Kelowna Mounties are seeking input from the public as they investigate the disruption at the Thursday Remembrance Day ceremony at the cenotaph.
Anyone who captured the disruption or the events leading up to it on video are asked to upload a video or send a link to the video using the following email proxy:
This proxy will be available until Nov. 30.
The informal Nov. 11 service went from solemn to chaotic in a matter of seconds, when a woman – part of a group pushing anti-COVID-19 health mandate sentiments – used a public-address system to talk about “cognitive dissonance” and her belief that freedoms are being stepped on.
The Kelowna Legion had opted to not hold an official Remembrance Day ceremony this year, partly because of concerns something like this would happen, said Legion member John White.
Legion member Richard Abfaltar was at the cenotaph for the scaled-down service but left when the demonstration began, saying it was simply the wrong thing at the wrong place.
“I don’t know what’s happening in our society but we seem to be losing respect for everyone,” Abfaltar said. “I was embarrassed and disgusted and I had to leave.”
While the disruption ruffled feathers it was mostly short-lived when others gathered for the Remembrance Day event broke out in O’ Canada.
“All of a sudden the crowd realized what was happening, this was an anti-vaccine protest on Remembrance Day. I mean, I am still upset about it,” Legion member Mariann Paice, said.
The Kelowna RCMP said they will be fully investigating to determine what offence, criminal or otherwise may have been committed and will follow through with submission of charges or fines as appropriate.
Following the ceremony, Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran told Global News it was a “reprehensible” disruption.
“I’m completely disgusted by it. The fact that they would choose Remembrance Day, a day where we are to recognize the fallen and those who have fought for the very freedoms to allow them to protest, to me, is just so out of touch,” Basran said.
“There are places that are just off-limits for this kind of ridiculousness and today would be one of those days where this is not OK to do.”
For all who were party to the disruption, Basran had another message.
“First of all, what are you thinking? You owe an apology to this community,” he said. “And quite frankly, if this is how you’re going to behave, we don’t want you here. Find a different place to live.”