On June 10, 2021, Kelowna-Mission MLA and Official Opposition Critic for Health, Renee Merrifield, presented the petition against mandatory masking of school children to the BC Legislative Assembly. The petition was submitted on behalf of 4,500 families across British Columbia representing all 60 school districts across the province. Over 1,300 impact statements were submitted along with the petition.
These impact statements came from concerned parents, grandparents, teachers, doctors, nurses, trauma specialists, caregivers and students. People shared personal stories about how the masking mandate was affecting their children at school. Stories included examples of harassment from peers and teachers towards those with mask exemptions, bullying and intimidation, segregation on school buses, isolation with plastic barriers set up around desks, physical impairments like nosebleeds and bacterial infections around the mouth, difficulty breathing, dizziness, as well as emotional impairments like anxiety, depression and trauma.
Go to the Impact Statements page to read some of these stories.
Anyone reading the impact statements would not be able to ignore the fact that children are suffering from the mandatory health restrictions that are being imposed on them. These families need to be represented and heard, and the petition was a way for them to speak out against the harms of mask wearing. The purpose of the petition was to lift the masking mandate in order to uphold parental rights, giving the parents the autonomous right to make decisions when it comes to the health and well-being of their children.
Shortly after the petition was tabled in the Legislative Assembly, Renee Merrifield took to her Twitter feed to share her opinion about the petition.
It is disappointing that Renee felt the need to defend herself on social media, but she is probably receiving a lot of political backlash and was trying to protect her reputation. Unfortunately, in doing so, Renee dismissed all those families who were depending on her to stand up for their children.
We have not heard back from Renee Merrifield’s constituency office regarding her comments, or what actions, if any, will be taken on this petition.
For now, the petition is officially tabled and has become a historical document in the Legislative Assembly. It will serve as a permanent reminder that families fought back against the masking restrictions and stood up for the rights and freedoms of our children.