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York Region Council & COVID-19

Excerpts from York Region Committee of the Whole Meeting

January 14, 2021

On January 14, 2021, enhanced Covid-19 lockdown measures took effect in Ontario. The same day, during the York Region Committee of the Whole meeting, Dr. Karim Kurji, York Region's Medical Officer of Health, highlighted the record-high number of Covid-19 infections in our community. He confirmed that the highly transmissible UK variant of Covid-19 is present in York Region.

Some Regional Council members pushed for information as to when the general public will have access to vaccinations. Dr. Kurji did not confirm a timeline but said staff is working with many large venues in preparation for mass Covid-19 vaccinations when supplies become available.

Several Council members advocated for frontline workers and residents. One called for all York Region firefighters to be vaccinated as soon as possible, while another supported prioritizing the vaccination of people caring for ill family members at home. Neither Richmond Hill Mayor Barrow nor Councillor DiPaola advocated for Richmond Hill residents in any way.

On a day when York Region reported 357 cases of Covid-19, Richmond Hill Councillor Carmine Perrelli again tried to move a motion to request an end to pandemic lockdown restrictions. York Region Chair Wayne Emmerson explained that the Councillor could not resubmit the same motion defeated by Council just weeks ago. Councillor Perrelli would not take no for an answer and tried to resubmit his motion. He made unproven statements related to Covid-19 and the effects of lockdowns, which CAG will not repeat here.

Chair Emmerson asked Councillor Perrelli to wait until the end of the meeting before trying to make another motion, to which he replied “no.” As he continued speaking for lockdown removal, other Council members tried to object, with little success, until Chair Emmerson intervened. He reminded residents that it is a provincial lockdown order and that York Region Council members continue to work in support of small businesses and others affected by Covid-19 restrictions.

As Councillor Perrelli pushed forth his agenda, Newmarket Mayor Tayor suggested that Council is open to new motions to mitigate the effects of Covid-19 stay-at-home orders. He added, “I am starting to get suspicious that somebody that insists on the same motion that involves keeping bars open until one in the morning that’s not even on the table isn’t actually interested in having a successful motion; they’re interested in being the champion by themselves of an idea that doesn’t exist.”

Councillor Perrelli was undeterred, making it clear that he will again try to move his motion at the York Region Council Meeting on January 21, 2021 requesting the end of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions in York Region.

The day after the York Region meeting, Premier Ford ousted Roman Baber, a Progressive Conservative MPP, from his caucus for his opposition to Covid-19 lockdowns. The Premier accused Baber of spreading “misinformation” about the pandemic and barred him from running as a PC candidate in 2022.


Perrelli has gone to mainstream media with his anti-lockdown motion

Richmond Hill Regional Councillor/Deputy Mayor Carmine Perrelli went to mainstream media to garner support for his anti-lockdown motion. He plans to bring this motion forward at the York Regional Council meeting on January 14th.

Perrelli has repeatedly brought versions of the same motion to York Regional Council and each time it was debated and defeated.

Does he speak for you?

If not write York Region Council Members by noon on January 13th telling them that he does not speak for you and ask them to continue to adhere to the provincial restrictions.

Find contact info here.

Perrelli openly rejects the science of Covid-19 and the advice of provincial and regional health experts. He questions hospital officials saying “we are not at any tipping point.” He advocates for giving Premier Ford an ultimatum to remove York Region from lockdown “or we will defy you and we will fight you in court.” He has said that his colleagues on regional council "only want to cover their asses". Read more here.

Does he speak for you?

To be fair Perrelli is not alone in his anti-lockdown rhetoric. He did two interviews with a Canadian far-right political media website that garnered lots of support. His Facebook post also has lots of supporters however anyone who did not agree with his views got their posts deleted like this heartfelt one from Liza Zee.

However these supporters are not an elected official who is paid to represent the best interests of all Richmond Hill residents.

He also has Facebook/Instagram ads running across Ontario with his anti-lockdown motion paid for by your tax dollars.

Does he really expect that the province will take only York Region out of lockdown or is this just another ploy to keep his name in the news?

Does he speak for you?

A quote from an Open Letter to MPP Randy Hillier can apply to Councillor Perrelli as well.

It stated "you are paid to represent all your constituents, including those who are vulnerable due to age, occupation, underlying conditions, or other factors.
Instead of spending time fighting against public health measures to contain COVID- 19, you could put your energy into something useful such as economic, social, and mental health supports to help the local population get through this difficult time."
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