Source: X

The leader of British Columbia’s official opposition had some harsh words for protesters who have set up camp at several university campuses in the province.

Kevin Falcon, the leader of the B.C. United party said the government should “come down hard” on any anti-Israel protesters on university campuses who are using inciting and hateful language at a weekly press conference today.

This comes after a Leger survey found that 44% of British Columbians felt that the pro-Palestine encampments on campuses should be shut down over safety concerns, and 33% believed they should be removed if protesters voice antisemitic views or propagate any form of hate speech.

“We all recognize that people have the right to protest in this province, and nobody wants to take away that right,” Falcon said in response to a question from True North. 

“But when the protest starts to morph into blocking students from getting their education, or the language that’s being utilized is creating the kind of hateful language that can result in communities being attacked or threatened, that’s when my tolerance level comes down to zero. I don’t tolerate any of that nonsense.”

He said when there’s hate speech explicitly directed at an ethnic community the government has to come down hard.

“There cannot be the kind of hateful talk that we’ve seen some of these, frankly, idiots out there saying,” said Falcon.

In a photo posted on X, a banner at the UBC campus shows the protesters’ support for violent attacks against Israel.

“Long live Palestinian resistance. From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free.”

Though not at a campus, in a viral video, a woman with ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a Marxist-Leninist terrorist organization, who was identified as Charlotte Kates, chanted, “Long live Oct. 7” at an anti-Israel rally in Vancouver. She was arrested by the Vancouver police on May 1.

“I commend the Vancouver police for arresting and charging that individual that was making hateful comments,” Falcon said. “We have to come down hard and say that is unacceptable in British Columbia. And when we do that, we’ll start to see a lot of these hateful comments coming to an end, I believe.”

Falcon said he thinks those who are making hateful comments, trying to incite violence against any identifiable group, should be held accountable for their behaviour.

However, he did not answer True North’s question about whether encampments should be removed from campuses.

B.C. United, formerly the B.C Liberal Party, has significantly lost support to the resurging Conservative Party of British Columbia.

According to polling expert Dimitri Pantazopoulos B.C. United might face its “demise” in the election this fall.

The party received 34% of the vote in the last election, winning them the official opposition seat. However, according to Yorkville Strategies, Falcon’s party will only get 13% of the vote if polls remain the same.

Falcon warned about trusting the polls and said he “would feel it” if they were true.

“This is not new to us. We’ve dealt with this before. The polls reflect what we saw in the polls of 2011 and 2012. Right up to 2013, we were 22 points down in the polls and won a majority government,” Falcon said.

Pantazopoulos was one of the only pollsters to predict Falcon’s victory in 2013.

But Falcon remains unshaken and optimistic, saying, “The sands are shifting.”

“When I go do town hall meetings, they’re packed town hall meetings,” Falcon said. “Our fundraising has never been stronger. We’re attracting amazing candidates, including doctors and lawyers and entrepreneurs and unionized train operators, etc. so, I would be very careful because what I’m feeling on the ground is very, very different than these so-called polls.”

He said his party is knocking on thousands of doors and is not seeing a “big wave” to John Rustad’s B.C. Conservatives, as the polls suggest.