The next target for anti-LNG pipeline protesters is a Valentine’s Day shutdown of government offices across Victoria, according to a planning and sign-up document circulating on social media.
B.C. Liberal house leader Mary Polak questioned Premier John Horgan about the document at the B.C. legislature Wednesday. It lists government offices across the capital city, including the Queen’s Printer, Ministry of Children and Families child protection branch, the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission and Liquor Control and Licensing.
Polak said the plan has apparently been posted since Feb. 9, and was drawn to her attention Tuesday as she and other MLAs dealt with the protester siege of the legislature to try to stop the throne speech from going ahead.
— Tom Fletcher (@tomfletcherbc) February 13, 2020
On Thursday, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth warned participants in the planned Friday blockades that they repeat unlawful actions seen earlier in the week at the B.C. legislature, “there will be consequences.” Premier John Horgan denounced the activities of people who screamed obscenities and roughed up staff, resulting in investigation of four criminal complaints by Victoria Police.
— kendra crighton (@kendracrighton) February 11, 2020
In question period, Premier John Horgan told Polak the police and security are preparing for further protests.
“Yes, government is working on a plan to address these issues,” Horgan told Polak. “I’m confident that the security personnel here have access to that material, and I’m confident that if you’re prepared to give us a copy, we’ll ensure that the appropriate authorities have them. I want all members of this place and all public employees working for the province of British Columbia … there is a plan in place to protect them in the event that this type of activity continues.”
In the legislature, Polak read from an organizer’s email advising participants: “Feel free to let me know if you have a particular grudge against any particular ministry.” Afterwards, she criticized Horgan for his argument that politicians must not interfere with police activities.
“Over to government, and I hope that what the premier is providing in the way of assurance is true and that they have active planning underway,” Polak said in an interview as she emerged from the chamber. “This isn’t about directing the police. As an employer, you have a responsibility to plan for safe access and safe exit for your employees. And certainly as government you have a responsibility to plan for your operations to continue.”