Editorial – It was a busy three hours in downtown Cobourg for police and protestors on Saturday, April 10, 2021.
Approximately 20-30 protestors were once again in front of Victoria Hall protesting the lockdown due to the high numbers of COVID-19 cases throughout Ontario.
One tickets was issued last Saturday to Josh Clausen, and with that and the words of Cobourg Police Chief Paul VandeGraaf everyone knew what would likely happen and did.
From the beginning of the pandemic protestors have gathered in front of Victoria Hall each Saturday from noon to 3 p.m.
Carrying signs and shouting protestors were first opposed to almost everything that had to do with the pandemic.
Lately, they’ve zoned in that they are totally opposed to the lockdown stating it does more harm than good.
Today’s Northumberland has covered the protestors more than any other media.
Some people ask why would we give them the coverage.
It’s because, like it or not, having 20 or more people in front of the town hall is news.
We haven’t and wouldn’t cover it every week, but given when things could happen, we try to be there. Like any media should.
We also think it’s important to get both sides of the story in a unbiased manner.
To let readers make their decision.
Throughout the pandemic we’ve spoke to the protestors and let them speak to educate others.
The reader may not like what they have to say, but it’s important to get both sides before making an opinion.
We don’t have to agree with what they say – but it’s important to get the “other” side.
Today’s Northumberland tries to do that with every story.
Frankly, it’s journalism 101.
By the end of the three hours today, there were seven provincial offences notices (tickets) issued for Fail to Comply with an order made during a declared emergency Contrary to Section 7.0.11 (1) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.
Additionally, two individuals were issued Provincial Summons for the Offence of Obstruct any person exercising a power in accordance with an order made during a declared emergency Contrary to Section 7.0.00(1).
In essence, they were given a summons to go to court. Unlike the other seven tickets where if they wish they can just pay a fine.
During the afternoon, at times there were seven police officers (which includes two Sergeants), one bylaw officer and one Special Constable who was documenting the events with a video camera.
At $880.00 a ticket if all nine tickets issued were to be found guilty the total fines would nearly total $8,000.
They may all get tossed as well – time will tell.
Today’s Northumberland spoke with Cobourg Police Chief Paul VandeGraaf on Thursday, April 8, 2021 about today’s protest.
In the video interview VandeGraaf said, “enough is enough.”
The time for education is over. It’s a lockdown.
And true to his word, officers responded.
And during the interview, VandeGraaf also stated that if anyone had a problem with that, speak to him about it. His officers are and were only following orders.
And in most jobs anywhere in the world, if you want to have a job or career, that is what all people do – follow orders.
From factory workers to police officers. The vast majority of us don’t have a choice. No matter what they feel about the pandemic personally.
And this is where the protest today went south.
In the movie Black Hawk Down there is a famous quote when the mission failed when the first helicopter was shot down.
General Garrison states, “we just lost the initiative.”
That is what happened at today’s protest.
Protestor’s strayed from informing the public, educating the public to berating the police with insults. In essence, they lost the initiative.
Stating police were “disgusting, you should be ashamed of yourselves, liars, shame on the blue, welcome to communist China, the Fuhrer would be very proud of your actions today” and calling them “liars” were just a sample of what was shouted at the officers who were only following orders.
“45,000 servicemen died for the Canadian Charter of Rights and you are shitting on their sacrifice.”
“How does it feel to know that you’ve become what our grandparents went to Europe to defeat.”
“If your family served in Europe they are rolling in their graves right now.”
“You are the pathetic offspring of great men.”
“When the history books are written do you know how they are going to talk about you? Fascists – Nazi.”
At least two of the police officers have served in the military. One was in the Navy and another still serves as a Reservist. One has to wonder if the protestor who so easily called them Nazi’s has signed on the dotted line to join the military and put his life on the line for our freedom.
Going up to a female police officer, a protestor with a bullhorn yelled just metres away, “look me in the eye – if you don’t you’re a coward.”
That was enough for one protestor who had heard enough.
Carrying a sign that stated, “We Are All Essential” the protestor went up to the man with the bullhorn and said, “if you want to have me come back here. You watch your mouth.” Stating her should apologize to the female officers – which he did.
A former employee of the Cobourg Police Service was also served a $880.00 ticket.
As the officer was about to hand her the ticket the woman stated, “I spent 36-years of my life at the Cobourg Police Service and this is what I have to look at now. I am ashamed of every Goddam one of you”
“And I’m ashamed I ever worked there.”
To be fair, not all the protestors were doing this. Most were respectful in dealing with the officers who were just doing what they were told to do.
Protesting is about sending a message out. To inform, to educate.
But if you throw insults at people, whether it’s member of the public or police you likely won’t get very far.
If the tickets are contested and thrown out of court, police won’t take it personally.
They were just doing their job and enforcing the Provincial order.
When next Saturday rolls around and the protestors and police are once again there at noon, it might be best for the people protesting to stick to the plan of getting their message to the public about what they want instead of trying to degrade people from doing their job.
Editor’s Note: Today’s Northumberland reached out to the Mayor’s office for comment with no results. This is the second lockdown where the Mayor has not commented on the actions of the protestors.