On a gorgeous Sunday November morning in Toronto, hundreds assembled at Nathan Phillips Square to take in a service by Pastor Henry Hildebrandt of the Church of God in Aylmer, Ont. The pastor was followed by various eloquent speakers campaigning for the kind of freedom we used to enjoy circa 2019.
The good news: Mayor John Tory did not call in the goon squad to break up the protest.
This is something he has embraced to quash anti-lockdown protesters at both Nathan Phillips Square and Yonge-Dundas Square going back to January of this year. (Of note: if you want to demonstrate at these Hogtown squares in support of, say, Hamas or the Tamil Tigers terrorist organization, His Worship has no problem with that kind of protest.)
Some of the people speaking at the protest were members of law enforcement. Even though they were out of uniform and on their own time, this made for risky behaviour indeed.
Just ask Adrienne Gilvesy. This Toronto police detective-constable is now under investigation by her own police force.
Her alleged crime? Speaking at a Queen’s Park freedom rally back in September. Even though Adrienne was not in uniform and was speaking on her day off, this was somehow deemed to be an egregious sin. Yet, how odd that going back to the summer of 2020, Toronto police officers on duty and in full uniform (including the then-chief) repeatedly bent the knee to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
Sorry, does not compute…
Another notable speaker was Dr. Julie Ponesse.
Dr. Ponesse taught ethics at Huron University College, which is affiliated with Western University in London, Ont. That is, until she stated on social media that she believes vaccine mandates are “ethically wrong.”
That led to Dr. Ponesse becoming the latest victim of cancel culture as her employment was promptly terminated by the university. (The silver lining: Western’s loss is The Democracy Fund’s gain as Dr. Ponesse is now the Pandemic Ethics Scholar for TDF.)
Of note, a scuffle broke out at one point during the protest. A man brandishing a megaphone interrupted a scheduled speaker. He demanded that those police officers in attendance perform citizen’s arrests on their chiefs. MPP Randy “Hulk” Hillier intervened; a brief shouting and pushing match ensued; the end result is a megaphone now in desperate need of repairs.
But other than that, the protest was peaceful — albeit melancholy. So many of the demonstrators in attendance — from police officers to postal workers — stand to lose their jobs in the days and weeks ahead if they do not get the COVID-19 jabs or reveal their vaccination status.
Makes one wonder: whatever happened to reasonable accommodation? Whatever happened to “my body, my choice”? Sad.