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‘Lies are not opinion’: Mayor Nenshi slams area reeve for COVID-19 statement

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi sparred with the reeve of an area just south of Calgary on the issue of COVID-19 vaccine passports and misinformation.

The dispute happened at the Sept. 17 meeting of the Calgary Metropolitan Region Board (CMRB). The meeting was done virtually when the debate occurred.

The collection of councillors, reeves and mayors in the CMRB tackled the topic of the province’s latest COVID-19 public health measures.  Calgary approved a vaccine passport earlier this week.

During that meeting, Foothills County Reeve Suzanne Oel recognized the risk she was taking by delivering her message.

“But, I would like to share a very heartfelt message, which considers the diverse views of our residents,” she said.

“I’m in favour of solutions that respect our constitutional rights and freedoms, and respect the dignity of each person.”

Oel said that many Foothills residents are opposed to the “vaxport” and the mandating of those rules. She said it’s turning citizens against each other.

“Some people believe that the vaccine will protect them. Others disagree. And I noted that the experimental vaccine does not prevent infection or transmission and safety trials have not been completed,” she said at the virtual meeting.

“So, the bottom line is that people should have a choice, and have a right to make an informed decision on either side of this without being censored, belittled, coerced and punished.”

She said there had to be a way to get through this without violating people.

CMRB Chair Greg Clark said they encouraged everyone to stick to facts on the very hot topic. He raised Oel’s remark about the vaccine being experimental.

“There’s some things in there, Reeve Oel, that you said, to the best of my knowledge are not true,” he said.

Reeve Oel responded.

(You can watch the full video here. We encourage you to watch from 35:00 to 44:00)

Nenshi calls ‘bs’

Oel said she appreciated they were allowing diverse opinions. She said Clark messed up the experimental part. The vaccine that was put out was only tested on animals, Oel stated.

Health Canada approved five Covid-19 vaccines for use in Canada after rigorous clinical trials. All of the trials leading to approval for use in Canada were performed on human volunteers.

Mayor Nenshi jumped into the conversation.

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry, I just can’t hold this in,” Mayor Nenshi said.

“That’s 1,000 per cent false and this is not a place for us to abide by those extremist views, views that are putting people in danger.”

Nenshi said he was with an ICU nurse the day prior and people were dying every day.

“Yes, we have to have a diversity of views, we don’t have a diversity of BS like that,” Nenshi continued.  

“That is completely untrue and saying things like that puts people at risk and you should be ashamed of yourself Reeve Oel.”

Oel tried to press on, saying she was stating the opinion of many residents in the area. Nenshi wouldn’t have it.

Nenshi said Health Canada approved the vaccine after the largest ever human trial.

“Lies are not opinion, Reeve Oel, and that is a lie,” he said.

“Stop educating yourself in the YouTube videos. Read the science.”

Foothills has among the highest per 100k case rates in southern Alberta, according to Alberta Health data.

Parts of Foothills County are between 400 (north) and 800 (south) cases per 100K. In comparison, Calgary is between 200 and 367/100K. ARYN TOOMBS / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Aryn Toombs has a regional breakdown of cases here.