Come out and join me and many others, as we collectively say no to the requirement of double vaccination to shop at the market inside the Wychwood Barns. And please spread the word and invite others!
We need to stop organizations and politicians from violating many of our basic rights such as privacy and bodily autonomy. (More later in this article about one of these politicians, Nathan Stall, who labelled it 'harassment' when I spoke out against him and a member of the federal Liberal Cabinet at the market a few days ago.)
A Dec. 19 video went viral of a man without a vaxx passport attempting to enter the market. He points out that those inside the entrance, including a security guard and people checking vaxx passports, were preventing him from exercising the basic right of getting food.
Going to the market was a highlight of my week for four years. Every Saturday it gave me the chance to chat with farmers and friends and buy locally grown organic produce, all in the warm and welcoming atmosphere of this community market.
But then in mid-2020 the market started imposing mandatory masking, even though the market was outdoors. (It’s outdoors in the summer and fall and indoors in the winter and spring.)
And now they’ve made a vaxx pass compulsory for vendors, volunteers and shoppers in the indoor market.
The market ‘accommodates’ people in two ways. One way is some vendors remaining outdoors. For the most part, though, the vendors staying outside are doing so because they refuse to comply with having to be vaxxed to sell their produce.
The other ‘accommodation’ for unvaxxed folks like me is volunteers shopping for us inside the market. But when someone is shopping for you it's of course impossible to look at and choose what you’re buying, and to interact with the vendors and other shoppers.
So Stand4Thee, a grassroots organization, is spearheading the protest on Saturday, Jan. 22.
The organization also has posted a letter that can be used by anyone to point out to The Stop and Artscape that enforcing a vaxx passport is a violation of -- among other things -- the Canadian Bill of Rights, the Privacy Act, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
And they’re suggesting that we all voice our objections by contacting The Stop – 416-652-7867 or email@example.com -- and Artscape – 416-562-1038 or firstname.lastname@example.org (the email address of market manager Carla Ritchie).
Enough is enough! Come join us this Saturday, Jan. 22!
The Wychwood Barns complex is owned by the City of Toronto and operated by Artscape. The farmers’ market, which is held every Saturday, is operated jointly by Toronto’s Artscape and by another community organization called The Stop.
Artscape imposed the vaxx-passport requirement. And The Stop is strongly collaborating.
I emailed Artscape and The Stop in late September, when this policy was decided upon. I asked why they were going to exceed the provincial requirements.
Regulation 364/20 – part of the Orewllianly named provincial ‘Reopening Ontario Act’ -- imposed vaccine-passport requirements on many establishments. But the list of those settings does not include food stores/markets (see Q#6 in the 2021 FAQ about this Regulation). It also does not require workers in food stores to be vaccinated (see Q#9 in the FAQ).
Yet Artscape and The Stop are requiring both.
The Stop did not respond to my email.
For their part, the communications person I was referred to at Artscape replied, falsely, that the vaxx-passport policy at the market is “directly in accordance with the province’s mandate for vaccine certification at event/venue spaces in Ontario.” Here’s the email:
The Stop also is actively enforcing the passport.
This is shown, for example, in a Jan. 18, 2021, email from The Stop’s Farmers’ Market Manager, Kyla Schwarz-Lam, to vendors. I obtained a copy of the email. It’s pasted below.
Schwarz-Lam says, in part, that Artscape’s goal during the Jan. 22 protest will be “to keep any protesters in a designated area to avoid disrupting the market, which is Artscape’s primary concern.... [I]t seems like the best strategy is to be prepared, which Artscape is working on, and to not engage with the protesters, which would only encourage them and amplify their voices.”
We are pushing Artscape and The Stop to have everyone be free to enter the market. After all, food-retail venues are an essential service. That's why vaxx passports aren't required at other indoor farmers' markets in Toronto such as the one at Evergreen Brick Works.
And this saga also has taken another strange turn.
Nathan Stall, a provincial-Liberal candidate in this year’s provincial general election, accused me of harassing him at the Wychwood market last weekend.
He also implied, incorrectly, that what I did would be a criminal act under the federal Liberals’ Bill C-3, which went into effect on Jan. 16.
Stall clearly doesn’t understand the law – and also is very unsuited to being a politician if he believes voicing dissent against himself and/or other politicians is criminal.
This is what happened.
Last Saturday, Jan. 15, I went to the Wychwood Barns Farmers’ Market. I shopped at the vendors’ stalls outside. I also picked up a regular box of produce from one of the vendors inside the market, via one of the market volunteers.
I saw Stall and another politician, Carolyn Bennett, standing together by one of the outside stalls.
They are at the market most Saturdays. Stall is campaigning to be the Liberal MPP for Toronto-St. Paul’s, the riding the market is in.
Bennett is a federal Liberal cabinet minister and a very long-time MP for the riding.
Sometimes they are accompanied by Josh Matlow, who also is a Liberal. Matlow became the Toronto city councillor for the area in 2018.
Stall is a geriatrician. He was a member of the Ontario Science Table until he quit in early August 2021 to seek the provincial-Liberal nomination in Toronto-St. Paul’s.
He was the subject of an interview I gave to Rebel News reporter Tamara Ugolini.
In the interview, Ugolini and I discussed a video of Stall that is part of ‘vaccine education’ material from the Ontario Ministry of Long-Term Care. The material is aimed at people who work at long-term-care homes and who do not want to get a Covid jab.
Stall presents a great deal of false and/or misleading information in the video.
As just one example, he says that Health Canada is thorough and objective, and all the jabs that are approved have been thoroughly tested and shown to be safe and effective. (This is in the section starting at 10:43 in the video).
Another example is he says that the reason some long-term-care-home residents have died after getting vaccinated is “because it was their turn” to die. (At 26:15 in the video.)
We cannot be silent while politicians and others greatly damage democracy, the health of our collective treasury, and residents’ rights including to employment and bodily autonomy.
Therefore I protest. For example, every time I see Bennett and Stall and sometimes Matlow at the market I attempt to voice my displeasure at their part in this debacle.
This past Saturday, as I walked past the pair, I yelled from a few metres away, “You’re evil!” and “Shame! Shame!” I kept walking, and didn’t interact further with Stall or Bennett.
Then to my surprise when I signed on to Twitter on Jan. 17 for the first time since Jan. 14, I saw a message to me from a Twitter acquaintance; his message contained a link to this tweet at 4:53 pm Jan. 15 by Rebel News head Ezra Levant. Levant’s tweet related to a tweet that morning by Stall complaining of having been harassed at the farmers’ market.
In those now-deleted tweets Stall not only claimed he had been ‘harassed’ at the market. He also falsely said it was a Rebel News reporter who had harassed him. (I have only been on Rebel News once; it was the above-mentioned Aug. 2021 interview of me by Ugolini. I’m an independent activist and investigative journalist, not a Rebel reporter.)
Rebel News is making hay with this. Levant has been the most vocal about it, starting with tweets right after Stall posted his now-deleted tweets at mid-day on Jan. 15.
Rebel followed through by serving Stall with a libel notice.
To avoid a libel suit, Stall issued a statement on Jan. 18. He said he was retracting his claim that a Rebel reporter harassed him. He also apologized.
Note that the last paragraph of Stall’s statement says that a law -- Bill C-3: An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Canada Labour Code -- “as of January 16, 2022, makes it illegal to intimidate a health-care professional or patient.” The law was brought in by the federal Liberals in late Nov. 2021 because they said it was necessary to prevent protestors from blocking people from entering and exiting healthcare facilities, and also from stopping healthcare workers doing their jobs in other spheres. [Sentence added Jan. 20 at 8:45 a.m.]
The implication is that the act of voicing dissent at politicians, as I did on Jan. 15, to Stall and Bennett, would be considered criminal under Bill C-3. Simply because both of them have MDs.
That is a shocking misinterpretation of the wording of the law. I talked to a lawyer this morning who confirmed that it's not what the law says.
You can read it yourself here.
Stall, and his silent (at least about this on Twitter) partner Bennett, are clearly attempting to silence people who object to the serious damage they and others are doing to our cities, provinces and country.
Will Bennett use the Bill to throttle dissent while she continues in her role as a federal Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health?
Is Stall going to try to do this every time someone voices dissent or displeasure with him during the election campaign, which ends on election day, June 2, 2022?
And will he continue when and if he’s elected (and perhaps made provincial health minister if the Libs beat the Ford Progressive Conservatives)?
Will other politicians – Liberals and others -- who have MDs try do the same?
How thin is their skin? How far will they and other politicians go to shut us up?
This will not stop me and many others from speaking up against their misdeeds and grievous abuse of public trust.
Meanwhile, Rebel already has pumped out four pieces about L’Affaire Stall.
For example here’s one of Levant’s reports about it: https://www.rebelnews.com/ezra_levant_show_january_17_2022.
And here’s a piece from today by Rebel reporters Sheila Gunn Reid and Adam Soos: https://www.rebelnews.com/discussing_the_lies_of_nathan_stall_and_his_public_apology_after_making_false_allegations (They mentioned me only in passing and mispronounced my name. Levant also does the same in his reports about all this.)
Strikingly, though, not once have Levant or the other Rebel staff who are reporting on this contacted me. Never mind interviewing me about it.
I emailed Ugolini Monday afternoon to find out what was going on. She called me a few hours later and we talked for a few minutes.
Yet Ugolini didn’t mention my name when she tweeted on Jan. 15 about the situation (and hasn’t mentioned my name in subsequent tweets about it.)
Rebel sure doesn’t appear to be interested in me.
They seem instead to be using this as part of their long-standing pattern of hyping issues and generating as many headlines as possible, while following what appears to be their core mission of punching at the Liberals.
And raking in the resulting subscriptions and donations from their supporters.
Don’t get me wrong, I despise the Liberals, but I also despise all the other political parties (except perhaps for one or two of the very small ones), because they’re governed by power-hungry pols beholden to the elites rather than the public.
I don’t make a cent from any of my journalism or activism. I don’t have any agenda other than to try to push for more honesty and transparency among politicians and other officials, and to promote true democracy.
So join me and others devoted to the welfare of this city, province and country on Saturday at 10 am at the Wychwood Barns Farmers’ Market at 601 Christie Street.