Saturday, December 16, 2006
OOPS! In my previous posting I wrote that Hayes Forest Services who is suing me for this blockade in the Walbran Valley was contracting for MacMillian Bloedel at the time which was not the case. Hayes was contracting for Weyerhaeuser when they brought down the injunction which resulted in my arrest. But the two giant US based corporations are so similiar in their ruthless corporate profiles as invaders of Canadian old growth forests and they both have given me such a hard time, in order to avoid confusion I'm looking for a generic name for them. Any body got any ideas?
Thursday, December 14, 2006
FROM THE US LOGGING INDUSTRY
My stars, will wonders never cease? At Christmas time, too. Just received a notice that Hays Logging is suing me. Yes, indeedy. For stopping for a few weeks their incessant feeding of Canadian public forests (the Walbran) to the American giant MacMillan-Bloedel Logging several years ago. The very same accusations that jailed me for ten months under the Campbell government. But are they satisfied? Oh, no. They want more granny blood. They want my little cabin in the woods. As I have no car, no money. no investments and live in a rented apartment in a cheap part of town, they can only go after my little cabin with its leaky roof and compromised front steps. Or is is that really what a giant US corporation like MacMillan Bloedel and its sub contractor, Hays Logging, is after?
Maybe not. . Instilling fear in me and other citizens is more likely. Fear works. Not always. But enough to make mullti national corporations who loot and plunder the world over even more arrogantly bold. And the loot and plunder becomes even sweeter still with provincial leaders like Campbell on side. Campbell is dazzled by the audacity of Americans. He loves their style of cut and run. And I have a deep, dark suspicion that the CEO’s of Kiewit and Sons, another giant US firm looting and plundering on Canadian soil (Eagleridge Bluffs) and the CEO’s of MacMillian-Bloedel with Hays Logging tagging along to give some hypocritical pseudo Canadian input, have tea together form time to time with Gordon Campbell. After all, he invited these Americans in to help formulate government policy on public logging.
The kind of law suits that Hays logging (surrogate for MacMillan Bloedel) will be pursuing against me is called a SLAP suit. These suits are used in BC with the help of the courts to keep citizens out of our own woods. SLAP stands for Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation. Isn’t that an apt title? Isn’t that beautiful? Again, Gordon Campbell thinks so. He canceled the NDP anti- slap suit legislation that was just beginning to take hold in BC as soon as he got into office. And Mr. Wally Oppal promptly informed the press that SLAP suits, piggy backed with court injunctions and charges of contempt of court would remain the preferred way to curb environmental protest. But can Canadians, on sovereign Canadian soil, slap back at these foreigner invaders and destroyers who are protected by slack minded politicians and vacant eyed underlings who steal away living Canadian treasures? Of course we can. More later. Betty Krawczyk
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
I am writing to you, with all due respect, as a grandmother and Canadian citizen who has been concerned about the terrible deforestation of my province, British Columbian, for many years. In the past our provincial governments heave done little to curtail this rapid destruction of our public forests and watersheds, but never before have we citizens been faced with the refusal of our pronvicical government to sit in the legislature at all. Premier Gordon Campbell has arbitrarily canceled the fall sitting of our people's legislature.
We citizens pay for our provincial government. We pay our politician's salaries, including those of the premier, and for the operation and upkeep of the parliment buildings, but if the legislature does not sit to hear the people's concerns then we, in effect, have no government. Gordon Campbell has canceled the government of British Columbia at his disposal. And this lack of provincial government comes at a time when we have faced, and are still facing, weather related crises due to climate change that has in part been exacerbated by the rapid deforestation in Canada, particularly in Brisish ncolumbia. As the offices of Your Majesty, that is, your representatives here in Canada play the most important role of facilitating the smooth transition of Prime Ministers and offices of state at election time so that there is no time in Canada when government is not in place, would you please, as titular head of Canada, intervene in this situation in British Columbia and assume the reins of provincial government until an electin can be called to restore our provincial government? I, along with countless others, would be most grateful.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
The title of this classic book hovered around the edges of my mind as my daughter lay in a hospital bed in Victoria last week fighting for her life. On a rainy morning on her way to Port Alberni from her home on the West Coast she was struck by a car as it hydroplaned across the middle line. Two men died in the accident but my daughter lives and will be restored to us. My daughter and one of the men who died are from the same island community. Both are well known for their work in the community. The community member who died was buried yesterday and at his funeral I felt an overwhelming rush of love and appreciaton for the connections of community, the connections that bind us together in life and in death.
Nobody understands, really, the meaning of The Razor's Edge, why some live and some die. But I am sure of one thing...it is in community that we all live and move and have our beings and it is in communities that we must take our stands against injustice, against the forces that would destroy the very foundations of life. The concept that it is only the individual who counts most in the scheme of things and that one's own individual advancement is all that matters is a lie. Without our communities of family, friends, co-workers and neighbours who are with us on the path of life and and death and evolution that we experience on this earth we are nothing.
I believe that the love of community is hard wired into brains. And it is strong. Strong enough to sustain us through our environmental struggles, the court systems, and the political indifference. And we WILL overcome because there is nothing to fear. Betty Krawczyk
Saturday, October 14, 2006
LET'S SUE THE BASTARDS!
Why not? There isn't anybody at home in our legislature, the very legislature that we citizens pay for. Gordon Campbell simply canceled government by canceling the sitting of the legislature. Making government disappear altogether is certainly one way to make government more transparent as Campbell promised. But as citizens of BC we are the government, in that citizens elect and pay for government to listen to their concerns and then do something about their concerns. Gordon Campbell has effectively disappeared the vast majority of thepeople of British Columbia along with our tax money.
The fact that government is supposed to deal with the concerns of citizens is the very reason Gordon Campbell has disappeared government. He obviously doesn't believe in citizens and citizenship. He obviously believes in oligarchy, one that care only for corporate rights and needs. But we citizens are still paying for this disappeared government. So what do corporations do when they pay for something and don't get it? They sue. So let's sue the bastards. Betty Krawczyk
Friday, October 06, 2006
Betty’s Lawyer Withdraws from Her Case
In Supreme Court yesterday before Madam Justice Brown, my lawyer, Cameron Ward, withdrew from my case on my request and his own frustration at the refusal of the court to allow arguments on abuse of process. What is abuse of process? The way in which the law in BC is applied in environment disputes to use arrests by injunctions instead simply police arrest. By the injunction process citizens can be threatened with severe economic losses if they protest environment destruction. But Madam Justice Brown struck down the request for arguments on the issue. Much to Kiewit and Sons satisfaction I am sure. And that of Kevin Falcon, as Mr. Falcon greatly admires the Chinese way of treating protesters. However, whatever his private thoughts, Mr. Falcon did fall short of publicly suggesting that we Eagleridge Protesters simply be taken out and shot.
I greatly admire Cameron Ward’s work and love him like a son. But I know when it is time to tell the son please, dear, you’ve done all you can do and I’ll tend to the rest of this miserable trial myself. But the trial will go on.
As the attention of the media on the Eagleridge Bluffs blockade is the criteria used by Crown Counsel Michael Brundrett to argue for my conviction of Criminal Contempt, I will be using Freedom of the Press as one of my main points of arguments against the charge. I will argue that citizens have a right to access the media and no. 2, that media attention actually helps keep protesters physically safe. I would like to get this over with sooner, but my defense won’t commence until Jan. 29. 2007. But Madam Justice Brown has given me a week to present my case. During this time I will be collecting all the data I can on Freedom of the Press cases and if anybody out there has some good ones please advise and the sooner the better. My love, Betty K
Saturday, September 30, 2006
I woke up this morning with a stone in my chest. Madam Justice Brown read her decision in court yesterday morning. Another disappointing decision for me. For all of us. For democracy. This was the decision concerning the court's use of injunctions as a means to terrorize citizens into submission. With injunctions in hand, BC courts are making awesome decisions about the brutal environmental destruction of our province. The courts are not trying to stop it, of course. And they are actively helping those who do it. BC judges continually find that the corporations doing the destruction have more rights than the citizens who must live with the aftermath. And who must also pay for the aftermath.
Again, the courts are not impressed with citizen's rights. And they have a closed system going concerning injunctions. They give them out and make it against the law in court to base a defense on the unfairness of said injunctions. You just can't criticize the injunctions in court. Madam Justice Brown ruled that my criticisms of injunctions were irrelevant. That's what she said. A process that is protecting the deforestation of our entire province, including our watersheds, is not to be attacked she said. Got that? Oh, yes, it seems that a court process protecting the disappearance of entire species of plants and animals can't be questioned in court. The stunning irrationally of this rule by court injunction, this government by court injunction, causes me from time to time to consider the entire BC court system as corrupt.
