I would like to respond to some concerns raised in Tim Collins’ recent article Pipeline protesters get cold shoulder from Oak Bay MLA (News Oct 26).
I regret that I was not able to be in Victoria on Wednesday to speak with protestors; however, I had previously-scheduled meeting with First Nations representatives in Vancouver.
Mr. Collins was informed by constituency office staff that access to the building was restricted by building management on the advice of the Saanich police and fire departments. My staff only permitted access to my constituency office to those with scheduled appointments.
This decision was based on a previous Dogwood Initiative-organized protest at which protesters forced their way into the office and threw live chickens at staff.
In addition, my staff advised Mr. Collins they would consider meeting with protesters to listen to their concerns if so requested. No such request was made.
My duties as minister require that I cannot always be in my constituency office, but I do my best to be available to all constituents who want to meet with me, and that I or my staff respond to all constituent correspondence I receive. I do regularly receive emails, letters, and have face-to-face meetings in my constituency office to discuss concerns about provincial issues with constituents.
Regrettably, Mr. Zimmerman declined an offer by staff to write or email me further or to meet with me.
Premier Christy Clark has outlined five conditions that the proposed pipeline must meet in order for our government to consider supporting the project. These include legal requirements regarding aboriginal and treaty rights, benefits versus risk, and addressing environmental concerns. If any of these conditions are not met, our government will not support the pipeline.
Ida Chong, MLA
Oak Bay-Gordon Head