Date: Wednesday, 4 March 2020 10:53 AM
To the Attention: Virginia Ritchie, Producer, PV Events, Inc.
Re: Cancellation of Vaccine Choice Canada Booth at Victoria Women’s Expo 2020
Dear Ms. Ritchie,
I am writing in my capacity as President of Vaccine Choice Canada (VCC) in response to the notification of cancellation of our agreement to participate in the Women’s Expo in Victoria on March 7 & 8, 2020.
It is heart-wrenchingly disappointing to our many volunteers who have invested considerable time and their own financial resources to be part of your event. However, this disappointment pales to the even more disconcerting and far reaching implications of VCC being targeted for exclusion from the event.
The Victoria Women’s Expo is promoted as an opportunity for “today’s intelligent consumers . . . to investigate and inform themselves with today’s trends and up to date products, information and services.” Given the intention of the Expo, we felt this would be an important opportunity to make Victoria area women aware of the recent changes to health regulations in British Columbia.
The recently implemented Regulation 376 was imposed without any public consultation or debate in the BC legislature. The intension of this regulation is to restrict parental rights and freedoms, including the right to informed consent, the right of parents to make medical decisions for their children, the right to therapeutic choice, the right to medical privacy, and the right to security of the person and bodily sovereignty.
One would have thought that these are rights and freedoms that we all hold dear and would wish to preserve and protect. Further, that the organizers of an event that celebrates women would especially wish to facilitate information sharing regarding informed consent and protecting bodily sovereignty.
Who Will Stand Up to Censorship?
My understanding is that due to your having “received numerous emails regarding people’s opinions”, a unilateral decision was made to withdraw VCC’s participation in this event. I’m concerned that there was no opportunity given to respond to these “opinions” or to discuss how we might adjust our presentation in the face of these opinions.
Even more disturbing is that such action enables unseen and unaccountable individuals to restrict our ability to communicate with one another. This represents a violation of our fundamental right to freedom of speech.
What I’ve come to appreciate is that there are forces at work that do not respect our rights and freedoms. What is even more disconcerting is that so many are willing to go along with the elimination of our most basic human rights.
I expect that you were pressured or coerced to make this decision. However, if we don’t stand up for our rights, who will? The society we are leaving for our children and grandchildren will be very different than what we’ve experienced if we don’t value and stand firm when these rights are being violated.
I think it is important to recognize how one’s actions and inactions, including one’s silence, make us complicit in the loss of our fundamental rights and freedoms. What we are facing is more than a medical issue. We are facing a human rights issue that will affect every individual on this planet if we let it, and especially if we assist in this erosion of rights by going along with censorship.
While it is too late to rectify this decision, I think it is important that you have some understanding of your role in the loss of those qualities and rights that we hold dear.
Please understand that the thoughts that are shared within this letter are done with respect and compassion. It is my hope that in the future, when an application is made by a citizen-led organization such as VCC that you will support their right to freedom of speech.
We honour your group for your efforts to reach many women across BC with information that is vital to women and families. And, we would hope in future to see your organization stand up for the women and children of BC and the protection of our rights and freedoms.
Civil liberties . . . we shall enjoy them only so long
as we value them enough to preserve them.
– George W. Brown
Thank you for our consideration.
Ted Kuntz, President
Vaccine Choice Canada
Global Convention Services
Rachelle, Senior Account Manager
Vaccine Choice Canada