An Abbotsford councillor has signed a statement agreeing with the assertion that government lockdowns have caused more harm than the COVID-19 virus.
Coun. Brenda Falk has joined dozens of other current and former politicians from across the country in the End the Lockdowns Caucus, which was organized by the Liberty Coalition of Canada.
Falk is one of three current B.C. municipal councillors who the LCC says have signed on.
Other politicians on the caucus include: Maxime Bernier (leader of the People’s Party of Canada), Derek Sloan (Independent MP, expelled from Conservative Party of Canada) and Randy Hillier (Independent Ontario Member of Provincial Parliament, facing charges after hosting a COVID-19 mask-burning party earlier this month).
The statement that Falk and the other individuals signed Feb. 2 reads in part:
”After careful examination and scrutiny of mitigation measures undertaken by all levels of government, it is now evident that the lockdowns cause more harm than the virus and must be brought to an end.
”We devote our energy and efforts to the just and compassionate objective of reopening our businesses, schools, places of worship, recreational facilities, along with the full resumption and expansion of efficient medical services.”
The LCC has also launched petitions demanding the reopening of churches and small businesses, and other pressing concerns about the effects that lockdowns have on youth – using the phrase #SaveOurYouth.
The LCC is linked with the efforts to Reopen Ontario Churches movement and is made up of what they say is a national network of clergymen, elected officials, small business owners, legal experts and other concerned citizens.
Falk said she joined the caucus as a way to support small businesses in Canada, which she said has been devastated by lockdowns.
“I support people’s right to earn a living and I think the government needs to do a better job to protect them.”
Falk, who owns a garden centre and bistro, said the restaurant industry has been damaged by restrictions and lockdowns.
“From everything I’ve read in B.C. there hasn’t been a single transmission case from guest to guest or server in a restaurant,” she said. “Why are they locked down? Because they’re low-hanging fruit.
“… The churches have worked hard at doing it safely. I’m not saying we need to open up and just throw caution to the wind, but we can do it in a way that protects people and honours the integrity of the youth.”
Falk said lockdowns “are worse than the virus on the long-term devastation they leave on the community. We could have done a better way to take caution and protect businesses at the same time.”
Falk also serves on the Fraser Valley Regional Hospital District board, a position she has held since 2018. The News contacted Fraser Valley Regional District board chair Jason Lum and vice-chair Patricia Ross for more information on Falk’s role, but both have not yet replied.
She recently took some flak online for posting a picture on April 28 of her in Alberta with her daughter and grandkids. Falk told The News the photo was taken before B.C.’s travel lockdown began on April 23, and she was there to provide childcare services for her daughter, who recently had a child. She would not confirm the timing but has been on vacation from her role as an Abbotsford city councillor for the past two weeks.
“I did not break any rules. I was there for very legitimate reasons and would do it all over again to protect my child,” she said.
Travel from B.C. to Alberta is allowed, and Falk stated she flew into Alberta from Abbotsford.
“I don’t really care about that,” she said, in regard to online criticism of her travel.
The News also contacted Mayor Henry Braun and members of Abbotsford city council for comments, with only Coun. Dave Loewen offering his thoughts on Falk’s decision to join the End the Lockdowns Caucus.
“I leave my response as ‘disappointed’ and let Councillor Falk deal with the court of public opinion on her own,” Loewen told The News.
“I’ve engaged numerous people (on FB and in emails) over the last months on the seriousness of COVID, notwithstanding the ridicule I received from some. I ardently support the efforts and initiatives of our provincial health officer to take strong measures in the interests of the public good. I am not qualified to second-guess the opinions of our epidemiologists and medical professionals.”
Falk made headlines last summer after her business, Tanglebank, commented on a Black Lives Matter post by the Downtown Abbotsford Instagram account. Tanglebank stated that “All lives matter” and recommended that “people be treated the way you want to be treated and stop the BS.”
It was later revealed that it was Falk’s husband Arnold who made the comments. He was initially upset that his comments were deleted by Downtown Abbotsford, but then later apologized for his words.
Shortly after the controversy, a petition was launched calling for the resignation of Coun. Falk. The petition, which is still active, has collected 767 signatures. Falk declined to comment on the petition at the time and deleted her Twitter account. The Tanglebank Instagram page was shut down for several weeks before being reopened.