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Leader of People's Party of Canada plans series of campaign-style stops in Thompson-Okanagan

PPC tour violates rules: IH

UPDATED: 5:24 p.m.

The leader of the People’s Party of Canada will be violating public health recommendations if he tours through a number of B.C. Interior communities later this week as planned, according to Interior Health.

Maxime Bernier is scheduled to make a number of appearances in the Okanagan and Shuswap before visiting Kamloops over two days beginning Thursday.

“Under current public health orders, non-essential travel, even between different regions of Interior Health, is not recommended and large gatherings are not permitted,” IH said in an unattributed statement provided in response to a query from Castanet about Bernier’s plans.

“People should avoid any activities that put themselves, their loved ones and their communities at risk. We would also take this opportunity to remind everyone of the importance of physical distancing, wearing a mask and washing your hands frequently.”

IH said action could be taken if any of Bernier’s events are found to be in violation of public health orders.

“When we become aware of events or gatherings that violate provincial orders, we will attempt to contact the organizer and, if required and in consultation with RCMP/bylaw, come to the location to ensure compliance,” the statement read.

Meanwhile, a scheduling change means Bernier will no longer hold an event Friday at a Kelowna church that has been fined multiple times for allegedly violating COVID-19 rules.

Bernier’s schedule had shown a morning meeting at Harvest Church on Friday. A revised schedule shows an event at Kelowna’s The Sails, slated to take place at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday.


ORIGINAL STORY: 2:32 p.m.

The leader of the People’s Party of Canada is planning to visit B.C. this week for a series of campaign-style stops in the Interior, despite surging COVID-19 case numbers in the province.

Maxime Bernier has stops planned in Penticton, Kelowna, Vernon, Enderby, Salmon Arm and Kamloops on Thursday and Friday, according to party posts on social media.

On Thursday, Bernier is slated to appear at an event at Penticton’s Gyro Park bandshell from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Bernier’s schedule for Friday begins with an appearance at Kelowna’s Harvest Church from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., followed by a “working lunch” at Vernon’s Bean to Cup at noon and an event at the Polson Park bandshell at 1 p.m.

Following a 2 p.m. stop at Sutherland’s in Enderby, Bernier is scheduled to appear in Salmon Arm’s Blackburn Park a 2:30 p.m. before an evening event at Di Muzio restaurant in downtown Kamloops at 5 p.m.

There is no further word on what these events will look like, but a flyer circulating online says Bernier “will be speaking to the public.”

Claudia Smith, owner of Di Muzio, told Castanet she is hosting the event to support other small businesses.

"It's not anti-masking, anti-vaccine, anti-anything," she said. "It's basically supporting small business — that's how I took it. I'm open to do whatever I can to help small business."

Smith said the plan is to have Bernier and attendees on her restaurant's patio.

Castanet has asked Interior Health for comment on the planned events and is awaiting a reply.

Bernier, a former federal minister under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, formed the People’s Party of Canada in 2018 after coming up short in his bid for Conservative leadership. The party ran candidates in ridings across Canada in 2019 but won no seats and earned just 1.6 per cent of the popular vote.



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