The BC Legislature looked chaotic as Wet’suwet’en anti-pipeline protestors occupied all the entrances in Victoria today (Tuesday) on the first day of the spring session.

Media and politicians had to fight through the mass of bodies and had to be let into the building with the help of security and in some cases, had to climb to the entrance.

BC Liberal Nechako Lakes MLA, John Rustad told he has served the Nechako Lakes riding for the past 15 years and has never seen anything like it.

“In many ways, it’s sad to see. People have the right to be able to protest but they shouldn’t have the right to interfere with other people’s rights and that is where I think this has crossed the line and I think that’s very unfortunate.”

Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond (Photo supplied by Brendan Pawliw, My PG staff)

Prince George-Valemount representative Shirley Bond was shocked and saddened by what she saw.

“I absolutely understand the rights of people to express different views that are important in our democracy, but I can assure you that pushing, yelling and intimidating and bullying is not part of that process.”

“For people to feel that kind of intimidation is unacceptable on the grounds of the legislature or anywhere else for that matter.”

As for the Throne Speech itself, Rustad stated it wasn’t at all reflective of the challenges and issues facing the north.

He adds the speech lacked substance in one area in particular.

Rustad believes the mining sector was understated.

“When you talk about mining and the mining sector, they talked about the recognition of the role mining can play in a green economy whether it’s electric cars or windmills but there is no plan in place or talk about how to support or expand our mining sector.”

Bond, on the other hand, has her sights set on one thing.

“One area that I am interested in and will certainly pay attention to is that there was a mention of additional funding for rural policing as I will wanna get to the bottom of that to see what those details are.”

Premier John Horgan has issued the following statement about protests at the Parliament Buildings in Victoria and in communities throughout British Columbia:

“British Columbians have the right to peaceful protest. We support people in the exercise of their democratic rights – within the law.

“That said, I understand the frustration of people who have been unable to go to work today, who have been unable to enter government buildings or have been unable to get around in their communities.

“My government, represented by Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, met on an urgent basis for two days in February in an effort to find a peaceful resolution to the impasse regarding the Coastal GasLink project. Regrettably, the talks were unsuccessful.

“My government continues to be available to engage with the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs through the Wiggus Table discussions. We are also engaged in ongoing reconciliation discussions, which are focused on rights, title, self-government, and self-determination. Those channels of communication remain open.

“These events show us why meaningful reconciliation with Indigenous peoples is our shared responsibility and is critical to our province and our country. This was a commitment my government made in good faith two and a half years ago, and as Premier, I am determined to see it through.

“The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act passed the legislature with a unanimous vote. Our work here has not ended – it has just begun.

“Reconciliation is hard work. It does not begin or end with a single decision, event or moment. No single one of us decides what reconciliation can or should look like. It is a shared journey we are on together.

“We know that this work isn’t easy. If we’re going to achieve it, we have to stay committed to this process, keep engaging with one another and find common ground.

“As we move towards a collaborative action plan flowing from the unanimous passage of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, I am confident we will get there together.”

Budget Day in BC is February 18th.