Protesters in Kelowna have nothing to fear from RCMP, as long as they stay safe | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Protesters in Kelowna have nothing to fear from RCMP, as long as they stay safe

Kelowna RCMP detachment commander Supt. Kara Triance poses for a photo.
April 12, 2021 - 4:30 PM

Kelowna RCMP aren’t about to hand out fines to people protesting outdoors as long as they wash their hands and keep apart.

That’s the policy presented to Kelowna city council today, April 12, by RCMP Supt. Kara Triance in response to a question from Councillor Loyal Woolridge.

“We’re working very hard to focus on the areas of most impact, so greatest need,” Triance said. “In terms of the public protest which, I believe, is the area of most concern, you’ll note that the province changed the Emergency Act measures recently which we will be enforcing.

"We will continue to show up and ensure that protests are safe but balanced with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms which allow people to peacefully protest. People need to do it safely with hand sanitizer and appropriate distancing but organizers are permitted to be hosting events outside that allow them to use their voices as long as it’s done safely.”

That does not include a requirement to wear masks. Those are required to be worn inside businesses, she noted.

On Sunday, about 200 people gathered in Kerry Park in downtown Kelowna to rally in support of GraceLife Church in Alberta after health authorities there blocked access to prevent the church from holding indoor services.

READ MORE: No fines after Kelowna protest in support of Alberta church: RCMP

Kelowna RCMP showed up at the Kelowna rally but did not issue any fines.

Triance made her comments after presenting her strategic plan for RCMP activities for the next three years.

The police need to focus on working with citizens, agencies and things like neighbourhood associations to build a better rapport between police and the community, she said.

Of greatest concern are safety issues in downtown, Central Kelowna and Rutland, she said, often involving homeless people.

“We need to be solving the issues that are affecting these neighbourhoods with dignity and compassion,” Triance said.

READ MORE: Kelowna RCMP want to become more sensitive to victims of sexual assault

The only change to the plan that council asked for was to include statistics on traffic fines in the police’s quarterly reports.

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