Violating civil Canadians’ Charter rights because the Supreme Court of Canada pissed on our Charter in Ernst vs AER, paving the way for other judges to piss on it too?
Damaging the Charter: Ernst vs Alberta Energy Regulator by Lorne Sossin, Dean Osgoode Hall Law School, York University. Comment: “It causes one to question how much both the plurality and the dissent were driven by the desired end-state of the judgment, rather than consistency in applying principles of public law.”
Lessons from Prison: A Shackled Pipeline Protester Reflects, Poet and scholar Rita Wong on the ‘microcosm’ she inhabited behind bars by Rita Wong, 24 Sep 2019, TheTyee.ca
On Aug. 24, 2018, while B.C. was in a state of emergency because of record-breaking wildfires caused by climate change, I sang, prayed, and sat in ceremony for about half an hour in front of the Trans Mountain pipeline project’s Westridge Marine Terminal. For this act of opposition to fossil fuel expansion that no one can afford, on Aug. 16, 2019, I was sentenced to 28 days in prison by Judge Kenneth Affleck in the B.C. Supreme Court, as recommended by the Province of B.C.’s Crown Prosecutor Monte Rattan.
After I left the courtroom, I was handcuffed, shackled, and transported in a chilly van with fellow political prisoner Will Offley. He, like me, had argued in our defence that our actions were motivated by necessity due to climate crisis. As I wrote in my sentencing statement, since the federal government has abdicated its responsibility to protect us despite full knowledge of this emergency, it became necessary to act. Our arguments were rejected by Judge Affleck.
I feel that the best way to repay my debt to the people who built the oil industry is not to automatically assume that oil is the only way Alberta can survive, but to lovingly assert that there are at least two things more important than oil: water, and life itself. As former Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta, Grant MacEwan, pointed out in his last book, Watershed: Reflections on Water, 75 per cent of the water in the Bow and Elbow Rivers comes from snow melt. When we accelerate that melting beyond a certain rate, we are guaranteed to melt the ice caps. Surely we are smarter and better than this.
This is why, since March 2018, I’ve spent a great deal of time up at Burnaby Mountain. I believe that everyone who lives on unceded Coast Salish lands has a responsibility to uphold Coast Salish laws, which entail respecting and protecting the land that gives us life. This is why I was arrested and sentenced to time in prison.
The court’s and the Crown’s failure to prevent climate crisis is made clear by contrasting my four-week prison sentence with the few pitiful fines paid for the Trans Mountain pipeline that has had so much larger an impact on the land than my small action by the Westridge Marine Terminal. Pictured above are a couple of tickets I found online that were issued in Valemount and Fort St. John by the BC Oil and Gas Commission, a slap on the wrist for the scale of work they’re doing.
It feels like no one in any official capacity is effectively monitoring the criminal damage that the Trans Mountain pipeline has inflicted as its contractors cut down countless trees and destroy wildlife habitat. Meanwhile, concerned citizens who try to protect water and land are over-policed. This disproportionate enforcement against individuals trying to prevent harm while turning a blind eye to corporations harming the land and water is systemic injustice.
Governments and systems that should be enforcing environmental protections laws are failing us, and when I and other land and water protectors point this out, they penalize and scapegoat us instead of addressing how broken and ineffectual these systems are. It’s surprising to find myself in the unexpected position of having spent time in a Canadian prison as a political prisoner, punished by the petro-state for asserting our responsibilities to care for the health of the land and water. The state is failing in its responsibility to protect the well-being of current and future generations, so it’s up to everyday people to step up.
Priest feels ‘targeted’ by Trans Mountain in first civil contempt conviction, Trans Mountain is seeking court costs as well as jail time by Kelvin Gawley, November 7, 2018, Burnaby Now
An Anglican priest and her parishioner are among more than 200 anti-pipeline activists arrested in Burnaby this year, but on Wednesday they became the first found guilty of civil contempt of court in the ongoing Trans Mountain pipeline saga.
On May 25, Laurel Dykstra and Linda Hutchings chained themselves to a tree on the property of Trans Mountain’s Burnaby Mountain tank farm with bicycle U-locks around their necks.
Dykstra told the NOW they did so as an act of prayer and to protest the pipeline company’s clearing of trees on the southwest corner of its property.
