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

Will it actually happen? After more than a dozen years of fighting court ordered injunctions that are used against environmental activists, unions and First Nations will Betty Krawczyk actually be allowed a jury trial? Will a Supreme Court justice finally agree that as injunctions openly, blatantly, and continuously accelerates the deforestation of British Columbia’s public lands that it is an issue of profound gravity? One that deserves a jury trial? We’ll find out tomorrow (Thursday, August 24). Vancouver Supreme court, 10:00. Madam Justice Brown presiding. You’re invited. Betty Krawczyk

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The First Time is Scary
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

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.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Betty's Birthday!!
Friday August 4th
7-10 pm

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


-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
(Kits Point)

that's 1 block north of Cornwall,
between Maple and Cypress.
(Bus #22)


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

After visiting Betty at the Alouette Correctional Centre in Maple Ridge yesterday, I can attest to the fact that she is doing just fine, looking as radiant as ever, her "Betty laugh" and twinkling eyes in full form. It's difficult to believe that she will be celebrating her 78th birthday in jail this coming Friday.

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.

Much love,


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.