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Protest erupts outside UBCM reception hosted by Chinese Consulate

Last Updated Sep 25, 2019 at 9:49 pm PDT

Demonstrators picket Union of B.C. Municipalities reception hosted by Chinese Consulate. (Marcella Bernardo, NEWS 1130)

Dozens of protesters rallied outside a downtown Vancouver hotel where the Chinese Consulate hosted a UBCM reception

Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West joined the demonstration, before dropping off donuts inside and then leaving abruptly

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — A reception sponsored by the Chinese Consulate at this year’s Union of B.C. Municipalities convention went ahead Wednesday night, but not without controversy.

Inside, municipal leaders were being wined and dined, while dozens of demonstrators rallied outside Vancouver’s Fairmont Waterfront Hotel demanding democracy.

Protesters spoke out in support of Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, who were locked up in Beijing shortly after Chinese telecom executive Meng Wanzhou was arrested at the Vancouver airport.

Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West — who has been critical of the fact the event was being sponsored by the Chinese government — joined the demonstration.

“We live in a country where we can gather like this, where we can make our voices heard, where we can send a message to our elected officials. That’s not the case in the country with the representatives, who too many mayors and city councillors, are rubbing shoulders with right now,” he said.

He thanked the group for demanding democracy, and praised them for their courage.

“You are showing more courage, more bravery, than too many of the people that we elect as our community leaders to set a standard of what our community believes in,” he says.

“I want to thank you. I have been inspired by the courageous actions, particularly of young people in Hong Kong, who have stood up against the most repressive push-back of human rights that we have seen in some time.”

West, who is against the UBCM accepting sponsorship money from foreign governments, says most delegates at this year’s convention support ending cash-for-access events.

After joining the protest, he went inside to deliver Tim Hortons donuts to the delegates before leaving.