support" mandating a vaccine passport, while 20 percent "somewhat support" and four percent "somewhat oppose."
Only 20 percent "strongly oppose" vaccine passports.
Thirty one percent of residents are "total satisfied" with the provincial measures put in place to fight COVID, while a whopping 50 percent are "very dissatisfied."
A City release states that any City employee who cannot be immunized due to a medical reason or other protected grounds under the Alberta Human Rights Act will be reasonably accommodated.
"Those employees who require accommodation must undergo mandatory rapid testing and must receive a negative result before they are permitted to fulfill their duties in City workspaces. Failure to comply with the policy could result in discipline up to and including dismissal."
The City will require all employees to disclose and provide proof of their vaccination status or grounds for exemption by September 3. Unvaccinated staff without an exemption will have to have their first dose by this date.
By October 18, it will be mandatory for all employees to receive two doses of the COVID vaccination. All City employees without a valid exemption will be considered fully immunized by October 31.