Lunch Time

Luncheon protest stifled free speech and the right to freely associate

THE ONGOING and relentless campaign against Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline plan skidded around a slippery corner in Terrace June 19 with a protest of a company-sponsored luncheon at Northwest Community College. Up until now, the extraordinarily well-organized opposition to the project has been focused on the project itself.

But this protest had every appearance of straying over the line to become personal. It also breached  principles held dearly in Canada.

Although the luncheon had been billed as a women-only event to discuss the future of the community,  there was more at stake. The gathering, with female Enbridge executives present, was an attempt to build support for Northern Gateway.

The group outside — all-female as well – while not physically blocking access to the event, made it known the event should not be taking place and those inside should not be there. Some of those invited, seeing the protesters, turned around and left.

And that’s where things become a problem. For as much as those who oppose Northern Gateway are committed to their cause, that commitment does not extend to limiting free association and free speech for others. Imagine the outcry if the situation had been reversed.

It’s also worth considering the location for all of this — the college.  Places of higher learning are places where vigorous debate is encouraged and not discouraged.

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

Just Posted

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

City hall, RCMP getting complaints about lack of physical distancing

So far, there’s no public health order to enforce the safety measure

Northern Health ready for COVID-19 surge

Health authority confident with inventory of ventilators

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

Uplands Elementary students get chance to wave at teachers

Students haven’t seen teachers in nearly 3 weeks

‘Better days will return’: Queen Elizabeth delivers message amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Queen said crisis reminds her of her first address during World War II in 1940

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

B.C. VIEWS: Pandemic shows need for adequate care home staffing

Seniors in B.C. care homes face challenging times

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Most Read