Province says RCMP ready to respond to any criminal activity at site of North Thompson protests The province says it is aware of community concerns in Blue River, where the Tiny House Warriors continue to protest, but reiterated the RCMP is prepared to respond to criminal activity.
In an email statement, the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General said no additional resources have been requested by the RCMP to the area and that it has been informed by the police they “do have the ability to mobilize their resources accordingly to address any calls for service.”
“Our government recognizes the public’s right to engage in peaceful protests and lawful assembly,” an emailed statement from the province reads. “The Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General’s job is to ensure that an adequate and effective level of policing and law enforcement is maintained. To date, no additional resources have ben requested by the RCMP in regards to this matter.”
The Thompson-Nicola Regional District is calling for a meeting with Premier John Horgan to discuss alleged harassment of businesses and residents in Blue River, a rural community about 2.5 hours north of Kamloops on Highway 5, after a group of protestors asserting what it said is “Secwepemc territorial authority and jurisdiction” protesting the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.
The group has occupied crown land since the summer of 2018, after moving from park land in Clearwater.
At a recent TNRD board meeting, Area B (Thompson Headwaters) director Stephen Quinn said the group has been harassing businesses and people and it opposition to the protestors is mounting, with a letter-writing campaign and protest held over the weekend, in addition to the TNRD’s call for a meeting with the province.
At the end of June, Blue River residents met with the RCMP and area First Nations to discuss the matter and two Kamloops-area First Nations chiefs since called for the Tiny House Warriors to leave its camp and stop activity on Secwépemc land, saying the actions violate Secwépemc laws and customs.
Tk’emlups te Secwépemc Chief Rosanne Casimir called for the Tiny House Warriors to stand down, only to be targeted herself on the group’s social media page.
Quinn told the TNRD board he feels the premier has thrown the community under the bus, in stating residents need to call the police when issues should arise.
The issue, Quinn told KTW, is in the occupation of Crown land.
The province said the federal government needs to be part of the discussion, as the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project is federally regulated and owned.
The province is responsible for issuing permits and monitoring compliance, the statement reads. The Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General reiterated the RCMP will take necessary actions to assist in keeping the peace, as well as protect should criminal activities pose a threat to public safety.
It also noted enforcement decisions and investigations are “arm’s length” from government, unable to interfere or direct police.