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NDP demands safety zone legislation to protect against anti-vaxxers

What anti-vaxxers did yesterday in North Bay is despicable. It’s completely unacceptable that any family would be terrorized
File photo

Ontario's NDP says the Province needs to protect parents and their children from harassment from anti-vaccine demonstrators. after protesters verbally assaulted a mother and her kids at a clinic in North Bay over the weekend.

Abby Blaszcyk told BayToday that she was shocked by what she had to endure outside the One Kids Place on Sunday, after being confronted by a band of protesters sporting megaphones.

"We had an afternoon appointment. We pulled up to One Kids Place and there were about 10 protesters, and I use that term loosely, outside. They verbally assaulted us as we drove in; swearing and screaming," she said. 

One man screamed at Blaszczyk’s son that he had been poisoned and yelled at her that she was committing genocide and was a murderer.

See: Local woman outraged by kids vaccine protest

This afternoon, are calling on the Ford government to pass safety zones legislation to protect people from this kind of harassment.
“What anti-vaxxers did yesterday in North Bay is despicable. It’s completely unacceptable that any family would be terrorized like Abby’s was,” said Michael Mantha, MPP for Algoma-Manitoulin. “We should be making it easier for parents to take their kids to get vaccinated against COVID-19, not leaving them vulnerable to walking a gauntlet of hate on their way into their appointment.”
Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath brought forward a private member’s bill in August to create safety zones according to a news release.

"The bill would establish safety zones in places like hospitals, schools and vaccine clinics and protect Ontarians by making it a provincial offence, punishable by a fine of up to $25,000, to subject people like health care heroes and patients, kids and parents, to anti-public health harassment in these areas," says the release.
“It’s heartbreaking to know that North Bay families including Abby’s could have been spared the vitriol they were subjected to Sunday,” said Erika Lougheed, Ontario NDP candidate for Nipissing. “I’m urging our local MPP, Vic Fedeli, and the Doug Ford government to pass safety zone legislation without delay so that no other family in North Bay has to endure what Abby’s family and others endured on Sunday.”

“Any kind of harassment targeting patients or our healthcare heroes is disgusting and completely unacceptable. Unvaccinated individuals are 24 times more likely to be hospitalized and 43 times more likely to be in ICU than fully vaccinated Ontarians. Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect ourselves and our loved ones from COVID-19 and the Delta variant, and will support the province in safely reopening and managing COVID-19 for the long-term.

Fedeli does not support the call for legislation.

He responded to BayToday's request for comment by emailing, “It is already a criminal offence to threaten and intimidate people and police have the power to break up demonstrations. Individuals should not hesitate to call 9-1-1 if they need the support of police, including in cases where they are being threatened.

“No one should be made to feel unsafe for following public health guidelines, like wearing face coverings in public spaces, or rolling up their sleeve to get a COVID-19 vaccine.  Ontarians are better than that and, as we have from the very start of this pandemic, we expect them to do the right thing and follow the public health advice that has helped us keep each other and our communities safe.”