Alouette Correctional Centre for Women
P.O. Box 1000,
Maple Ridge, BC V2X 3K4
May 11th 2007
Open letter to Wally Oppal
Mr. Wally Oppal,
I take umbrage with your denial that you had anything to do with my arrest, charge, judgement and sentencing for my protest at Eagleridge Bluffs. Yes, serious umbrage, Mr. Oppal. In your letters to enquiries from citizens, you pretend that you, the highest administrator of justice in this province, have no responsibility for how the police arrest protesters, while at the same time refuse to use the remedies at your disposal to force police to arrest under Canadian law.
When you first took office you told a reporter that you favoured arresting protesters under injunctions and that you wouldn’t be changing this practice. Are you really claiming now that you don’t see any connection between my hard time 10 month sentence (and Harriet Nahanee’s untimely death) and your injunctions? You know very well, Mr. Oppal, that arrest under an injunction leaves citizens with no legal defense. Of course you do. This is why as Attorney General you favour this method of controlling citizens who protest government actions. You knew very well that an injunction would tangle myself and others up with Madam Justice Brown (or some other equally conservative judge) over the court order itself, instead of allowing us to defend our actions under Canadian law.
You know too, Sir, that Mandamus is a writ that the Attorney General can use to make the police arrest law breakers when for whatever reason the police are reluctant to do so. Mandamus will call for immediate arrest under the Criminal Code. Instead, Mr. Oppal, you encourage the continued practice of discouraging the arrest of protesters lawfully under the Criminal Code, and instead wait for your Minister of Transportation and its contractor (in this case P. Kiewit & Sons) to bring an injunction in first and then arrest.
Why sir, do you prefer this method of arrest? I know the answer as well as you. Because when we are arrested under an injunction we have no defense in court. Absolutely none.
I am sincerely sorry you have prostrate cancer Mr. Oppal. But you aren’t alone. So do hoards of other Canadian men who either have, or will have, prostrate cancer caused, I am convinced, primarily by the environmental destruction and chemical pollution brought about by governments who give free reign to corporations to pollute as they see fit, all in the name of development. And Gordon Campbell’s government is worse than most. There is an epidemic of cancer on this continent. I personally have lost two adult children to cancer. While you are crying for your own cancer, Mr. Oppal, cry for other Canadians too, because as long as the law, law enforcement and governments like yours favour corporate profit over human and environmental health, cancer will increase. Yes, cry for all the cancer victims Mr. Oppal. They are legion.