The fallout for West Lincoln Mayor Dave Bylsma continued today after he took part in a demonstration on the weekend where he appeared without a mask and spoke against public health measures to control the pandemic.
After the protest, West Lincoln Council removed Bylsma from his role on the town’s Emergency Operations Centre. Now Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley has spoken out against Bylsma’s actions.
Today, in a statement, Regional council chair Jim Bradley called Bylsma out: “Regarding Councillor David Bylsma, I am deeply troubled and disappointed with his active participation in a public demonstration that deliberately ignored the ongoing state of emergency that he himself declared as one of Niagara’s mayors.”
As West Lincoln mayor, Bylsma also serves as a Niagara Region councillor.
He called Bylsma’s participation “particularly distressing” adding that when a member of the Regional Council openly flouts the law, they set a poor and unfortunate example for the public.
Bradley said he supports the right to freedom of expression and peaceful lawful assembly, however, “residents are reminded that we continue to be under provincial stay-at-home orders. As the third wave of this pandemic begins to severely tax our hospital system, it is more important than ever that we stay home when possible and keep one another safe.”
Bradley added: “Councillor Bylsma is free to express his views, but he is not free to break the law, nor is he free to encourage others to do so. It is one thing for an individual to express personal views no matter how outlandish and lacking, in reality, they might be, but it is completely unacceptable to break the law. I believe it is important to listen to the science and follow the direction provided by our public health experts.”