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Remembrance Day no place for vaccine debate: Richmond Poppy Fund chair

Only a hundred people were invited to Richmond's Remembrance Day ceremony because of COVID-19 restrictions

The Remembrance Day ceremony in Richmond had all the elements of a regular ceremony, despite COVID-19 restrictions on crowd size.

Richmond Poppy Fund chair Matthew McBride said it was a “blessing” the weather held off and there were no disruptions, unlike in some communities across the province.

“There was nothing remarkable, which is the essence of a good event,” McBride said.

In Kelowna, anti-vaccination protesters were at a Remembrance Day ceremony trying to draw attention to their cause, something McBride called “pretty grim.”

“The vaccine debate… does not belong there,” he said.

While Remembrance Day ceremonies have been the target of various protests over the years – and McBride said he agreed with the principle of being allowed to protest - he felt the Kelowna protest went over the line.

It’s just one hour a year is to honour those who died in war, McBride said.

“So many lives were lost and every one of them has value.”

The Richmond event was limited to 100 invited guests, but a small crowd also gathered outside the barricades to watch the ceremony.

Normally, the Richmond ceremony attracts thousands of people, and McBride expects future years to draw large crowds, once the pandemic is over.