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Winkler police chief denounces ‘anger and resentment’ over COVID-19 orders, vaccines

The chief of the Winkler Police Service has issued an online statement on tensions in the community surrounding COVID-19 public health orders and vaccines.

In the lengthy online letter posted to the Winnipeg Police Service’s Facebook page Saturday, Chief Ryan Hunt said the situation in the community has escalated to a point where he can no longer stay silent.

“Something has to change. The anger and resentment that we are seeing in our community are unacceptable. We are better than this,” the statement says. “This great community did not become great by acting the way we currently are. We are allowed to have different opinions but we should not let them divide us.”

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Hunt went on to say he has seen anger towards business owners, enforcement personnel and police officers, and urged residents against confronting enforcement officials.

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“Overall, the animosity in this community that has emerged during this pandemic has been crippling to our integrity,” the statement said.

Winkler Mayor Martin Harder echoed the sentiments in the letter.

“If I didn’t know better, I would have said I could of written it myself,” Harder told Global News.

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“He lives it every single day, I live it from a different perspective, from the mayor’s perspective. But he’s got the boots on the ground with the individuals he has to deal with who refuse to comply, refuse to be considerate of others.

“It is not simply a protest, I think it has gone further than that. And it is simply that you’re not caring about community, you’re not caring about others, you’re just caring about yourself.”

Harder says it’s disheartening to see the community divided and being put in a negative light due to a small and loud minority.

“It just hurts so much to see a community that is has been tarnished,” he said, adding that everyone needs to come together.

“The message I would like to say is, it’s time to quit focusing on ourselves, but rather focus on others and how we can help get through this.”

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Manitoba nurses call for action on staffing, working conditions

Manitoba nurses call for action on staffing, working conditions

Divide in southern Manitoba could play a role in federal election

Political analysts say the divide among some communities in southern Manitoba could have an impact at the polls in Monday’s federal election, particularly in the traditionally Conservative-held ridings of Provencher and Portage-Lisgar.

“I think we will see surprisingly high People’s Party numbers in those two ridings,” Probe Research partner Mary Agnes Welch told Global News.

Welch said Portage-Lisgar Conservative candidate Candice Bergen has been more actively campaigning this federal election, signalling that there could be some concern over losing some voters to the People’s Party of Canada.

“Traditionally, that is such a safe Conservative seat,” Welch said. “MPs like Candice tend to be deployed into other parts of the country, but this time there is this sort of movement among the People’s Party that will really eat into her majority.”

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Welch also says the federal election results could signal just how large the divide is in southern Manitoba.

“The question is: How high? Is it really 10 or 12 per cent of the voters [that will vote PPC] or is it 25 per cent? Perhaps it’s this loud [minority] that we hear, but maybe that minority is a little bit bigger than we originally thought.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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