Stephen Lecce’s home targeted by anti-vaccine protesters
Aug. 27, 2021
York Regional Police were dispatched to Education Minister Stephen Lecce’s home twice in the last two days after anti-vaccine protesters gathered outside, shouting and waving placards and disrupting neighbours.
The protests Wednesday morning and late Tuesday night followed demonstrations outside Lecce’s King City constituency office last week where protesters banged on windows, called for Lecce to “stop the abusive masking of the children” and scrawled graffiti.
Some staff were given police escorts to their cars.
According to Lecce’s office, at the Tuesday night protest outside his Vaughan home, about a dozen people gathered, catcalling neighbours and asking for their COVID vaccination status. One had a sign reading “our kids (sic) bodies are not 4 sale.”
Lecce was not home at the time.
His office said protests are fair game in politics but should not target those who are not involved.
“In our democracy, people have the right to protest, but there is a place and time. Minister Lecce’s neighbours and their families have no role in government decisions and should never be made to feel unsafe,” said spokeswoman Caitlin Clark.
“The same applies to our front-line health-care workers, small business owners, and everyday Ontarians rolling up their sleeves to get their shot.”
Police made no arrests.
“Our officers were on scene just to make sure that everyone was safe,” York Region Const. Laura Nicolle told the Star.
Premier Doug Ford’s government has issued a vaccination mandate for health-care and education workers and provincial civil servants requiring full vaccination or regular testing.
Vaccinations are voluntary for eligible children turning 12 or older this year but Ontario’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Kieran Moore said last week that adding COVID-19 shots to the list of vaccines children must have to attend school is under consideration.
Lecce said he stands behind the current push to get COVID shots into the arms of as many Ontarians as possible to get the pandemic under control. Just over 75 per cent of residents aged 12 and up have had two doses.
“The best way we can protect our kids and our community is to get vaccinated,” Lecce told the Star.
Vaccines for children under 12 have not been approved, but decisions are expected in Canada and other countries by the end of the year as pharmaceutical companies submit data from clinical trials.
New Democrat Leader Andrea Horwath said Ford’s government must be ready to do a vaccination blitz of pupils under 12 once health authorities give the go-ahead because the fate of in-person learning could be on the line after more than a year of harmful disruptions.
“As soon as Health Canada gives us the green light, we can get every eligible child their first dose within just a few days -- if we’re ready to go,” said Horwath, who is pushing to make COVID vaccinations mandatory for school attendance as well as for teachers and other education workers and health-care workers.
The government has already tasked school boards and regional health units to hold vaccination clinics before school begins and run them into early September.
About 2 million eligible Ontarians have not had a COVID-19 shot, leaving the highly contagious Delta variant room to run.
“A fourth wave could still inflict a deadly toll on the unvaccinated,” said Ontario Hospital Association president Anthony Dale.
“Given that thousands of Ontario children under the age of 12 will be returning to indoor in-person learning in just a few weeks, it’s vital that all eligible residents receive both shots to keep transmission levels low, protect vulnerable populations and ensure that access to non-COVID related hospital services is not disrupted a further time.”