A protest is planned to block traffic on the Pat Bay Highway Wednesday afternoon. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

UPDATED: Demonstrators plan to shut down Pat Bay Highway Wednesday afternoon

Adam Olsen, MLA, says issue should be taken to province, not communities

Public Facebook posts circulating online say a protest will shut down the Pat Bay Highway Wednesday afternoon.

The post, which has been shared to Facebook groups as well as on public profiles, says the protest is planned from 2 to 5 p.m. on Wednesday in support of Wet’suwet’en.

Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands, said demonstrations such as the one planned for Wednesday are a result of the decision made by the B.C. government to move forward with the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

Olsen said he was one of three members who didn’t vote in favour of a bill that approved the project and the topic of demonstrations has been on the docket regularly ever since.

“The responsibility lies in the chamber of this legislature,” Olsen said. “It started in this house with the B.C. Legislative Assembly.”

However, Olsen said he questions whether blocking major transportation infrastructure like the Pat By Highway advances the cause. He called the highway disruptions “unfortunate” and a burden that needs to be carried by elected officials.

“The issue should not be taken with our friends, neighbours and communities,” Olsen said. “It should be taken with people that have made these decisions.”

Olsen, who was born and raised on Tsartlip First Nation in Brentwood Bay said he has been “completely” part of the conversation about the pipeline and demonstrations in the legislature. He said crown policies and the Indian Act as well as systemic problems in governance have led to the issues being faced today.

“It’s been pretty important for me as someone who comes in with a pretty deep understanding of the impact of these processes to say we need a different structure going forward, a different way to interact with each other,” Olsen said.

In 2013, hundreds joined the Idle No More movement and blocked traffic on the Pat Bay Highway at Mount Newton X Road to protest the federal government’s omnibus budget bill and bring awareness to the conditions on First Nations reserves.

READ ALSO: Idle protest blocks Pat Bay Highway

shalu.mehta@blackpress.ca


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