Sensible BC canvasser puts ‘at odds’ incident to rest

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

Please don’t accuse Sensible BC canvassers of starting this disturbing, unfortunate “at odds” incident (Grocer, Sensible BC petitioners at odds, Trail Times Nov. 26).

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 there.

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 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