The vitriol and ad hominem attacks that we witnessed from both sides surrounding the protests blocking Highway 19 on Feb. 10 are certainly a blight on our community.
The saddest part of the entire affair, however, is that there is a much larger issue that seemed to be entirely missed. Sometimes our rights as Canadians run into conflict with the rights of other Canadians. When this happens, people must raise above themselves and their concerns, and consider the needs of others.
What those who blocked Highway 19 were protesting about is neither here nor there. In their minds it was a huge enough issue that it merited taking extreme action that could “inconvenience” others, garner attention and draw focus on their cause. They saw their protest as their right and it was more important than its impact on other people.
Others see Highway 19 as a vital artery to our Valley. They see the need for workers to strive around the clock to keep it open in snowstorms. They see the cancer patients driven to Victoria for life-saving treatments. They see young people driving down Island for job interviews or educational opportunities. They see people who have waited many months for a specialist, medical appointments having access to the highway. They perhaps even see the goods such as medicines and hospital supplies being transported up the highway.
Yes, by all means let’s exercise our democratic right to be heard. However, let’s consider the rights of others when we do it. With rights come responsibilities.