Hundreds gather in Penticton in June 2020, for the Black Lives Matter protest. (Phil McLachlan, Black Press Media)

Penticton residents fire back at RCMP over right to protests during pandemic

As long as COVID-19 safety measures are maintained, citizens have a right to protest

A rally set to take place in front of Penticton City Hall against council’s decision to close the Victory Church Winter Shelter has drawn contention from many in the community.

One citizen sent in a letter to the editor expressing their concerns over the Penticton RCMP’s statements regarding the legality of the gatherings in light of COVID-19.

“I am deeply shook that the RCMP may have misrepresented or misled the public on their rights,” said Cameron Baughen, an employee of the Regional District of the Okanagan-Similkameen, in the emailed letter. “Clarifying the steps required to meet the health order and not threatening people peacefully assembling should be the role for the RCMP.”

The public health order regarding gatherings, per the most recent version hosted on the Government of B.C. website,

explicitly notes the Charter Right for Canadian’s to gather to communicate their position on an issue, as long they maintain public health recommendations.

“I am not prohibiting outdoor assemblies for the purpose of communicating a position on a matter of public interest or controversy, subject to my expectation that persons organizing or attending such an assembly will take the steps and put in place the measures recommended in the guidelines posted on my website in order to limit the risk of transmission of COVID-19,” reads the order by Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer.

During the Black Lives Matter protests in Penticton, organizers and participants maintained social distancing and wore masks, per the guidelines, and did not see an RCMP response.

Neither did the rally in support of the farmers in India, or the rally in opposition to the development of Spiller Road on the Naramata Bench.

The Penticton Western News has reached out to local RCMP on the issue.

READ MORE: ‘Bring your tent’: Protest planned in Penticton’s Gyro Park over winter shelter closure

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusHomeless

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Prospera Place in Kelowna. (Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
Kelowna Rockets return to the ice after COVID-19 quarantine

All individuals within the team cohort tested negative for COVID-19 earlier this week

(Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
Man arrested in West Kelowna for stealing police bait car

The suspect has been identified as Raymond Francis Thiffault of Kamloops, who already had an outstanding Canada-wide warrant.

Rose Valley Elementary School. (Contributed)
Central Okanagan School sees second COVID-19 exposure in two days

An exposure was identified at Rose Valley Elementary on April 12 and 13

(Natalia Cuevas-Huaico - Kelowna Capital News)
The Central Okanagan Food Bank said it has seen an increase in people who need help as the pandemic continues. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News/FILE)
Increase in families, seniors using Central Okanagan Food Bank as pandemic continues

Current restrictions have hit the Okanagan’s hospitality workers hard

A screenshot from a Nuu-chah-nulth healing song and performance created in collaboration between Hjalmer Wenstob and Timmy Masso. (Screenshot from YouTube)
WATCH: Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation brothers produce COVID-19 healing song

Hjalmer Wenstob and Timmy Masso share dance and inspiration.

Health Canada headquarters in Ottawa. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)
Health Canada releases guidelines for reducing COVID-19 transmission at home

Improve indoor air quality by opening up your windows and doors, among other ventilation measures

Hikers are still able to climb to the top of Giant’s Head Mountain in Summerland, but the paved road to the upper parking lot will be closed from 7 a.m. to noon and all day on Sundays. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Summerland park partially closed to vehicle traffic

Giant’s Head Mountain Park gates will be closed to cars until noon

Young cyclists from Quebec have not been riding single file on Naramata’s narrow and windy roads, causing the ire of locals worried for their safety and theirs. (Dan Moskaluk)
Quebec cyclists bad road behaviour causing stir in Penticton

The young cycling group illegally riding two-abreast on Naramata’s narrow roads

MP Todd Doherty took to Facebook after his family recently received threats. (Todd Doherty, MP Facebook photo)
‘I don’t run and I don’t hide’: Cariboo MP says RCMP probing threats made against family

Todd Doherty has also notified House of Commons Protective Services

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Two men walk past a sign on Main Street in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Calls for government transparency in COVID data continue as B.C.’s 3rd wave wears on

Social media, where both information and misinformation can spread like wildfire, has not helped

The music video for “Green and Blue” featured a Willington Care Centre in Burnaby as well as some of the volunteers and employees. (Screenshot/Todd Richard)
‘Green and Blue’: B.C. country musician releases tribute song for front-line workers

Richard’s new single has been viewed more than 3,000 times on his YouTube channel

Most Read