Rombouts’ bid to ask province to end vaccine passports fails

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A bid to ask the province to remove vaccine passport rules by Warwick’s mayor has failed.

Jackie Rombouts wanted Lambton County Council to “bring equality back to Ontario” citing situations of families being torn apart and people’s mental health being affected because they cannot do the things they want to do because they are not vaccinated.

The province now requires people who want to eat in restaurants, or go to bars or arenas to show proof of vaccination. Rombouts made it clear when the province announced the program in September, she felt it was divisive and would not support businesses which enforced the rules.

Wednesday, at Lambton County Council Rombouts reiterated she is not against the vaccine and has volunteered at the county’s vaccine clinics, but she believes the vaccine mandates and passports have created divisions.

“You have an opportunity to be a hero,” she told councillors before the vote.

Sarnia City/Councillor Margaret Bird was the only person to speak in favour of the motion saying “There has never been so much divisiveness in the Country of Canada…it must be stopped now.

“It has already pitted children and parents against each other…next will come threats to access to health care and driving licenses…Our freedoms are being eroded,” she added saying we are eight days from Remembrance Day invoking the sacrifices of veterans.

For several minutes, Bird provided widely discredited theories about COVID-19 and the vaccine and likened it to a flu. She also noted her research shows the country’s death rate has only increased marginally in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fifty-five people died of COVID-19 yesterday adding to the 29,052 Canadians who have died of the virus since the beginning of the pandemic – even with the public health measures which have been taken.

St. Clair Township Mayor Steve Arnold took offense at Bird’s characterization of COVID-19 as a flu saying it hurt particularly for families who lost loved ones. “Try and tell their family that COVID is not real and it’s just something to do.”

He added even if people are not dying from the virus, it’s changing their lives. Arnold spoke of a young family, where a child brought the virus home from day care. “Dad is a COVID long hauler and now he can’t work.”

Sarnia City/Councillor Brian White agreed with Rombouts that “there is a level of coersion in” vaccine passports and he wished they could have “tried other things before we got to this” but he noted the province has set out clear timelines to end vaccine passports and remove masks by the end of March.

“It’s slow, as it should be with medical evidence, but by March they will hopefully be resolved.”

Rombouts suggested it may be too late for some people. The mayor says she has empathy for people “this illness” but she also has empathy for people with addiction which have been worsened in the pandemic.

“I don’t want more division in this county or this council,” she said.

“My intention is to help the people who are suffering right now,” Rombouts added her voice cracking.

In the end, only Rombouts and Bird supported the motion.