Speaking at a media event in Surrey on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020, B.C. Premier John Horgan said public health takes priority over business concerns in the implementation of the ministerial order restricting non-essential travel to Haida Gwaii. (Government of British Columbia/Facebook photo)

B.C. premier ‘not going to be apologetic’ about closure of Haida Gwaii fishing lodges

Horgan says ‘public health takes the priority’ over business in implementation of travel restriction

B.C. Premier John Horgan says he is “not going to be apologetic” about the forced closure of two fishing lodges on Haida Gwaii, following the July 30 ministerial order restricting non-essential travel to the islands.

Speaking at a media event in Surrey on Thursday (Aug. 6), Horgan was asked if any special accommodations could have been made for the two lodges that reopened earlier last month, considering distance between the lodges and the community outbreak of COVID-19 declared on July 24, and safety plans the lodges had developed prior to the outbreak, in line with B.C.’s Restart Plan.

ALSO READ: Haida Gwaii COVID cases climb to 24 over B.C. Day long weekend

“A month ago there were no cases on Haida Gwaii. Now there are,” Horgan replied.

“We’ve got a few more weeks to go before we can declare that we’ve got this under control. That’s our highest priority.”

Horgan said that he will “certainly talk to” business operators that are “well away from the mainland of Haida Gwaii.”

“They have legitimate concerns,” he said.

However, he added, “public health takes the priority in this circumstance and [he’s] not going to be apologetic about that.”

ALSO READ: Fishing lodge ‘shocked’ by B.C. ban on non-resident travel to Haida Gwaii

In a release on July 31, Brian Legge, president of the West Coast Fishing Club (WCFC), said the remote lodge off the west coast of Graham Island had reopened along with other B.C. tourism operators during Phase 3 of the Restart Plan, and was “shocked and stunned” by the non-essential travel ban put in place by Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth under the state of provincial emergency.

“Without warning or consultation, the B.C. government passed an Order In Council that immediately shuts us down by banning all non-essential travel to Haida Gwaii — while we are in the middle of tourist season — without giving us any plan to remove our guests and staff,” Legge said, adding that the lodge itself was free of the virus.

“Our lodge followed all the rules, someone else far away did not, and we get unfairly punished for their mistakes.”

He also said the lodge developed and had been implementing a plan to move guests by helicopter from Prince Rupert to WCFC, to avoid contact with Haida Gwaii communities.

“We also circulated our safe operating plan to the [Council of the Haida Nation], who never even acknowledged it, and to the B.C. government, who changed their original acceptance of it,” he said. “It is beyond frustrating that despite all this, our business is shuttered and we are facing enormous losses.”

The other lodge impacted by the ministerial order was the Queen Charlotte Lodge (QCL), which reopened on July 10 against the wishes of the Haida Nation.

The Observer has reached out to the Naden Harbour fishing resort for comment.

ALSO READ: RCMP investigating after Haida matriarchs say they were ‘put in danger’ by fishing lodge

Do you have something we should report on? Email:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. salmon farms challenge activists’ demands for site closures

News reporting also unfair, inaccurate and distorted

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

Haida hereditary chief named Liberal Candidate for North Coast Region

Roy Jones Jr. is named Liberal MLA candidate for the North Coast

COVID-19 cases grow to 13 at B.C. First Nation near Fort St. James

“This is very serious,” says Nak’azdli Whut’en Chief

Cullen confirmed as B.C. NDP candidate for Stikine despite party’s equity policy

Former Tahltan Central Government President Annita McPhee said the process made her feel “abused”

B.C. counts 125 new COVID-19 cases, up to 1,284 active

No new deaths or health care facility outbreaks

Health Canada green-lights rapid COVID-19 test

Health Canada approved the BCube test from Hyris Ltd. in the United Kingdom Sept. 23

FINLAYSON: COVID-related job losses concentrated in urban areas… especially Metro Vancouver

The biggest job losses, in absolute terms, have been in Metro Vancouver

6 puppies rescued in mass seizure on Princeton farm die from illness: BC SPCA

Of the 97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized, most of the puppies suffered from parvo

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Action demanded over death of First Nations youth in Abbotsford group home

Family and Indigenous organizations push for thorough investigation

U.S. boater fined $1,000 for violation of Quarantine Act

49-year-old man entered Canada to visit girlfriend in Surrey

More sex abuse charges laid against B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’

Investigators now focussing efforts on alleged victims within the Glad Tidings Church community

B.C. VOTES 2020: Businesses now owe $6 billion in deferred tax payments

COVID-19 relief from remittance to province ends with September

Most Read