By Dauna Ditson

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Doug Clovechok, MLA for Columbia River – Revelstoke, said the clash between residents and visitors from Alberta during the pandemic isn’t nearly as bad as it may seem on social media and that no police detachments in the area have any related files.

“The whole concept of the ‘conflict’ has been completely blown out of proportion. I have seen no examples whatsoever of bad behaviour … The only time I ever see it is on social media,” he said. “When I checked with all the RCMP detachments in my riding from Revelstoke to Kimberley, not one formal file has been opened for any of these types of things.”

While Clovechok said that cars were keyed and nasty notes were left on vehicles, he believes the incidents were isolated.

“That’s a minority of people (and) there’s no excuse for bad behaviour,” he said. “The people who have been doing that have offended not only the folks from other provinces, but they’ve offended British Columbians as well.”

(While he said the issue seem to have been amplified in the media, the Pioneer has been treading lightly here. Our approach has been to call for kindness, to offer local politicians the opportunity to share their thoughts and to continue our practice of running letters from readers.)

“We certainly haven’t seen the normal traffic that we do and we need to thank those people that decided to stay home. But I think we also need to thank those people that actually decided to come because (the numbers demonstrate that they) played by the rules because we haven’t seen any increases,” he said.

Instead of focusing on the negative actions of a few people, Clovechok would like to turn everyone’s attention to the good news in the riding, which is that there hasn’t been a new case of COVID-19 in the riding in over seven weeks.

“I think we need to move on from this and start to celebrate the amazing job that British Columbians have done to flatten this curve because in Interior Health you can’t get any flatter than zero.”

While Clovechok didn’t have an official number, his best guess is that the riding has seen fewer than 10 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

“We’re not out of the woods yet … (but) the things we’ve been doing have been working,” he said. “It’s amazing what we’ve done together.”