MGEU President reacts to weekend anti-mask rally and harassment of MGEU members

"At the rally, there were several reports of attendees verbally harassing and trying to intimidate the officers who were there to enforce public health orders. This is completely unacceptable. If you disagree with the rules put in place, there are other ways to show your views, but you cannot harass and endanger those who are doing their jobs by enforcing the rules." — Michelle Gawronsky, MGEU President

Winnipeg (18 Nov. 2020) — In response to the anti-mask rally held this past weekend, Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU/NUPGE) President, Michelle Gawronsky has issued the following statement:

On Saturday, November 14, more than 100 Manitobans flouted public health orders that currently limit gatherings to five people by holding a public rally.

I reacted the way most Manitobans responded to this blatant violation of public health rules and harassment of those tasked with enforcing those rules: I was shocked, angered, and deeply upset by this selfish and dangerous behaviour.

COVID-19 is overwhelming our health care system and those providing frontline services need our help. In the past week, more Manitobans have died from the virus than in the first several months of the pandemic combined. Manitoba is facing one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in our country, which means now is the time for all Manitobans to step up and do their part to stop the spread. We can’t waste any time and we have to follow the rules.

At the rally, there were several reports of attendees verbally harassing and trying to intimidate the officers who were there to enforce public health orders. This is completely unacceptable. If you disagree with the rules put in place, there are other ways to show your views, but you cannot harass and endanger those who are doing their jobs by enforcing the rules.

All workers on the frontlines fighting this pandemic need our support. To do this we are being asked to wear a mask, wash our hands, and limit our contact with others. These are simple things we all need to do to show we care about frontline workers and our fellow Manitobans.

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The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE