A woman nearly nine months pregnant was one of dozens of people who saw their SUV tires deflated by an activist group on Vancouver Island this weekend.
Robert Kennedy, the woman’s father, says fighting the climate crisis is a worthy goal, but the tactic is targeting the wrong people and could endanger people like his daughter.
“The more I thought about it, the angrier I got because that put her in a very bad position,” he told CTV News.
While his daughter was able to get a compressor and pump the air back into her tires, Kennedy says he’s relieved she didn’t have to use her car to go to the hospital or a medical appointment when she found out. that he was not drivable.
“She certainly won’t amuse yourself with what these people are trying to achieve and get rid of her SUV,” he said.
“I fully agree that we need to do something about our contribution to climate change. We should be doing it faster than we are, but this is not the way to get the message across. They are targeting the wrong people. .. They’re not doing their business any good.”
Kennedy also worries that people who don’t immediately notice their tires are flat will start driving before they realize the risk.
“They don’t think about the consequences of what could happen. It’s a criminal offense and it can seriously injure or kill someone,” he added.
The group, called “Tyre Extinguishers,” describes itself as “a global direct action environmental group with the goal of eliminating SUVs from urban areas.”
It claimed to have “disarmed” 34 vehicles in Victoria and Oak Bay on Thursday evening, in what the group said was the first action by tire extinguishers in western Canada.
“We’re taking action because, like so many British Colombians, we’ve felt angry, powerless, scared and overwhelmed at the global scale of the climate crisis and the icy pace of action, and we’ve wondered: what direct action can we take to make that what from?” the group said in a statement on its website.
“We know that some people will be frustrated, upset and/or angry with us,” the group said. “Unfortunately, we have no time to lose in reducing our emissions. The people whose tires we have deflated will be inconvenienced, but will eventually be able to get around using public transport, walking or cycling like so many other Victorians and Oak Bay do.”
The Oak Bay Police Department confirmed it received nine reports over the weekend. If the perpetrators are caught, they are likely to be charged with mischief under $5,000, police said. According to the Criminal Code, that offense carries a maximum sentence of two years.
CTV News has also reached out to Victoria Police for comment and this story will be updated if information is received.
Featuring files from CTV News Vancouver’s Mary Cranston