WARNING: This story contains details some may find offensive.
A video of a man hurling racist insults towards a Sikh security guard outside of a Kelowna COVID-19 vaccine clinic earlier this week has garnered the attention of B.C. Premier John Horgan.
Video taken by Infotel on Tuesday (July 13) shows the man — who has been identified as Bruce Orydzuk, a well-known protestor in the community — with 10 others protesting outside of the Trinity Church COVID-19 immunization clinic. Orydzuk is seen carrying a sign that reads: “You are about to take part in a medical experiment with uninformed consequences, do you have informed consent on injury and death numbers?”
Video taken by the protesters, posted on an online video forum, shows a security guard asking the group to move along. That’s when the Orydzuk’s goes on his tirade, repeatedly telling the guard that “he is not a Canadian” and to “go back to your country.”
The security guard can be heard telling Orydzuk that he is in Canada on a work permit and that he is not going back.
On Twitter, Premier Horgan described Orydzuk’s behaviour as vile and racist.
This is vile, racist behaviour. If this is how you treat people, you are the problem.— John Horgan (@jjhorgan) July 15, 2021
Racism is a scourge and we must stand together against it to build a better province. https://t.co/9vySVQH0aG
“If this is how you treat people, you are the problem. Racism is a scourge and we must stand together against it to build a better province,” said Horgan.
Similarly, Kelowna city councillor Mohini Singh described the video on Wednesday as “horrible, horrible, horrible.”
“…When will this end? The security guard was just doing his job,” Singh wrote on Facebook.
Singh told Capital News that she is “very angry, frustrated and disappointed.”
“This does not reflect Kelowna. This is not who we are. We’re an inclusive community,” she said. “This is not who we are and this does not reflect our spirit. This kind of behaviour is intolerable. It’s not necessary.”
She described Orydzuk’s comments as “complete hatred.”
“Frankly, I think this is absolute hate speech,” she said. “If there is anything within the criminal code, I do believe charges have to be laid.”
On the other hand, she commended the security guard for his professionalism and his courage.
“I was very proud of the young man who held his ground. He was polite. He had a job to do. He was courteous,” she said.
She added that she wants to give him a big hug.
“I just to tell him that we’re all with him,” she said.
Interior Health described the incident as disappointing.
“[It’s] completely unacceptable that one of our security staff was disrespected based on their race. We strive to create communities that are accepting of all people, regardless of their race, gender or sexual orientation,” said IH. “During these ongoing challenging times it is more important than ever to be kind and respectful to each other.”
Kelowna RCMP confirmed that they are in the process of conducting a full investigation into the incident.
“We are now investigating this incident through the lens of the willful promotion of hatred under Section 319 of the Criminal Code,” said Cpl. Jocelyn Noseworthy.
“Racism has no place in our community, and I want to reassure the public that this matter is being given the full attention of our General Investigative Support Team in consultation with the Provincial Hate Crimes Unit.”