Winkler city council has unanimously voted down a proposal by the group, 'Things That Matter,' to declare Winkler a sanctuary city.
According to the grassroots group, the declaration would protect citizens against pandemic-related restrictions and mandates enforced by the federal and provincial governments.
Group spokesperson, Joshua Shetter, said the decision by council was not unexpected.
Shetter said he respects how each councillor gave a personal statement on the matter, and he feels each had some good points. "But I thought a lot of it rested on what is good and practical, rather than what is right, or how do we avoid a threat."
He feels a lot of the reasoning revolved around utilitarianism and threat.
"So, we would do this or we would think about doing this, but the threat of the provincial government coming in or taking over, or withdrawing funds...it wasn't really a question of is this right based on the constitution, based on the Word of God, or just on moral principles, it was, what's going to happen to us if we say yes," he explained.
Winkler Mayor Martin Harder said council went over the proposal thoroughly, but said ultimately, it was an unreasonable request for a local council to deal with.
"We did all our research. We checked with the Municipal Act, we checked with the legal advisors, T.D.S., and Scott (Hoeppner) was here tonight. He (Scott Hoeppner) gave us advice of what the legal ramifications were if we were going to do this. And believe me, the last thing that you want as a city council is for the Government of Manitoba, under the Municipal Act, to come and remove council and replace it with some more bureaucrats. If we think we have problems now, it would get much worse," explained Harder.
Founder of 'Things That Matter,' Karl Krebbs, said his appeal to Winkler City Council was to "be bold." Krebbs says the government has pushed people to the limit, and it's at the breaking point in the community.
"The stress level of people who can't even speak about it, because it evokes strong emotion. The businesses that are threatened with a fourth lockdown, which is just around the corner. We (Things That Matter) chose to do something bold. They (Winkler City Council) chose to do something safe," he said.
Mayor Harder noted an ideal 'sanctuary city' is never there to condone disobedience to the law.
"It would be detrimental to the City of Winkler to ever say we are going to create a situation where the laws are irrelevant. That's what was being asked, and that's why we said no, and it was unanimous."
Written by Pembina Valley Online