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Maxime Bernier's tour of region 'frustrating' for Interior Health's top doctor

Last Updated Apr 10, 2021 at 9:18 am PDT

FILE: Maxime Bernier, leader of the People's Party of Canada, speaks at the launch of his campaign Sunday, August 25, 2019 in Sainte-Marie, Que. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

There is nothing prohibiting Maxime Bernier from travelling to B.C. from Quebec during the COVID-19 pandemic

Interior Health's top doctor says it's frustrating to see the People's Party of Canada leader flouting travel guidelines

VERNON (NEWS 1130) — Interior Health’s top doctor says he’s monitoring Maxime Bernier’s tour of the region, worried that the People’s Party of Canada leader is inviting people to join him in “fighting against draconian lockdowns.”

British Columbia is not currently locked down. Restrictions on gathering, indoor fitness, religious services, and indoor dining are in place, but schools and many businesses remain open.

There is nothing prohibiting Bernier from travelling to B.C. from Quebec during the COVID-19 pandemic, but federal and provincial guidelines advise against non-essential, interprovincial travel.

RELATED: B.C. needs to move beyond advisories, recommendations against travel: expert

Dr. Albert de Villiers says it’s difficult to watch these guidelines being ignored as daily case counts climb in this province and across the country.

“They’re putting people at risk. It’s very frustrating because we know our hospitalizations have gone up across the province. You’ve seen the numbers. Our cases have increased,” he says.

“I think as a society, it should be frustrating for all of us and it does take a lot of time from everybody.”

Despite an online video in which Bernier mentions holding “rallies,” de Villers says isn’t aware that Bernier has defied the provincial health order banning gatherings.

“We have been made aware of this and there is currently some orders that prohibit these things, and if the rules get broken we would look into that.”

Bernier made stops in Pentiction, Kelowna, and Kamloops before wrapping up his tour in Vernon Saturday.

On social media, Bernier has posted pictures of him posing maskless with small crowds of supporters outdoors. He has also posted about meeting with a Kelowna pastor who has been fined for violating B.C.’s ban on indoor, in-person worship. Bernier is set to be in Vancouver on Saturday.

Bernier describes his message as “speaking on our values, our Canadian traditional values of freedom and personal responsibility.”