'The consequences of stupidity are going to be felt': Pallister says more fines coming after Steinbach anti-mask rally
WINNIPEG -- Premier Brian Pallister had a strong message for the hundreds of people who choose to attend an anti-mask rally in Steinbach over the weekend – watch your mailbox, more tickets are coming.
It has been two days since hundreds of Manitobans gathered for a rally in Steinbach on Saturday afternoon protesting public health orders.
Lewis Weiss, the elected Reeve of the RM of La Broquerie and a speaker at the rally, was among the only people to ticketed at the rally, but Pallister said more tickets will be coming.
“The consequences of stupidity are going to be felt by the people who were there violating the rules,” Pallister said on Monday, saying those who attended the rally should ‘check their mailbox.’
While Pallister would not provide further details about the enforcement at the rally, he said he would release more information about enforcement in Manitoba on Tuesday.
He said further tickets were not handed out at the rally due to safety concerns.
“It was a pretty dangerous situation. Unfortunately there were threats,” he said.
When Weiss was handed the $1,296 ticket, those at the rally responded by yelling, honking, and berating the officer who gave the ticket, and one person appeared to back their car into one of the responding provincial officers.
Manitoba’s Justice Minister also condemned the rally as being dangerous and wrong.
“Let me be direct – to the folks who participated in that rally on the weekend. You don’t have to believe in COVID for it to be real – it’s real,” Pallister said.
“Less than a third of a mile away from where you were rallying, there are people dying in a seniors’ home. COVID is real. COVID kills people. SO you don’t have to believe in COVID, but COVID believes in you, and COVID is going to find you if you are not careful.”
Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer, spoke out against the rally on Monday urging Manitobans to stand together on a “united front.”
“We see in Steinbach where that hospital is under a lot of strain, healthcare workers are working as hard as they can to keep up with demand, and yet on the same day we have a protest – a gathering,” Roussin said.
“We are announcing double-digit deaths every day, and then we are protesting things to try and reduce the impact of the virus. How can we reconcile that?”