To The Editor,

Freedom! Freedom!

Those words were echoed numerous times throughout the protest/occupation of Ottawa for 23 days.

What clearly has not been realized by the participants within the protest is that Freedom has been bought by the loss of human life in various conflicts throughout history. These sacrifices have given these individuals their ability to congregate to protest a mandate. A mandate imposed to ensure the safety of all. It does not give opponents the right to attempt an insurrection of an elected government, or to prevent the freedom of law-abiding citizens to earn a living. It does not give them privilege to insult those who disagree with them. It certainly does not give them the right to embarrass our country and the likelihood of damaging our international trade, affecting jobs and definitely the economic balance of the economy.

It is appreciated that personal choices regarding vaccinations are to be respected. However,  the decision to not be vaccinated comes with obligations and penalties. It includes giving respect to fellow citizens who chose to vaccinate, accepting the loss of participation in daily life, which includes loss of their employment, their viewing a movie, their enjoying a meal in a restaurant and use of public transportation, to name just a few. NOTE: One leader of the protest is experiencing that dilemma with respect to her potential bail obligations, including returning to her home in Alberta and returning to trial in Ottawa. Incarceration until trial is the simple choice.

We all endured the difficulties associated with COVID and the restrictions imposed on our lives over the past two years. The pandemic has cost more than 36,000 lives in Canada thus far and its not over. More than 85 per cent of Canadians have chosen to accept vaccinations and more than 54 per cent accepted the booster. The decision to be JABBED has been made to protect themselves, their  families and others and YES, to regain some semblance of normality to our lives. In doing so, the vaccinated have contributed to the reduction of hospitalizations – enabling those with life altering diseases to receive required treatments. We all realize, for two years, treatments have been mostly unavailable, due to the extremely high hospitalizations of mostly unvaccinated patients.

It should be noted that multiple social media outlets, Fox Network, U.S. Representatives of Congress along with the contributions to Go Fund Me, etc. have presented a false narrative of facts and contributed to stimulating the unlawful continuation of the occupation by participants. Social media outlets are not reliable forms of information – they provide an outlet for those to promote their version of events, without evidence to substantiate their imaginary claims.

In closing, I regret the occupation lasted a protracted amount of time and required the actions taken to regain civility in our democracy, which I support.

Jim Walsh, L’Orignal