Sask. premier says mostly maskless PPC rally in Saskatoon 'unfortunate'
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says “it’s unfortunate” that people who attended the People’s Party of Canada (PPC) election headquarters in Saskatoon flouted the province’s mask mandate.
On election night, photos and videos shared on social and news media showed a busy convention room at the Saskatoon Inn.
Of hundreds of people, only a handful appeared to be wearing masks as per Saskatchewan’s public health order. Among the maskless was leader Maxime Bernier.
In a statement to CTV News regarding the rally, police spokesperson Alyson Edwards said police support Public Health inspectors in the enforcement of public health orders.
“As it has done in the past in response to planned rallies during the pandemic, the SPS has taken a measured approach to ensure any event remains peaceful. This approach includes the gathering of intelligence regarding violations of the Public Health Order. That information will be forwarded to Public Health Inspectors for follow-up.”
A PPC spokesperson declined comment.
Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Moe said the PPC is a “one issue” anti-vaccination party, in the process attempting to prolong the COVID-19 pandemic and the Liberal government.
The province brought back a temporary indoor masking mandate last week, among other measures, in response to skyrocketing COVID-19 cases.
Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark said that since the rally was broadcast nationally, it undermined the efforts of the city and province to curb the spread of COVID-19 and ease the pressure on the health-care system.
While people may be frustrated about the lack of police presence, public health orders are enforced by public health inspectors, not police, he said.
“I know there’s people who wanted to see it broken up on the spot and the reality is, we do need that coordination at both levels and clarity on what the expectation of enforcement is,” he said.
Clark said he’s worried about the overloaded hospital and intensive care units in Saskatoon - and if the PPC gathering turns out to be a super-spreader event, “that is a grave concern.”