RCMP are looking into an incident Friday at the top of the Kootenay Pass between Nelson-Creston MLA Brittny Anderson and a couple of people unhappy about COVID-related public health orders in BC.
Anderson says she and her constituency assistant were returning from Creston when they stopped at the summit to take a video to thank people they had met over the last few days.
They walked across the parking lot and were shooting the video when a car approached. They thought it might be someone asking for directions, but when the driver rolled the window down, Anderson says he started “quite aggressively asking questions” related to public health orders.
“At first I was trying to answer, but it got elevated really quickly. The gentleman driving was aggressive in his language. He was yelling, spitting while he was speaking. His passenger, a woman, was pointing her finger.”
At that point, Anderson says her constituency assistant stepped in front of her and said that they would not continue the conversation unless it was respectful. However, Anderson says they responded by screaming at her, so they started walking back toward their vehicle. The other vehicle started driving toward theirs.
“We were worried there could be violence or they might block our vehicle,” Anderson says, adding that the remote setting added to her anxiety. “There’s no cell service, no one around. It felt pretty scary.”
She says they ran to their vehicle to get in. The other vehicle parked near them but didn’t block them. They waited until the two people got, and then drove off to Salmo.
Anderson says she hasn’t encountered something like it before, but she knows that similar things have happened to other MLAs from all different parties. “It was a new experience for me and it was certainly frightening,” she says.
Anderson said her office previously received “quite a bit of correspondence” from the man involved which she described as “really aggressive, misogynistic, threatening name-calling language.” He has contacted her office again since the Friday incident, she added. As a result, they spoke with the RCMP and were due to talk to them again Monday.
By contrast, a rally was held outside Anderson’s office Monday to protest the treatment of Indigenous people by police. Anderson says everyone behaved and she spoke to some of them.
“I’m happy to talk with people about issues they’re facing but it needs to remain respectful,” she says. “It’s an important part of my job to be a conduit for my community to government. But aggressive behavior in general needs to stop.”