Rights have limits

Dear Editor:

It’s disappointing to hear the disinformation Centre Wellington councillors Steven VanLeeuwen and Stephen Kitras are spreading regarding Canada’s and Ontario’s COVID-19 response and I would expect them to be better informed. Although Kitras is not a member of the group, he is fully in support of its objectives.

VanLeeuwen thinks the COVID-19 restrictions in place contravene the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in specific ways, one of which is the right to congregate for worship. The charter spells out that “There may be limits on how you express your religious beliefs if your way of doing so would infringe on the rights of others or undermine complex public programs and policies.” I think a pandemic is a perfect case in point and, further, allowing people to congregate in churches and elsewhere could infringe upon their rights to life and personal safety which is guaranteed under Section 7 of the charter.

Furthermore, Statistics Canada’s website doesn’t agree with Mr. Van Leeuwen’s assertion that the elderly are primarily at risk of contracting the virus. On the contrary, the distribution of coronavirus cases by age group in Canada, as of Jan. 29, is as follows: 50.9% are aged 19 to 39, 28% are 40 to 59; and 21% are 60-plus.

I am heartened to know that Mayor Kelly Linton will continue to heed the advice of public health officials and so should all of us.

Pat Martin,