However, hope springs enternal in the human breast. I keep hoping I will eventually draw a judge who understands that the use of injunctions as a terrorist weapon against the people is wrong. But not yet. Maybe next time.
There is another reason I woke up with a heavy heart this morning. Today is my oldest son's birthday. He died two years agao from a brain tumor. A healthy young man, just entering his prime when he died; an electrical engineer, an artist and writer, a husband. And I know my son isn't the only one to go prematurely. It's happening to many young and middle aged people,this disease of cancer, this epidemic now underway and so prevalent people don't even want to talk about it.
But we have to talk about it. Cancer is being described as a disease of the immune system or the failure of the immune system to ward off the destruction of healthy cells in the human body. Why are so many young and middle aged people being stricken with cancer, this disease that used to be confined only to the elderly? Some researchers are saying it's because of the degradation of the earth's life support systems coupled with the chemicalization of industry. So as the government gives precedent to the privatizing and chemicalization of everything, and our lives are increasingly governed by corporate values, as our eco systems weaken and threaten in some spheres to collapse completely, as disease spreads alarmingly, our courts were, and still are, in spite of my disappointment in Madam Justice Brown's decisions, I think our courts remain our only hope. By the Constitution judges are oblidged to consider every case before them under the prism of public interest. I think our judges have just gotten confused about the definition of "public".
Our courts need help. They need to feel a ground swell of disapproval when they insist on arresting protesters by injunctions which deprive citizens of their rights. Yes, a veritable groundswell of opposition to Gordon Campbell's "Greenish Games Ever" plan which is the "Blackest Lie Ever".
Yet I remain hopeful. I have the utmost faith in the goodness and good sense of the people who live in British Columbia. And just as I know that some day I will see my son again, I kow the day will come when the court's use of injunctions to cower people into accepting the inevitability of the continuous destruction of our woods, waters and skies will stop. This destruction, these diseases, are not inevitable. We can stop them. And start afresh. I will find out when my trial resumes on Oct. 5 My love, Betty K
Thursday, September 28, 2006
BC JUDGES A PRIESTLY CAST?
Well, BC judges certainly bear a striking resemblance to the Catholic Church in their resistance to change as far as the evolution of their church/law is concerned. And parishioners or citizens who question the dogma of either are uniformly severely punished and cast out. Or in case of opposition to a bad law, jailed.
In Catholicism, what was written down by God and his prophets thousands of years ago can’t be abridged or reinterpreted. Substitute the Supreme Court of Canada for God with Chief Justice of Canada Madam Justice Beverly McLaughlin as head prophet and Madam Justice Brown a dedicated disciple then you have the absolute triad necessary to throw dissenters into the fiery furnace.
Within the church one can become a Protestant if one still desires a Christian church of some kind, and the very word Protestant means those who protest. But there are no avenues to change within our legal system. One can’t say well, I want more evolution in my law so I’ll just join another legal system. The one we’ve got is the only one we’ve got. So we have to change this one.
But as the Inquisition tested infidels by binding heir hands and feet and throwing them into a river with the supposition that if they ere not infidels God would save them, our courts put protesters into the double bind of arresting under court injunction and then forbidding an argument against the injunction.
How sweet it is! At least for a huge rapacious American corporation like Kiewit and Sons who got the Greenest Games Ever contract to blast Eagleridge Bluffs to bits, tell the West Van police when to arrest by injunction and then make BC taxpayers pay for their court costs. Oh yes, how sweet it is! And how tenaciously the church and the courts cling to their dogmas. No breaths of fresh air allowed in here! Only precedent. Only what the gods portray as truth.
So you may have guessed by now that Madam Justice Brown ruled against my application to defend myself against Contempt of Court by using the inappropriateness of the courts, the police, and the Attorney General using injunctions instead of the Criminal Code for arrest of protesters. But we certainly haven’t thrown in the towel. Or thrown in anything. Except more energy into the fray.
The Crown has rested their case. I’ll be back in court on Oct. 5 to find out when court will convene for my defense. And truly, how can I loose? With such wonderful friends and supporters and a very savvy lawyer. It’s all good. My love, Betty Krawczyk And I’ll keep you all posted.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
THE WHEELS OF JUSTICE GRIND SLOWLY
When they grind at all. I've been in court an entire week now and the Crown Hasn't yet finished their case against me. They have lots of police officers to get through on the stand (arresting officers who have to be examined and cross examined) lots of newspaper clippings, lots of video to be shown. But I think next Tuesday (Sept.26th may be the last day of the Crown's case (there in no court on Monday for me) and then Cameron Ward, my lawyer, will start to present my defense, perhaps by Tuesday afternoon.
Not that I have a defense. Not really. Not according to signals from Madam Justice Brown. She will only consider if I broke the injunction at Eagleridge Bluffs (she knows I did, everybody knows I did, my God, how could anybody in the court room have missed it?)and will not consider my motives, whatever they may be. Furthermore, she will not listen to legal argument (in any substantive way) why I, as were the others, arrested under a ruling where there is no defense (a ruling made especially for citizens who actually think there is such a thing as participatory democracy) instead of under the criminal code where we would have a defense as she would then have to take motive into consideration. Just think, people, under the criminal code would could actually talk about Eagleridge Bluffs! And why we were there! And Madam Justice Brown would have to take our motives into consideration!
Because even though the Crown is taking up all of the court's time this is not a fair trial. Madam Justice Brown will say that it is, should she be asked, as would Crown Council Michael Brundrett. And so would Wally Oppal say of course this is a fair trial (indidentally if you are in court you may get to hear him say it himself as we have subpoenaed him to come to court on Tues. or Wed.)and if one doubts it just look at the mountains of paper and plastic disks generated. In truth, if one just looks at all the stuff surrounding this trial, it certainly looks like something of note might be happening here, some serious question of justice taking place.
But don't be fooled. It's a sham. A farce. It's all so the Crown can say, well, just look at those mounds and mounds of evidence against the old woman, look at all the vidos, it has taken a week to show them all and we're still not finished, we believe this is proff of her continued lawlessness, so goodbye, Granny, you're going to the country for a mighty long spell, a little prison farm will do you good, and never mind that the leave taking to Alouette Prison will be without benefit of due process or a jury trial.
And while on Tuesday Cameron will argue that the issue of why injunctions should not be used againt citizens trying to protect the life support systems of this province it will fall on judicial deaf ears, at least at this stage.
But we will be appealing this trial in the hopes that a higher court may not be so deaf as well as blind to justice. I will be taking the witness stand myself, probably on Wednesday. But as court is only scheduled this next week for Tuesday and Wednesday do try to come support us on those days becasue in some crazy way I don't quite understand we may be making history. And I may be a foolish old woman but I do believe that by embracing our bluffs and waters and woods and refusing to let go that we will further the cause of the right of citizens to protect these very environments. My love, Betty Krawczyk
Friday, September 08, 2006
Yes, there really is a “THE SYSTEM”. When I wrote about Alouette Correctional Centre for Women you remarked in your public letter that you found my letter describing conditions at Alouette totally alarming “despite the writer’s (reference to me) past extravagant condemnations of “THE SYSTEM”). This suggests that either you don’t believe there is a system of corporate and governmental oppression, or that you think I exaggerate in my writings.
First, I am a professional writer. As such, I strive to make my writing as vivid and compelling as I can. But exaggerate? My dear fellow, one could paint paper pages blue and electronic mails purple and all the billboards leading into Vancouver blazing scarlet with expletives and come nowhere near accurately describing the wretched, black bottomed truth of what is happening to our earth and all the creatures on it. And this wretchedness isn’t something that is going to happen tomorrow. Or is not going to happen unless we do this or that. It has already happened. And is happening.
For instance, I surmise you are a young man. As such, are you aware that your sperm count is roughly half of what your grandfather’s was? And that not only your sperm count and those of the other males of your generation are falling approximately 2 per cent a year and that nobody knows how to stop the sperm count fall? And that along with this fall in sperm count there is the added phenomenon of the actual chromosomes of the sperm changing?
Historically, there are more males than females born but because more males die in infancy and adolescence the numbers even out in adulthood. At least they have in the past. But no more. The estrogen compounds that are sloshing around the globe due to the chemicalization of industry are feminizing human sperm by causing more XX chromosomes to be produced than XY’s. Males are now losing their numerical advantage at birth which means that in the future there will be fewer adult men than adult women.
