Rule of law in Canada? Most unlikely, except to enable corporate abuse, greed & pollution; protect the rich, lying judges & lawyers, corrupt politicians & law violating regulators. Newfoundland and Labrador trying to jail journalist Justin Brake for doing his job, judge pathetically enables the abuse of process; Maureen Killoran, Encana lawyer in Ernst vs Encana, seeks outrageous injunction for Kinder Morgan, judge shows obvious bias for the company

A provincial court judge in Labrador ruled Monday that criminal charges against journalist Justin Brake would proceed. In 2016 Brake was a reporter and editor with the Newfoundland and Labrador Independent, a popular local and independent media outlet in an underserved media market. When protesters entered the construction site for the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project Brake, who was one of the only journalists covering the protest, followed them in. 

Over the next week the Indigenous occupation to block a massive construction project that would flood their lands went on, and Brake reported from within, posting regular articles to the Independent’s website and almost 30 Facebook Live videos to the outlet’s Facebook page.

It’s an affront to freedom of the press and it’s an outrage and a misuse of the justice system.

It was historic, pioneering work. A journalist was inside an Indigenous protest camp, livestreaming what the protesters had to say out for all the world to see. It’s the kind of work that gets you nominated for prestigious human rights awards, as Brake was. In 2017 Brake was hired as an on-air journalist for national network APTN, with his week in the Muskrat Falls camp the highlight of his stellar CV in journalism.

In his community, Brake is a celebrated figure. A dedicated journalist getting information out to people that want it, and going far above and beyond the call of duty.

But along with plaudits, his journalism earned him something else: criminal charges for mischief and disobeying a court order, and civil contempt proceedings in Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court based on the same set of facts. Brake will now be forced to defend himself in two separate trials for doing his job. These charges represent a full-frontal assault on freedom of the press, and have been denounced by virtually every press freedom organization in the country. In 2017 Canada dropped four spots on the World Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders. The group cited the Brake case as one of four issues that caused our ranking to fall.

Now, this week, when given an opportunity to quash this outrageous abuse of power, provincial court judge Wynne Anne Trahey instead allowed it to proceed to trial.

It’s an affront to freedom of the press and it’s an outrage and a misuse of the justice system. But it’s also something else: desperately embarrassing for Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador and the reputation of our rule of law.

Hello? Prosecutors? Judges? Administrators? Premier? Are there no adults in the room? [Just abusers.]

It’s embarrassing to judge Trahey, who has allowed this fiasco to continue, and to director of public prosecution Frances Knickle, who is the ringmaster in this circus of ineptitude. [Or are they paid extra to make a brutal example of Mr. Brake, so that Canadian reporters and journalists only feebly squeak out regurgitated lies and or propaganda by our courts, corporations and corrupt politicians?] Most of all, it’s embarrassing to premier Dwight Ball that he seems perfectly content to watch his government aggressively pursue a journalist for doing their job. [Canadian politicians, federally and provincially, have no balls or vaginas; they’re pathetic cowards more interested in feeding their egos and pensions; too many are crooks/liars too.]

Not only is the province prosecuting Brake criminally, but the civil charges are being pressed by a crown corporation, Nalcor Energy. Two arms-length branches of Dwight Ball’s government are simultaneously pursuing a working journalist, and the premier is turning a blind eye.

The prosecution of an on-the-job journalist whose work has angered the government cannot be tolerated in a free and fair society.

Look, we get it Dwight. Brake pissed your government off something fearsome by broadcasting the voices of the occupiers. That live video link helped turn the population against the government in the standoff, and brought international attention to the issue. It’s not the first time good reporting has stymied a government, nor will it be the last.

But Ball is reacting like an emotional five year-old by allowing this bizarre prosecution to proceed without intervention or even comment. Does the premier think it appropriate to prosecute journalists who follow the subjects of their reporting onto private property?

The prosecution of an on-the-job journalist whose work has angered the government cannot be tolerated in a free and fair society.

If you want to support Brake’s right to freedom of the press, you can send a message to premier Dwight Ball by emailing email hidden; JavaScript is required. We really shouldn’t have to fight for something so basic as respect for a free press, but here we are anyhow and for that the buck stops with Dwight.

Postscript

There’s another angle to this story. Despite outraged statements from press freedom groups across the country, the mainstream media has persistently refused to give this saga the coverage it deserves and mainstream pundits have had virtually nothing to say about it. They seem unconcerned with the riff-raff who work for independent media outlets. Evidently Brake is not part of their tribe, nor their conception of who is and is not a journalist.

