Pubdate: Fri, 29 Nov 2013
Source: Trail Daily Times (CN BC)
Copyright: 2013 Trail Daily Times
Author: Herb Couch
Cited: Sensible BC:


Please don't accuse Sensible BC canvassers of starting this
disturbing, unfortunate "at odds" incident.

The statement that canvassers were on the Ferraro Foods property is
absolutely false. No canvasser was ever collecting signatures in front
of the opening to the store. Sensible BC canvassers all know that to
set up on private property requires permission.

What really happened that day?

We were on the public sidewalk canvassing for the initiative petition
under Election BC guidelines and rules. We were always polite and
conducted ourselves in an appropriate manner.

We had barely set up our table, far from the entrance, and had, not
yet, even, asked one citizen if they cared to sign the initiative
petition, before Danny Ferraro came and ordered us to leave. He stated
that he had the right to order people off the public sidewalk because
he sweeps that sidewalk which gives him the right to decide who walks

When we spoke of our legal right to be there and canvas in a peaceful
manner, we were ignored and he called the RCMP.

The RCMP did nothing to diffuse the situation. In fact, the officer
refused to give her name and badge number, but insisted that I give my
name for her "records," which I did. I informed her of our legal
opinion from our Sensible BC lawyer and gave her a written copy. She
told us we should move because this was an emotional topic for Danny.

However, we feel strongly about the issue, too. We are working hard to
collect signatures to have a referendum to stop all searches and
arrests for simple marijuana possession in B.C. We have seen the great
harms to society that the prohibition of marijuana causes and we want
a safer world for our children and grandchildren.

That is why we maintained our legal right to canvas for signatures, in
a peaceful manner, on public property.

This whole "at odds" incident didn't need to happen, has been hurtful,
and it didn't benefit anyone. The situation was poorly handled and it
should never have happened.

I would like to give a special thank you to the 87 Trail registered
voters who signed the petition, that afternoon, under extremely
difficult circumstances. The response from people was very favourable
and many people were thankful that Sensible BC was giving them the
chance to decide whether or not to sign the initiative petition.

Finally, I am pleased that the store has offered an online apology and
I hope that people can leave this "at odds" incident in the past. It's
time for Sensible BC to continue with its work and Ferraro Foods to
"continue to provide customers with the highest standard of service."

Herb Couch, Nelson
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