These same compounds that mimic estrogen are now also being directly linked to prostate and testicular cancer in young males, along with breast cancer in young women. There is an epidemic of cancer on this continent that is now being directly related by some researchers to the problem of artificial estrogen compounds and this includes the herbicides and pesticides that are planted and/or sprayed in public and private forests after clear cutting when the young trees are planted. These chemicals seep into the topsoil and groundwater and some even become air borne. But these compounds are also found in plastics, industrial effluent, and lots of cosmetic and household items. This plethora of artificial estrogens in our environment is affecting other animals besides humans.
In a Sept 6 ABC News report there is an article about the new “Intersex” Fish found in the Potomac River in Washington and I quote: “Last month’s testing at three tributaries emptying into the Potomac revealed that more than 80 percent of all male smallmouth fish found were growing eggs, according to Vickie Blazer, a fish pathologist with U.S. Geological Survey. The article goes on to say “That although scientist have not identified the source or sources of the problem, the result appear to suggest that the Potomac River and it’s tributaries have a problem with so called “endocrine disrupters” which can tamper with natural chemical signals.” And when Thomas Jacobus, general manager of the Washington Aqueduct, which filters river water for resident to drink in the District of Columbia was asked about the possible effect on humans who drank the water replied “I don’t know, and I don’t think anybody knows the answer to that question right now.” End quote.
But we do know. At least enough. Because there are numerous other accounts of fish and birds and frogs and other species where the males are growing eggs and/or the females are growing male appendages. Animal and Human bodies are being radically transformed right now, not only by industrial effluent and pesticides but the chemicilzion of our food, water, medicines, utensils and household products. Combine this with the deforestation of the globe, disappearance of species, diseases that are wiping out entire populations, crazy fratricidal wars, and the explosion of heroin, crack, and other chemical street drugs, not to even mention the pharmaceutical drugging of depressed and dispirited populations by doctors who are invested in pharmaceutical companies, the growing hordes of poor, hungry people and the growing hordes of money and resources harnessed by a few and I ask… does this not indicate that there is a THE SYSTEM at work here?
I think so. And THE SYSTEM is one composed of corporate profits and corporate values, one in which all of the world’s governments either concur in this value system, like our own, or others who have deep reservations about THF SYSTEM but who feel they must make some accommodation such as a growing number of Latin American countries are being forced to do. THE SYSTEM operates to not only keep the corporate class in power, but to grow their holdings. Is there deliberate collusion between say, the chemical and pharmaceutical companies, the logging companies, constructions companies, the governments, the judges, the police forces, the war lords, drug lords and the militias?
Sometimes, yes. But not all the time. In fact, deliberate collusion isn’t even necessary. In our own country there are no war lords per se but we know there are drug lords operating behind the scenes because we see the fruits of their commerce on the East Side of Vancouver. And less visibly perhaps, but also in more affluent neighbourhoods of young and not so young people whose drugging is making for increasing unbalanced, bizarre and violent human behavior. And the beat goes on. To the tune of THE SYSTEM.
Right here in British Columbia the Attorney General will deny he instructs the police how to arrest protesters so that they will be divested of a fair trial when they get to court, but he does. And the judges who receive citizens trying to protect a bit of the planet also know to which class they belong and will act accordingly when such citizens are brought before them. It has been the judiciary of British Columbia who has protected the logging companies and allowed them to deforest this province so egregiously. And it is within this moneyed class that through working together, however closely or loosely, in an interlocking system creates, domestically and globally, a system of power that comprises corporate culture.
THE SYSTEN is at war with the earth. It is only by recognizing this war that we know where we, as fully cognizant human beings can stand. And it is only when we know where we stand that we know how to fight. Of course in the end, Mother Nature may defend herself in such a way as to repudiate the human race altogether but until then we need recognize that humans have made this society, this system, and if we don’t like it we can dam well upmake it and make another one more agreeable to ourselves and to the earth. But we won’t do it simply by conversing ever so knowledgably with each other through computers. Write, yes. Reason, yes. Research, yes. But in the final analysis, it is of necessity that we must act. Action liberates us from the dark feelings of helplessness and despair. Action floods our hearts with energy and hope. Action is the very mother of hope. Betty Krawczyk
Monday, September 04, 2006
PRISON, PRESS, AND PISSED!
Okay, so maybe pissed isn't a nice word for a great grandmother to be using but I find I don't care, nice is not what is happening. To any of us. Not to prisoners, the press, and/or the public at large. Prisoners are being mistreated at Alouette Correctional Centre for Women and the press is not allowed in to report it. Are the women being beaten?
Yes and no. Not with whips, but with privatization. Women are required to work at Alouette as do I when I'm there. Prisoners pay? Two dollars and fifty cents a day. That's a day, not an hour. Before privatization, women prisoners were paid four dollars and fifty cents a day. Cut it in half, was Campbell's solution. And privatize everything. Including the food. Especially the food. Eggs? Well, we won't have to worry about cholesterol. Two eggs a week. Fruit? Four pieces a week. Milk? A little powdered milk poured out of a pitcher by an attendant on a half a bowl of cereal for breakfast, a cup (that's a cup, not a glass) of powdered milk for supper. Meat, when there is any, has been frozen for awhile (a long while, I know freezer burn when I see it) and sometimes can't even be cut with the plastic knives. And the paucity of fresh vegetables is a crime. There were ten pregnant women in that prison when I left August 2 and the diet fed to them (the regular with only slight modification) is outrageous. But this is a private food service and they have to make a profit out of the prisoners. Prisons have becme a business and the canteen is also privatized.
All of the items on the canteen list cost more than they would outside and they are of the cheapest, poorest quality available. And the beauty of this arrangement for the private company is that the ruling of the Attorney General and the Solicitor General is that they won't allow anything to be brought into the prison for the inmates, anything at all. Everything the women need has to be bought from the canteen. Isn't this a lovely set up for the canteen company? A captive group of women who are forced to buy the crappiest brands of everything for inflated prices. And that's not all.
Due to a sweetheart deal with Telus, we at Alouette (and I'll be back there soon as my trial begins on September 18 and Madam Justice Brown wants to teach me a lesson) must pay ninety cents for a local phone call. That's a local phone call, one that would cost a quarter on the outside. But women who make two dollars and fifty cents a day must pay ninety cents for a local phone call. There's more. But I want to get to how Campbell handles members of the press who request prison interviews.
Just before I was released from Alouette a reporter from the Georgia Straight came and took some photos of me sitting in front of a blank wall. He was told by prison authorities in no uncertain terms to delete the photos and after he left I was advised that in the future there would be no more private interviews which meant that any reporter who wanted an interview would have to come in during regular visiting hours. The hitch is that there are no private visits. It is communal visiting at Alouette. One crowded room, lots of noise, no privacy. And no visitor can bring in anything for the visit, not even a pencil or a writing pad. And that means reporters, too.
So freedom of the press seems about like my own freedom, just swallow the lies and don't do anything to upset Gordon Campbell and his offices and the courts. However, in the final analysis freedom of the press is up to the press,both main stream and alternate. To honestly have freedom of the press, the press has to demand access to wherever they want to go, to investigate whatever they want to investigate, to film whatever they want to film. It's enshrined in our constitution, for Pete's sake. Betty Krawczyk
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Of course I can't be sure. But what else to make of the shooting death of a sick, eighty-year old woman by her elderly husband in a Penticton hospital who then turned the gun on himself? The story leading up to the shootings, according to the newspapers, was that of a wife growing steadily worse in hospital where she was in the process of being transferred to extended care, perhaps the end not too far away, the future uncertain with the prospect of more suffering for the wife and the husband's own health becoming problematical.
But did the wife know what her husband was up to? Did she agree? That her husband would kill them both? From all accounts the man and his wife were a loving couple, the husband affectionate and attentive. I didn't know this man or his wife but I think I may understand the man. He was seventy-eight years old. My age. We have lived through tumultuous times, he and I, just by virtue of being alive at the same time. Wars, depressions, hard times, good times. And we have experienced death. There is nobody seventy-eight years old who hasn't become intimately acquainted with death. And suffered the sense of bitter, devastating loss.
Some losses cannot be borne; some separations are so stupefying they are like death of one's own person. When faced with the prospect of the imminent death of a beloved the human physic can revolt and say no, I want you to stay, but if you insist on going then I will go with you, I simply can't bear the separation, it is far better that I go with you.
