The Nov. 5, 2020, edition of the Vernon Morning Star was targeted by an individual or individuals looking to spread anti-mask, COVID-19 denying propaganda in a Coldstream newspaper box. (Jennifer Smith - Vernon Morning Star)

The Nov. 5, 2020, edition of the Vernon Morning Star was targeted by an individual or individuals looking to spread anti-mask, COVID-19 denying propaganda in a Coldstream newspaper box. (Jennifer Smith - Vernon Morning Star)

COVID-19 denial propaganda litters the North Okanagan

Vernon Morning Star publisher learned readers found unusual flyer in Thursday edition

A community newspaper box in Coldstream was targeted and filled with flyers promoting COVID-19 denial propaganda Thursday.

Vernon Morning Star publisher Chris Mackie learned at least one box was affected.

A tri-folded printed document promoting anti-mask rhetoric and containing long links to PDF documents and unverified websites was inserted into an unknown number of newspapers after they were delivered to the box by a Morning Star delivery driver.

Mackie reported the incident to Vernon North Okanagan RCMP and issued a statement on the Morning Star’s social media pages on Nov. 5.

Police said they worried the incident may be linked to an ongoing investigation into scattered leaflets around Vernon area schools promoting racist propaganda.

“Once the newspapers are put in the boxes, they are at the mercy of the public to pick one up, pass by or, unfortunately, fill it with this kind of rhetoric,” Mackie said.

Area residents turned to social media to report similar documents have been distributed in Walmart and were littered around Winners. Both stores have implemented mask-wearing policies.

“I can not imagine it is cheap to print these,” Kim Logan wrote on a social media post. “Seems odd to push one’s beliefs in such a spammy, wasteful way.”

The flyer discovered in newspapers Thursday concludes with an email which is believed to be linked to a Kelowna-based group known as CLEAR or the Common Law Education and Rights Initiative.

The COVID-19 denial group held a rally in Kelowna in August demanding an end to restrictions ordered by provincial and federal health officials.

The website associated with the group claims it was formed 16 years ago and, after a hiatus, has returned to bring the groups concerns regarding the novel coronavirus directly to MLAs, the Official Health Critic and the Health Minister.

CLEAR and its vice-chairman David Lindsay said on the website the goal is to demand the complete cessation of incorrect information and lockdown activities.

Lindsay has not yet returned the Morning Star’s request for comment.

READ MORE: Vernon and Kelowna protesters call for end to COVID-19 shutdowns

READ MORE: WATCH: Footage offers lead in hate-fuelled flyer probe: Vernon Mounties


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Just Posted

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

(Black Press file photo)
EDITORIAL: Curtailing attempts at scams

The true total of losses from all scams and frauds could be much higher than the figures on file

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

(Drive BC photo)
Vehicle incident closes Highway 3 east of Osoyoos

Drive BC says to avoid the area until the road is clear

Osoyoos chef Murray McDonald was ecstatic upon realizing he scored the $1 million guaranteed prize in the June 2, 2021 Lotto 6/49 draw. (Contributed)
Osoyoos chef ecstatic after bagging $1 million Lotto 6/49 win

Chef Murray McDonald was at home and ready to doze off to sleep when he got a text from his wife

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Photograph By MICHAEL POTESTIO.KTW
Former Kamloops security gaurd wants job back after kicking incident caught on video

Rick Eldridge quit when a video surfaced of him kicking a man outside a facility for homeless

People participated in a walk to honour the 215 children found at a former Kamloops residential school, as well as residential school survivors. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)
Kelowna marks National Indigenous Peoples’ Day with walk to remember Kamloops 215

“Let’s speak the truth and deal with the truth, and heal.”

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

A home on Cameo Drive sustained major damage due to an early morning fire Monday, June 21. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
UPDATE: Fire sparked during Vernon home renovation

Heavy black smoke from Cameo Drive home, no one inside

The new Civic Memorial Park will incorporate pieces of the 80-year-old arena it replaces. (Artists rendering)
Pieces of Civic Arena reclaimed for new Vernon park

City centre space to incorporate wood from the historic arena

Most Read