At 1:40 p.m. EST on Wednesday, Vancouver police received an emergency call from one of Canada’s leading classical liberal think tanks. The Fraser Institute, centered in British Columbia and perhaps best known for its Economic Freedom of the World Report, was the victim of a “suspected hazardous substance found inside an envelope . . . an irritant [that] could be harmful” — according to a police report.
“We received an envelope today, opened by our receptionist,” says Dean Pelkey, the institute’s communications director, “it contained a mysterious white powder . . . We called Canada Post; they called police/fire.” Then a hazardous materials team was on site, he says, and they evacuated everyone on the floor.
Two women were ill when the police arrived at the offices, and paramedics brought them to hospital for treatment. Jason Clemens, another media contact for the institute, shared that their “staff have been cleared of any problems and we’re obviously very thankful no one was hurt or otherwise injured.”
The origin and precise motive of the attack remain under investigation, and Clemens says they do not know whether this was random or whether the perpetrators specifically targeted the institute.
Update: Thursday, December 5, 2013
Jason Clemens gave an exclusive interview with the PanAm Post this morning, in which he explained that the letter was not addressed to the Fraser Institute, and the letter inside was not written for the organization as well. He cannot release the details of whom it was addressed to, given security concerns.
That is one reason why he says that “there’s just not clear evidence that we [the Fraser Institute] were targeted.”
In addition, he said that threatening letters are not the norm, and there was not one to suggest that this incident was coming.
“We get a lot of correspondence, on a daily basis, [from] people who disagree with us . . . that’s part and parcel of being [in this ideas business], but certainly I would not characterize the correspondence that we get on a daily basis as threatening.”