I have personally been in this soulful place. And the impulse to follow a dying loved one can be overwhelming. But I had other young family who were also being left behind, ones who needed me, whom I loved as much and who gave me the surety that I must live out their love for me and mine for them and let the others go.
But what if there are no compelling others? No compelling needs of others? What is there then to anchor an old man when his beloved is taken leave of him, perhaps in suffering? Obviously at some point this grieving man decided that he and his beloved must not be separated by death and more suffering, that they should break clean and go into that mysterious adventure together. I only hope the wife knew. And agreed. I hope it is a love story. I think it is a love story.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Funny, how the courts use precedents in this province. As I sat in the courtroom last Thursday listening to Madam Justice Brown cite all the reasons why she wasn't going to give me a jury trial, I found my mind wandering. But I allowed my mind to go ahead and wander because I'd heard it all before. And I already knew why she, or any other judge in BC would never give me a jury trial. Because if I were given one, I would probably be acquitted. Which would enormously upset the whole court system that operates only on precedent. When it suits them, that is.
Because there are different kinds of court precedents, the ones the judges love to quote and the ones they never use. Like what, you might ask? Well, like the one that was set way back in the 1950's when Robert Sommers, BC's first forest minister was caught accepting bribes in exchange for granting a huge tree farm license to British Columbia Forest Products. Poor ole Sommers did two years in prison and it ruined his political career. However, the precedent setting part isn't about a weak politician, the woods are full of them, but about the fact that a BC Supreme Court judge allowed the company that did the bribing (BC Forests Products) to keep the tree farm license they had obtained through paying criminal bribes.
Now isn't that an interesting precedent? See how flexible our courts are when they want to be? And how agreeable the attorney generals? Together they will even allow a company, if it's big enough, to keep the proceeds of their crime. This was a major precedent and the principal of protecting big corporations is still with us, just never referred to by the courts.
No, the courts never mention the Robert Sommers and BC Forest Products precedent, only the ones where they can quote unceasingly about how rotten civil disobedience is and how if it isn't severely punished the entire edifice of law, in fact our entire civilization would fall. But they must know, somewhere deep within their corporate law washed psychics that the opposite is true. That civil disobedience is not hostile to the law but is part and parcel of the law. Civil disobedience is the major vehicle for evolution of the law. Simply witness the fact that Madam Justice Brown is even on the bench. If it hadn't been for lots of civil disobedience both she and Chief Justice of Canada Madam Beverly McLaughlin would be home daring their husbands socks. However there is a larger court than the trial courts of BC. There is the court of public opinion. Anyway, I'm appealing Madam Justice Brown's ruling. Betty Krawczyk
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Saturday, August 19, 2006
It’s true. Doing something important the first time is scary, whether it’s sex, inviting the boss for dinner, getting behind the wheel of a car, or committing your very first act of civil disobedience.
But hold on, you may say. The first three instances are legal, right? As long as it’s non coercive and between consenting adults? Civil disobedience is another matter. Besides having a bad reputation, civil disobedience is against the law, right?
Not exactly. There is no law against civil disobedience as such. However, many different actions of civil disobedience are described in law books as obstructions of one kind of another that citizens might indulge in when they get fed up with business as usual. Which is exactly what happened at Eagleridge Bluffs. Gordon Campbell’s promise of “The Greenest Olympics Ever” while he was in the very act of blasting Eagle Ridge Bluffs to bits was just too galling.
Nobody wants to find themselves afoul of the law. Nobody wants to stand before the icy stare of a judge who is displeased with them. It’s not comfortable. But let’s look at the big picture. When citizens are willing to take the responsibility of civil disobedience, civil disobedience evolves into the body of law. Instead of civil disobedience threatening the structure of law, it actually strengthens it.
How’s that? Civil disobedience strengthens the law? Yes. The history of the evolution of law that governs human rights is primarily the history of civil disobedience. It is citizens, by their actions, who turn unjust laws into just ones, not the courts or the legislatures. In Louisiana (raised there) I witnessed how civil disobedience of the black people morphed into laws of equality for all races. And I’ve studied the history of the WOBBLYS (our first unionists) who were jailed and even killed for trying to legalize unions. And along with these pioneers were all the women who resorted to civil disobedience in order to gain the vote, or even be considered persons under the law. First Nations? Look at their history of trying to regain some of their ancestral lands in BC. Civil disobedience is huge for them. In some areas it is the only way First Nations have made any gains.
In fact, every law and ruling in the criminal code and the charter dealing with the humane treatment of citizens is either the direct result of, or has been heavily influenced, by some group of citizen’s previous civil disobedience. And because of this sensitivity to the evolution of law (never seriously taught in history books, or even in law schools for that matter) I actually love the law. And because I love and respect the law, I want its language to reflect an accurate description of what I did at Eagleridge Bluffs.
I blockaded a roadway. I want to be charged for blockading a roadway, which is covered under the criminal code and the Highways Act. I did not blockade the court. I did not feel contempt for the court. I did feel contempt for Gordon Campbell’s lying promises (still do) and his utter lack of respect for Canadian (BC) sovereignty, and contempt for Kiewit and Sons, a US firm who doesn’t even mention the environment in their braggadocio and who wants BC citizens to pay for their court costs, I also feel a healthy contempt for the way Sgt. Almas arrested me and others, waiting for a foreign company to order our arrest rather than arresting immediately, if he thought we were breaking the law. And Attorney General Wally Oppal? He is the one who instructs police on how they should arrest, and why is he under the control of a foreign company?
In spite of this stacked deck (alliance between courts, police, Kiewit and Sons and Gordon Campbell) we accused have a right in court to declare that we are not guilty of the charge of contempt of court. We all have the right to say that section fifteen of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees everybody equality under the law and that when the contempt of court charge (which stands outside the Charter and the criminal code) is used to place us into a special category where there is no defense, then that’s wrong.
We also have the right to use section 2b of the charter, which protects the right of citizens who attempt to give meaning to others when involved in protests. Certainly, all of the Eagleridge protectors were trying to convey meaning that is, trying to make sense out of a mercenary provincial premier using the Olympic banner to hide eventual multi billion dollar deals with private foreign contractors.
We, as citizens, have a right to fight for our rights under the charter, and for our complaints to be taken seriously. All of us arrested at Eagleridge Bluffs, have an absolute right to plead NOT GUILTY in the courtroom. We have a right to ague that we shouldn’t even be accused of contempt of court, that the charge itself is wrong. And in this process we may be influencing the law, even nudging it forward. Anything is possible. Betty Krawczyk 604-255-4427
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Well, in court last Monday the Crown’s office wasn’t interested in pursuing Criminal Contempt for anybody except me. And one other who can’t be located. However, the civil contempt charges continue for all. If any of the accused want to forget they ever saw Eagleridge Bluffs they can apologize to the court and pay a thousand dollars or so to Kiewit and Sons.
Several did this last Monday. And while listening to these formally brave and committed Eagleridge Bluffs protectors apologize to the court for trying to stop, even for a little while, the carnage going on there I was reminded of Alexander Pope’s famous quote in his Essay on Criticism “ to err is human; to forgive devine”.
These particular accused said they erred at Eagleridge and Madam Justice Brown graciously forgave them. Which leaves the formally brave and committed protectors forgiven and Madam Justice Brown devine. Well, sort of. At least Madam Justice Brown remains cool under fire. But that’s not the issue. The issue is how the courts, through the process of issuing injunctions deprive citizens, not dozens of citizens, or hundreds, but thousands of citizens down through the years (including union struggles) of the right to a fair trial.
The courts do this by treating injunctions as inviolate, unassailable laws that when broken, rightfully leads to charges of contempt of court for masses of citizens. And to make sure this sticks, one can’t even argue against the injunction is court. It’s not allowed. Now how is that for a locked up deal? Rather like Catholic dogma. Or Muslim dogma. Question and you go to hell. But an injunction in itself is not a law, it is simply the ruling of a particular judge who may or may not even be familiar with the issue he or she is ruling on. And contempt of court charges that follow actually stand outside the criminal code of Canada.
Arrest by injunction has become a handy vehicle that our provincial government, courts, corporations and attorney general finds enormously expedient because they dispose of large numbers of disgruntled people at one fell swoop who will later have no defense in court. So when citizens wrestle with this done deal in court, the only two choices are (1) to resist by declaring oneself not guilty of contempt of court in the hopes that somebody, anybody, will help refute this repeated injustice taking place in a supposedly democratic county or, (2) overwhelmed with the hopelessness of it all, bow one’s head and submit.
