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Police called after protesters, MP clash over carbon tax in Port Alberni

RCMP called after threats made to Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns at city’s Friendship Centre
Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns, right, talks to protesters in front of the Port Alberni Friendship Center on Sunday, March 24, 2024. (PHOTO COURTESY CHARLAINE LACROIX)

Police in Port Alberni were called after a protest over the federal carbon tax became heated on Sunday, March 24.

One protester threatened Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns as he was getting out of his car by the Port Alberni Friendship Centre to attend a disability tax workshop. More than a dozen people were waiting with signs for Johns and Peter Julian, MP for New Westminster-Burnaby, who have been holding workshops on Vancouver Island.

Charlaine Lacroix, one of the protesters, said the group of about 15 people were “people that don’t want the carbon tax. A lot of people are against this carbon tax increase,” she said.

“It was good to see citizens voice their displeasure to the MP in person over yet another tax initiative that will only impoverish more Canadians and sadly put more on the homeless route that is now a very common sight on Vancouver Island,” she said.

Johns said protesters started yelling at him the minute he got out of his car, and one of them threatened him physically. He said people who were supposed to attend the disability tax workshop ended up driving away because they were scared of the confrontation.

“Nobody should ever protest in front of the Friendship Centre,” Johns said, adding that the protesters’ behaviour “was not OK. It wasn’t the right place to raise their concerns.”

Johns called the overall anger over the carbon tax “a diversion,” and said laws in B.C. and other provinces prevent the federal government from simply “axing the tax.”

Johns said he had spoken a month ago with at least two protesters he recognized, and he told others he would be willing to set up an appointment to talk to them. Lacroix said she didn’t know if any of them took him up on his offer.

Port Alberni RCMP Const. Richard Johns (no relation) confirmed officers were on scene at the protest for “about an hour and a half,” and that one person was investigated for “uttering threats” to Gord Johns.

The federal carbon tax came into effect Monday, April 1. As of Monday afternoon, gas prices in the Alberni Valley had risen to $1.99.9 from $1.95.9.

READ ALSO: Conservative leader Poilievre rallies B.C. crowd against carbon tax

READ ALSO: Carbon tax highway protests lead to multi-vehicle crash in Alberta: police

Susie Quinn

About the Author: Susie Quinn

A journalist since 1987, I have been the Alberni Valley News editor since August 2006.
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