B.C. Forests Minister Doug Donaldson (green jacket) arrives at roadblock with a box of supplies, to meet with hereditary Wet’suwet’en chiefs at one of two protest camps blocking access to Morice River bridge, Jan. 6, 2019. Police would move in the next day to remove the barrier and arrest 14 people. (Twitter)

LETTER: Andrew Wilkinson says B.C. minister’s pipeline protest visit a bridge too far

Premier John Horgan should remove Doug Donaldson from cabinet, opposition leader says

By Andrew Wilkinson

If Premier John Horgan respects the oath he and his cabinet ministers swore to enforce the laws of British Columbia, he has no choice but to ask Forests Minister Doug Donaldson to resign.

Last weekend Minister Donaldson visited an illegal protest camp blocking the Coastal GasLink project. This is a project that was approved by the NDP government, and the NDP issued permits for the project signed by Minister Donaldson himself. And the BC Supreme Court has ordered that the obstruction of the project must stop. The RCMP are in the process of enforcing that court order.

It’s deeply hypocritical for the NDP to claim credit for delivering an LNG project to B.C. while also supporting an illegal protest to obstruct the same project.

But the most troubling aspect of Doug Donaldson’s attendance at the protest is that it shakes one of the pillars of our democracy: a government that makes laws must enforce those laws. It’s simply not possible in our democratic system for a minister to decide unilaterally to reverse the law.

RELATED: Donaldson defends visit to pipeline blockade

RELATED: Unist’ot’en protesters remove second barrier

All 20 of the elected band councils along the pipeline route support its development and also support the removal of the blockade. The project represents countless jobs, today and into the future. So however he claims it was intended, this was not just an innocent visit. Minister Donaldson represents the B.C. government. He is a member of the Cabinet that sets the rules for our society – he cannot ignore court orders, and he cannot change the law on a whim.

When the minister visited the protest, he signaled support for an illegal blockade that threatens opportunities for British Columbians. He told British Columbians that the government does not care about their jobs. He signaled that anyone interested in creating opportunity in B.C. will have to contend with a volatile, unreliable, anti-development NDP government.

Minister Donaldson has shown that NDP cabinet ministers can thumb their noses at the very rules, regulations, and laws they themselves create. If Premier Horgan allows the forests minister to stay on in cabinet, he is accepting this lack of respect for the law as the NDP way. That is a dangerous path for our democracy.

Andrew Wilkinson is leader of the B.C. Liberal Party.

Just Posted

Summerland’s solar power array on schedule

Solar project nearing public consultation stage

Performance club opening in Cawston

Black Cat Club opening Jan. 19

Video: New Penticton studio is a playground for creative types

We toured Penticton’s newest creator space

Writing Out Loud is back in Keremeos

Writing Out Loud starts this week

Balmy winter forecast for Okanagan-Shuswap

El Niño is anticipated to develop later this winter

B.C. storm totals $37M in insured damages

The December storm wreaked havoc on B.C.’s south coast

Chiasson nets shootout winner as Oilers edge Canucks 3-2

Edmonton moves one point ahead of Vancouver

B.C. chief says they didn’t give up rights for gas pipeline to be built

Hereditary chief: no elected band council or Crown authority has jurisdiction over Wet’suwet’en land

Condo rental bans may be on way out with B.C. empty home tax

Many exemptions to tax, but annual declarations required

UPDATE: B.C. boy, aunt missing for three days

The pair are missing from Kamloops

Daredevil changes game plan to jump broken White Rock pier

Brooke Colby tells council daredevil event would help boost waterfront business

Liberal bows out of byelection after singling out Jagmeet Singh’s race

Karen Wang says she made comments online that referenced Singh’s cultural background

Truck hauling compressed gas for ‘virtual pipeline’ crashes on B.C. highway

Driver charged and highway closed for nine hours - containers did not rupture

Most Read