To the ones submitting, I say respectfully, I think your first instincts were right. Every species grieves and is outraged at the destruction of their habitat, humans are no different. When animals are depressed and diseased, so are we. For citizens to get up the courage to refute the degradation of our life support system is a grand thing. To refute a provincial government who is developmentally challenged is a necessary thing. And to challenge the courts of BC in order to remind them that the courts are there to serve the public, not to facilitate corporation’s desires, is to exercise participatory democracy.
Let’s stop bowing our heads for daring to try to protect valuable eco systems. Let’s demand instead that the courts stop using injunctions as expedient crowd control. Let’s demand of Wally Opal while we’re at it that he do his duty for a change and direct the police to arrest us without injunctions if we are breaking the law, instead of leaving it to the courts to do the dirty work he is too lazy to do. We are citizens. We have rights. To submit to tyranny is to lose one’s confidence and faith in this life. To refute tyranny on any level is to grow in confidence and faith in the daily act of living. And we can internalize the ringing words of the 17th century poet Von Goeth: “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.” Betty Krawczyk
Monday, August 07, 2006
I woke up in my little room (cell) the day before I was released from Alouette Correctional Centre for Women (Aug.4th) thinking about drugs (prison is primarily about drugs) and court ordered injunctions. The two have a lot in common. In fact, the Supreme Court judges of BC, with a few exceptions, could be described as injunction junkies.
And, like some of the women in Alouette, our Supreme Court judges have embraced their habit for a long time. And most, like the addicted women in prison, are getting worse. How so?
Well, at first, court ordered injunctions were used primarily to stop unions from organizing and gaining strength. But as this anti-union stance eventually brought disrepute to the courts, compromise ensued with the creation of union arbitration boards. Now injunctions are used extensively to punish citizens (including First Nations) who dare to try to stop the destruction of our life support systems as well as to threaten unions composed primarily of women. But why do I describe injunctions as being a dope habit of the courts?
Well, go figure. When BC judges give out injunctions to quell citizen dissent, these injunctions become like a social and legal drug because the illusions they produce take the place of reality. And these illusions that some serious social and environmental problems are being fixed by the injunctions can be shared by the courts, the provincial government, the corporations who plunder and the police. To be able to apparently solve multiple threatening problems by simple injunction injections is habit forming.
Are concerned citizens trying to block the obscene destruction of Eagleridge Bluffs? Time for an injunction injection! Pesky natives blocking access to their sacred lands? Fill up the injunction needle!
And then feeling high from the power of the clean sweep of protesting citizens that injunctions provide, the courts look over the next application for an injunction to stop citizens from protecting the commons.
For Gordon Campbell’s government there are no commons. There are only the rights of privately held corporations. But we don’t have to stand for this. The courts of BC have no inherent right to use the expediency of injunctions over the rights of citizens who wind up in court over protests.
We all have an inherent right to the protections of the criminal code and the charter. Let’s start using them. If we sincerely desire a dope free society that corrupts our kids and destroys lives then let’s refuse all kinds of dope. Our courts are not just for the judges and lawyers as Chief Justice Madam Beverly McLachlin said recently in an interview, the courts belong to all of us. Get that, people? To all of us.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Friday August 4th
Betty's sprung from Jail and she's having a Birthday party!!!
Come one come all.
In honor of Betty's everlasting youthfulness,
the theme of this party is everyone's own personal
FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH
-Your idea of your personal fountain of youth.
(accepted items are: amulets, music, food, exercises, mantras, clothing, you get the idea...)
- Your best (or easiest) dish for the potluck
(Failing that bring some bread and hot peppers)
-Whatever you're drinking
- A friend (or two)
Something to dip into the chocolate fountain (preferable non-sexual as Betty is censoring fetishes)
7 to 10 pm Pacific Standard Time
Monika and Byron's Pad
1945 Creelman Avenue
that's 1 block north of Cornwall,
between Maple and Cypress.
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
She is also undaunted, just as passionate as on the first day of the protest. She is determined to bring justice not only to the hypocrisy surrounding the destruction of Eagleridge Bluffs and the "Green Olympics", but also to the hijacking of the courts by corporations with their system of injuctions.
The use of injunctions, and the court's willingness to grant these injunctions to corporations that are destroying sensitive bio-diverse and ecologically important areas, is stripping us of our democratic right for civil disobedience. Almost all major progress in our political system thus far has occured as a result of civil disobedience, by concerned citizens, that eventually caused the changing of a law or decision by government.
As Betty aptly put it to Justice Madam Brown in the courtroom: Were it not for civil disobedience and protesters like Betty, Madam Justice would be at home darning her husband's socks, because that is the only option that would have been open to her.
Please support Betty in her fight on all of these very important fronts. Below is a release from Betty, dictated over the phone this morning from prison.
Important court date for the defenders of Eagleridge Bluffs !!
What important court date?
This Wednesday and Thursday August. 2nd and 3rd.
What's happening then?
A dozen or more Eagleridge Bluffs defenders will be locked into face to hearings with Kiewitt and Sons.
You remember Kiewitt and Sons?
That monstrous US corporation, with the equally monstrous environmental record, that is currently blasting Eagleridge Bluffs to bits. The very kind of corporation that Gordon Campbell prefers in order to achieve his promise of the greenest Olympic games ever.
And Madam Justice Brown will be presiding in the courtroom, unless the crown, re: Michael Brundett tries to take over the court room once again. But i doubt that. Mr.Brundett seems to have backed off and is pushing Kiewitt and Sons up to the plate_ At least until Madam Justice Brown accepts Kiewit's applicaton to charge and then of course the crown will step in and relieve this plundering corporation of any responsibility in the matter.
How generous is our Premier, who has never meet a rapacious US company he didn't love.
Citizens, we need you. Even if you're not a citizen of Canada or BC, come support us. We are all citizens of the world. We need to stand united before the forces that are killing our life support systems. Come to court.
Cameron Ward will representing me.
Supreme Court Building, 800 Smithe Street. Ask for Courtoom at the desk.
This Wednesday and Thursday August. 2nd and 3rd. 9:30 AM on both days.
Monday, July 31, 2006
URGENT - IMPORTANT COURT DATES FOR THE DEFENDERS OF EAGLE RIDGE BLUFFS
What important court date? Wednesday, August 2nd and Thursday, August 3rd.
What's happening then?
A dozen or more Eagle Ridge Bluff defenders will be locked into
face-to-face hearings with Kiewit and Sons. You remember Kiewit and
Sons, that monstrous US corporation with the equally monstrous
environmental record, who is currently blasting Eagle Ridge Bluffs to
bits. The kind of corporation that Gordon Campbell prefers in order
to achieve his promise of the 'greenest games ever'.
And Madam Justice Brown will be presiding in the courtroom unless the
crown (re: Michael Brundrett) tries to take over the courtroom once
again. But I doubt this. Mr. Brundrett seems to have backed off this
tactic and pushed Kiewit and Sons up to the plate. At least until
Madam Justice Brown accepts Kiewit's application to charge, and then,
of course, the crown will step in and relieve this plundering US
corporation of any responsibility in the matter. How generous is our
premier who has never met a rapacious US company he didn't love.
Citizens, we need you! Even if you're not a citizen of BC or Canada,
please come support us. We are all citizens of the world. We need to
stand united before the forces that are killing our life support
systems. Come to court. Cameron Ward will be representing me.
Where? Supreme Court Building, 800 Smithe Street. 9:30am, both days.
Ask for courtroom at information desk.
When? August 2nd and 3rd.
What important court date? Wednesday, August 2nd and Thursday, August 3rd.
What’s happening then?
A dozen or more Eagle Ridge Bluff defenders will be locked into face-to-face hearings with Kiewit and Sons. You remember Kiewit and Sons, that monstrous US corporation with the equally monstrous environmental record, who is currently blasting Eagle Ridge Bluffs to bits. The kind of corporation that Gordon Campbell prefers in order to achieve his promise of the ‘greenest games ever’.
And Madam Justice Brown will be presiding in the courtroom unless the crown (re: Michael Brundrett) tries to take over the courtroom once again. But I doubt this. Mr. Brundrett seems to have backed off this tactic and pushed Kiewit and Sons up to the plate. At least until Madam Justice Brown accepts Kiewit’s application to charge, and then, of course, the crown will step in and relieve this plundering US corporation of any responsibility in the matter. How generous is our premier who has never met a rapacious US company he didn’t love.
