Eight days before voters choose two new members of Burnaby city council, something unusual has occurred.
Six of the candidates have declared that they will not speak to the public regarding any COVID-19 matter.
In a joint statement, Claire Preston, Deborah Skerry, Gulam Firdos, Martin Kendell, Mike Hillman, and Scott Van Den Ham said that the federal and provincial governments and various health agencies are responsible for responding to the virus.
They accused some in their community of being "disingenuous to question their efforts which they were making in real time with the limited data they had available to them".
"Recently, we have been inundated with phone calls and emails from certain members of the community who are looking to lecture us about conspiracies and misleading information involving the COVID-19 pandemic, anti-mask rhetoric, anti-vaccine falsehoods and occasionally engaging in various racist, anti-LGBTQ and/or misogynistic behaviour while doing so," the six candidates said in their statement.
"Canada is a wonderful country where free speech is allowed and different viewpoints are encouraged, but this kind of behaviour crosses the line as far as the expected boundaries that we would have as private citizens who were nominated to take part in the democratic process."
There are 14 candidates running in the by-election, including former school trustee Baljinder Narang and former councillor Lee Rankin.
The by-election is being held to fill the seats of two councillors who died since the 2018 election: Nick Volkow and Paul McDonnel.
Young get infected but elderly most likely to die
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, there have been more than 1.4 million cases of COVID-19 in Canada as of June 17. That includes 13,444 active cases.
The COVID-19 death count in Canada now stands at 26,012.
As of June 11, those under 19 comprised the highest number of cases by age, at 266,852. That was followed by those between 20 to 29, with 266,759 cases. Another 228,849 people in Canada in their 30s had been infected as of June 11.
While those between 70 and 79 and over 80 had recorded far fewer infections—59,309 and 70,498 infections, respectively—these older Canadians have experienced much higher fatality rates.
Nearly 22,000 Canadians over the age of 70 had died of COVID-19-related causes as of June 11. That compared to 204 deaths among those under the age of 40.
By June 11, another 299 people in their 40s had died and 912 people in their 50s had died. The number jumped to 2,371 among those in their 60s by that date.