Every Saturday since April 25 the lawn in front of Ontario’s legislative building has hosted a notably non-distanced gathering of protesters. Holding signs and hurling slogans about everything from the alleged dangers of 5G wireless service to Canadians’ right to party, the congregation has earned the title of “yahoos” by Premier Doug Ford.
Now that parts of the country are beginning to reopen, the anti-lockdown crowd has refocused its energy in new and confusing directions. To better understand what the hell gun laws, population growth, cell towers, and media bias have to do with breaking social distancing rules, we asked the protesters on a recent Saturday to explain themselves in their own words.
VICE: How long have you been coming to Queen's Park and why?
Andy: This is our fifth Saturday here.
You’ve been here since the beginning?
April 25, every Saturday, we try and get people to come out and tell people about it but most people don’t know. Unless you are on a Facebook group or you know somebody that’s here you’re not going to know because it’s not being advertised, obviously.
I’m seeing the same faces; there’s more every week, but the general nucleus of the group that has been here since day one has been here since then and that’s a good thing but I’m afraid that even if we do fill this park up every week they are still going to push forward with this. My wife works at Credit Valley in Mississauga, and that’s a big hospital; they have been slow because of this. They are not doing elective surgeries anymore, which is a shame because some people need to get stuff done. Some people are dying because they are not getting this stuff done that they should be allowed to get done but they are focusing on this COVID. The whole thing just blows my mind.
VICE: Brent, why are you here today?
Brent: I’m a small business owner and on the street that I have my shop on there’s about 50 businesses and I know 10 of them are going to be out of business 100 percent when this is over. The mechanics are OK but the guy selling T-shirts, it’s over for him.
What industry are you in?
Me, I’m in the recycling business so we are OK, I’m essential, but the guy that’s selling shoes is not essential; I don’t understand the difference. That’s why we’re here.
So more from an economic standpoint than anything else?
Yes. I have some skin in the game and I don’t want to lose my business. I would hate for anybody to lose their business. I’ve been in business seven years and it’s freaking hard—blood, sweat, tears, all that stuff.
VICE: Crystal, why are you here today?
Crystal: My dad and my uncle ended up warning me back when we were growing up on the farm that there was going to be another huge takeover and they were going to try and enslave us—same way that they did in 1918 back in the Spanish flu times. History always repeats itself, so here we are repeating itself. We won then, and we are going to win again now as long as we can wake enough people up.
I like your outfit. Can you tell me what it’s all about?
The whole statement is with rose-coloured glasses and the toilet paper roll tunnel vision; we watch too much media. The cape has all the slogans of everything that I stand for: anti-immunization; we don’t want mandatory vaccinations.
I’m curious to hear about your views on 5G?
I never asked to have a faster computer system. I don’t understand why we need something that’s so extravagant. And if there is a 600 percent chance in increased cancer why are we putting it up there? (Editor's note: There is no significant cancer risk associated with 5G.) I don’t want my brain to bleed obviously. We have enough cancer because of the immunizations. Why add to it?
VICE: So what’s the reason for coming down here today?
Joshua: To oppose the government shutdown with everyone else; I think we’ve all grown tired of it. Regardless of the stages they’ve been doing it’s still not enough; there’s a lot of small businesses that are still detrimentally affected by all of this. And the push of ‘wear a mask,’ ‘don’t wear a mask’... stores are able to turn people away for not wearing a mask and it’s all bullshit. I’m tired of it.
I am seeing a lot of different reasons people are down here protesting. What are you focusing on?
I mean I think there is a mixture of things down here. There are people protesting the gun ban, there’s people protesting COVID, there’s people protesting the lockdown, there’s people protesting the media. I’m just down here because I want everything to reopen. We all have our own causes to be down here, we all have a free voice, but we are all united in one cause: the government has been tyrannical in their demands and their approach, they’ve been dishonest with us, and we are tired of it.
VICE: Justin, why are you here today?
Justin: Well, it’s a beautiful day. Good day to be outside, you know, instead of (being) stuck in the house and (to) ride amongst the people.
And why did you pick Queen's Park to come to?
Because this is where all the awoken people from the city be. Can’t be roaming amongst the sheep.
So, what do you think about this whole shut down?
I think it's bullshit. Just run the numbers and you will see that it's nonsense, you know what I mean? It doesn’t make any sense really for this global lockdown, if you want to call it that. I’ve been out every single day; I’m not afraid of people. I respect people's decisions whether it’s against mine or not. But for me I have no fear catching a virus.
Have you been affected by the lockdown at all?
Not necessarily. My daily routine really hasn’t changed. I’m still working, it’s just going to a store and standing in line for a fucking hour so I avoid going to stores and stuff. Because it’s all in your own (head) if you want to live or not in fear of being stuck in your house and being afraid to interact with people and you are just putting yourself in the box. Just get out there live free and take your chances.