This summer, however, the two women were relieved when criminal contempt of court charges were dropped by the Crown, Dykstra said. Dozens of other protesters have been convicted of that charge in recent months, with sentencing ratcheting up into longer and longer jail terms.
But Trans Mountain picked up the case and sought the civil charge, which was handed down by Judge Kenneth Affleck in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver Wednesday morning. [Nasty! Bias much for the oil and gas industry, and an American corporation?]
“It felt pretty personal. We’ve been singled out from amongst a group of other people who have had charges dropped,” Dykstra said. “It feels targeted and it feels like an intimidation tactic where the public participation of folks and dissent are being threatened financially.”
Trans Mountain’s lawyer, Matthew Huys, argued in court that Dykstra and Hutchings should be convicted because they knowingly crossed into Trans Mountain’s property and violated the injunction, which bars protesters from coming within five metres of the proerty line.
“Everyone who breaches a court order faces consequences, environmental protest or not,” Huys said.
The lawyer showed portions of video recorded by members of Burnaby RCMP on May 25.
A cop is heard asking the women whether they’re willing to leave the area willingly, to which one replies, “No thank you.”
After giving a copy of the injunction to the protesters and reading it to them, the video shows police eventually cutting the chain around the tree and arresting Dykstra and Hutchings.
Addressing the court, Hutchings told Affleck she did not contest any of the facts laid out by Trans Mountain’s lawyer, but said she did not agree with his interpretation of the laws that apply in the case.
“Our understanding is on a different understanding of law,” she said. “I see a fence, a property line, an injunction zone, as an imaginary line drawn to protect interests and I see a tree as a being, a creature who draws from the earth and water and as an indicator of the one who makes trees and who makes Earth
“We sought to speak the truth with our bodies about where our allegiance lies.”
Hutchings said she respects pre-existing Coast Salish law, which she believes she was respecting and upholding when she chained herself to the tree.
Judge Affleck did not share her interpretation.
“I’m satisfied that the tree that Ms. Hutchings and Ms. Dykstra chained themselves to on the 25th of May was well within property line of the Trans Mountain pipeline and that would be apparent from the fact that there was a fence there,” he said before rendering his conviction of civil contempt of court.
Dykstra and Hutchings represented themselves in court on Wednesday, but told the judge they would like to retain counsel for their sentencing hearing.
Huys indicated Trans Mountain will be seeking a seven-day jail term, plus legal costs.
When Dykstra asked Huys how much the costs might amount to, she did not get an answer. Huys declined to answer questions from the NOW.
Dykstra said she understood a seven-day jail term was a possibility when she took the action in May but she expected to face the Crown in court, which cannot seek court costs. That potentially large bill is concerning, she said.
“Tens and perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees for a company that’s now owned by our country is obscene,” she said.
Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 23.
Refer also to:
“The B.C. Supreme Court smeared its robes with political tar sand by issuing the injunction in the Burnaby Mountain pipeline dispute. … Justice Cullen has turned the court into a tool for Big Oil and Bad Government.”
Brilliant letter by John Baxter: TAR SANDS ARE NOT OILSANDS. Nikiforuk risks arrest on Burnaby Mountain for future of his sons. Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd’s Investors Getting Nervous? Company pulls back in a Sunday Press Release!
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
JUDICIAL HANKY PANKY – SERVING POLLUTING LIFE-THREATENING, MOSTLY FOREIGN-OWNED, OIL & GAS COMPANIES – is likely much more expensive!
Ordinary Canadian taxpayers are robbed to pay for slimy oil patch pollution enabling Hanky Panky on the bench! And, we are robbed to pay for the self-serving, self-protecting, condescending Canadian Judicial Council (made up of all judges, which tells us all we need to know about how biased it is) investigating bad judges and we are made to pay legal costs when bad judges hire lawyers to fight to enable their bad, often abusive behaviour in court, including “sex hurts…knees together” Harper govt appointed ex-Judge Robin Camp!
Not only must gag orders be made illegal when the public interest is involved, eg our drinking water, air, land, food, safety, etc, it must be made illegal to rob from hard-working innocent Canadians to give to dirty judges to defend their bad actions!
If judges had to pay for their own legal costs like the rest of us do, their bad behaviours would clean up mighty fast.