Scott Ott joined about 130 people outside Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Ida Chong’s office on Shelbourne Street during a Day of Action protest against pipelines and oil tankers on B.C.’s coast.

Pipeline protesters disappointed MLA a no-show for rally

About 130 protesters gathered at noon Wednesday on the sidewalk outside Ida Chong’s constituency office

About 130 protesters gathered at noon Wednesday on the sidewalk outside Ida Chong’s constituency office to voice their concern regarding the proposed Enbridge and Kinder Morgan pipeline projects.

The rally was part of an ongoing series of protests co-ordinated by a group known as Defend Our Coast – the same group who organized the much larger protest on the grounds of the legislature on Monday.

While some protesters were affiliated with groups like the Dogwood Initiative and Victoria Paddlers Against Pipelines, most were simply concerned area residents.

The crowd was made up of seniors and children, and one placard waving mother came with an infant child strapped to her body in a carry harness.

Petitions were circulated and, at one point, protesters linked arms to demonstrate their solidarity.

But to the frustration of some protesters, one person who did not show up to the rally was Ida Chong, MLA Oak Bay-Gordon Head.

Her staff cited previous cabinet business in Vancouver as the reason for her absence. Staff remained sequestered in their locked second floor offices at 3930 Shelbourne St.

Maureen Halstead-Rogoza, Chong’s constituency assistant had no comment other than to say that the protest was not planned to respect Chong’s previous schedule.

The situation was further aggravated when the Shelbourne Street building manager  locked the front entrance of the two story office building and stood in the foyer preventing access by any protesters through the unlocked back entrance.

That move angered Ray Zimmerman, one of the area residents who had come out to make his voice heard.

“For her (Chong) to hide behind the fact that she’s on private property is disgusting,” said Zimmerman, who gained access to the building after entering with a television crew in tow.

“The leg building is closed, this office is closed … and they’ve disappeared. It’s outrageous,” he said. “How can we express our concerns? It’s like we’re talking to ourselves.”

It was a sentiment shared by many of the demonstrators.

Emma Gilchrist held a sign that read “Dear Ida, Thank Christie (Clark) for the tough talk. Now it’s time for action.”

Gilchrist was also disappointed that Chong had failed to attend a protest for which she’d been given advance warning.

“It’s not like this is a surprise to her,” said Gilchrist. “You’d think she’d want to hear from her constituents.”

Andrew Weaver, Green Party candidate for Oak Bay-Gordon Head, said that Chong or a representative of her office should have come down to the protest.

“An MLA’s most important role is to listen to constituents,” he said. “This is about dialogue. It’s an example of how this government has lost touch with the people.”

Later, Chong said she felt the criticisms were unwarranted.

“I’ve believe I have been accessible,” she said. “I’ve responded to many letters and made my position clear. If there’s a problem (with access) I haven’t heard about it.”

reporter@vicnews.com

 

Just Posted

Bus crash survivor petitions Justin Trudeau to fix road where classmates died

UVic student’s petition well over halfway to 5k signature goal

Ogden Point officially rebranded as The Breakwater District

New signage and logos accompany plans for the area’s future

Former Canadian Chief Justice talks shop in Sidney

Beverly McLachlin served 28 years on the Supreme Court of Canada, including 17 as Chief Justice.

Police arrest two men on Gorge Road East

Traffic has resumed in the area

Sealand was much more than killer whales, says ex-employee

Former Sealasd trainer revisits Sealand of the Pacific in talk

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of September 17

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should the province step in to upgrade the road to Bamfield?

The death of two University of Victoria students on a bus bound… Continue reading

B.C. MLA calls on province to restrict vaping as first related illness appears in Canada

Todd Stone, Liberal MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson, introduced an anti-vaping bill in April

Chilliwack woman wins right to medically assisted death after three-year court battle

Julia Lamb has been the lead plaintiff in a legal battle to ease restrictions on Canada’s assisted dying laws

Sooke athletes win gold at 55+ Games

Myrtle Acton, 86, leads way with three first place finishes

NDP, Liberals promise more spending, while Tories promise spending cuts

Making life more affordable for Canadians a focus in the 2019 election

UPDATE: Police probe third threat against a Kamloops high school in eight days

Police have not released any further details into what the threat includes

Charges dropped against Mountie involved in shooting death of Surrey man

‘I feel like I’ve lost Hudson all over again,’ says mom

Most Read