Citizens, we need you! Even if you’re not a citizen of BC or Canada, please come support us. We are all citizens of the world. We need to stand united before the forces that are killing our life support systems. Come to court. Cameron Ward will be representing me.
Where? Supreme Court Building, 800 Smithe Street. 9:30am, both days. Ask for courtroom at information desk.
When? August 2nd and 3rd.
Saturday, July 22, 2006
My new address is:
Alouette Correctional Centre for Women
PO Box 1000
Maple Ridge, BC
Phone (for information about visits): 604.476.2660
I’m a long way from Vancouver but it anyone will be in the direction and might want to visit send me your complete name, address, date of birth and telephone number (please send information to email@example.com or 604.710.2408). This all has to be put on a an approve and approved visitation list, and…
While I have been in custody (jail) now for a week there are still no charges against me, brought by Kiewit and Sons, Sea to Sky Highway or by the Crown. Their object was, and remains, for Madam Justice Brown, to simply put me away without charge. And Madam Justice Brown has obliged Kiewit and Sons and Sea to Sky Highway and the gentleman for the Crown, Mike Brundrett. As there are no charges against me, Madam Justice Brown and Mr. Brundrett are sharing the job of prosecuting me while pretending to serve to course of justice. It is stunning to me that Madam Justice Brown and Mr. Brundrett could both wear two hats – Madam Justice Brown as judge and prosecutor and Mr. Brundrett as Intervenor, as he claims in my case, and as prosecutor. Is there any doubt in anybody’s mind how a proposed trial by these two will turn out for me?
I do want a trial as that is the only way I can bring Eagleridge Bluffs into the courtroom but not a sham trial like a trial by Madam Justice Brown and Mr. Brundrett would be, so I’m sending the following letter to Madam Justice Brown:
Because you have personally held me under arrest for six weeks without a charge from any of the complainants (Kiewit and Sons, Sea to Sky Highway and the Crown) you have by the process of elimination become my only compliantant of note. Therefore my Lady, you:
a) Have a vested interest in the outcome of any trial you might bring forth for me concerning my arrests at Eagleridge Bluffs, and;
b) Because you have become a party to the action yourself I will not agree to a trial brought forward by you alone, and considering that;
c) My numerous convictions so well articulated by Mr. Brundrett in court on July 6, 2006, and his warning of prosecuting me for all three of my arrests at Eagleridge Bluffs and that things could turn out to be very serious for me, and that;
d) In order for your court to be seen, and to actually be, seeking justice, then I must, in the interest of fundamental justice, be granted a trial by judge and jury.
Madam, please consider this letter as a formal application for a trial by judge and jury.
CS No. 03793924
Thursday, June 29, 2006
And as long as injunctions are used by the courts of this province to protect logging and construction companies there is no equality under the law. Take what is before the courts at the moment over my involvement at Eagleridge Bluffs. The contractors, Kiewit and Sons and Sea to Sky Highway who are building the four lane highway across the center of the Bluffs have refused to lay charges against me. Why? After all, I was interfering with their work and by extension, their profits, while they are blasting the Bluffs to bits to facilitate Gordon Campbell’s greenest Olympics ever. And Kiewit and Sea to Sky are the ones who applied for a court injunction to stop anybody from interfering with their work; they are the ones who complain, the ones who call the police. Wouldn’t you think they would be the ones to bring forth a charge against me, at least for my second and third arrests at Eagleridge Bluffs? Oh, no.
Not these clever Americans. Kiewit is a US company with a very bad environmental record in the States. Just the kind of company Gordon Campbell loves; American, non-union. But they don’t sue me themselves for interfering with their destruction of Eagleridge Bluffs. Oh, no. They get our BC attorney general to lay charges against me.
And so BC Crown steps in and lays charge against me so Kiewit can go on unencumbered with their destruction of Eagleridge Bluffs knowing the attorney General of BC is taking care of the problem of pesky BC citizens who try to interfere. And also knowing that as the crown takes over the trial BC taxpayers will pick up that tab and Canadians arrested under Kiewit’s injunction will be charged with contempt of court for which there is no defense and that injunctions are a kind of terrorist weapon that is used effectively against Canadian citizens by their own provincial government. Oh, yes, being an American company working in British Columbia is indeed a wonderful thing!
Come watch your tax dollar at work favoring American companies who just love our BC court system because it protects them against any hint of Canadian sovereignty. My next court appearance (I am representing myself) is:
July 6, 2006. 10:00 AM. 800 Smyth. Supreme Court building. Check at the desk for room number. Come support me and bring some Canadian sovereignty with you. A whiff or two of Canadian sovereignty might remind the attorney general and even the premier that they are servants of the people. Canadian people, that is.
See you in court. Betty Krawczyk
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Betty Kidnapped by the Court!
She couldn't leave.
Even though Madam Justice Brown said in the
Supreme Court the morning of June 21, that there
were no charges against Betty except the
ubiquitous Rule 56 that makes the judge the
prosecutor, jailer, judge and jury, and even when
the judge announced that all twenty-three
arrestees were freed from having signed the
promise not to go back to the Eagleridge Bluffs,
Madam Justice Brown still called on the
considerable physical might of the court guards
to keep Betty in the courtroom. Why? Well, what
if some of the other accused walked out of the
courtroom with Betty? How would that look?
Would the court come under disrepute if people
simply walked out?
Of course it would. No judge can tolerate
the loss of control in the courtroom. But Betty
contends that the disrepute of the courts is not
caused by her actions, but by the courts
themselves. And the Attorney General of BC. The
courts bend over backward to protect what they
perceive as private property gain against the
loss of public rights, of the loss of public
commons. And the courts do this by the use of a
ruling called "Strategic Legislation against
Public Participation", or Slapp Suits as they are
The courts give out these Slapp Suits in BC
with hardly an afterthought, which then turn into
injunctions against protests which turn into
charges of contempt of court for those more
determined citizens. And these charges of
contempt of court literally deprive citizens of
any defense, a process which can only be
described as a loss of the right to a fair trial
which is supposed to be guaranteed under the
So the confusion in the court on Wednesday
when all 23 of the Eagleridge Bluffs accused were
up for review was symptomatic, as Betty told the
judge who told Betty in reply to sit down, of the
confusion and abuse of process that reigns under
this kind of mass arrest. And at least the
judge seemed somewhat worried herself about the
process. She must have been, or Madam Justice
Brown wouldn't have been offering laurel branches
and turtle doves to the rest of the accused (who
like Betty were being held by the court without
charge from complainants) in the form of court
absolution in return for sincerely written
apologies to the court.
However, by the end of the court day the
Crown did manage to screw up the courage to
charge Betty with criminal contempt of court.
But just because the charge is called criminal
contempt doesn't mean Betty will have any legal
protections under the criminal code. The
criminal code does offer many protections to
accused citizens and one of the major protections
is that the judge has to consider the accuseds
reasons for the crime. The charge of contempt of
court, even criminal contempt of court, offers no
protections at all. because it is not covered
under the criminal code. This is, of course, why
it is so easy for logging and construction
companies, cops and judges to use injunctions.
The judge doesn't care why the accused did what
he or she did. And Betty is adamant that when
the charge of contempt of court is used as a
means of silencing protesters and depriving
citizens of their rights to a fair trial then it
offers nothing but contempt for the democratic
process. More to come.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
But she didn’t get any. Justice that is. All because of a rule called Rule 56.
While Eagleridge Bluffs is being blown to bits Madam Justice Brown of BC Supreme Court has rolled three different legal roles in Betty’s life into one; the judge is currently acting as Betty’s judge, jailer, and prosecutor. How did Madam Justice Brown get to act all three of these parts in Betty’s case? By something called Rule 56.
Rule 56 says in effect that in absence of a charge or charges by a complainant, then a judge can bring forth a charge (sort of) that will bind the alleged accused (that’s Betty) to all of the same conditions as if there were actual charges laid by complainants (in this case Kiewit and Sons, an American firm who is doing the actual blasting of Eagleridge Bluffs and Sea to Sky Highway or even the Crown). Now isn’t this lovely?
None of the above complainants will, as yet, bring charges against Betty. And the West Van City Police won’t send materials to anybody. They won’t even give Betty back her tent. So all of the complainants have shifted the responsibility for chastising Betty for blockading on the Bluffs to the judge without their having to do any of the dirty work of stepping forward with actual charges. Is this a travesty of justice?
