People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier says he violated the region’s quarantine requirements for persons not vaccinated against COVID-19 as he believes the rule is unconstitutional.
Bernier, who said he chose not to get the COVID vaccine, returned to Manitoba on Monday for the first time since he was detained by RCMP in Jube at a rally against public health orders in St-Pierre-Jolys.
“These orders are unconstitutional and immoral, and I will always fight for my freedom, the freedom of all Canadians,” Bernier said in an interview with CBC News.
Current public health orders state any person entering the province must self-isolate for two weeks, but people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and some essential workers are exempt.
On Monday, Bernier attended a rally in Steinbach, Manitoba, followed by events on a private farm near Schanzenfeld and in Winnipeg. Around 1,000 persons turned up to the last rally at The Forks in Winnipeg.
In June, Bernier was charged under the Public Health Act for assembling in a gathering at an outdoor public area and for refusing to self-isolate once he entered the province.
Asked about why he did not self-isolate this time, Bernier said he was “taking a chance.”
“But if I have to go back to jail to defend our freedoms and the freedoms of all Canadians, I’ll do that.”
His next court date is set to September 21 in St. Pierre-Jolys.
Bernier and his party have made opposition to compulsory mask-wearing and vaccination pivotal to their platform in the forthcoming election.
Terry Romand was one of a few hundred persons who attended the Steinbach rally. He heard that message loud and clear from Bernier.
Romand said he thought the People’s Party of Canada leader spoke regarding what most people are thinking with regard to COVID-19 vaccines.
“You don’t really want to lose freedoms. You want to be safe around the situation. You want to do the right thing,” said Romand.
He additionally said Bernier had some practical things to say, and that he would take what he heard as “food for thought” before casting his ballot in this election.
“Most of what he said was really non-obtrusive, like it doesn’t hurt you. Walking around with a passport doesn’t really keep you safe from anything. All it is is compliance with rules and regulations,” Romand said. “It doesn’t save anybody. It doesn’t make you any less vulnerable to a bug.”
“The passport thing is almost like … discrimination.”
The event near Schanzenfeld, which is found in the Rural Municipality of Stanley, had an estimated turnout between 1,000 and 2,000 people.
Once more, Bernier talked about freedom.
“Freedom. Freedom matters in this country. It’s a part of our Constitution, our Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” he said.
“Choosing, free choice is also in there. Those are two examples of things that have been taken away from us, and though they are in our Constitution, they are not playing out because of the health order.”
Bernier additionally told attendees that a People’s Party of Canada government would result in a “tough time for the next four years” due to a focus on balancing the budget.
But that just happens, he said, if voters go against their voting loyalties.
“If you vote loyalty, you’ll do what you have always done but won’t get different results. We are trying to tell people, this election you must vote your heart and conscience,” Bernier said.
His Manitoba tour continues on Tuesday with planned stops in Dauphin, Brandon and Portage la Prairie.