“No pipelines” graffiti leads police to raid home in East Vancouver

The Vancouver Police Department has raided an East Side home in connection with anti-pipeline graffiti.

However, the VPD denied a claim by one of the residents of the Parker Street home that the operation was an act of repression against anti-pipeline activists.

“My only response to that would be that we investigate criminal offences,” police spokesperson Const. Brian Montague told the Straight in a phone interview today (June 5).

Montague maintained: “Criminal offences have taken place, and we’re investigating those. And part of that is executing a search warrant to gather evidence to prove those offences.”

The police officer confirmed that five people were taken into custody.

Montague indicated that no charges have been laid as part of the ongoing investigation.

One of the residents of the house is Gord Hill, a First Nations activist who endorses direct action to defend aboriginal rights and the environment.

In a previous interview with the Straight, the Kwakwaka’wakw artist stressed the importance of a strong Native movement to stop oil and gas expansion.

“It’s the only one that really has the capability of engaging in more radical tactics or the willingness to engage in more radical tactics,” Hill said in that interview.

Using a borrowed mobile phone because police confiscated his and his housemates’ devices, Hill said that 16 police officers were involved in the June 3 raid.

“It’s a big intimidation tactic to try to silence the growing opposition to the oil and gas pipelines, and oil tankers,” Hill told the Straight today (June 5).

According to Hill, the operation served “multiple purposes”.

“It’s also like a big fishing expedition for them to come into our house, document our personal effects and activities, and then also to take our communications devices, and disrupt our public communications and organizing work,” Hill said.

Hill edits the Warrior Publications site, and he posted an account of the raid there.

Comments (32) Add New Comment
Jack
Did someone ask Gord Hill why he isn't working? I can't imagine his "activism" pays the bills. I Wouldn't like to think that the very society he condemns mails him a cheque each month (but I know we do).
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Bruce
@Jack

Who cares? Let's assume the worst: these are political graffiti vandals living on welfare. Is a raid with 16 officers with guns drawn, and grabbing every bit of electronics on site, an level response equal to the threat level? Is a spray paint can equal to a gun?

Sounds more like police state stuff to me. What you might expect to see in China, not in Canada.
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Jack
@Bruce as a taxpayer I care. And so do most others (taxpayers that is).

I didn't see if there were 4 or 16 officers, and I didn't see if their guns were drawn. And neither did you.

Why anyone would spray paint graffiti over beautiful murals that real artists painted for the rest of us to enjoy is puzzling. It can only hurt whatever the purported cause is.

So yeah, I'd say it was an appropriate response, and any time societal burdens feel compelled to spray paint their garbage on public property and artwork I hope the police respond in a similar matter.

Wish I could have been there to cheer them on, alas I had to work to earn my own money.
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Shanti
Graffiti just makes anti-pipeline people look bad. I am very anti-pipeline and very anti-graffiti... especially when it's written over someone's artwork. That is very disrespectful and it looks ugly. I can't say if this was worthy of a police raid, however.
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cosmicsync
Leaving aside speculation on Mr. Hill's employment status, I agree that there are better ways of making a point than defacing someone else's art. Having said that, the police response does seem a bit over the top.
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Alan Layton
As usual, activists have a very narrow view of life and HATE everything else that doesn't conform with it. These guys are mental midgets and have probably done some real damage to the cause, although I'm still anti-pipeline despite them.

As for the police using this as an excuse to disrupt future acts, I would say yes, that is exactly what they are doing and these morons basically invited them in to do it with their phenomenal stupidity. Idiots!
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Bruce
@Jack

I've have a policeman pull his gun because a drunk pointed at me and said something weird. On my way home from work, looking every inch a middle class working geek. Pardon me if I don't give them the benefit of the doubt.

And talking as if only "taxpayers" are Real People? Just a touch fascist. And I say that as Taxpayer.
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Bob
@Jack

Yeah, let's assume you're right about your beliefs regarding Hill. Let's examine that dynamic using an analogy of a much more extreme nature in order to really high-light the relationship between actors:

Did someone ask the French resistance during World War II why they didn't go out and manufacture or buy their own guns rather than using captured German weapons?

