North Island MLA Michele Babchuk is condemning a recent protest, saying those who gathered outside her home this past Saturday, Dec. 11, “crossed the line.”
“There were about 20 people that are opposed to public health orders that protested outside of my home,” Babchuk tells My Campbell River Now.
According to Babchuk, the crowd showed up unexpectedly. “It came as a surprise. It certainly was a shock for my family,” she says.
“It just crosses the line from a professional discussion, whether we agree to disagree or not, to more of a personal attack on my family, my home, my neighbours and myself.”
Babchuk says protestors were gathered for a half-hour or so. She says the RCMP was notified, with the incident now proceeding through the courts.
“I did go out at one point and told them that I thought it was unacceptable, but I did not engage with them, and I did stay inside my house and police were phoned,” Babchuk recalls.
While she’s heard the concerns of those opposed to public health orders “loud and clear,” Babchuk won’t advocate on their behalf. That’s because the issues they are pushing put people in danger, she explains.
More recently, Babchuk finds protests resulting from disagreements have escalated from “lawful and peaceful” to “downright shameful.”
“I just think we need to get back to a time where we can have those peaceful discussions and not look at the level of aggression that is happening with these protests right now,” she adds.
A full statement from MLA Babchuk is below:
“Lawful, peaceful protests are an important part of our democracy and a good way for me to connect with our community members about the issues they are facing and care about. Those lines were crossed when, on Saturday, around 20 people, opposed to public health orders to protect us from COVID-19, decided to protest at my home.
“The sidewalk outside my office has seen its share protests. Whenever I am working in my community office in Campbell River, I am happy to take the time to talk to these people. While we may disagree on some points, we are all working toward safer, healthier, and more prosperous communities and I am grateful to all those who take the time to share their concerns safely and peacefully.
“I have also met with those that disagree with public health orders. I have heard their concerns loud and clear, and have been perfectly clear with them that I cannot and will not advocate on their behalf when the issues they are pushing put people in our communities in very real danger. We must continue to follow the science and stand up for what’s right.
“In response, their protests have escalated from lawful and peaceful to downright shameful. They have forced their way into my community office, all without following COVID-19 protocols and put my staff and other people I was meeting with at risk. And this past weekend, they escalated even further and protested outside my home.
“This is completely unacceptable. My staff, my family, my neighbours and I all have a right to a safe workplace and to be safe at home. I cannot condemn their actions strongly enough. The RCMP were called on both occasions, and these issues will now proceed through the courts.
“We are all tired of dealing with COVID-19, and there are a number of other pressing issues we are confronting together. I want to thank everyone who has done and continues to do their part to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and who advocates for a better life for their families, neighbours, and communities in a peaceful way. The challenges are great, but we will persevere by working together.”