Sunday, July 27, 2008


There is an old saying that one gets what one pays for. But not in British Columbia. Taxpayers here pay a lot for a justice system that like a milk cow gives steady streams of the sweet milk of justice to posh people (Gordon Campbell’s friends of privatization) but decreasing dribbles to poor people (and that is increasingly including just about everyone else in Vancouver who are trying to survive the drug trade ratcheted up rents and mortgages and eat at the same time) while forcing regular citizens to bring in the hay and of course, clean out the barn. In fact, if I remember correctly, even the law society of BC was aggravated with Wally Oppal for his part in the trashing of legal services and wrote a public letter of non-confidence in him.

Our justice system is in tatters. Gordon Campbell, with Wally Oppal at heel, shut down two dozen courthouses in BC, bought out many of the justices of peace with early retirement, closed a dozen prisons and holding centers to save money, of course, for his two week party where he can strut before the world. The situation now? Well, let’s see. Citizens will cool their heels a couple of years before their cases might actually be brought to trial except maybe parking ticket disputes. A parking ticket might come before the court in perhaps just under a year. And judges have to take into account before they actually send anybody to prison if there is a bed in a cell somewhere because with all the prison closures, the ones still operating have started triple bunking prisoners or holding them up in tents. So a kind of justice by housing shortage is emerging in the courts that have to do with where does a judge send a person convicted of a crime if there is nowhere to send him or her? And the courts are now so crowded police are simply just letting people off with warnings, people they would have booked before Gordon Campbell’s “Shock and Awe” attack on our justice system.

So where does my civil case against Kietwit Sons Co and Kevin Falcon stand resulting from my part in the blockades at Eagleridge Bluffs? Well, while the court did throw out the two main issues I wanted tried, I was allowed to bring the charges of assault forward and also include the Attorney General (my stars, Wally Oppal) and Sea to Sky Highway. Their method of dealing with me? Simple. Ignore me. They haven’t answered my legal demand to acknowledge and present a defense. By law, they are supposed to do this. But of course, all of these powerful people are above the law. In fact, they make the law. The law as it is written holds no charm for them. How dare an elderly woman try to bugger up the traffic (as Kevin Falcon demanded at the traffic tie up on the Second Narrows Bridge when an elderly woman was in the process of being talked out of suicide) or get in the way of their clean sweep of the natural public resources of this province? Ignore the old woman, they seem to be saying. And tell her to go jump. They don’t have to obey the law.

But I say this isn’t over. And we’ll see. Betty Krawczyk

Friday, July 18, 2008

Power Poles and Power Outage Woes

Trust us, Gordon Campbell seems to assure the Mothers Against Power Poles in Tsawwassen, those high voltage power lines I’ve agreed to put into your back yards and the school yard aren’t really dangerous to your kids even though they will constantly zap their growing bodies and bathe their budding brains with voltages high enough to supply Vancouver Island with lots of additional electricity.

But I suspect it isn’t even Vancouver Island Mr. Campbell is worried about. It’s his American friends. The ones who want to privatize the entire electrical and hydro electrical fields of BC so they can suck it all up. Or most of it. But a growing worry among citizens is that our own people who build, repair, maintain important infrastructures might not actually know what they are doing. At least some of the time.

For instance, Monday’s blow out in Vancouver’s City Centre. How could the maintenance people who inspect underground vaults in substations around the city not know when one is approaching a dangerous condition of blow out? Or is there no way to tell? If not, why not? If it’s matter of aging wires and things, why in heaven’s name haven’t they been replaced long ago? Who is in charge of this? Whoever they are, why aren’t they on the radio and TV explaining what happened and why, instead of all the media speculation?

Sam Sullivan is calling for an independent investigation. At least that’s something. However, with the provincial government’s love of ruling as an oligarchy, and the mayor and council’s history of following Campbell’s lead, will we ever know the truth of it? Probably not. However, I don’t see how aging infrastructure can be hidden forever. As most of the public money is earmarked for Gateway expansion and other Olympic construction and the bloated overruns is there any money for tending to the nitty gritty things like upgrades on the power supplies in Downtown Vancouver? Surely Peter Lander and Gregor Robertson might help us out here. After all, they’re biting at the bit for the job of mayor. Is the Work Less Party the only municipal party who think it disgusting that so much of our communal money is going into the corporate games while our infrastructures rot? Speak up, guys. It’s your chance to shine.

