'Unfortunate circumstance' as anti-vaccination mandate protest cancels outdoor throne speech ceremonies

·3 min read
Pre-throne speech ceremonies scheduled to take place in from of Saskatchewan's legislative assembly were halted Wednesday 'in light of recent threats and on the advice of security officials,' according to an abrupt cancellation note from the provincial government. Protesters were outside the building early Wednesday afternoon.  (Dayne Patterson/CBC - image credit)
Pre-throne speech ceremonies scheduled to take place in from of Saskatchewan's legislative assembly were halted Wednesday 'in light of recent threats and on the advice of security officials,' according to an abrupt cancellation note from the provincial government. Protesters were outside the building early Wednesday afternoon. (Dayne Patterson/CBC - image credit)

The Saskatchewan government was forced to cancel a series of outdoor events meant to mark the new session of the legislative assembly due to unspecified "recent threats."

Government House Leader Jeremy Harrison said the decision to cancel a public event was not taken lightly.

Harrison believes it was the first time in Saskatchewan that an ceremony connected to a throne speech had to be cancelled.

Security officials felt it was best to cancel the event "for the safety of all involved," Harrison said.

Outside the legislative building protestors held signs with slogans such as "Coercion is not consent," "No vax passport" and "Anti mandate — not anti-vax."

They lined up outside the building early Wednesday afternoon and only left hours later.

Some could be heard chanting "Scott Moe, come on out" in a video posted to Twitter by the Canadian Press.

WATCH video of the protesters below.

One of the speakers that addressed the crowd was MLA Nadine Wilson.

The former Saskatchewan Party MLA resigned from caucus last month after misrepresenting her vaccination status.

Wilson now sits as independent MLA and during the throne speech was seated far away from both the Opposition and government benches.

'Recent threats'

Premier Moe was scheduled to greet Lt.-Gov. Russ Mirasty — who is giving the government's throne speech indoors — outside the legislative assembly building at around 1:25 p.m. CST. The public had been invited to the event.

The inspection of a Canadian Forces Honour Guard, a 15-gun salute by 10th Field Regiment and a fly-past by 15 Wing Moose Jaw was also planned.

"In light of recent threats and on the advice of security officials, the outdoor portion of the planned ceremonies this afternoon with His Honour and Premier Moe has been cancelled," said a note from the government issued shortly after 1 p.m. CST.

Dayne Patterson/CBC
Dayne Patterson/CBC

Harrison called the scene outside "an unfortunate circumstance" and one that was concerning.

He said the outdoor events were cancelled because of "protesters who were very assertive, aggressive in their protests."

Harrison stressed that the protestors don't represent all Saskatchewan residents, since many have done the "right thing" and gotten vaccinated.

"This is a very small proportion of the public who, for whatever reason, have bought into different conspiracy theories about vaccines and, you know, a whole host of other conspiracies which are just off the wall," he said.

NDP Leader Ryan Mieli said he was disturbed by those who turned out on Wednesday.

"It's very disappointing to see these actions from folks who are clearly not understanding, or deliberately not understanding, the seriousness of the situation we're in today," Mieli said.

As of Wednesday there were 2,440 confirmed active cases in Saskatchewan.

The province said there are 271 people with COVID-19 in hospital, including 57 in intensive care.

The ICU number does not include 16 patients that have been transferred to Ontario in an attempt to relieve strain from Saskatchewan's health system.

Five new deaths were reported on Wednesday, meaning 832 people have died in Saskatchewan from COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

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