The corporations and levels of government who want Betty charged and jailed should at least have the guts to step up and do it themselves But they haven’t. So what to do? Convince the judge by their own inaction that she should evoke Rule 56.
Rule 56 holds Betty without formal charge by any complainant as though there were charges. Is this the same rule courts can hold suspected terrorists indefinitely by? Has Betty reached the pinnacles of criminality by being treated as a terrorist? This petit, 77 year old great grandmother?
Betty says she will not sign a promise not to return to Eagleridge Bluffs when it is presented to her again as she has given up all hope of being charged and tried fairly by the court she is under. She says she had rather be in jail. Stay tuned.
Sunday, June 04, 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
First nations' elder Harriet Nahanee enters Eagleridge Bluffs to mourn
Sunday June 04, 2006 - First Nations' elder Harriet Nahanee entered the Eagleridge Bluffs no-go zone today at 2:00 P.M., accompanied by environmental activist Betty Krawczyk.
Harriet Nahanee sung the Patcheeda death songs for the Bluffs, Arbutus trees, topsoils, living species, and all living things destroyed by American construction company Kiewit.
The two women mourned together inside the injunction zone for about twenty minutes, as three West Vancouver Police officers monitored the situation from a distance.
Neither woman was arrested today. Harriet was already arrested once at the Bluffs last week and Betty twice.
Harriet is originally from the Patcheeda people on Vancouver Island, although she now lives on the Squamish reserve with her children and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Squamish descent.
We mourn with Harriet and pledge to continue the struggle to save the Bluffs in the face of blatant hypocrisy on the part of the Campbell government to produce the "greenest games ever".
Sunday, May 21, 2006
Dear Women In the Woods and Supporters,
We're nearing the show down, the high noon decision at Eagle Ridge
Bluffs. Tuesday morning we will hear if our appeal is granted, in
which case we win, if it isn't, we lose. Which means the police will
be in to arrest - maybe. I simply don't believe it. There is too
much at stake here (Olympics, P3's, development, corruption, First
Nations) to risk their government baring all,
risking all, to prove a point.
Friday, April 28, 2006
Threatening letters from the contractor given the right to destroy Eagleridge Bluffs have come and gone but no injunction or police have appeared. And we're partying tomorrow (Saturday).Nature walks, music, fund raising salmon BBC. Come and help us celebrate!
Love Betty K
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
I bring you good tidings from the tent city at Eagleridge Bluffs. The last few days have been beautiful with lots of visitors. We still don't know what will happen in terms of if and when some of us will be arrested, but certainly the blockade here has so far been very effective as it has stopped the actual blasting that would begin the road across this beautiful bluffs. Do come out and join in a hike across the bluffs and wetlands. See what we will all be losing if this 4 lane highway goes ahead. I'll keep you posted on developments.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
(message from Betty via Marion)
The blockade at Eagle Ridge Bluffs is going well, and more is planned on that front.A couple of hundred people kicked it off this past Monday, and there has been a steady presence up there since then, including Betty, of course.There has been much support on-site (with people bringing food and checking in frequently to see how things are and if anything is needed), and on the coalition's website (www.eagleridgebluffs.ca).In one 24-hour period they received over a thousand e-mails supporting the cause. There has been some good press, and, as always, some distorted pressPlease do what you can to lend your support -- the fight is far from over. You can join us for a few hours; camp out if you're able to do so; plan to get yourself arrested or not; write letters to government officials or to the editor (see links on the coalition's website); or vote in The Province's on-line poll (see The Province at www.theprovince.com).This coming Saturday, April 22nd, is Earth Day, and a celebration is planned up at the Bluffs on that day, from 10am onward. Bring a picnic lunch and come join Betty and the Eagle Ridge Bluffs coalition for the afternoon. There will be activities for children,tours of the Bluffs for anyone interested, and hopefully some dancing and music.Please bring drums or instruments any time you're able to come up to the blockade -- musicians and dancers are very welcome, as is everyone. See coalition website (above) re parking information and shuttle from parking area.
Happy Earth Day!
Sunday, April 16, 2006
Before I take off for Eagleridge Bluffs tomorrow with my tent in tow, I want to answer publicly an email I received rebuking me for criticizing Terry Glavan's reading from his new book last week. Ordinarily when I attend a university sponsored reading or lecture I don't agree with, I do what most people do, discuss it briefly with friends and then simply let it pass. After all,universities have their own reason for being. However, I think this attitude has been a big mistake. Why? First, because so many readings and lectures are held in university environs it gives the speakers an aura of authority that is not necessarily always warranted. And I want to use Mr. Glavan's reading to illustrate what I think has been happening to the environmental movement.
The environmental movement used to be a people's movement. But it's potentially mighty back has been bowed to the breaking point. And one way this has been done has been through intellectual apologists for the status quo. And in my opinion, from writers like Mr. Galvan, who while using provocative language (the sub title of his book "Is this the Sixth Greatest Extinction?) that would portend his total sympathy for the earth being trashed by corporate values, nevertheless ever so subtly supports the status quo.
Right off the bat, before there was even any discussion entered into during the evening, Mr. Galvan stated that he didn't want to hear anything about Gaia mentioned. So here this esteemed writer and professour, blatantly advising that he does not consider the concept of Gaia, this most ancient of concepts, this concept particularly relevant to many women, is off bounds for any following discussion about the possible extinction of the natural world as we have known it. Which is what we have come to hear him talk about. Okay, then what do we have to consider?
Mainly, Mr. Galvan seems to want to consider that people who are known or who consider themselves environmentalists are terribly wrong by definition because this very categorizing sets up a division between people and other people and people and nature. As everybody has to live in our environment everybody is of necessity an environmentalism, in my own thinking, but those of us who engage in defense of the environment by physical action other than letter writing, is, in Mr. Glavan's mind in a separate category that of being, goddess help us... ENVIRONMENTALISTS! And therefore automatically put in a separate category by Mr. Glavan that is divisive and bad for the environment. I note that Mr. Glavan calls him a conservationist. There's obviously a huge difference in his mind.
This is, in my opinion, convoluted thinking. And it makes the situation hopeless as people can't really do anything then but write letters. And while one of my critics said that he heard Mr. Glavan state the was indeed in favor of peaceful civil disobedience,and even went further, I didn't hear that, and while my eye sight may be fading with age my hearing is acute. Mr. Glavan's entire thrust of presentation was that while the earth may very well be dying we did not need a social revolution that peaceful civil disobedience might imply. And when a woman spoke up and said many more letters were need Mr. Galvan praised her warmly and suggested that yes, even in the face of massive ecological disaster, more letters are truly the way to go. So everybody could go home, comforted, knowing that all they had to do was to write one more letter.
This kind of thinking has seeped insidiously into the thinking of what used to be a people's movement. The environmental movement has now been at least partially co-opted by the universities. When a people's movement dies it goes to the universities and becomes a subject one can get a degree in, like Women's Studies. And sometimes, even in it's final resting place in the universities, it can make side forays into popular spiritual retreats, not so much as a subject of study, but one of contemplation. Let's not let our movement become a subject of university study or the subject of one more contemplative retreat. Let's live our movement!
I don't despise Mr. Galvan personally. I don't even know him. But I do know the subtle status quo apologist line he was expressing that evening and I reject it. Soundly. So let's march on to Engleridge Bluffs.
Saturday, April 15, 2006
Good Tidings All!
This post is a subtle exploration of high tech preparedness and logistic readiness.
My name is Forest Saver and it will fall to me to ensure that Ms B's communications reaches your ears and eyes when she might otherwise be - ahem... "incommunicado" - whilst doing what she knows needs to be done.
So please be advised that if you are receiving this missive via email it is only because I have it on good authority that you have been deigned as one of a chosen few to do so.
You might be pleased to note that it is also being transmitted simultaneously to Ms B's Blog, so that oddly echoing phenomenon you may experience upon visitng her blog (http://bettysearlyedition.blogspot.com - if you're not already here) is not some erroneous literary stuttering. We meant to do that. Really.
I hope and trust that all receivers of this "test' understand its necessity and appreciate the efforts our own "BK" exhausts in revealing the "Whoppers" we're all just a little fed up with.
We are ready to roll Ms B!
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
FINAL CALL TO EAGLERIDGE BLUFFS!!!
