B.C. Liberals question public health exemptions for NHL players over British Columbians

THE B.C. Liberals are questioning why Premier John Horgan and the NDP are introducing two sets of rules for people in the wake of COVID-19; one for hockey players and celebrities, and another for the rest of British Columbians.

“As a hockey fan, I’m all for bringing sports back to British Columbia as soon as safely possible, but creating special travel and health exemptions for hockey players and celebrities while there are still British Columbians who can’t be reunited with their families and loved ones, is simply unfair” said Peter Milobar, MLA for Kamloops-North Thompson. “People across B.C. have made great sacrifices to flatten the curve and save lives, so why is John Horgan so strongly advocating for a special set of rules for athletes instead of fighting for all of us? This decision risks undermining people’s trust in the government’s approach.”

On Monday, Horgan sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau which promoted plans to bring the NHL to B.C. and advocated for a modified quarantine framework to accommodate hockey players. Horgan claims his plan will allow for NHL teams to stay in hotels and travel together in private transportation to Rogers Arena.

“Right now people are asking when they can expand their bubbles to see their grandparents and isolated family members and when they can get back to more fully supporting their local economies,” added Milobar. “If this goes forward, the safety and protection of hotel employees and all B.C. workers who will engage with these hockey players, staff, and their families has to be the top priority. British Columbians deserve clarity on what the plan will be to protect them and whether the Premier is committed to prioritizing players and athletes with special exemptions, over the rest of us.”

Earlier this month, the BC Liberal Caucus advocated for government to work with Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry to develop a strategy that could allow for the lifting of some restrictions in regions with lower case counts. While Horgan quickly dismissed that suggestion of regional exemptions, it would appear that international athletes are more deserving, said the B.C. Liberals.