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North Cowichan all-candidates meeting silent on issue of ‘freedom’ candidates

Mayor Al Siebring says he was accused of being ‘stooge’ for global interests

There was an elephant in the room at last night’s all-candidates meeting at the Maple Bay fire hall. And that’s saying something, given that the hall was standing-room only, with dozens of people left outside.

The candidates for North Cowichan council dutifully presented their speeches, briefly telling citizens something about their backgrounds and the issues they consider most important in the Oct. 15 election.

But there was no opportunity to ask questions, and no opportunity to hear where the candidates stand on the most controversial topic of the election, so-called freedom supporters and how their views stand to change municipal politics.

The freedom movement surfaced in a big way July 19 this year in North Cowichan at a raucous public hearing on an updated Official Community Plan.

Individuals expressed concern about issues such as chemtrails, vaccination mandates, and undue influence of international bodies such as the United Nations and World Economic Forum. They expressed support for the ‘Freedom Convoy’ protests in Canada and for reduced government intrusion in their lives.

At the Union of BC Municipalities convention earlier this month in Whistler, several elected municipal officials related stories of being harassed by freedom supporters, prompting Municipal Affairs Minister Nathan Cullen to weigh in.

In North Cowichan, outgoing Mayor Al Siebring this week posted his own experience:

“‘You're Al Siebring, right? The mayor? Thank you for destroying our community. For driving it into the ground.’

“I was sitting having a coffee with someone at the Garage in Duncan this morning, when a youngish lady (late 20's?), popped her head around the corner of the booth where we were sitting and accosted me with those words above.

“I wasn't really sure how to respond or what - specifically - she thought I had done to ‘destroy our community.’ And she wasn't terribly specific. Her rant just continued:
‘You've led a Council that has made decisions that will make our beautiful community unlivable. You've been a terrible mayor.’

“I still wasn't sure how to respond, so I just said: ‘I'm sorry you feel that way. Have a nice day.’ (She was storming off by then.. clearly still upset.)

“I thought that would be the end of it, but about 3 minutes later, she returned. And again interrupted the conversation I was having with my coffee partner. ‘The truth will come out, you know. We will find out just how much money the World Economic Forum paid you to push through their agenda in the new Official Community Plan. You've clearly been a stooge for these international bankers and global interests. But we will find out how much they paid you, and I'm really looking forward to making those numbers public.’

“I replied that actually, I'd be interested in seeing those numbers as well...and that she was free to fill her boots with whatever research she thought was needed to bring this information into the public eye.

“Another affirmation of my decision to retire from local politics.”

In a statement Wednesday to, Siebring added: "I find it interesting that these folks have chosen municipal and School Board elections to try to get their point across. For many of them, I suspect they would never have considered running for election if it hadn't been for the controversies that were engendered by COVID. And if their motivation for running is even tangentially connected to stopping vaccine mandates, supporting trucker convoys, or some of their other issues, they need to understand that local governments and School Boards really have virtually no legislative authority in these areas. While getting elected to local government may be the easiest route to political influence and power, the reality is that the ‘influence' that can be exerted on these larger issues is pretty much non-existent. But my fear is that electing people with these priorities to office will detract from the real and serious issues that local governments are facing, by diverting attention (and staff time) away from those more serious issues.”

Freedom supporter Charles Borg, a candidate for North Cowichan council, believes that municipal councils are the first step in taking back Canada.

He says he also believes everyone’s individuality should be respected. “Nobody should be harassed, segregated or discriminated against over their personal beliefs….”

Municipal elections typically have low voter turnouts. But judging from the crowds at Tuesday’s all-candidates meeting, citizens are much more interested this time around.

For more information on the candidates, visit:

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs says it encourages “British Columbians to engage in the upcoming local elections. This includes knowing what the issues are and who their local candidate is.” The statement applies to municipal councils, regional districts and school boards.

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— Larry Pynn, Sept. 28, 2022


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