Statement from Assistant Commissioner Eric Stubbs, BC RCMP Criminal Operations – CORE Policing: Response on the enforcement events of November 19, 2021


2021-11-22 16:05 PST

The RCMP understands the important constitutional role the media play in Canada. They inform the public, challenge the status quo and traditional narratives, and they ignite and foster dialogue on important subjects. The RCMP’s relationship with the media is based on mutual respect and professionalism. Our expectation is the media identify themselves as soon as possible and it is our obligation to ensure they have fair and safe access to observe and report.

The RCMP’s protocols and procedures reflect the Court’s direction and guidance with respect to media access during a protest. The courts have indicated, specifically in Re Brake, 2019 NLCA 17 that considerations for journalist presence in a protest be:

i. The person is engaged in apparent good faith in a news-gathering activity of a journalistic nature;

ii. He or she is not actively assisting, participating with or advocating for the protesters about whom the reports are being made;

iii. He or she does no act that could reasonably be considered as aiding or abetting the protestors in their protest actions or in breaching any order that has been already made;

iv. He or she is not otherwise obstructing or interfering with those seeking to enforce the law or any order that has already been made or is not otherwise interfering with the administration of justice;

v. The matters being reported on are matters that can broadly be said to be matters of public interest. Particular consideration should be given to protests involving aboriginal issues.

These conditions have been included in the Community-Industry Response Group (C-IRG) operational planning and enforcement.

The RCMP does not question or dispute that the two individuals who identified themselves as journalists while being arrested, were in fact journalists or on assignment. In fact, the RCMP responded to one of the media agencies on Thursday night on the importance for their journalist to identify themselves to police at the first opportunity and to adhere to police requests or directions moving forward.

The RCMP can confirm:

The primary role of the RCMP in any demonstration or assembly is to preserve the peace, protect life and property, and enforce the law. This includes protecting protestors’ rights to peaceful, lawful and safe demonstration as guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The RCMP also has a responsibility to ensure the general public and businesses have a right to a safe environment.

Moving forward, I remain available and willing to work with the media on ensuring there are clear communications, processes, and understanding for all those involved.

Released by:

BC RCMP Communication Services

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