Many of those same pundits, in the same time-period they were studiously ignoring the Brake case, were wringing their hands about how principle compelled them to defend the rights of Ezra Levant and Rebel Media to be treated the same as any other media outlet by various levels of government.

If you find yourself duty-bound to defend Ezra Levant’s journalistic rights, but not those of a young and talented independent journalist being pursued by the government for his reporting, then you are harming not helping the fight for freedom of expression and freedom of the press.

Lawyer seeking injunction says B.C. protesters bent on stopping Trans Mountain, Lawyer says activists have conspired to intensify blockades to cause so much financial harm through delays that the company is forced to abandon the $7.4-billion project by The Canadian Press, March 14, 2018, Calgary Herald

VANCOUVER — Social media posts suggest anti-pipeline activists are determined to continue blockades at two terminals in Burnaby, B.C., as they cause more irreparable harm to the Trans Mountain project, says a lawyer seeking a permanent injunction against the protests.

Maureen Killoran told B.C. Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Affleck on Wednesday that activists have conspired to intensify blockades and disrupt construction projects at the Burnaby Mountain and Westbridge Marine terminals before a mid-March deadline to meet environmental standards.

Affleck granted a temporary injunction on Friday, saying it would restrict protesters from coming within 50 metres of the facilities where protests began last November.

Killoran said Trans Mountain has the permits and leases required [Granted by the law-violating, corrupt NEB, caught slithering in so much slime, so often, the feds are dismantling it?] to carry on construction but protesters have put their own safety at risk because they often show up at 5 a.m. on icy roads to block vehicles. [Like average Albertan going to work and even more so for oil patch workers?]

“It is undisputed that Trans Mountain has incurred substantial costs,” she said, adding the protesters’ goal has been to cause so much financial harm through delays that the company is forced to abandon the $7.4-billion project that would twin an existing pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby. [Protecting their communities, families and environment more likely reasons]

“We have every indication based on the activities of the blockaders, based on what they’re saying on Facebook and other social media sites and to the media, that this will continue,” she said. “They have made a conscious choice to carry on.” [Of course they have!  They have much to lose, including their health and safety and loved ones]

Activists are also unlawfully interfering with the company’s economic relations, meaning third parties including contractors are affected by ongoing disruptions and increased security costs, Killoran argued. [The company was not forced to choose to build this project. And Kinder Morgan management and its hoards of lawyers knew for years BC citizens and communities did not/do not want the invasive and high risk expansion that will bring much harm to many, is not needed, will not create the promised jobs and prosperity, and will only serve the deadly greed of a few rich heartless bullies]

Trans Mountain, a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan, listed 15 people, along with John Doe, Jane Doe, and “unnamed persons” in a notice of claim asking for an injunction for a project that the federal government approved in November 2016.

“They are individuals who say pipelines are bad, oil and gas is bad, here are all the hazards that are associated with it,” Killoran said. “And with respect, that’s the job of the National Energy Board and that job has been done [by a corrupt pollution and harm enabling “regulator” led by a sleazy Chair appointed by big oil babe, Steve Harper] It took three years to do it,” she said to snickers from a packed courtroom.

Protesters are causing private and public nuisance by blocking roads and jumping onto vehicles, requiring Trans Mountain to ship workers in by water but blockades have appeared at marinas as well, Killoran said.

Casey Leggett, a lawyer representing one of the defendants, argued a 50-metre buffer zone as part of the interim injunction is too broad because it covers private property and even prohibits residents from using a nearby trail.

Leggett suggested that any further injunction be extended only until March 19, by which date migratory birds returning in the spring may pass the area of the Westridge Marine Terminal.

However, Affleck said there’s no doubt the protesters’ strategy is to make it difficult, if not impossible, for Trans Mountain workers to complete the project.

[Judge Affleck] suggested not granting an injunction and allowing the company to continue the work it’s legally entitled to do could lead to such an outcome. “Would that be the appropriate role for this court to play, to tell the plaintiff this court can’t help you out, you’re on your own?”

[Why not?  That’s what all levels of court told Ernst, also a plaintiff – with a court acknowledged “valid charter claim” against Alberta’s corrupt regulator, the AER!

Unbelievably disgusting for a judge to say such a thing.

Shows the world however how obviously corrupt Canada’s courts and judges are. 

Did Kinder Morgan get to pick this judge too, the way Encana got to pick the 3rd case management judge in Ernst vs Encana?]

Bina Salimath, one of the 15 people named in the notice of civil claim, said outside court that she will carry on with blockades even if a permanent injunction is granted because protesters anticipated that would happen.

“Kinder Morgan is doing it for its stakeholders,” she said. “I’m doing it for my stakeholders, which is the community, so I will continue on with the work.” [Emphasis added]

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