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B.C. won't bow to 'handful of protesters,' premier says as Alta. ditches vaccine passport


The B.C. government won't determine public health policy based on the demands of a "handful of protesters," Premier John Horgan said Tuesday as some provinces prepare to ditch vaccine passport requirements.

Health officials have already suggested B.C.'s COVID-19 restrictions will be changing by Family Day – less than two weeks from now – but have not made any specific promises, and Horgan has repeatedly declined to speculate.

"We're going to follow the same path that we have been on since the pandemic began, and that is to take advice and council from public health officials," the premier said at a news conference in Victoria.

Meanwhile, the Alberta government is ending its proof-of-vaccination requirement at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, a move Premier Jason Kenney called "careful and prudent," but which has prompted accusations of kowtowing to the anti-restriction crowd.

Saskatchewan won't be far behind, with that province's vaccine passport system scheduled to end on Valentine's Day.

Horgan declined to comment on whether he believes his counterparts in other provinces are playing politics, but said the Freedom Convoy and other protesters are not impacting the decision-making in B.C.

He also criticized some of the group's methods, arguing that most of the public opposes tactics that "(intrude) into the lives of other people."

"I absolutely understand the right of people to dissent to public policy. I come from a party of dissent," Horgan said. "I don't recall at any time participating in anything that involved threats and intimidation to other citizens."

Since last weekend's convoy, which was met by counter-protesters in Vancouver, a group of supporters has been gathering near the Pacific Highway Border Crossing in Surrey – but so far, they have remained at the side of the road and haven't blocked traffic.

Some of the protesters told CTV News they plan to remain there until all restrictions are lifted.

B.C.'s remaining COVID-19 measures include the indoor mask mandate, personal gathering limits and the proof-of-vaccination requirement for restaurants and other venues. Organized indoor gatherings such as wedding receptions are also banned, and bars and nightclubs that don't serve food are not allowed to operate.

Horgan told reporters he has a "vague idea" of how provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry will recommend B.C. update its restrictions, based on the stable number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and declining transmission.

He also singled out masks as being "effective in protecting people," and noted that vaccine passports have been "supported by the vast majority" of British Columbians. Top Stories

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