Photographer Kristal Burgess said at one point she counted about 350 people in attendance at the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)

Photographer Kristal Burgess said at one point she counted about 350 people in attendance at the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)

Suspicion of ‘fake news media’ makes rally uncomfortable for Salmon Arm event photographer

More than 300 people counted at city park for ‘Rally For Food Security’

Kristal Burgess is used to being asked who she works for when photographing community events, but not with the level of suspicion she encountered during a rally held in Salmon Arm over the weekend.

Called the “Rally for Food Security,” posters released in advance of Saturday’s event (April 10) in Blackburn Park, suggested a focus on food security, a seed swap and gardening. However, the posters also promised information on masks and “what you need to know about experimental jabs,” musical guests and guest speakers.

The seed swap and food security elements appealed to Burgess, a professional local photographer who can often be seen with camera in hand at community events.

“I know a lot of people wanting to grow their own food, have a little bit more food security, and that’s what the flyer was about and I wanted to see if it really was about food security and what they were doing,” said Burgess.

Asked Friday, April 9, about the event, City of Salmon Arm administrator Carl Bannister said council approval is required in advance for use of city property but, to his knowledge, it was neither sought nor obtained, and suggested permission may have been denied as provincial public health orders currently allow only groups of up to 10 people to gather publicly, and prohibit cultural events and gatherings.

When she arrived at Blackburn, Burgess counted about 200 people there.

“It was over 350 at the largest count that I had done – there was a lot of people there,” said Burgess, adding she saw only one person among the crowd, other than herself, wearing a mask.

Among the crowd were people from out of town including residents of Kelowna.

Salmon Arm Staff Sgt. Scott West said officers were on hand to ensure the safety of the public and to investigate the breach of provincial health orders. He said in a Tuesday, April 13 release that the investigation was ongoing, and that the RCMP’s findings would be shared with the Provincial Health Authority and the BC Prosecution Service, as anyone not following public health orders can be fined.

Read more: Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

Read more: Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

Though there was some talk of food security, and what Burgess described as a small seed swap table with an equally small amount of items on it, much of the event focused on individual freedoms.

While photographing the event, Burgess said most people there were kind and accommodating. However, she was also asked several times who she worked for and if she was part of the “fake news media.” One person told Burgess she didn’t belong there because she was wearing a mask. And, despite it being public property, Burgess said another individual threatened her with legal action.

“I respected his wishes to not be photographed…,” said Burgess. “But it was a little bit alarming when he sort of starts yelling at me from a distance because I was using a telephoto lens so I could stay at a safe distance from people as well.”

Burgess called it one of the more uncomfortable events she’s photographed. But she was also impressed by the many smiling families in attendance, “the people dancing, hugs and joy around,” and that she knew many there who she either waved to or exchanged a quick “hello” with.

“I don’t think everybody there was anti-(vaccine), I don’t think everybody there was hating the government,” said Burgess. “I think there was a very wide variety of people that were there, and I think the people there just want a more healthy, natural lifestyle with less control.”

Correction: The original story noted People’s Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier was a speaker at the April 10 rally in Blackburn Park. Bernier spoke at a public gathering at the park on Friday, April 9. We apologize for the error.


lachlan@saobserver.net
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

General

Salmon Arm

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Despite being billed as a Rally For Food Security, photographer Kristal Burgess found the event focused more on individual freedoms. (Kristal Burgess Photography)

Despite being billed as a Rally For Food Security, photographer Kristal Burgess found the event focused more on individual freedoms. (Kristal Burgess Photography)

The Red Pill Rapper performs to a large crowd gathered for a rally at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10. (Kristal Burgess Photography)

Just Posted

Kelowna Rockets forward Steel Quiring plays the puck against Kamloops Blazers forward Matthew Seminoff at Kelowna’s Prospera Place on Monday, May 11. (Contributed)
Kelowna Rockets burned in 10-2 loss to Kamloop Blazers

The Rockets gave up five power-play goals and were unsuccessful in their two power-play attempts

The administrative headquarters for Central Okanagan Public Schools in Kelowna. (File photo)
COVID-19 exposure confirmed at Rutland Elementary

Five other Central Okanagan Schools have been identified as sites of exposure to the virus since April 27

National Police Week runs May 9-15, 2021, and Vernon North Okanagan RCMP will be highlighting some of its great work on its social media platforms to celebrate its relationships with community groups and stakeholders. (Contribtued)
Collaboration crucial in police work: Vernon Mounties

National Police Week is a public awareness campaign encouraging new and strengthened connections

(Pixabay photo)
Morning Start: Sharks have been around longer than trees

Your morning start for Tuesday, May 11, 2021

BC Coroners Service logo, no date, stock photo
Police probe Lake Country man’s sudden death on parkway

Pelmewash Parkway was partially closed yesterday while RCMP, Coroners investigated

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
B.C. to provide three days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Pixabay)
B.C. doctors could face consequences for spreading COVID misinformation: college

College says doctors have a higher level of responsibility to not spread incorrect information

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about phase two in B.C.’s COVID-19 immunization plan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
All of B.C. will eventually ease out of COVID-19 restrictions at same time: Henry

People who have received two doses of a vaccine can’t yet return to post-pandemic activities with each other, she says

Winnipeg Jets’ Andrew Copp (9) and Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith (41) watch an incoming shot during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, April 26, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
‘Very jealous’: Canadian teams can’t take advantage of NHL’s relaxed COVID-19 rules

League eased some tight COVID-19 health and safety protocols over the weekend for fully vaccinated clubs

A map of Huu-ay-aht-owned forestry cutblock. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
B.C. First Nations restrict access to territory in wake of forestry standoffs

Huu-ay-aht set up checkpoints after heated and dangerous incidents on southwest Vancouver Island

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a ‘person of interest’ in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
RCMP identify ‘person of interest’ in Kootenay National Park suspicious death

Police are looking for Philip Toner, who was known to a woman found dead near Radium last week

Most Read