One councillor of Edmonton’s city council attempted to force the mask mandate to remain active until at least July 5th.
Currently, AHS is recommending to cease mandatory mask use and the majority of the Council has voted to repeal the long-standing city bylaw for mandatory masks during the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, one councillor is keeping your mouth covered based on a technicality.
Edmonton councillors voted 7 to 6 to end mandatory face coverings in public spaces as of July 1st. Councillors in favour of the repeal were Banga, Cartmell, Caterina, Dziadyk, Esslinger, Hamilton, and Nickel. Voting against were councillors Henderson, Knack, McKeen, Pacquette, Walters, and Mayor Iveson. Despite this clear vote in favour of a repeal, the mask mandate will stay in effect because, according to city council rules, members of the council must vote three times for the action to take place.
After voting in Second Reading, Councillor Pacquette motioned, in what Mike Nickel called a “procedural move,” an objection to holding multiple votes for the same issue together. While Pacquette is entitled to this motion as a council member, the objection has made ending mandatory masks on July 1st unlikely, delaying the Third Reading to the fifth of the month, days after the province’s official provincial rule to end mandatory face coverings.
Councillor Jon Dziadyk took to Facebook to explain the situation. The councillor stated that their motion, which was meant to align the city’s bylaws with Alberta Health’s advice, was shot down. Dziadgyk wrote, “A majority of Council supported it. But, due to a technicality, the vote on Third Reading will occur on July 5th!”
Many council members believe that it’s vital to heed expert medical and scientific recommendations and advice for the province in all aspects of the pandemic. Mayoral candidate Mike Nickel of Ward 11 has shared a public petition against the YEG mask mandate. An end to the mandatory mask mandate for the city would not stop Edmontnians from wearing a mask if that is their prerogative.
Mike Nickel shared another frustrated view on the bylaw struggles: “Edmonton has complied with the mask mandate for over a year. Alberta’s top doctor and Edmonton’s top doctor have both advised us to suspend the mask mandate with Phase 3. I want to thank my fellow councillors for following the most current scientific advice and voting with some common sense.”
Dzyadyk later updated his post, adding that a Special Meeting was requested for Friday which would allow for a Third Reading of the motion to pass the end of the mask bylaw, “as the alternative ambiguity is not fair to the public.”
Alberta Mask Mandate Ignores Health Officials Advice