Alberta resident frustrated with Okanagan responses to out-of-province plates - InfoNews

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Alberta resident frustrated with Okanagan responses to out-of-province plates

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July 30, 2020 - 6:30 AM

An Albertan born and raised in the Okanagan has a message for Okanagan residents after seeing harsh posts about out-of-province licence plates online. She wants to remind the Okanagan that “we’re all in this together.”

Carol Boklaschuk, from Coaldale, Alta., last visited her 89-year-old mother in Penticton this past June after she suffered from a fall. While she didn’t experience any harassment with her out-of-province licence plate, she did receive some sideways glances, she said.

“I was so worried about stopping anywhere, just from all the stories that you hear,” she said. “These comments are getting to be more frequent.”

This week, a silver pickup truck with an American licence plate was spotted in a Kelowna parking lot. A disclaimer on the truck spotted in a parking lot appears to plead with B.C. residents to leave it alone because the driver is also a B.C. resident.

"Before you judge: I am a UBC Okanagan student, I have lived here for three years with my truck, thank you for understanding," reads the sign posted to the back of the vehicle.

Last month, Revelstoke’s mayor asked residents to be kind to visitors after a resident received a nasty note for his Alberta licence plate.

READ MORE: Revelstoke mayor asks residents to welcome visitors after Alberta-licence plate controversy

“It’s awful that with COVID, that we’re fighting with one another,” Boklaschuk said. When she visited her mother, she only stopped on the ride over to go to the bathroom and grab a bite to eat.

Her family has had cancer, including herself, so they’re extra careful, she said.

“You’re seeing a licence plate on a car, you have no idea who these people are,” she said. “At the age my mother is, if I don’t come out there, what if I don’t get to see her again?”

She would like to visit her in September, as her mother still lives on her own, but wouldn’t put her family’s safety or other’s safety into question.

“She looks after herself well and we try to make sure she’s looked after well,” she said.

Boklaschuk decided to speak out because she’s tired of seeing negative comments online about out-of-province plates.

Premier John Horgan suggested this week during a news conference that out-of-towners concerned about being harassed for their plates should take public transit or a bike instead — stopping well short of provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry's plea to "be kind."

READ MORE: Horgan advises drivers with non-B.C. plates to take the bus to avoid harassment

“There are many reasons why people have different license plates here in B.C.,” Dr. Henry said July 28 and specifically referenced people like Boklaschuk who come home to look after elderly family members.

“We need to respect to that,” she said. “We also need to respect that many people have been here for a long time. They may have done their isolation, and they are members of our community and we need to treat everybody with kindness and with respect. We do not know everybody's story.”


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