Protest in Sarnia Thursday against mandatory mask bylaw

Anti-mask protest at Sarnia City Hall July 30, 2020 (Submitted photo)

Two men organized a protest against Sarnia’s mandatory mask bylaw at city hall Thursday afternoon.

The ‘Leave The Mask At Home‘ protest began at 3 p.m. outside the Christina Street building and attracted over a hundred people at its peak according to organizers.

John Sawczuk said he has various objections to the bylaw, set to take effect Friday at 12:01 a.m.

“Eight people voted for the whole city, basically, to tell us all we’re wearing masks, as opposed to taking it to a city-wide vote, that was one of my big objections in general. And if masks were that effective, then why were they not in place when this whole thing started?,” asked Sawczuk. “They haven’t really, A) trained anybody how to wear or care for masks, and B) a bandanna passes as a mask, you know, there’s so many variations. What is a mask? Can I wear a Batman mask? Can I just do something like that and everything’s good?”

Sawczuk and co-organizer Rob Latta believe mask wearing should remain voluntary in the city.

Latta said the bylaw is an example of government overreach.

“[Council] asked Lambton Public Health what their opinion on it was and [council] turned around and did what they wanted anyway. The mayor and city council are not doctors, they are not public health. The people that are mandating what roads get fixed, what structures get built in the park and where city taxes go, should not be mandating a mask.”

Latta added, it’s a bylaw they won’t be able to enforce.

“That’s the problem too, where this is all silly and nonsense, because you can’t enforce the law. It’s a bylaw they made to create a stink, to pit people against each other: so people look at each other funny in the grocery store and ask ‘why aren’t you wearing a mask? None of your damn business.'”

Sawczuk said he invites everyone to come out to be peaceful and part of the process.

“I encourage everybody to protest. Even if you check out the ‘Leave The Mask At Home’ Facebook page and come and open a dialogue whether people are for or against it, I’m totally in. I’m one of those guys that can always learn and remain respectful as best I can when I’m talking to anybody.”