Legislature protests went too far, premier says
VICTORIA -- As protests continued around the province Wednesday, Premier John Horgan told reporters Tuesday's attempt to shut down British Columbia's legislature went too far.
After a chaotic day that saw entrances to the legislature blocked – and, according to Victoria Police, four reported assaults – Premier John Horgan shared his thoughts.
"To have a group of people say to others, 'You are illegitimate, you are not allowed in here, you are somehow a sellout to the values of Canadians,' is just plain wrong," he said.
On Tuesday, a media availability with Horgan was cancelled. The premier said Wednesday that this was because he wanted to take time to digest the day’s events and deal with his own personal feelings.
Horgan said he met with legislative interns, who he says were “shaken.”
The issue of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and band councils – and who can make decisions on behalf of the people on the First Nation's traditional territory – dominated question period Wednesday. It also led to some powerful moments.
“One of my proudest moments as an MLA was the passage of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People Act,” said Adam Olson, interim leader of the BC Green Party. “One of the hardest days was being escorted into this building by police with protesters yelling, 'Reconciliation is dead.'”
Ellis Ross, the BC Liberal member of the legislature for Skeena, took aim at politics.
“The politics in this house doesn't do First Nations any favours,” he said. “Nobody has any business going into those First Nations communities and furthering the divide … You should be ashamed of yourselves.”
With more protests apparently planned for ministry offices around Victoria on Friday, the opposition demanded assurances that public servants will be kept safe.
At the same time, a Wet'suwet'en leader is calling for an emergency all-clan meeting together with provincial politicians to find a way forward.