Monday, September 03, 2018

Caveat emptor - Buyer Beware

 

We brought Trudeau. In return he bought us a pipeline. Well, Trudeau didn’t buy the Trans Mountain pipe line.  We did.


First, I want to say how proud I am of the First Nations people involved in the struggle against the Trans Mountain pipe line.  They were spectacular. They stood for all of us (or at least the majority of us).   And yes, so did the others on the blockade lines, especially the older women.  Been there, done that, so know how miserable it can be.  The federal verdict was a surprising and most wonderful federal ruling.   But there is, as always, a down side.  It seems that the Canadian people are now the proud owners of a $4.5 billion pipeline that probably will never be built.


Reasons?  The judge’s rulings have to do primarily with two things that weren’t done properly by Kinder Morgan.  There was the lack of a review on marine shipping (impact on sea life) and failure of duty to consult Indigenous people.  Are these two conditions likely to change if another company wants to buy in? I doubt it.  The whales and dolphins won’t disappear from the federal judicial view, and I think that Indigenous people, having spoken, won’t be struck silent by a “flipper”, as Trudeau called a potential buyer of the pipeline. I think we are going to be stuck with $ 4.5 billion debt that cannot retrace its steps and will have to be incorporated into the national budget.


Trudeau is actually in a very bad position.  If he doesn’t manage to flip the pipeline, it will remain his failed legacy forever.  And if, miracle upon miracles, he does manage to sell it, the protesters of all stripes, both First Nations and their supporters, will be waiting. 


As the old saying goes: Caveat emptor - buyer beware.

Monday, August 27, 2018

The tie that binds: Kinder Morgan and Justice K.M. Affleck

And just what is this tie that binds Justice K.M. Affleck and Kinder Morgan?  Why, the injunction, of course.  Like the one Justice Affleck handed out to Kinder Morgan on March 14, 2018 in order to shoo citizens away from protesting the trans-mountain pipeline on Burnaby Mountain.


‘On Burnaby Mountain’ has a musical ring to it.  It sounds like the title of a bitter- sweet country song.  But in reality what is happening there is just all bitter.  When the protesters gather there to try to protect the mountain they are handed Justice Affleck’s injunction.   This piece of paper annuls the protester’s right to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of equality under the law and the right to a fair trial.  All of this just in one or two pieces of paper?  This bit of paper being handed to an unknowing protester is capable of destroying all of the legal rights due every citizen under Canadian law?  Absolutely.  That’s why Justice Affleck and most of his brothers (that’s what judges call each other: brothers) issued the injunction in the first place.   To make the citizen protester helpless before the court.


Why do the BC judges do this?  To protect corporations from the anger of citizens who want the destruction of our earth and waters stopped. There is no other reason.  Justice Affleck did not have to give out the injunction to Kinder Morgan.  He could simply have told Kinder Morgan that if protesters were bothering their operation to call the police or the RCMP.  The police would then come, arrest the protesters, stand them before a judge, and a date would be set for their trial.  As the citizen protesters have obviously committed some kind of an infraction of the law, which is coded in the criminal code, as all legal infractions are, the citizen protester is afforded his and her legal rights under the law of the land.  But no.  Environmental protesters are placed into a special category, one that requires that all their legal rights be suspended.  This is the secret, unspoken agreement between our BC judges and corporations who claim and are granted, more rights than real citizens.


I would say to the protesters, yes, continue with the protests on the mountain but send some of the protesters into the city.  Why the city?  Because that’s where the judges are giving out these injunctions.  The justices of British Columbia should be picketed.  In front of the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Vancouver.  A protest line there would be fruitful.  It is judges like Justice Affleck who unfailing serve their unspoken alliance with the corporations.  Instead of telling corporations to call the police when annoyed by citizens, they give out injunctions.  This makes protesting citizens legally trapped and helpless before the court, instead of confident of their rights under the constitution and the criminal code as all other citizens are.   And this is the main reason, in my opinion, that is hastening the environmental destruction of BC land and waters. And where is our honourable David Eby, the Attorney General, on this?  Next time.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

When Smoke Gets in Your Eyes




 

Don’t like it?  It’s at dangerous levels?  The smoke of burning wildfires is being brought to you courtesy of the BC justice system.  What a stupid thing to say, you might respond, if anything, it’s brought to us because something is wrong with logging practices coupled with climate change. Yes, those reasons, too.  Climate change is upon us and the frantic clear-cutting of public forests has created their own micro climates of tinder-dry forests and tree farms. The refusal by logging companies to clear out brush on their licenses by  employing systematic controlled burns ( as BC Indigenous Peoples did) certainly contributes to climate change and to the smoke from the burning untended forests we are currently experiencing. 

Another contribution to the wildfires in my opinion was the destruction of an early, active and effective environmental movement by grassroots people in BC (think Clayoquot) by an elitist take over by “professionals”.  The elitist leaders made a devil’s bargain with the BC government that if the government would preserve a large swath of land called the Great Bear Rainforest (and to be fair, it is a large swath of land) there would be no more “wars in the woods”.  In other words, give us this and you can do whatever you like to the rest of BC public forests. The result is the smoke and ash we are now all swallowing and coughing up.  But to the main point.

 

The crucial point is the legal framework that has allowed all of this environmental damage to happen. It is the complicity of the BC court system, including the Attorney Generals and the Crown, but specifically the BC judges who are supposed to serve us.  If these BC legal entities weren’t colluding with the logging corporations everybody (young and old alike) who could, would be outside these last days of August enjoying the sunshine and fresh air. This court collusion is so obvious and so predictable that I unabashedly call it corruption.  I am not accusing the justices of taking bribes from the logging companies, but honestly, the way the judges unfailingly serve the logging corporations they may as well be taking bribes.  They protect the corporations from the people by denying the people free speech, free association and fair trials for the ones who protest the destruction of our land.  How do they do this?  By giving out injunctions to any logging corporation who asks for one.  And it is these injunctions that prevent protesters from ever getting a fair trial.

These injunctions make the protester guilty of disobeying a court order (Contempt of Court) instead of being able to bring a defense of why they did what they did. The judges will only consider whether or not a judge’s order was disobeyed.  That’s it.  The judges don’t give a tinker’s dam about any protester’s reasons.  The irony is that the judges don’t have to give out the injunctions in the first place.  They have a choice of which legal process to apply, arrest by injunction, or arrest by the Criminal Code.  Of course they chose the injunction route in order to satisfy their CEO friends, and not the people.  The police in all other situations apply the Criminal Code and are supposed to take care of people who are causing a commotion and then it is simply a police matter. The people causing a commotion would be arrested and brought to trial.  But this would be a real trial and an accused’s reasons, under the law, must be listened to.

But BC judges friendly relations with CEO’s of corporations are more important to them than justice, or even whether or not our province burns to a cinder.  BC judges and attorney generals must be exposed for their corrupt use of injunctions or that is exactly what will eventually happen to this province.