Dr. Joe Vipond’s pro-restriction rallies earned him praise from Alberta’s Official Opposition, attracting protestors, as well as Antifa and supporters of Black Lives Matter (BLM). As Western Standard podcast host Cory Morgan explains, the absence of mainstream media shows Vipond’s efforts are no longer newsworthy.
On August 5, 50 to 60 pro-lockdown protestors awaited to hear from the Alberta ER physician at Calgary’s McDougall Centre, shouting down a lone counter-protester who came prepared with a megaphone. Vipond leaked the AHS memo telling EMS personnel to no longer screen callers for COVID.
Local Antifa members and other supporters of lockdowns came prepared to silence the counter-protester with makeshift signs. Morgan chuckles. "It appears Antifa shops at Safeway," he said.
"I’m not quite sure what the fella is saying on the loudspeaker, but [the protestors] are trying their very best to drown him out," reported Morgan, "and Calgary Police is watching him."
"The Antifa guys are trying to follow him around." One Antifa member carried a sign above the counter-protestor, noting he was "Not a Doctor."
"Lively days in Calgary," said Morgan.
"Either way, I don’t think this is the sort of thing we’re going to see the Kenney government brought to its knees by, any time soon," he added.
Morgan adds that Vipond came to the rally in his scrubs, "as this is indeed political theatre." Vipond, who Morgan catches without a mask, talking two feet from a person "for some time already."
"He’s very flexible with that mask -- when he’s going to wear and when he’s not going to," explains Morgan. "The general strike doesn’t seem to be coming along. It just seems to be more of a general gong show."
He notices the lack of presence from the mainstream media at the protest. "Perhaps they realize that they won’t be able to make much of this, so they probably won’t report on it."
"They’ll probably take Dr. Vipond’s word that there were hundreds of people here."
"Test. Trace. Isolate" was the common phrase written on several other signs protesting the Alberta government’s two-phase rollback of public health measures.
Effective July 29, isolation for anyone with COVID symptoms and confirmed positive cases is still required. All positive cases will continue to be notified. However, contact tracers will no longer notify close contacts of exposure but remain in high-risk settings such as acute and continuing care facilities.
Mandatory masking remains in acute and continuing care facilities, publicly accessible transit, taxis and ride-share. The remaining visitor restrictions, current limits to dining and recreation activities, were also lifted.
Phase two was prolonged by additional six weeks this week due to rising concerns surrounding the Delta variant.
Antifa continued to feel its presence at the rally, using a siren to drown out the counter-protestor. They also set up a speaker to disrupt the proceedings.
"They’ve acknowledged [the counter-protestor] is a colonial," said Morgan, referencing another sign from Antifa.
Shortly after that, BLM came to the scene espousing inflammatory rhetoric towards local law enforcement. "We have Black Lives Matter with their f*ck the police sign," he said, "so that’s adding some class and quality to the people supporting Dr. Vipond."
Dr. Vipond called out a BLM supporter for not wearing a mask, despite not wearing a mask himself. Morgan pointed out several AUPE and CUPE flags present at the rally, calling it another "union gathering."
Antifa then engaged with the lone counter-protestor in a physical altercation. Calgary Police separated the individuals.
Then, BLM spoke, and the crowd cheered. "Black Lives Matter," they shouted.
Dr. Vipond wore a mask on the sidelines, speaking in private with several people. He did not social distance.
Morgan chuckled at the irony of "the far-left [competing with] each other."