Top 10 web stories of 2019: 1-5

The stories that garnered the most views on

  • Dec. 31, 2019 12:00 a.m.
Ken and Susan Salter of Telkwa received their $20 million prize this morning in Kamloops. (BCLC photo)

Ken and Susan Salter of Telkwa received their $20 million prize this morning in Kamloops. (BCLC photo)

The following are the five stories that garnered the most views on in 2019.

5. Witset salmon clubbing fisherman suspended by Wet’suwet’en. Aug. 9, 2019. 5,515 views.

On Aug. 7 a video of a fisherman in Witset clubbing salmon and throwing them back in the river went viral.

The next day the Office of the Wet’suwet’en announced it had suspended the man from the fishery.

“Our leaders were alerted this morning of this incident and Office of the Wet’suwet’en staff along with a Hereditary Chief, spoke with the individual and have dealt with the matter in our traditional way, and we do not expect this matter to arise again,” said the statement released by Chief Na’Moks (John Ridsdale) on Aug 8.

4. Man awaiting sentencing for attempted murder dies after being struck by a vehicle in Fraser Lake. Nov. 23, 2019. 6,001 views.

On Nov. 23, The Interior News confirmed a man killed in a vehicle-pedestrian collision in Fraser Lake Nov. 12 was Ronald Fowler, a Two Mile man awaiting sentencing for the attempted murder of his neighbour.

According to confidential sources, Fowler was struck by a commercial vehicle.

Fowler was convicted by a jury at the B.C. Supreme Court in Smithers on March 15 for the October 2017 attempted murder of his Hazelton neighbour, George Parent.

On the day of the collision, Mounties reported a 66-year-old resident of Fraser Lake died in the parking lot of a mall that morning. Police issued a callout for witnesses in hope of shedding light on exactly what happened.

On Nov. 29, the day Fowler was scheduled for sentencing, the Crown abated his case.

The investigation into Fowler’s death is ongoing.

3. One in critical condition after train hits grader near Smithers. Feb. 19, 2019. 9,712 views.

On Feb. 19, a train hit a road grader at the Lawson Road crossing near Quick. Lando Rosger the operator of the grader was flown to Vancouver in critical condition. He stabilized in hospital in Vancouver and was eventually released, but is still recovering from his injuries.

A GoFundMe campaign to help with medical expenses raised more than $13,000.

2. Telkwa’s Ken and Susan Salter win $20 million Lotto prize. Nov. 7, 2019. 10,736 views.

Ken and Susan Salter of Telkwa are $20 million richer after winning an Oct. 29 Lotto 6/49 Max jackpot.

The British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) made the announcement Nov. 8 with a cheque presentation in Kamloops.

The long-time Telkwa residents matched all seven numbers.

The Salter family told BCLC they have no plans to leave the village of Telkwa. They plan to build their dream home on their existing property and take a river cruise in Europe to celebrate.

The winning numbers were: 10, 17, 18, 22, 23, 25, 34 and bonus number 37.

1. BC Views: Tracking propaganda around B.C.’s latest pipeline protest. Jan 13, 2019. 16,192 views.

After the arrest of 14 protesters for continuing to deny Coastal GasLink access to its pipeline worksite near Houston following a B.C. Supreme Court injunction to remove a blockade on the Morice River Forest Service Road, Tom Fletcher (Black Press Media B.C. legislature reporter and columnist) wrote the op-ed below condemning international activism and media coverage.

Have you heard that Canada is a colonial police state controlled by multinational corporations that uses military force to invade Indigenous people and force them off their land?

That’s the message conveyed around the world in recent days, as RCMP officers moved in as delicately as possible to enforce a B.C. Supreme Court injunction to take down roadblocks to allow construction to start on a natural gas pipeline to the B.C. coast.

We now know that 14 people were arrested after police in tactical gear took down a gate on a provincial forest service road south of Houston in northwestern B.C. Some of them at least are to appear in a Prince George courtroom in early February.

It’s one of two barriers on this public road, the first having been erected 10 years ago by a couple of members of a Wet’suwet’en clan and their outside supporters.

There were a few reporters allowed into this remote area, mostly trying to sensationalize the confrontation, but professional activists command the big audience. For example, U.S. actor Susan Sarandon was quick to promote a report from a self-styled “anarchist collective” that used social media to broadcast slick video of the “brutal raid,” with close-ups of RCMP weapons. The video cut to scenes from dozens of marches magically staged across North America and Europe the next day. Sarandon hit all the key propaganda words, including “fracked gas,” as she pushed this professional video to her 622,000 Twitter followers.

Activist pictures from inside the blockade showed female protesters staged at the front to depict helplessness in the face of overwhelming force. The last scenes I saw were of an obviously gasoline-fed fire at the barrier, clouds of black smoke revealing the accelerant.

Here’s the account of a well-connected area resident I won’t identify. As police prepared to move in, protesters soaked the frozen ground with gasoline. This was likely from jerry cans carried in earlier in the day by RCMP liaison staff along with other supplies, to allow occupiers to leave in comfort and dignity in their vehicles.

The fire was set as police entered and quickly got out of control, igniting the protesters’ tent and a bus that still had a protester tied to it. Police had bolt cutters to cut down the barrier and were able to rescue him.

After a couple of days of talks with RCMP and representatives of pipeline company Coastal GasLink, the spokesman for the dissident hereditary chiefs, John Ridsdale (Chief Na’Moks), announced that the original gate would also be opened to comply with the court order, which extends to May.

“We are the peaceful people here,” Ridsdale said. “We are not invading them.”

All 20 Indigenous communities along the pipeline route have signed impact and benefit agreements. Or rather their elected councils have, seeing an alternative to the poverty, unemployment, addiction and suicide that are rampant in these remote communities.

Ridsdale is an old friend of Stikine MLA Doug Donaldson, now B.C. forests and lands minister. Donaldson invited him to the B.C. legislature in January 2015, to press for a legislated guarantee from the B.C. Liberal government that Coastal GasLink and other gas pipelines can’t be converted to carry crude oil. Ridsdale didn’t object to natural gas then. He and Donaldson argued the existing regulation preventing gas pipeline conversion to oil is not adequate.

At that time, Ridsdale was leading protest marches against the Trans Mountain oil pipeline twinning project.

Smithers Interior News