Friday, March 31, 2006

Walbran Valley


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.

1 comment:

  1. Bill Duggan5:03 PM

    Betty, I am so happy to find this, it relates so well to the fiasco the Liberals have pulled out behind closed doors
    (Victoria TC Oct 19th.)

    Can I quote you to gather support to protest this latest travesty ?