Lawyer condemns arrests of Burnaby Mountain protesters while appeals are before courts

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      A Vancouver civil-rights lawyer says it's "dangerously wrong" that protesters on Burnaby Mountain are being arrested while the courts are still evaluating the legality of a U.S.-owned energy company's actions.

      "There is the uncontroversial right of the citizens to protest, which is one of the key planks of a democracy," Gail Davidson told the Georgia Straight by phone. "And the right of Kinder Morgan hasn't been determined."

      Davidson said that she thinks that the Kinder Morgan subsidiary, Trans Mountain Pipeline, is, in effect, "defying the court process" by conducting geotechnical survey work on Burnaby Mountain while the issue is before the B.C. Court of Appeal.

      In addition, the City of Burnaby has asked the Federal Court of Appeal to set aside a National Energy Board order to allow Kinder Morgan's work to proceed.

      "They shouldn't be going ahead with their basically irremedial activities," Davidson said. "You can't put the tree up after they've cut it down."

      As a result, she said that the uncertainty over Kinder Morgan's legal right while these cases are being appealed does not justify any loss of liberty for the protesters.

      Davidson also said that she doesn't blame the RCMP for what's happening. "I think the police were trying to be careful, so I'm not really faulting them so much as the pressures that are brought to bear upon them."

      Meanwhile, SFU professor Lynne Quarmby was among eight demonstrators arrested yesterday This came after 26 were taken away on November 20.

      They've all been charged with civil contempt of court, according to the Mounties.

      The RCMP has issued a statement on its website saying that Centennial Way at the Burnaby Mountain Parkway will remain closed.

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      19 Comments

      kootenaygirl

      Nov 22, 2014 at 11:58am

      I heard a radio comment from a Bell Irving--long time Vancouver family, hardly a bunch of neer-do-wells as some idiotic commentators are implying. Suzuki's grandson did a fabulous interview--common sense, intelligent--lacking in some quarters who will remain nameless.

      Davidson is a well known, brilliant lawyer. Her comments make me wonder if payoffs (under the table so to speak) are part of what is going on. Good grief we have all seen corruption ad nauseum, or should that read alleged corruption?

      Since these rapscallion invaders from Alberta are not paying for the police, who is? The overburdened taxpayers? Say what?

      Let's see: Alberta sells its product and gets the BIG BUCKS. The city of Burnaby
      gets portions of its environment ruined. The City of Vancouver gets the threat
      of tanker traffic ruining the shores. And BC taxpayers get zip.

      What is wrong with this picture???

      The Exxon Valdez disaster occurred on March 24, 1989 (Good Friday, no less).
      What's the buzz? Let me tell you what happened: an Exxon tanker ran aground and dumped gummy crude oil into the frigid waters of Prince William Sound, just outside the harbour of Valdez, Alaska.

      Not only did this become a case study of disastrous public relations, it also took over 25 years before the entire mess was cleaned up.

      Right, sounds like the BC Ferries accident, doesn't it?

      Perhaps that CEO at Trans Mountain doesn't know his history. His recorded
      radio comments sounded sanctimonious, to say the least.

      Now, why is there this big fuss about selling to China when the Russians have already done a deal to satisfy China for the next decade.

      And if you believe that tanker traffic will be safe then I have a bridge for sale.

      Hmmm

      Nov 22, 2014 at 12:28pm

      So the teachers and their supporters wanted the Gov. to pay up right away and cave to their demands despite their court case not being settled.
      Teachers hate and don't respect appeals.
      Now the protesters want everyone to stop and wait, hold the line, until the case is settled.
      Protesters like and respect appeals.
      I loath lawyers.

      Not Likely

      Nov 22, 2014 at 3:23pm

      Gail Davidson wants to talk about 'planks' of democracy?
      One measure of democracy, opposition.. Burnaby has not even 1 single opposition member in City Hall.
      Participation in elections... more than 100,000 of Burnaby's 146,000 voters did not vote last week.
      Free and critical press.... The press is free in Burnaby, but the local papers are anything but critical.
      Support for opposition parties... It is estimated that Burnaby ruling party spent 300,000 in the recent election, the vast majority coming from trade unions. The only opposition slate spent about 25,000, mainly from their own pockets.
      So please don't talk about democracy and Burnaby in the same sentence.
      Further, Burnaby Mayor is reported to have used anti-corp. sentiments to gain votes, yet divide the community. It has been suggested that anti-corp, oil, pipeline was used n Burnaby as a test market for the Federal NDP campaign. Not surprising, Mulcair is in Burnaby today.. and Burnaby Mayor has just now (several min ago).. released a statement asking protesters to lay-off.

      Stu

      Nov 22, 2014 at 3:56pm

      Great story, my thoughts exactly.
      I'm against the pipeline, but was pretty blasse' about it until I saw Kinder Morgan ignoring local bylaws and treating BC like they already owned the land.

      Grant

      Nov 22, 2014 at 5:13pm

      The protesters have a point to make,but they should tell the truth.We enjoy the life style that oil,gas and mineral extraction gives us but someone else should do the dirty work and take the possible risks.Amd by the way..don't you dare raise the price at the pumps. Time to admit it!

      wobbly

      Nov 22, 2014 at 6:08pm

      "There is no well-established authority for the proposition that the police have a common law duty to enforce court orders in general, nor injunctions specifically" -- Canadian Bar Association

      cyrus

      Nov 22, 2014 at 11:57pm

      everyone in the world pays for the environmental impact this project will eventually make

      satinka

      Nov 23, 2014 at 12:10am

      I don't hear the word 'democracy' being used these days. I do hear much about 'global development' and 'global industry' and to me that says corporations have all the rights, and they get to determine the rules that are right for corporations only, no matter how harmful and destructive, without any regard for actual citizens of the area. Because the corporations make the rules, create their own boards of governance, their wishes are the only ones that count, and that's wrong.

      What's happening on Burnaby Mountain is immoral. It's obscene. Kinder Morgan won't even create an emergency plan if an oil spill happens and people are trapped on top of Burnaby Mountain, without a way of getting down, in case of fire or a toxic gaseous fumes leak. There is only one way down the mountain in case of emergency and it might easily be blocked. Kinder Morgan takes no responsibility. It's like human life doesn't even matter. Corporate interests come first, period.

      As far as I'm concerned, we absolutely must change our strategy and save the environment from these corporate monsters. This project must absolutely be stopped. Last I heard, Canada is a democracy, but Harper is systematically dismantling democracy one law at a time.

      It's immoral. What's happening right now on Burnaby Mountain is indeed undemocratic. Beyond that, even. It's criminal and must be stopped.

      Cheena

      Nov 23, 2014 at 1:19am

      Well, it seems there are a number of Cons commenting on this article. LOL ...sigh..
      There will always be those that believe capitalism and profit, in other words #GREED, tops all. Everyone needs to learn and accept that ~
      "When the last tree is cut, the last fish is caught, and the last river is polluted; when to breathe the air is sickening, you will realize, too late, that wealth is not in bank accounts and that you can’t eat money." attributed to Alanis Obomsawin

      face facts

      Nov 23, 2014 at 8:39am

      Kinder Morgan has more rights and more police support than BC citizens.