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Vancouver PPC candidate condemned for comparing residential schools to vaccine passports

The BC Assembly of First Nations called the comparison "harmful and repugnant."

The BC Assembly of First Nations recently denounced a Vancouver political candidate running in this year’s federal election for comparing B.C.’s residential schools to the province’s vaccine passports.

Renate Siekmann is the People’s Party of Canada (PPC) candidate for Vancouver Quadra who on Wednesday (Sept. 15) posted a pamphlet likening the genocide perpetrated by B.C.’s residential schools to the province’s recently rolled out vaccine passports. The same day the BC Assembly of First Nations called for Siekmann’s removal from the party.

“The Native Passport is a dark chapter in BC history. It’s sad to see British Columbia instituting another passport system today,” Siekmann wrote at the start of a Twitter thread that included images of the pamphlet. 

Specifically, Siekmann compared the pass system developed in 1885 by the federal government to confine Indigenous people to reserves.

“As First Nations, entire generations of our peoples were stolen from their families and communities. They were tortured, physically and sexually abused, and murdered. They lost their languages and cultures, and thousands of our precious children never came home,” said Terry Teegee, the BCAFN’s Regional Chief. “Claiming that a public health measure, such as a vaccine passport, is somehow comparable or equivalent to violent and genocidal practices is harmful and repugnant.”

The statement released by BCAFN also calls upon the PPC’s leader Maxime Bernier to publicly apologize and denounce the false equivalency between vaccine passports and the violent removal of Indigenous children from their families.

“An inconvenient interruption in your social life to save lives during a deadly pandemic is not discrimination,” Teegee continued.

In the pamphlet, which bears the PPC logo and branding, Siekmann references a multitude of conspiracy theories by writing: “Discrimination based on vaccine status is both illegal and a violation of the Nuremberg Code.”

The Nuremberg Code has been cited by many opponents of COVID-19 vaccines and B.C.’s vaccine passport. The Code, a set of ethical guidelines for medical experimentation, was created in 1947 following the Nuremberg trials. During the trials, Nazi doctors were accused of conducting inhumane and deadly experiments on prisoners of concentration camps without their consent.

The language of the Code most referenced by conspiracy theorists involves the first rule: “the voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential… without the intervention of any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, over-reaching, or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion.”

Pointing to the code and falsely claiming the vaccines are experimental is the one-two punch favoured by some groups. Aside from not having been officially adopted as law by any nation, the Code still wouldn’t be violated in this instance,  as COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials took place with the participation of consenting individuals. 

Vancouver Is Awesome reached out to Siekmann and the PPC for comment and will update if a response is provided.

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