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'Burn Your Mask BBQ' event held on main street October 3, 2020 @ 10:32 AM

A Stettler man wants you to think about COVID-19 and the measures being legislated as a result.

The situation has Ron Greidanus worried. Worried enough that he set up on Main Street, Stettler, at 5 pm on Friday, October 2nd, 2020, offering free hotdogs as part of the 'Burn Your Mask BBQ' event.

The purpose of the BBQ was to highlight the fact that, as Canadians in a democracy, we should be offered the choice as to whether we wear a mask, or operate a business or travel freely, among other things.

Greidanus, who’s family originated in the Netherlands, talks about how the Nazis invaded and conquered countries without firing a shot as the locals simply accepted a “new normal” and how few people today, especially of a younger generation, have ever had to really understand the meaning of sacrifice or hardship. How hard fought freedom really was and what the soldiers who had given their lives would think of the country the way it seems to be headed now.

“I lie awake at night and when it is quiet I can hear my freedoms running away from me,” says Greidanus.

“I worry about my kids, what kind of life will they have?” he adds to anyone that will listen. Ron worries about the growing debt and the way the government has handled the COVID-19 situation from the get go. Greidanus is an avid letter writer and often makes his views known to politicians, including Justin Trudeau, and has heard back a few times, although not from “JT” directly.

Greidanus points to a truck and says that it wasn’t but decades ago that the same type of truck would have sold for $15,000 but now it’s worth $60,000. By the time his children might buy one it will be worth so much that they’ll never be able to afford to own a truck at all. He looks at all the vehicles on Main Street and wonders how many are paid for in full and how many are still being paid for through a loan. He says that all that debt will come crashing down and no one will be prepared. The government’s current spending spree will only exacerbate the situation.

A few people turn up for hotdogs and most of them sign a petition that has been prepared for the event. Some of them even burn a mask ceremoniously in Greidanus’ provided propane incinerator. The turnout is small but that doesn’t deter Greidanus from putting his point out whenever someone comes up. He speaks passionately about how important it is to not just tell his kids that you have to make sure your voice is heard, you have to show them. His kids are there with him and help with the cooking of hotdogs and handing out masks to those who wish to burn a mask but don’t have one to burn. Meanwhile as cars pass, many honk their horns in support and wave.

“Your voice matters, you can’t stay silent any longer. You have to participate in a democracy more than just on election day. You must stand up and be counted.” Ron Greidanus

“I’ve been talking to people around town” he says, “and everyone sits there and complains about the masks, and complains about the COVID and how they’ve lost their jobs, so I thought ‘I’m going to put on a Burn Your Mask BBQ and it’s got nothing to do with whether you need to wear a mask or you don’t need to wear a mask. It’s got more to do with do we want to be free or do we want to have the government impose restrictions on us so we can be safe all in the name of safety? I want to be free. I want my kids to live free. I want to be able to pursue my dreams. I want to be able to pursue a future for me and my family and I don’t want to have the heavy hand of government stripping me of my freedoms just so that I can be safe, because, like Benjamin Franklin said, if someone’s willing to sacrifice their freedom so they can be safe they’re going to have nothing. They won’t have either one.”

The Burn Your Mask BBQ was meant to “draw a line in the sand” and say “we’re sick and tired of the government taking away our freedoms so we can be safe.”

He says it’s a very slippery slope. Once you lose freedoms it is very hard to get them back, like climbing back up a slippery hill. It’s easy to get down but harder to get back up.

“I looked at my kids,” continues Greidanus, “and I thought… we always talk a big game about stand up for yourself and then say what you want, but talk is cheap, actions speak volumes and I want to show my kids that a man has to believe in something. He has to hold something dear and he has to draw lines and go and stand up for what he believes in.”

Regardless as to whether you agree with Ron Greidanus or not, he’s drawn his line and spoken his mind as his children looked on.

Mayor Nolls was contacted via email on October 2, 2020 at 1:44 PM for comment regarding this event but had not replied as of the time of this article.


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