The Dope Habit of BC Supreme Courts
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.