Robert and Mary
VICE: What was it that brought you here today?
Robert: I guess I’ll speak first. Basically, a bunch of reasons. Whether it’s gun control, whether it’s the lockdown, whether it’s forced vaccination... we are losing our liberties. I don’t think these liberties are going to come back after this pandemic is over. No one is disagreeing that there is a pandemic, no one is disagreeing that a virus can be dangerous, but people need to get back to work and if you talk to a lot of people here, they have lost their jobs and they are going on savings. What are they going to do when those savings run out? Trudeau is only going to give out so much money; it’s not going to happen forever. Money is going to run out eventually and someone is going to have to pay the bill. So we are down here for a number of reasons. The main one is he (Trudeau) did a firearm ban under OIC, which is an order in council. If he wants to do a firearm ban then fine but do it through Parliament; don’t be sneaky and do it while there is a pandemic going on, when no one is paying attention. And so, what he did is not going to solve crime in Toronto. People aren’t using those guns anyway in Toronto; 80 percent of those guns used in crime in Toronto are coming from the States; they’re handguns.
I don’t trust (Trudeau). And this man tried to take economic control from Parliament until the end of 2021 and they stopped him from doing that. It scares the shit out of me.
And for you, Mary?
Mary: For the similar reason that they should chase the criminals not the legal gun owners or the law-abiding gun owners. I’m a registered nurse; I think vaccinations should not be forced. And these are my main concerns, but I’m with him as a team.
VICE: Larry, why are you here today?
Larry: Just to protest this Communist takeover lockdown.
And what part of the lockdown are you most concerned about?
I’ve got eight grandkids, and this is a total world government takeover, NWO takeover. I have bosses that are from Slovakia, I drive a tractor trailer, and they totally support what I’m doing. They say Canadians need to wake up to what’s going on. I was doing this protest in Brantford and I was out there by myself and my buddies called me up and told me to come on down to Toronto and I’ve been down here the last two weeks doing this. Ninety percent of the people in Brantford are asleep; that’s common across the country. There should be far greater numbers out here in the GTA with the population about 3 million and there is only maybe a thousand people here? There should be far more out here.
Have you been personally affected by the COVID-19 lockdown?
I drive tractor trailers, so my hours have gone down from about 60 a week to 40 a week. The bosses have tried to apply for stuff from the government but that’s all lip service from Trudeau. They don’t really want to do anything for small- and medium-sized businesses. All the corporations are getting all the money.
You mentioned you have eight grandkids. What about this concerns you for their sake?
There’s no future for them if things don’t change drastically here in this country and around the world. It’s just a globalist takeover, it’s the 1 percent doing this. Look at the Georgia Guidestones, the big stone monument down in Georgia that they put up in 1980 in seven or eight different languages and the first point is to maintain a world population of 500 million. And what’s that tell ya? That’s 99 percent of the world’s population that they want to get rid of.
VICE: So Justin, why are you here today?
Justin: To protest against the lockdown because it is a complete violation of our constitutional rights to free assembly, our rights to move around within the province or outside in any of the provinces, our rights to go to church, and our religious freedoms. We need to start waking people up because the government is openly talking about mandatory vaccinations for everybody because of this COVID-19 which is a complete violation of the Nuremberg code; it’s actually a war crime committed against us if they decide to do that.
Our economy has been shut down over a virus that has higher than a 99 percent survival rate. So, the fact that all our countries around the world have shut down our economies over a virus that kills less people than the seasonal flu does doesn’t make sense to me (Editor’s note: COVID-19 has a higher mortality rate than influenza). And the coming economic collapse that we are facing is far more dangerous than any virus that we have experienced especially this current COVID-19. So, there are a lot of things at stake and to have a government openly discuss both mandatory vaccinations thrust upon us and taking our guns away at the same time I think proves unequivocally that they have no respect for our rights.
And the government never takes your guns away unless they are planning on doing something you would like to shoot them for.
VICE: Hey Jenna, why are you here today?
Jenna: Same reason everybody else is here: to have a party. We are here to protest the lockdowns and a million other things: vaccines, guns, whatever anybody is here for that what we are advocating.
I’ve noticed that there are a lot of different issues people are protesting.
Yeah, there are all kinds of issues.
Why do you think that is?
Because the government sucks.
Have you been personally affected by the lockdown?
Everybody has. All you have to do is go to a store and stand in a bread line. Enough is enough.
What part of the new normal don’t you agree with?
There is no new normal. I’m going to continue to protest until I get the old normal.
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Update: A previous version of this story featured an interview with a man who only identified himself as "Paul." VICE has learned the man was white supremacist Paul Fromm and has removed the interview.