It was a tense series of events Friday morning at the Service Canada Centre in downtown Duncan that prompted a police response.
Rick Ferguson was joined at the federal offices by his 12-year-old daughter as he worked on what he admits has been a challenging Employment Insurance claim.
“I was there yesterday for two and a half hours, and today for an hour and a half and, everything I did yesterday and today, the guy on the phone told me was no good,” he explained.
The office staff were just about to close up for their lunch hour but Ferguson still had a question.
While he was dealing with one staffer, another locked the door that stood between Ferguson and his child.
Admittedly frustrated as a result of his claim, Ferguson became even more agitated when he saw his daughter begin to panic.
“She got hit by a car like two years ago so she suffers from separation anxiety and she was outside the door crying and I’m not supposed to get mad about this?” he wondered. “I was locked in and she was locked out. I said ‘I’ve got to have her in’ and they wouldn’t let her in and then they started to try to kick me out.”
It was at that point employees called police.
Within minutes bystanders downtown witnessed six police vehicles surround the centre’s entrance at the corner of Kenneth and Jubilee Streets, their lights flashing.
Ferguson’s daughter witnessed all the lights and commotion too, along with the police engaging with her dad.
The situation was traumatic for the youngster, Ferguson noted.
Fortunately, the child’s mother works nearby and arrived in seconds to console her distraught daughter.
She’ll be OK, her father said.
“She’s an all-star. She’s absolutely amazing,” he said.
The officer in charge of the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP said it was “nothing of significance.”
“It was an alarm that was triggered as a male was refusing to leave,” confirmed Insp. Chris Bear, adding “several police cruisers were in the area and responded.”
No charges were laid and the situation quickly deescalated.
“It’s all good,” said Ferguson. “I’ve just got to learn to take a breath.”
Staff at the Service Canada Centre are not authorized to comment on the incident. A response from an authorized Service Canada spokesperson has been requested.