Photo Credit: DREW SHENEMAN / The Star Ledger

Has American-style COVID Fury Come to VanIsle? Anti-Vaxxer Threatens Cumberland Pub Owner

Across Canada, more anti-vaccine extremists are turning violent. It's time to take the threat seriously

Minimizing or denying the potential violence of these anti-vax extremists is a grave mistake.

Not all anti-vaxxers are alike. Some oppose vaccine cards, others the vaccines themselves, still others oppose mask requirements and other anti-COVID public health measures.

Anti-vaxxers are entitled to their opinions. But lately, some have started to use threats and violence.

You might have seen news clips of fury-filled American anti-vaxxers screaming and spitting and sometimes getting violent. Well, America’s angry, foolish anti-vaccine movement has snuck across the border like a virus.

Now we’re witnessing irate pro-virus protestors in Canada blocking ambulances and hospitals, cursing and throwing things at politicians, and intimidating business owners. They even forced an entire School District in the North Okanagan and Shuswap region to close down.

It’s serious! These extremists are a terrible influence as we keep fighting this seemingly endless pandemic.

The ugly trend has now reached the Comox Valley.

The owner of the Waverley Hotel in Cumberland, Don McClennan, received death threats after he announced on Facebook that his pub would be following the new mandate and checking everyone’s vaccine passports.

He had to close his business for two days to keep his staff safe.

In a string of hateful online comments, the anonymous, cowardly Victoria-based anti-vaxxer said, “I’m coming after you” and “you know what happens to Nazis.”

Then the language got even more threatening. The individual told McClennan on Facebook that, “You’re going down, and I’m going to be on the right side of history, and I will have an alibi.”

In a CTV News report, McClennan said he has no idea why someone in Victoria targeted his business in Cumberland. However, the comments have left him and his staff shaken.

“We’re very concerned about our business,” he said. “If he just wants to harm us on social media, that’s his own prerogative, but it sounds like he may be wanting to cause damage to my actual business. It’s very concerning.”

An RCMP spokesperson confirmed that they had opened a file and that police take the threats very seriously.

McClennan told CTV News that the vaccine passport mandate has put his staff in a terrible position.

“It’s a lot to put on a small business,” he said. “My staff has been through so much in the last 18 months, they’re literally afraid to have to do this. I’m going to be the one here for the next while asking people to show me their passport because I can’t put my staff through that.”

Beginning Sept 13, many businesses will have to check patrons for vaccine passports. The passports have to prove that folks coming in have at least one dose of vaccine. The businesses include pubs, restaurants, gyms, indoor art, music and sporting events with more than 50 people, casinos, and movie theatres.

By October 24, you won’t be allowed to enter non-essential businesses unless you are fully vaccinated.

The intensity of the anti-vaxxers demonstration will likely get worse as the rules become stricter.

It may be easy to laugh off or dismiss these incidents as one-offs from bad apples. But minimizing or denying the potential violence of these extremists is a big mistake.

While not all pro-virus protestors will become violent, these recent flareups show that some people will use threats and violence as they attempt to overwhelm others with their claims.

Ignoring these increasing violent threats, pretending they don’t exist, is irresponsible and will give unstated permission for further US-style violence and destruction.