iN VIDEO: Heated confrontation with protestors in Wells Gray Provincial Park caught on video - InfoNews

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iN VIDEO: Heated confrontation with protestors in Wells Gray Provincial Park caught on video

A screenshot from a video posted by Nicholas Oakman shows him speaking with two women part of the pipeline protesting group known as the Tiny House Warriors in Blue River in July 2019.
Image Credit: YOUTUBE/Nicholas Morgan
July 25, 2019 - 7:00 AM

Nicholas Oakman was hoping to enjoy his Canada Day long weekend in his hometown of Blue River with his wife, but his plans took a turn when he was unexpectedly stopped by a group of protestors on the way to one of his favourite places.

Oakman who now lives in the Lower Mainland was visiting his family in Blue River approximately three weeks ago. He was trying to enjoy some time at Murtle Lake when he was stopped by a group called The Tiny House Warriors.

“I go up there and I find out the (road) is being blocked off,” Oakman says.

While driving down the road, Oakman says he began moving the roadblocks to the side of the road in order to get his car through. He got halfway down the road when he was confronted by two women and a man.

“I was chased back to my car basically,” he says, adding that he turned on his video camera to record the incident, a video that has been viewed more than 7,000 times on Facebook.

LANGUAGE WARNING

“I turned on my camera because I felt threatened,” he says. “I didn’t know what they were going to do and I didn’t know how angry they were.”

Oakman can be heard swearing at the two women shown in the video. He explains he was upset for more reasons than just not being able to access the lake.

“My grandparents own a store here and I grew up here,” he says. “What they are basically doing is they are stopping any tourism that is coming into our town and tourism is what keeps my grandmother’s store thriving.”

After speaking with the individuals, Oakman decided it was best to call the police.

“I just got in my car and drove away,” he says. “I thought ‘This isn’t right’ and it should be dealt with.’”

Clearwater RCMP Sgt. Grant Simpson says police have been aware of the blockade on the road to Murtle Lake for approximately a year but wouldn’t comment on the legalities of it.

“We have been aware of the roadblock since day one,” Simpson says. “At this point, I have to be careful on how I comment on (this).”

A notice to park users on the B.C. Parks website encourages visitors of Murtle Lake in Wells Gray Provincial Park to use an alternate route on Shell Road. He isn't sure if the notice was put up because of the roadblock.

“Initially it wasn’t a roadblock they just had a camp set up and they have progressively turned it into a roadblock,” Simpson says, adding they don’t receive many calls about the roadblock from the public.

“The community is aware of it and they just kind of give them their space,” he says.

B.C. RCMP media spokesperson Cpl. Chris Manseau says there is a difficult fine line between an individual’s right to protest and obstructing. He could not comment on the specifics of this case.

The Tiny House Warriors are a protesting group against the Trans Mountain Pipeline. Last July, the North Thompson Provincial Park was closed due to a pipeline protest by the grassroots indigenous group, keeping the general public out of the area.

Calls and emails to the Tiny House Warriors have not been returned.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The original version of this story included an embedded YouTube video attributed to a man named Cory Morgan who we now know is an Alberta oil activist known for antagonizing protesters and who has called for vigilante action against protesters attempting to block the Trans Mountain pipeline. Upon further investigation, we realize choosing his version of this video has detracted from the actual event and has led to some legitimate concerns about the source and purpose of this video and story. However, before we published the video but before we realized who he was, Morgan told us he did not know Oakman and he simply ripped Oakman's video from Facebook for his own YouTube account and his own ends. Morgan was not present when the video was shot and he and Oakman have no affiliation or relationship. Oakman has since confirmed this. We have no reason to believe Oakman was trying to access Murtle Lake for any reason other than as he stated in the story. We regret this unfortunate oversight. We have removed references to Morgan and replaced the embedded video with Oakman's. Questions or concerns can be sent to editor Marshall Jones at mjones@infonews.ca.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Karen Edwards or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2019
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