Mayor Brian Bowman says he’s planning to attend the Justice 4 Black Lives rally in front of the Manitoba Legislature, and he encourages other Manitoba politicians to do the same.
Though he usually doesn’t attend demonstrations or protests, Bowman said he thinks there is an important dialogue happening internationally right now about human rights, and the issues of the Black Lives Matter movement are important on a global scale.
“I think it’s incredibly important for elected officials to be there to listen and hear what’s being communicated,” he said.
“I’m not going to be speaking. I’m not planning on doing any interviews. I’m there to listen.”
Bowman said at a news conference Friday morning that he wanted to thank the organizers of the rally “for doing their part to move our community forward.”
Earlier this week, Deputy Mayor Markus Chambers and Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry Coun. Sherri Rollins said they would attend Friday’s rally.
Premier Brian Pallister has said he doesn’t plan to attend the protest, citing his asthma and the need to avoid large crowds during the COVID-19 pandemic, though he said he supports the democratic right to peacefully protest.
Clarification needed on face masks for transit users
Bowman spoke to media Friday when he gave an update on the city’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The city has asked the province for recommendations on whether passengers should wear masks while taking Winnipeg Transit, he said.
“To date, the province hasn’t recommended that transit riders wear masks on transit buses. We want to make sure that we’re following the recommendation, so we’ve asked for clarity on what those recommendations are,” he said.
“We thought it’d be prudent that we have that dialogue with the province.”
Dr. Brent Roussin, the province’s chief provincial public health officer, said non-medical face masks are an option for preventing the spread of COVID-19 when physical distancing is not possible, but that he’s not looking at making them mandatory on public transit.
In recent weeks, the union representing Winnipeg Transit workers has raised concerns that safe physical distancing isn’t being practised on the city’s buses, sharing a photo that it says shows overcrowding on a bus in mid-May.
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