Hill is First Nations and likely sees this government and the police as an invading force. This invading force is also engaged in less than democratic activities where resource extraction and transport is concerned. These activities threaten the well-being of not just people but the environment. So, in what imagined world would they be obligated to meet any standard of social/political cooperation and participation that your comment implies is necessary in order to be legitimate?

Now, to be clear, I am not a fan of their graffiti tactics. I live in the area they've been decorating and it pisses me off to see private residences and small businesses saddled with extra costs to remove the spray paint. Worse, it's likely that most of the people and small businesses oppose the pipelines anyway - so why make them suffer with unnecessary costs? What's the point? It's just poor planning and bad judgement on the activists' part.

That being said, Jack, fuck your myopic, knee jerk, reactionary comment and fuck you for assuming the worst simply as a way to make yourself feel superior - or whatever reason it was you had for saying something so fucking stupid.

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@Bruce
Sounds like you're a wee bit paranoid. I've had run-ins with the police growing up, and I was the cause of every one of them, and I deserved whatever I got. Then I grew up. How old is this Gord Hill character? He sounds like he's suffering from arrested development.

Never said taxpayers are the only "real people", but when it comes to defacing public art, the perpetrators and those that contribute nothing of value to society don't really have a voice at the table.
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Jack
@Bob

"Hill is First Nations and likely sees this government and the police as an invading force"

Who gives a fuck if he suffers from paranoid delusions? The government and the police aren't invading forces, so he's quite simply wrong. Why indulge his nonsense?

"it pisses me off to see private residences and small businesses saddled with extra costs to remove the spray paint. Worse, it's likely that most of the people and small businesses oppose the pipelines anyway - so why make them suffer with unnecessary costs? What's the point? It's just poor planning and bad judgement on the activists' part"

Exactly what I've been saying, thanks for reiterating.

"fuck your myopic, knee jerk, reactionary comment"

Sounds pretty much like your comment is a reactionary knee jerk to mine. I know you're aching to play the race card in an attempt to negate anything I've said, but frankly I couldn't care less if he's a native, a swede, or from China. Stupid destructive childish acts committed by adults deserve to be dealt with harshly. No sympathy from me or 99% of the people that make Vancouver home.

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Alan Layton
Bob - "It's just poor planning and bad judgement on the activists' part."

I think they knew exactly what they are doing and to me they just seem full of hatred and it doesn't matter if they deserve to feel that way or not. I think if this was a group that was against a cause that you were for then you'd see things differently.

I also believe your last paragraph says the most about you.
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Nick
Fuck these guys. They have been defacing my neighborhood for a while. I would like to know where this house is,so i can paint these fuckers, Just like in the movie Colors.
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Bruce
"Government orders federal departments to keep tabs on all demonstrations across country"

http://ottawacitizen.com/news/politics/government-orders-federal-departm...

"A report from Privacy Commissioner Chantal Bernier reveals the federal government is data-mining your Facebook and Twitter feeds, possibly with the help of Telecom"

http://thecanadianpoliticalscene.blogspot.ca/2014/05/the-harper-governme...
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Bruce
"The BCCLA said it appears that covert agents monitored meetings and other activities of the pipeline opponents who participated in the National Energy Board hearings into the proposed Northern Gateway project, and that CSIS and the RCMP then shared their intelligence with the oil industry and the NEB."

http://m.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/csis-rcmp-accused-of-...

"Canada’s top spy watchdog lobbying for Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline"

http://www.vancouverobserver.com/politics/investigations/canada%E2%80%99...


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Bob
@Jack

Yep, that portion of the comment was reactionary. It was intended that way. However, unlike you, I am able to consider the full issue from more than just a ridiculously shallow perspective.

