(Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)

Kelowna’s year in review – February 2020

A look back at February’s biggest stories

Kelowna residents gather in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en First Nation

Hundreds of Kelowna residents gathered outside the law courts to show solidarity with Wet’suwet’en First Nation in its fight against the Coastal Gaslink Pipeline on Sunday, Feb. 9.

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and supporters had been blocking a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project that goes through its traditional territory in B.C.’s northwest region.

On Thursday, Feb. 6, the RCMP began enforcing an injunction order which blocked off access to the area to those who weren’t part of the enforcement team.

There were some exceptions made for the nation’s hereditary chiefs and council members, but the injunction still sparked protests in other parts of the province, including in Victoria and Vancouver.

The pipeline is part of a $40 billion LNG Canada liquefied natural gas export terminal project, which runs from Dawson Creek to Kitimat.

Kelowna woman accused of 2019 stabbing released

Elijah Beauregard, 16, was stabbed in downtown Kelowna on June 27, 2019. He died of his wounds three days later in hospital. His family is raising money to put a memorial bench at his favourite skatepark in Penticton.

The woman accused of fatally stabbing 16-year-old Elijah Beauregard in the summer of 2019 has been charged with one count of manslaughter.

She has since been released from police custody with conditions.

A publication ban protects the woman’s identity as she was a minor at the time of the incident.

Beauregard was stabbed shortly before 11:30 p.m. on June 27, 2019, near Bernard Avenue and Water Street in downtown Kelowna. He succumbed to his injuries three days later.

The conditions for the woman’s release include living with her mother and stepfather, not consuming drugs or non-prescription drugs, and not having weapons.

Racist incidents increase in the Okanagan as COVID-19 spread

People wearing masks, attend a vigil for Chinese doctor Li Wenliang, in Hong Kong, Friday, Feb. 7, 2020. The death of a young doctor who was reprimanded for warning about China’s new virus triggered an outpouring Friday of praise for him and fury that communist authorities put politics above public safety. (AP Photo | Kin Cheung)

A University of B.C. professor said it’s not surprising to see an increase in racist incidents that connect Asian ethnic groups and the coronavirus.

In the course of a week, the Okanagan saw two separate incidents of racial stereotyping which have caused controversy in the region.

One incident occurred over the weekend of Feb. 23. Two Kelowna realtors posted memes that made fun of Chinese culture and China in connection to the novel coronavirus.

The second incident in South Okanagan saw the Penticton Chinese community centre vandalized. Several windows were broken with rocks, leaving the Chinese community feeling insecure.

Professor Heidi Tworek said there is a long history of associating diseases with certain cultures. “It doesn’t surprise me, unfortunately, given this longer history of associating diseases with particular places and then extrapolating that to whole ethnicities and making those sorts of assumptions,” she said.

“Unfortunately, we’ve seen a lot of that around the coronavirus.”

Tworek encourages people to remember several thousand people have died of the virus and that the public should be sensitive to Chinese communities and others who have lost family and friends to the virus.

Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at twila.amato@blackpress.ca
Follow me on Twitter

Year in Review