Health critic Renee Merrifield presents anti-mask petition she says she doesn’t believe in | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Health critic Renee Merrifield presents anti-mask petition she says she doesn’t believe in

Kelowna-Mission MLA and Liberal Health critic presented the anti-mask petition to the B.C. Legislature remotely.
Image Credit: Submitted/B.C. Government
June 11, 2021 - 2:30 PM

Kelowna-Mission MLA and Liberal party health critic Renee Merrifield may believe in the protective value of wearing masks during the COVID-19 pandemic, but she didn’t tell that to her legislative colleagues when she tabled an anti-mask petition earlier this week.

Merrifield simply tabled a petition opposed to mandatory mask wearing in schools on Thursday morning, saying the 4,500 parents who signed it wanted to “retain their autonomous right over the decisions surrounding their children.”

She didn’t provide the name of the group behind the petition.

It was only later that evening, on social media, that Merrifield posted that she did not agree with the premise of the petition, saying she’s always supporting the wearing of masks to prevent the spread of COVID.

B.C. residents can draft petitions to the provincial government for any reason they want but, in order for those petitions to be tabled in the legislature, they must be presented by a sitting MLA. It’s up to the MLAs whether they want to present a petition or not.

In a Facebook post, Merrifield said the petition was started by a resident in her riding.

“While I disagreed with the premise of the petition, I fulfilled my role as their MLA in the presentation,” she wrote on Facebook.

“One of the ways those residents can raise their views in our parliamentary democracy is to organize a petition, obtain support from fellow British Columbians and ask their elected representatives to present it in the legislature,” she added. “It is my view that the B.C. Legislature belongs to the people of British Columbia. It doesn't belong to me, and it doesn't belong to the NDP government.”

Merrifield did not respond to questions texted to her by iNFOnews.ca as to why she didn’t express her opposition to the petition when she presented it nor why she did not leave it for another MLA who may have supported those views to present, since signatures apparently came from parents in 60 different school districts in B.C., not just from her riding.

Merrifield was cited by iNFONews.ca in April for falsely claiming that Vitamin D and good health practices could protect against COVID-19.

READ MORE: Kelowna MLA, Liberal health critic made false claims about COVID-19


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