The nurses behind Vancouver’s anti-vax protests

Anyone who has seen the Canadian Frontline Nurses’ white nurse cap brand with its vivid purple cross on posters and flyers selling anti-vaccine rallies is perhaps questioning how this group — whose title means that it represents nurses — got here to be preventing insurance policies laid out by Canada’s prime well being officers.

The comparatively new group helped manage an anti-vaccine rally held exterior Vancouver General Hospital and Vancouver City Hall this month.

With a membership together with some fired nurses, Canadian Frontline Nurses truly represents a small minority of Canada’s health-care employees and has been extensively denounced by these working with COVID-19 sufferers throughout the nation.

Who are Canadian Frontline Nurses?

Canadian Frontline Nurses is an offshoot of Global Frontline Nurses, which predates CFN by one 12 months. The foundations for CFN have been constructed primarily on social media by girls like Kristen Nagle, a neonatal ICU nurse, and Sarah Choujounian, a registered sensible nurse, each from Ontario.

Before the pandemic, Kristen Nagle’s Instagram was stuffed with photographs of her youngsters, wholesome recipe concepts and weight-reduction plan ideas. But on Aug. 10, 2020, Nagle made one in all her first posts in regards to the pandemic, during which she argued public well being measures have been creating an environment that was making extra individuals sick than the virus was.

Over the subsequent few months, she spoke at metropolis council conferences spreading misinformation about masks, and went on to attend, manage and converse at anti-mask rallies in Ontario. For these actions, Nagle was ultimately fired from her job, in response to the CBC.

Still, her protests continued into the beginning of 2021, when she and Sarah Choujounian met at Pearson Airport awaiting a flight to Washington, D.C.

Three months earlier than that flight, Choujounian made the primary submit to the Instagram account nursesagainstlockdowns, which merged with the Canadian Frontline Nurses Instagram account in May of this 12 months. During that point, she, too, attended and spoke at anti-mask and anti-vaccine rallies in Ontario.

When they met, the 2 have been headed to Washington to unite with the Global Frontline Nurses and take part in a Freedom Health Summit on Jan. 6.

Nagle and Choujounian, together with different members of the GFN motion, met on the steps of Capitol Hill hours earlier than 1000’s of supporters of former U.S. president Donald Trump broke into the Capitol to attempt to cease the presidential electoral vote depend.

In the aftermath, the College of Nurses of Ontario confirmed to the Canadian Press that each Nagle and Choujounian have been already below investigation for talking at anti-mask rallies.

Neither lady is reported to have been a part of the pro-Donald Trump mob that stormed the Capitol.

Four days after the Capitol riots, the CFN Facebook web page was created, with an analogous brand to that of the Global Frontline Nurses. Around the identical time, an internet site for CFN was additionally created, itemizing Choujounian as one of many group’s founding members.

According to Choujounian’s bio, she, like Nagle, was fired from each her nursing jobs at care properties in Ontario.

The web site signifies the group has three extra members: Kristal Pitter, a RN who continues to be entitled to practise with no restrictions however is not employed as a nurse, in response to the College of Nurses of Ontario; Jessica Faraone, an RN from Quebec can be entitled to practise however is not doing so; and Nordia German, one other RN from Quebec, who, in response to the Order of Nurses of Quebec, is entitled to practise till 2022.

A loud minority

Michael Villeneuve, CEO of the Canadian Nurses Association, which has represented nurses throughout Canada for practically 100 years, says the Canadian Frontline Nurses represents a loud however small minority.

He mentioned the CNA has been conserving tabs on Canadian Frontline Nurses as a result of the group doesn’t signify the values of nursing.

“It’s harmful to place that title on the market, that means a nurse title, which clearly carries that means for the general public after which misrepresents reality or science,” mentioned Villeneuve, whose group launched a scathing letter directed at individuals and organizers of the latest anti-vaccine-card protests.

Titled “Enough is sufficient,” it says: “The reckless views of a handful of discredited individuals who establish as nurses have aligned in some instances with offended crowds who’re placing public well being and security in danger. They have drawn in anti-science, anti-mask, anti-vaccine, anti-public well being followers whose beliefs align with theirs. For some purpose they might have us consider that tens of millions of the very best educated well being scientists, public well being consultants, physicians and nurses globally have all missed one thing they haven’t. Their outlandish assertions about science could be laughable have been they not so harmful.”

The letter says anti-public-health disinformation threatens to confuse a drained and bewildered public by misrepresenting private ideology as info, and science as conspiracy. The letter additionally makes an attempt to guarantee Canadians that the overwhelming majority of Canada’s nurses are duty-bound to make use of science and proof to guage the care they offer.

Villeneuve says in any group, together with the a whole bunch of 1000’s of nurses throughout Canada, there are sure to be a couple of individuals who don’t agree with the remaining.

“The downside is when the group is 448,000, half a % continues to be a pair thousand individuals, and so they may very well be very vocal utilizing social media,” he mentioned.

In Villeneuve’s 40-plus years within the health-care business, he mentioned he has by no means seen the general public’s vitriol take such a toll on health-care employees.

“I’ve by no means seen nurses and docs so drained,” he mentioned. “So shaken, and shocked by fellow Canadians lining up and yelling at them.”

Villeneuve says those that declare to signify Canada’s nurses whereas additionally spreading misinformation a few international pandemic “signify every thing that we don’t.”

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