Freedom Fair attendees hold signs and placards displaying their message on Jan. 22. More than 150 attendees gathered on the courthouse lawn to join the gathering. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

Freedom Fair attendees hold signs and placards displaying their message on Jan. 22. More than 150 attendees gathered on the courthouse lawn to join the gathering. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

Prince Rupert citizens join freedom of vaccine choice rally

More than 150 attendees lined McBride and gathered on courthouse lawn

More than 150 people attended the front of the courthouse lawn, with crowds waving banners and placards along McBride on Jan. 22, in efforts to support a newly formed organization The Foundational Trust Group.

Nicholas Blackwater, one of the Prince Rupert planners of the event, told The Northern View some would call the gathering a rally, but he was naming it a “Freedom Fair” as there were information tents, video displays, draws, and food for the public.

The freedom fair was to promote strengthening bonds within the community he said, as well as sharing ideas in efforts to utilize constitutional rights and freedoms surrounding the COVID-19 vaccines and the vaccine passport.

“The themes of today are questioning the vaccine passport, whether or not it’s beneficial for our community. and just kind of reiterating our constitutional rights,” the organizer said.

Asked if the event was an anti-vaccine rally, Blackwater responded they are not specifically taking an anti-vax position. Those who want a vaccine and believe it’s going to protect them, it’s their choice, he said.

“We’re not focusing on it. We’re not saying no to vaccines, we’re not saying no to the vaxpass, [but] perhaps to the mandatory kind of implication of all these things — trying to almost force it into our lives.”

He said the issue at hand is a medical one and stems back to informed consent but only after being presented with all of the information, so individuals can make a sound choice.

“We’d rather choose … but definitely choosing rather than [have] a blanket solution for everybody on the planet,”.

The Foundational Trust Group is a body of citizens who have grown in numbers after coming together on social media to support each other.

“It’s an organization of community members that were concerned about the direction the world was heading,” Blackwater said. “I think everybody was very distraught.”

After a couple of weeks of getting together and having meetings, he said, it was realized by the group there were massive divides in the community. The group is made up of people from the Prince Rupert area.

“…Because we want to focus on the community, the people immediately around you, not necessarily what’s going on across the world. But, who is in your neighbourhood? Do they have issues? Or would they like help, and then we listen and understand.”

Information garnered from a survey that rally participants could complete, and feedback received from the community would be reviewed, he said. At that point, an action plan set out with steps to solve problems can be created.

“The direction that I would like to see is for us to just develop our listening skills — listen to understand, rather than everybody barking at each other telling them what to do and how silly they are … Meanwhile, the divide is getting greater within our communities. So we just want to bring it back together.”

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