By Medicine Hat News on December 2, 2020.
The founder of a local social media group that opposes mandatory mask use says he is disappointed city council has moved up a debate on a local bylaw, but he plans to give a speech on the steps of city hall before tonight’s meeting.
“We’re pretty disappointed that it’s been sped up, but on short notice, we’re expecting a pretty good turnout,” said Stephen Campbell, a spokesman for “We Choose Freedom – Medicine Hat.”
He had requested to address council prior to the Dec. 7 council meeting, when discussion on a bylaw had been scheduled.
Council will meet at 5 p.m. today and Campbell has said he and other members plan to attend the meeting that has a capacity of just 50 people. Members plan to gather at 4:30 p.m. at city hall plaza.
He said the thrust of the group is not “anti-mask” but rather focuses on personal freedoms.
“We’re on that wavelength,” he said. “We should be able to look at the pros and cons (of mask-use) and should be able to make a decision on our own.”
This week a group of 50 doctors, nurses and other health-care professionals co-signed a letter asking council to bring in a bylaw as soon as possible. That garnered the support of nearly 400 other residents, business owners, professionals, clergy men and community leaders.
In response, members of “We choose Freedom – Medicine Hat” launched a petition on the website, Change.org, and garnered about 400 signatures by mid-afternoon on Tuesday,
Shaw TV will broadcast Wednesday’s special meeting of city council live starting at 5 p.m., the local cable station confirmed to the News on Tuesday.
It typically produces and airs regular council meetings that occur every second Monday.
On Monday, Mayor Ted Clugston announced he would convene the special meeting for mid-week, and a legal requirement of giving 24-hours notice appeared in the News on Tuesday.
Council members will hold a closed session beginning at 3:45 p.m. ahead of the public portion at 5 p.m.
Public meetings are also live-streamed on the city’s website (medicinehat.ca) with a video link found through the “agendas” section under the “Government” tab.