Open letter to Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr

Reader says MLA didn’t condemn Whistle Stop Cafe

Dear Mr. Orr,

The constituency of Lacombe Ponoka is home to the Whistle Stop Café, which has openly and boastfully ignored and challenged Alberta Health Services’ COVID distancing and social isolation restrictions, at a time when Alberta has the highest per capita COVID and COVID variant transmission rates in North America.

While the Whistle Stop Café, is putting our constituency on the provincial and national stage, for snubbing its nose at AHS restrictions, your silence as our elected representative in our Legislature, has been deafening. As an educated nurse with masters degrees in health promotion and educational administration, who understands epidemiology and disease transmission, and who has followed isolation measures for 14 months, I need to know why you have not openly condemned this dangerous defiance. Is it not time for you to put public safety in front of your devotion to your maskless, anti-vax voter base? Dr. Marin Luther King was given the Nobel Peace Prize in 1968, for the peaceful protest work he did opposing racism in the United States. In his acceptance speech Dr. King said:

“Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ Expedience asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’ Vanity asks the question ‘Is it popular?’ But conscience asks the question ‘Is it right?’… and there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because it is right.”

I challenge you Mr. Orr to speak up against the anti-vax, anti-mask people who somehow believe that their freedom is in jeopardy, because social contact increases transmission of a highly contagious, and deadly virus. I challenge you to do what is right.

Doug Hart,


Editor’s note: MLA Ron Orr has previously submitted a column explaining the effectiveness of vaccines and urging people to not gather in crowds. In response to this letter, Mr. Orr stated he has spoken with the Whistle Stop Cafe owner several times.

“My advice was to consider carefully the costs of a possible criminal record. He could, at the time, have opened an outdoor patio in his huge parking lot and been in compliance. He could also, if he felt his rights were infringed, seek through due process a challenge of the lockdowns in court,” said Orr.

READ MORE: MLA Ron Orr: Albertans need to do their part to stop the spread of COVID 19

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