@Alan

Of course I'd see things differently if I disagreed with the cause. You might as well have said something like: You'd feel differently if you felt differently.
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Dose of reality
Anyone who sees the police or non-aboriginals as some kind of "occupiers" is clinging to a past and committing him/herself to perpetual victimhood. The idealized & mythologized societies that predate the arrival of Europeans are not coming back: chiefs and others who perpetuate such fantasies are doing a disservice to the aboriginal community. When the leadership and activists stop misdirecting their people good things happen at the local level. People like Chief Shawn Attleo and Chief Clarence Louie have shown there are ways to enhance cultural awareness while pursuing opportunities to give their people gainful employment and reduce reliance upon handouts. Unfortunately their drive against poor business practices amongst band governments was met with opposition from the likes of Teresa Spence as well as the highest paid Chiefs in the country, who happen to lead some of the poorest bands.
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Bruce
The activists in the story are annoying, and their tactics are not what I'd choose. But something stinks here. There's a ton of clear evidence that the pipelines companies, csis, the national energy board, and the local police are all closely coordinating under pressure from the PM's office. There's a straight line from Harper to that raid. We have a Canadian Nixon in Ottawa.

And if you want a really interesting read, check out the new ambassador from China. He's straight off the Senkaku Islands dispute file re Japan, and seems to be all about China's impatience re access to the tar sands.

"New Chinese ambassador laments Canadian red tape"

https://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&ei=_yORU-C7PIv8oATKloDoA...

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No Comment
Screw Jack taxpayer and everyone like him. Jack and his cookie-cutter North American tax-payin' lifestyle depend on resource plunder no matter what the cost (now or historically). Jack's way of life is unsustainable and a clear and present danger to life on this planet...undeniably, it's gotta change. People in Vancouver need to be shaken up, more than just a little, because everyone's so into themselves and plugged-out, no one's marching in the streets to demand the much-needed changes our oil-soaked politicians refuse to undertake. Politicians like tax-payin' Jack who needs to drive his CO2-belching behemoth on his tax-payed roads bunged up with cheque-cashin' cyclists among the forest of sky-high-rises racing to get to his double-wide garage, put up his feet, order the wife to get his beer and fire up a cancer-causin' rib-eye on the grill. But some of Jack's nature-lovin' neighbors think he's a menace, the whole North American consumer lifestyle is a menace, and somebody's gotta do something, let's try to wake sheeple up, spray some tar-sands filth on some walls and bring some of that distant chaos to oh-so-guiltless Vancouver before Burrard Inlet is one big black sticky duck-trap and orcas are chokin' on bitumen balls. And that little bit of chaos, that relatively harmless message, engendered a Sturmtruppen response. WTF?! Not a "we get your point, now clean up your mess" but "resist Siwash-heads and you're dead". This is Harperland's police state we now live in, and it's pretty f'n bleak and inhumane when you look behind the curtain. Protest, no matter how basically ineffectual, is verboten. And Vancouverites more concerned about orderliness than the disaster of global warming they're ensuring just thumbs up Jack's tax-payin' tirade proving that the human species is generally scum.
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Control
More people more pollution more violence more consuming of finite resources.
What the environnment really needs is human birth control. We gotta get those numbers down people! 7 billion mugs infesting this planet is way too many
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White SPot
Everyone here is assuming these people are the ones doing the graffiti - and what's more, that 16 cops with a battering ram, plus a K9 unit were necessary? Wow. Even if you HATE anybody who protests, and let's face it - a lot of people do for reasons I can't begin to understand - that is insane overkill. There is no alternative except to assume its political. Did you see what they confiscated from the house? Everybody's phone, computer and even USB sticks, for heaven's sake? It was so obviously a pretext to raid a group of people involved with anti-pipeline efforts.

Environmentalists are somehow now the rationale for the soaring budgets of the VPD, RCMP and other security groups in Canada.

Oh sorry - I mean "multi-issue extremists" who are now accorded the same level of surveillance and policing as al quada members. Insane.
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