This is going to be a stand-0ff. And it's time. It's way past time. Citizens have been traumatized by the way Gordon Campbell's government has cut and burned a swath through what's left of our eco-systems like Atilla the Hun. And that was their intent from the beginning ,their attitude toward citizens was to hit'em hard, below the belt, stun'um and while they're still reeling from all of the eliminations of environmental controls over everything that grows, swims, flies, breathes and moves, close in for the kill. But first give'em something, like a promise to protect part of the Great Bear Rainforest, a promise that can be taken back later and logged like the provincial parks are now open for logging. But the promise will shut the buggers up and they in turn will shut up the other loud yappers by splitting and demoralizing the rest of the environmental community. Oh, so
clever! Because it works!
Last evening I listened to a lecture by Terry Glavan who is a renowned writer and conservationist and I couldn't believe my ears. After citing all of the profound ecological disasters taking place (one of the names of his lecture was IS THIS THE SIXTH GREATEST EXTINCTION?) in the discussion following he put down, way, way, down, any suggestion of considering peaceful civil disobedience, saying that writing letters was the way to go. Writing letters! He seemed to equate anything else with revolution. He was very opposed to revolution. In fact, I think it would be accurate to say that Mr. Glavin was revolted by any suggestion of any kind of action that might be construed as revolutionary. And he wasn't pleased that I kept trying to bring up the history of peaceful civil disobedience. And that a revolution in participatory democracy is, in my opinion, exactly what we need.
Perhaps it isn't quite time for a big revolution, but smaller ones seem to be breaking out. Revolutions in democracy, in participatory democracy. So let's all journey to Eagleridge Bluff on Eater Monday at five pm for a celebration of participatory democracy. We'll stand by the fallen Arbutus trees that are now cut, trashed, discarded, devalued, only in the way of a provincial premier whose only need of the area is to facilitate the Olympics, this man who promised "the greenest games ever!" If you can't make Monday, perhaps you can Tuesday. The celebration will start again at noon. And go on indefinitely. Join us!
Friday, April 07, 2006
I am now personally committed to the preservation of Eagleridge Bluffs in Horseshoe Bay. This is a rare eco system, complete with wetlands and various plants and creatures that go with wetlands. Many of the animals and plants there are already blue listed in the area and will turn to black like death if Gordon Campbell has his way.
Gordon Campbell's way is the Olympics Way at all costs (he is destroying the bluffs to make way for a huge overland highway for the Olympics) and everything in his value system such as money for child or environmental protections can to to the Hades place. But the group of dedicated citizens composing the Coalition to Save Eagleridge Bluffs (Dennis Perry is the president and one of the main organizers along with some incredibly talented and astute women and other men) prefer not to go to the Hades place. Instead they will pitch their tents in front of the entrance way to the area to be logged and dynamited to keep the destruction from moving in to Eagleridge Bluffs. And that means they will be putting the rest of their bodies where their mouths are. And I will join them and am urging other friends of rare eco systems to come with us. Please look at the website www.eagleridgebluff.ca for details.
We were in Victoria yesterday meeting with public officials and the press about the issues at Eagleridge Bluffs. However, the guard wouldn't let me go into the building along with a small group to speak to minister Kevin Falcon. It seems I've been banned from entering the legislature building. But the coalition didn't need me anyway because they are brave and brilliant and have a clear vision.
But they do need some more committed people from outside, people who will come to the blockade and sing and dance and visit with us and make a good, solid presence. How does Easter Monday sound to you brothers and sisters who are tired of the destruction of this province and have a day or two to lend us? And your province? Can you come visit? And those who can stay overnight maybe bring their tents? Email me. Let us know. We have no idea how long a blockade might last so pencil us in on your calendar. Let us hear from you soon. My love, Betty
Friday, March 31, 2006
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE! BC SUPREME COURT STYLE!
Well, the appeals court brought down their verdict yesterday morning concerning whether it was all right or not for the attorney general, the courts, the RCMP and the Burnaby correctional Centre for Women to hold me for three weeks without charge for blockading in the Walbran Valley two years ago. The judges that yes, it was okay, notwithstanding that my rights under the Charter were violated. Notwithstanding? Was I surprised? No. Disgusted? Yes. Totally disgusted? Oh, yes.
The reason for my disgust is because of the history of how the BC judicial system has protected the logging companies from the very beginning. It began back in the 1950's with the first Minister of Forests, Robert Sommers. Sommers gave out a huge tree farm license on Vancouver Island to BC Forest Products in exchange for money and goods and favors. This exchange came to light largely due to the perserverence of one man, Gordon Gibson.
Gibson was called "the Bull of the Woods" and while a logger himself, he was dismayed by the large tree farm licenses being given out by the government of W.A.C. Bennet. But Sommers was eventually brought to trial and sentenced to five years for bribry and guess what? The trial judge said that while, yeah, Sommers was guilty of taking the bribes and had to go to prison but BC Forest products could keep the tree farm license. Why? OH, just because the owners of the logging company had so much money and influence. And the Attorney General didn't say "boo". He didn't lay any charges at all against BC Products. Thus a criminal judicial decision made by a BC judge, influenced by power and the attorney General of the day, who was influenced by the same things, allowed the recipient of a huge criminal activity to keep the proceeds of the criminal acts.
Every tree farm license in BC today is tainted with BC judicial protection of criminal acts. So the appeal judges who decided my case would certainly follow along in this same vein, the precedent having been set long ago. While the appeal judges said that while in my case my rights under the charter may have been abridged, they weren't going to overturn the original decision. And I know the reason why, If the judges decided that the way in which BC courts have historically protected the logging companies was unlawful, then were would the courts be? My God, the entire judicial system of British Columbia would fall!
When judges can't decide a case on it's merits because of their court's own history of prejudice, and then when they turn around and use these precedents of prejudice to decide very similar cases before them into eternity, then there should be some way that citizens can say, okay...If all you judges can do is bring down precedent of what's gone on before when citizens try to protect public property, then let's look at the history of how the courts have protected the logging companies in extremely questionable ways, dating back to the Robert Sommers case.
So. We'll be off to the Supreme Court of Canada. Of course we're going to appeal. I'll be so happy to be in a Supreme Court Building outside British Columbia I think I'll lean down and kiss the courtroom floor, first thing. But an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada will take a bit of money as this occurs in Ottawa and my lawyer, Cameron Ward, can't work for next to nothing forever for me, as much as he believes in this. But I have confidence we'll find the money somewhere. As this case concerns not only the public forests of BC but everything and everybody within the public forests including First Nations People and Claims, non=native communities, wild life, salmon streams, endangered specie, watersheds...This case touches everybody in British Columbia. When logging companies are given free gratis to wipe out the public forest that the government is supposed to be holding in trust for our children, then let's get on with this...Let's everybody get on with this.
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Whatever happened to you, Greenpeace? You big, brave eco-warriors of old have seemingly turned into backroom corporate dealers. You made a deal with Gordon Campbell and the logging corporations not to make a fuss about clear cutting the rest of BC public forests in exchange for protecting a part of the Great Bear Rain Forest. Correct me if I'm wrong.
But is this a fair deal? Even disregarding that part of this deal was done in secret, what makes you think that Gordon Campbell will honour any agreement he decides not to? I'm sure you've heard that he's just announced that logging will commence in provincial parks. Do you not see any connection here? Does his history of tearing up any and all agreements not fill you with some tepiditon? And suppose Campbell's government does start logging in some part of the Great Bear not agreed upon? What will you do about it? Not much, because you've given your big gun away, that great weapon of the threats of blockades. After you've spent all this time convincing eager young people that blockades are passe, that the corporate methods of doing business is the smart way to go, and that only Netherndal environmentalists do that
tacky blockade thing? After all this indoctrination, how are you going to whip up any enthusiasm for blockades when they're absolutely needed?
Well, Greenpeace, you've lost my high regard. You arrogantly assume that you speak for all enviromentalists, at least all the important ones, when you court deals with the Gordon Campbell government. But you don't. And I want to point out that by not protesting vigorously the proposal by Gordon Campbell to privitize all of the public forests through his proposed Working Forest plan that you seem to have actually jumped on the side of the government. Certainly you left the fight against the Working Forest Proposal up to Ken Wu and the Western Canada Wilderness Committee. And to me and Women in the Woods. We brought this issue into the court room. I spent ten and a half months in prison and in the court room talking about the Working Forest Proposal in the Supreme Court of British Columbia and you didn't say "boo".
The clear cutting of public forests is accelerating. Many citizens are getting agitated with the realization that we're in the midst of a huge deforestation, a huge fouling of water tables and fish streams, a huge chemical saturation used by corporate logging and you pick this time to make back room deals. Greenpeace, you are a huge disappointment to me.