And a word to the Mothers Against Power Poles: I think you are wise to be skeptical of the people who supposedly know abut electricity when they give you advice on what’s healthy or not healthy for your kids. This is the same provincial government who thinks cutting welfare to mothers with dependant children will make the children strong and healthy. Why would they act more intelligently about children anywhere in the province? They don’t and won’t. But when enough mothers find they can’t protect the health of their children and all three levels of government have in reality combined to become the enemy of the health of children, things will start to happen. I know they will. Betty Krawczyk

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


I heard on CBC radio, so it must be true, that Gregor Robinson, in order to court the Chinese vote in Vancouver, has announced that he is the nephew of Dr. Norman Bethune. Dr. Bethune, a Canadian doctor and surgeon, went to China during the Chinese revolution and was the first doctor and scientist in history to develop taking surgical facilities directly to the battlefield and operating on the wounded there. He believed utterly in socialism and the Chinese revolution, and died while engaging in that struggle. Dr. Bethune was revered for his contribution to the Chinese revolution and is still regarded as a hero in China. But in Canada?

Dr. Bethune was considered a traitor at home and more or less reviled by the governments of Canada. And even today Dr. Bethune’s contributions to medicine are more or less ignored in Canada. In fact, I was in Ontario when the first real thaw came between Canada and China and some Chinese dignitaries visited Canada and wanted to be shown Dr. Bethune’s birth place and family home. Nobody in charge even knew where it was and when they found it, it was so run down they had to spruce it up lickey split so the Chinese wouldn’t think they were unappreciative of a Canadian the Chinese considered a hero.

Dr. Norman Bethune was a real socialist, a believer in equality, and he sympathized completely with the Chinese revolution. In case it isn’t clear, Dr. Bethune is also a hero of mine. He fought the moneyed interests, both foreign and domestic that kept China a desperate, backward county. And I rather resent Gregor Robinson evoking my hero’s name, kin or no, in order to further the fortunes of the Vision Municipal Party of Vancouver, a party that is seventy per cent funded by corporations and developers. I think Dr. Bethune is turning over in his grave by this act of his nephew’s, this recent announcement, in the hope of influencing Chinese voters. I think Dr Bethune must be appalled that his own passionate, committed socialism could be used in such a cynical way. Dr. Bethune knew that he who pays the piper picks the tune. Gregor Robinson either doesn’t know that he is cruising on corporate money, or he doesn’t care. Blood is not always thicker than water.

Friday, July 04, 2008


Okay, back to the grind of trying to squeeze some justice out of the Justice system of BC. It ain’t easy. I promised to take anybody into court with me (so to speak) who might be interested in some of the legal ramifications of the aftermath of the blockades at Eagleridge Bluffs. Anybody out there who remembers Major Bowles and don’t touch that dial? Probably not, but anyway, don’t touch that delete button. What I’m about to say is important, not because I’m saying it, but because the laws courts of British Columbia are saying it and because Wally Oppal, BC Attorney General, and Gordon Campbell are saying it:
The paradox is this: if you had a lot of money to start with you probably would not have wound up in a situation where you needed a lot of money to sue the government or a corporation. Provincial governments and corporations know this. This is why they kiss off real miscarriages of justice they are responsible for. Because they can. Especially our particular BC premier, attorney general, and the corporations they favor, like the enormous American firm Kiewit Sons Co. that Gordon Campbell and Kevin Falcon brought in to destroy Eagleridge Bluffs. They think (know) they can buy their way out of anything. After all, they have unlimited access to citizen’s money.

However, if one is determined enough and mad enough about a perceived injustice a citizen can step forward and make claim that this is their court, their justice system, their law, their rights, these are supposed to protect people, not exist over and above citizens to persecute and injure them and doggone it, a citizen can decide to go into the courtroom and represent themselves. Nobody involved will like this, the courts least of all as they have to deal with someone they can’t threaten with expulsion from the Law Society, but it also sends chills into government and corporate places. So where am I right now in the process of suing Kiewit Sons Co, Kevin Falcon, Ministry of Transportation, Sea to Sky Highway, West Van Police and a guy who I claim tried to run over me with an industrial truck during my third blockade at Eagleridge Bluffs?

Well, I tried to sue them all for conspiracy and malfeasance of public and/or corporate office for depriving me of my rights under the criminal code in favor of injunctive arrest which left me (and the others) defenseless before the court. But the court threw that one out. The only thing I’m left with is my allegation of assault against the gentleman who tried, in my opinion, to liquefy my aged body underneath his big ole truck. However, the judge did allow me to include everybody connected with this in my suit (excepting West Van Police) so I’m busy trying to figure out the correct forms.

Let me tell you about the forms. They are monstrous. Piles of them. Each for just a certain thing. And the language comes from hell. Try to understand the language. The language, of course, is to discourage citizens from trying to understand the forms. Or the laws and rulings. If citizens actually understood what most of this language means, we might stop paying for BC courts. Especially the Supreme Court in Vancouver on Smithe Street with the impressive open architecture. However, I have recently enlisted the aid of several dear friends who have agreed to meet as a body and we are working on the principle that while none of us have had legal training, between us we should be able to at least figure out what form to use for what. Yes, we should be able to do that. I’ll keep you posted.
Betty Krawczyk

For more information contact:

Betty Krawczyk
Mayoral Candidate, City of Vancouver