Tombstones placed outside Manitoba premier’s house to protest COVID-19 response
Protesters placed tombstones in front of the premier's house Friday night. (Source: CTV News/Dan Timmerman)
WINNIPEG -- In a macabre act of protest, tombstones were placed in front of Premier Brian Pallister's house to criticize the provincial government's COVID-19 response.
The cardboard tombstones were placed at the premier's Wellington Crescent home Friday night.
"We installed the display outside Brian Pallister's house last night to recognize the 65 people who have died of COVID-19 so far in Manitoba, but we were also protesting the provincial government's inaction during the massive second wave of cases," said Rebecca Hume, one of the organizers of the protest.
Hume said a group of about a dozen concerned people made the tombstones.
"We started talking about this particular action sort of mid-day yesterday following Dr. (Brent) Roussin's update," she said, "We just felt like we can't sit back and do nothing."
The group was sparked by the announcement of a record-high number of COVID-19 cases announced Friday.
"We want to see Brian Pallister's government respond to this with an immediate province-wide shutdown, and we need a holistic plan to support healthcare workers, educators and small businesses," said Hume.
The Winnipeg Region is set to become red on the province's Pandemic Response System on Monday, with the rest of Manitoba elevating to orange.
Hume, though, thinks the new restrictions aren't enough.
"We are literally sacrificing Manitobans for the economy and I think it's really unconscionable to be okay with having people dying when it's completely avoidable," she said.
A mannequin of a grim reaper adorning premier Brian Pallister's face watched over the graveyard. (Source: CTV News/ Dan Timmerman)
CTV News reached out to the provincial government for comment and received a written response via the premier's spokesperson.
"I respect the right of any Manitoban to peacefully protest and encourage all who choose to do so, to do so safely to protect their health and safety and that of others as well," reads the statement attributed to Pallister.
Hume hopes the Halloween-inspired display doesn't just get noticed by the premier, but that it resonates with all Manitobans too.
"The point of the installation is to think of all the deaths and the deaths yet to come," said Hume. "I think it's important for Manitobans to take stock of what our government is and isn't doing."