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TORONTO, Ontario, February 17, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — A local grocer in Toronto’s east end, who adopted a “mask optional” policy for his store, has given a powerful interview defending basic freedoms in the face of government lockdowns and mask mandates.

Bill Fehr, the co-founder of JW Foods, defended the dignity of every person and their natural right to work in order to secure a livelihood by telling David Menzies of Rebel News all people “are essential.”

“Everybody in this country should be allowed to open now,” and businesses “should have never been closed, because if you’re taking care of your … family, you’re essential,” he said.

As a grocer, Fehr has been allowed to stay open throughout the shutdowns of the past 11 months.

“I am no better than a dollar store, I am no better than a nail salon, I am no better than anyone else that is in business,” Fehr said. “I should not be allowed to be ‘essential’ when other places are not (essential). You don’t have one thing for one group and one thing for another. This is wrong. We’re Canadians, we’re free people, we are all essential.”

The video interview was conducted with roughly 25 customers present. None of them were wearing a mask, despite government mandates to the contrary. When asked about his store’s policy of masks being optional, Fehr clarified, “We are not breaking any laws. You see, a mandate is not a law, a mandate is a suggestion.” A law is something that “has to be passed by parliament and it has to actually go to the queen. That’s why we have a representative of the queen.”

“The sad thing here is that we all have a freedom of choice, we always have. We’ve just allowed them to take that away from us. When you allow somebody to take something away from you, that is where you are giving up your freedom. We won’t allow that here. I refuse to fall into that trap. I refuse to allow that to happen. It’s happening at other businesses out there and I won’t allow my customers to feel unwanted here.”

But Fehr emphasized that “this is not a mask over non-mask fight … We all have fears in life. You need to find your demon and you need to deal with it. But I’m telling you right now, [if] you violate my rights, you violate our [Canadian] Charter, you violate our Common Law, you violate everything that is precious to our society as a unified group moving forward.

“There’s only so much you’re going to push us, there’s only so much, and I will be the voice, and I will put my neck on the line to be able to stand strong, and say God put me on this earth for a reason [and] this might be the reason,” he said.

In discussing his resolute response to these government mandates, Fehr became emotional with tears discussing the tragedy of a “45-year-old customer” who “hung himself up at his cottage.”

“You want to know why I’m the way I am? When that happens and you see your customer [the man’s wife] fall on the ground and … cry and you see her children have no father because he couldn’t take it anymore … because he lost his two businesses because of these shutdowns, and [he was] thinking that he had no future, and [therefore] he thought the best way out was to hang himself at his cottage,” one has to stand up for “our future and that kid that has to grow up without their father.”

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Many small businesses are being forced to close temporarily or even permanently under the strain of a second wave of government-imposed COVID shutdowns.

This is totally and thoroughly wrong...especially when big business, government, and large segments of the professional world are totally insulated from the repercussions of the shutdowns.

Something drastic needs to be done now!

SIGN this urgent petition calling for state legislatures to cut the salaries of governors and mayors who are responsible for closing small businesses by enacting draconian COVID shutdown measures.

The bottom line is that the people imposing shutdown measures need to feel the bite of the restrictions they are imposing on other peoples' livelihoods so that they have a personal incentive to re-open their economies and make accommodation for the survival of small businesses.

Local restaurants, cafes, gyms, clothiers, bookshops, florists, and many more, are being forced to shut their doors, some forever.

Americans who have spent their entire lives building their business - and, taken all of the risk - stand to lose everything.

But, the following are all considered essential and never get shut down: lawyers, lobbyists, politicians, courts, big corporations, and the media...

And, to add insult to injury, some politicians who are imposing these shutdowns, like Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo, are actually getting huge pay raises starting in the new year. Cuomo's raise is $25,000 next year alone!

This is utterly scandalous! It is time to say enough is enough!

If small business owners are being CRUSHED by government COVID restrictions, the politicians responsible should also feel the BITE of those restrictions!

This is the only way to make the "political class" understand how devastating their shutdowns truly are to small business owners and their employees.

Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, supply millions of jobs to people across the country, and ironically provide the taxes used to fund the programs so loved by most of the governors and mayors.

Because of the nature of small and medium businesses, their owners and workers are on the frontlines of the COVID crisis.

They need to be rewarded for this bravery, not closed down.

Accommodation needs to be made for small businesses so that they can weather this storm and thrive after it has passed. These are businesses we all love using, and we want them to be there long after COVID is just a bad memory.

When this is all over, do we really want every coffee shop to be a Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts, or every restaurant to be a McDonald's?

The answer is not only "no," but "Heck, no!"

Therefore, governors and mayors need to be personally incentivized to do everything in their power to see that small and medium businesses can survive and thrive - AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE.

That's why we're calling on state legislators to cut the salaries of all governors and mayors who are imposing draconian shutdowns where no accommodation is being made for small businesses.

Please SIGN and SHARE this urgent petition today!

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“Those are the things we’re not hearing on the news. Those are the things that we don’t see on the news,” Fehr said.

In further discussing the mainstream news media, he recalled, “At the beginning, when this virus started, we were all concerned. We didn’t know what we were up against. We didn’t know [whom] to believe. [Now], I don’t watch the news anymore, I don’t watch TV … because it’s all brainwashing. If anything has woken us up to the future of our society it is that we’ve been brainwashed and now we have to have news media that has to go on the internet.”

Speaking directly to public leaders, Fehr said, “I am so praying that we as a society hold you accountable for what you’ve done to us, for what you’ve done to our families, and our businesses, and our way of life.”

“All we are asking is [for you] to be honest … but when you lie and the [COVID-19] stats are proving that something’s just not making sense,” a new approach is necessary.

“Please, for God’s sake, be honest with the people. Just tell us what’s truly going on so we can all work together and we can come as a nation and as a people and work together,” he concluded.

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