A New Democrat hoping to get elected to the B.C. legislature has revealed that police are investigating a "suspicious fire" at her home.
In a Facebook post, Georgia Collins wrote that the blaze occurred on Labour Day after she had received online harassment and death threats.
"After calling 911, I watched the fire and heat burn all the leaves off the bush that is nestled up against my house, and scorch the maple tree who’s trunk passes by my son’s bedroom window on it’s way up into the sky," Collins revealed. "A sky which quickly filled with smoke; and with adrenaline pumping and fear setting in, I thought of all of the things inside that I wanted to grab in case the firefighters didn’t get there in time. My computer, with all of the photos of my kids and with all of the work I’d done on my campaign, was top of mind. I couldn’t imagine losing it all."
Collins, a community activist, plans to launch a campaign to replace Bill Routley as the NDP MLA in Cowichan Valley, noting that a Labour Day picnic was the "unofficial kickoff".
According to Collins, police later asked if she had "enemies".
"I’m not convinced, but I am concerned," she stated on Facebook. "Seriously concerned for the well being of my children and the continued success of my chosen path in public life. And at this time it seems important to share with all of you my experience to ensure our continued success while I properly resolve these issues and restore my campaigns confidence. All of which I am confident will uphold the ultimate goal of maintaining the strength and integrity of the party I wish to represent."
Collins lost a nomination battle against Alistair MacGregor for an NDP nomination in the last federal election. MacGregor was elected to Parliament in October to represent Cowichan-Malahat-Langford and Collins later worked for him.
She also revealed in her post that she later worked with an experienced NDP campaign manager as she prepared to seek the provincial nomination before they had a falling out. Collins stated that she later sought Routley's advice on how to deal with what she described as "repeated offensive episodes". According to Collins, Routley suggested she seek legal advice.
"After further consultation, I made the decision that this would best be resolved through existing internal party dispute resolution mechanisms," Collins wrote. "The intent is twofold: 1) avoid any significant negative impact on the important nomination process that will establish our next representative in the New John Horgan NDP government of 2017 2) work to ensure this does not happen again with anyone else in this position within the party, as it is clear such behaviour does nothing to forward our cause and can be extremely debilitating for the potential of future party candidates."
In her post, Collins described the online harassment and death threats as "unrelated incidents".