A People’s Party candidate in Vancouver Quadra is facing calls for her resignation after she distributed flyers comparing the B.C. vaccine card to residential schools.
Some 52,000 flyers were delivered to homes in the riding that feature a photo of “staff and students” at a residential school in 1880 with the words “DISCRIMINATION IS WRONG” and “NO VACCINE PASSPORT” written overtop.
On Tuesday (Sept. 16), B.C. Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief Terry Teegee condemned PPC candidate Renate Siekmann and called on PPC leader Maxime Bernier to publicly denounce the false equivalency between vaccine passports and the residential school system.
“An inconvenient interruption in your social life to save lives during a deadly pandemic is not discrimination. Ms. Siekmann must be removed as a candidate, and Maxime Bernier must apologize,” Teegee said.
Other leaders, including Vancouver Quadra Green Party candidate Devyani Singh and Liberal candidate Joyce Murray joined the chorus calling on Siekmann to apologize.
“I am calling for the immediate resignation of Renate Siekmann,” Singh tweeted. “It is one thing to share your views on vaccines. Comparing ideas of vaccine ‘discrimination’ to the genocide experienced by Indigenous Peoples is something that we cannot accept.
But Siekmann has doubled down on her comments on her Twitter page. In a series of Tweets, Siekmann compared the B.C. vaccine card to the pass system that was enforced on Indigenous people after the Northwest Rebellion in 1885, accused Singh of “attempting to gaslight” her and accused the Vancouver School Board trustee Carmen Cho of discrimination for COVID-19 safety policies for an all-candidates debate at Kitsilano Secondary School.
The flyers were distributed as anti-vaccine passport protests have been held across Canada and come after a summer of reckoning with Canada’s residential school system brought on by the announcement of unmarked graves at former residential school sites.
Even if Siekmann does drop out of the race, her name would still appear on ballots as the deadline for candidate nominations has passed.
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