BC Premier John Horgan had some choice words for British Columbians who have made hateful and violent threats towards Dr. Bonnie Henry.
During a press conference on Friday, Premier Horgan said it’s “very disconcerting and alarming” that individuals feel it is acceptable to harass or threaten the provincial health officer.
“For those that have disagreements or squabbles or are unhappy with the situation we find ourselves in, get in line,” Horgan told the media. “All of us are unhappy with where we are at and none of it has anything to do with Dr. Henry.”
Horgan’s strong words come after more violent threats surfaced online directed towards the provincial health officer.
“It’s absolutely inappropriate, your parents would be ashamed,” the premier said firmly during his public address.
In one recent video live-streamed on the YouTube channel Flat Earth Fockers – that has since been taken down – one person suggesting she should be hanged.
Dr. Henry is an extraordinary leader whose expertise and guidance has been critical to keeping people safe and healthy.
I know some will disagree with decisions made by our government, but no one has the right to harass or threaten a dedicated public servant. https://t.co/eM9aNzvXpl
— John Horgan (@jjhorgan) February 26, 2021
University of Victoria professor emeritus, Dr. Bonnie Leadbeater, said because some people have lost their jobs and security, they might want to lash out.
This can lead to confrontations such as the one earlier this week between a man who refused to wear a mask and Canadian Tire employees in Burnaby.
But there are consequences for this kind of aggressive behaviour.
“It is illegal to make threats in Canada against other people,” Dr. Leadbeater said. “As adults, they are responsible for their behaviour. They know the consequences of their behaviour for harassing people, or for threatening them. And, yes, they should be charged.”
Threats against provincial officials have been an ongoing occurrence over the course of the pandemic and have shown no signs of stopping. Dr. Henry took a moment during Thursday’s B.C. COVID-19 update to address the abuse she has faced over the last year and the difficulties it has created for those around her.
“It really is not acceptable,” Dr. Henry said on Thursday. “What I find most disturbing is how it impacts the people I work with and my family and my close contacts and their concerns, so that’s the most challenging piece right now.”
Premier Horgan echoed the same sentiments, agreeing that the behaviour is unacceptable.
“There is no place for those types of accusations or slanders or attacks, whether they be on social media, whether they be on a mailbox or whether they be in front of a building,” Horgan said.
“I’m a politician, I signed up for this. If people want to yell at me, I get that, I respect that, that’s their right, but no one has a right to treat the head of the public health office the way that some people have been acting.”
The premier also took a moment to praise the work of the provincial health officer over the course of the pandemic, noting he was “appreciative of the leadership” she has provided to date.
“I have such an enormous respect and admiration for Dr. Henry…and I am grateful for her advice,” Horgan highlighted.
Horgan’s sound-off towards pandemic deniers came during a press conference where the Province of BC announced its decision to finish the Site C dam in B.C.’s northeast, the largest public project in the province’s history.