District of Fort St. James Municipal Office (Rebecca Dyok photo)

District of Fort St. James Municipal Office (Rebecca Dyok photo)

District of Fort St. James to continue COVID-19 updates

Updates came under scrutiny from residents

The District of Fort St. James will continue sharing COVID-19 updates after some discussion around anti-COVID science comments and emails from some residents to municipal councillors.

The newsletters by Coun. Paul Stent, who is a doctor in the community, were discussed at a Feb. 22 council meeting because councillors were receiving negative feedback by email and on Facebook from some residents questioning the science around COVID-19.

The updates came under renewed scrutiny due to Mayor Robert Motion’s donation to support the Freedom Convoy protests in downtown Ottawa and blockades at several border crossings to the United States.

In a Feb. 28 release from the District of Fort St. James, Mayor Motion acknowledged his donation and invited residents wanting to discuss the issue to reach out to him directly.

“This was a personal donation and in no way reflects the position of the Council of the District of Fort St. James. Regardless of my personal beliefs, I will continue to do what I think is best for our community and its residents.”

READ MORE: UPDATE: Fort St. James mayor among Freedom Convoy donors

Fort St. James resident Brenda Gouglas questioned whether the mayor should continue to be affiliated with COVID-19 updates given his support for the convoy in a March 1 letter to the mayor and council.

“The original intent of the truck convoy was to protest against the COVID-19 vaccine mandated on cross border truckers, and soon expanded to express outrage for the pandemic restrictions overall,” Gouglas wrote.

Gouglas asked the mayor to clarify whether he supports the original or expanded intent of the convoy protests adding that throughout the pandemic Coun. Stent’s newsletters have kept the community and surrounding area informed about COVID-19.

“During the Feb. 22 Council meeting was a discussion on Coun. Stent’s newsletters and him receiving negative Facebook posts and emails, and other Councillors receiving them as well, from people who have personal beliefs I gather to be like yours,” Gouglas wrote.

“It has been left up to Dr. Stent to decide if he will continue to write the newsletters. If he does, is it hypocritical of you to be included?”

District of Fort St. James CAO David Schroeter told the Courier that he doesn’t believe the issues outlined in the letter by Gouglas were talked about as they are “not pertinent” to the decision to continue sharing COVID-19 information with the public. Schroeter said the district will “continue to support” a newsletter with information from Coun. Stent and the Fort St. James medical community.


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