Lambton County council shoots down call to end lockdowns

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A Sarnia politician’s call for an end to COVID-19 lockdowns was rejected Wednesday by Lambton County council.

Sarnia Coun. Margaret Bird also failed in March to convince Sarnia city council to support her request for letters to be sent to Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asking that all organizations and businesses be allowed to open again without restrictions.

Her motion saw the same fate at Wednesday’s monthly online county council meeting, where only one other councillor – Warwick Township Mayor Jackie Rombouts – voted with Bird in favour of sending the requests to Queen’s Park and Ottawa.

“Lockdowns do not work or Sarnia-Lambton wouldn’t be in its fourth lockdown,” Bird said. “This demonstrates the insanity of doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

Her motion came to council on the day Ford announced a four-week stay-at-home order for the province in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.

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“These government-imposed lockdown have contributed to total economic suicide,” Bird said.

Several county councillors spoke against her motion.

“To my friend Margaret, this is not the time to suggest such a motion,” said Sarnia Coun. David Boushy.

The father of a doctor, Boushy spoke about medical professionals struggling to look after patients in hospitals “at a time when people are dying in their arms.”

Boushy urged Bird, “with all respect,” to withdraw the motion.

“We’ve all suffered this year,” said Oil Springs Mayor Ian Veen. “As much as I’d like to see everything open up, I think this is the worst motion that could happen. We have to stay strong.”

Lambton Shores Mayor Bill Weber said he was “disappointed this motion came forward to this council.”

He added, “The lockdowns, I believe, do work,”

Sarnia Coun. Brian White said there are elements of the lockdowns over the past year that “do seem unjust and unfair,” adding there should be “more interventions by the government” for those who are impacted.

But, White said, “ending all lockdowns without restrictions – that’s the suicide, and that’s unacceptable to me.”

Earlier in the meeting, Dr. Sudit Ranade, Lambton’s medical officer of health, updated councillors on local COVID-19 cases, outbreaks and immunizations.

The number of new cases has declined in Lambton while it has recently been under the province’s highest level of restrictions, Ranade said.

“Interventions that keep people away from each other, and restrict the number of social and intentional proximity that they can have with each other, can reduce cases,” he said.

“And that helps to keep disease away from people who might have severe illness, and that helps to keep people out of the hospital.”

He added, “From the perspective of disease transmission, would it be advisable to recommend a reduction of restrictions at this moment? I would say, probably not.”

pmorden@postmedia.com

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