Thompson-Nicola Regional District director for Area B (Thompson Headwaters), Stephen Quinn, is fed up with the less-than-peaceful protest in Blue River.
Quinn recently sent a letter to MP Cathy McLeod as well as MLAs Peter Milobar and Todd Stone regarding the Tiny House Warriors (THW), who have been living in Blue River for about two years to protest the twinning of the Trans Mountain Pipeline.
The letter said his community of Blue River and its residents have been subjected to continual harassment from the THW in the forms of racial slurs and taunts, thrown at anyone who comes into contact with the group.
On May 24 the THW went so far as to yell through a megaphone at customers of the nearby Blue River Campground and RV Park, causing many of the campers to leave for a quieter spot and causing the campground additional financial difficulty in a time of lower tourist numbers due to travel restrictions from COVID-19.
“What they had been doing was approaching people who were up there, cursing, swearing. If I said the same things about them I’d be charged with hate crimes and racism and the people have had enough of it. The irony is if they just came and protested, people (wouldn’t care),” Quinn said.
“We’ve been known to protest ourselves, but they’re really getting ignorant and arrogant and it’s been going on and on.”
Quinn said complaints have been made against THW for a year including having the issue brought to the Minister of Public Safety, who said better policing would be provided, though Quinn added the results have been limited.
Complaints had also been taken to the RCMP who told him the information would be forwarded to the Crown, though nothing has come from this to ease the situation either.
The harassment has become increasingly aggressive to the point Quinn fears an escalation to “serious confrontation and violence”, something he said is not only possible but highly likely.
“It’s ridiculous and my biggest concern is it’ll turn into violence,” he said. “You hear that on the street and it doesn’t take long to go from mumbles and grumbles on the street (to something serious).”
In his letter, Quinn notes an example from May 25 where charges of harassment and mischief were laid on protesters in Victoria for an incident that happened the previous February.
He said something was done about this situation within three months of it occuring, so he wonders why the situation in Blue River hasn’t been resolved after more than a year of complaints.
“We’ve been complaining since last summer and nothing happens. Is there in fact to levels of law in this province? One for urban areas and one for us in rural areas? It goes right to the fundamental heart of democracy. It’s got nothing to do with who is protesting who,” Quinn said.
“And the Prime Minister keeps telling us we’re a country of laws, right?”
Quinn added he just hopes MP McLeod and MLAs Milobar and Stone will take his letter to the powers that be and finally get the situation dealt with.