Betty Krawczyk appeal rallies supporters

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      Friends of ecowarrior, women’s rights advocate, and great-grandmother Betty Krawczyk are outraged over the Crown’s response to her appeal of a previously served 10-month sentence.

      In an interview with the Straight on September 22, Monika Marcovici decried as ridiculous the move by provincial government lawyers to liken the 82-year-old activist’s legal situation to those of two convicted pedophiles who abused their own children.

      “It’s an insult to the judicial system to make that sort of parallel between somebody that is protecting our forests and our streams and has advocated for the rights of women over many years,” Marcovici said. “Being compared to two pedophiles, I think it’s completely ludicrous and makes a mockery of our courts.”

      In September 2007, Krawczyk stepped out of the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women after serving seven months behind bars for criminal contempt of court.

      She was sent to prison for defying a court injunction to stay away from West Vancouver’s Eagleridge Bluffs, which were being bulldozed to widen the Sea-to-Sky Highway ahead of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

      According to Marcovici, Krawczyk is appealing on principle before the B.C. Court of Appeal the sentence she has already served.

      As Krawczyk explained in a post on her blog on September 18, the Crown in response cited rulings on two pedophilia cases. In one, the appeal judge noted that when a person is convicted of a serious crime and at the same time suffers from some mental or personality disorder, but cannot be confined in a mental institution, the appropriate sentence is life imprisonment.

      Krawczyk has served other prison sentences during her many years of environmental activism.

      “They’re making the comparison that she’s an unreformable criminal, a repeat offender,” Marcovici said.

      Marcovici spoke to the Straight by phone while she and other supporters of Krawczyk were holding a rally outside the courthouse in Vancouver.

      At the protest was another grizzled environmental warrior, Rex Weyler, a cofounder of Greenpeace International.

      In a phone interview also from the rally, Weyler told the Straight that Krawczyk’s case is about a citizen who dared to stand up for the environment and is being treated poorly by government.



      Ray I

      Sep 22, 2010 at 3:15pm

      Defying a court order is one of the most serious offenses in our judicial system. Without respect for the courts, we lose the Rule of Law and society decays into anarchy. When you make the decision to commit that particular crime you should understand that it is not about you and your own fight it implicates our entire system. So choose your battles wisely.

      Stephen Elliott-Buckley

      Sep 22, 2010 at 3:54pm

      This assertion by the BC government is part of a larger assault on the rule of law in Canada, including:

      - arresting hundreds of people [protesters and bystanders] in Toronto during the G20 protest under fictitious laws, then beating and abusing them
      - arresting a Toronto G20 activist last Friday night for a bail violation because the police argued that being on a panel of a public meeting at a public university was taking part in a demonstration.

      When police can arbitrarily arrest people or define university meetings as protests to violate someone's bail, the rule of law is under attack by the government itself.

      Betty K's situation is part of all this.

      Priscilla Judd

      Sep 22, 2010 at 8:35pm

      Civil disobedience is the right of citizens in a democracy - to change Betty's civil act of protest into a criminal charge by issuing an order that she can't protest indicates a problem with our laws and the lawmakers. Yes choose your battles and stand up when the process of law is unjust - if Betty is to be criminalized then there is a misinterpretation of the law - laws must be constitutionally sound. We have the right to freedom of expression - if expression results in a criminal charge - that law appears to be unconstitutional and we all must stand up and protest that which removes our freedom of expression.

      Liz Jefferson

      Sep 22, 2010 at 9:57pm

      Comparing an environmental activist to a serious criminal, or worse, as a legal equivalent to a pedophile, shows the extent to which the BC government is willing to go to silence its nuisances. Peaceful protest with no harm to persons or property should not have resulted in this disproportionate legal response. Shame on the Attorney General's office for allowing this travesty to go on, and spiral into even more ridiculous charges. Check out the group supporting Betty on Facebook: and see what people are saying about this story. Photos of today's courthouse rally also posted.


      Sep 23, 2010 at 5:37am

      But guys, she IS a repeat offender.

      Keith Greveling

      Sep 23, 2010 at 9:13am

      This is a response to Ray I. at the top of the page: your argument is not valid. What you’re saying is if it were illegal to be Jewish and the courts agreed and ordered all protest at death camps to stop then those who continued protesting would be criminals. Those who continued to do so would be repeat criminals. All decent-minded people see the flaw in that logic.
      The judiciary are no better or worse than our politicians or police. And they have no greater right to protection when they fail to obey the people. They can and will pursue policies that are harmful to the public good and we have to stop them. It’s not a surprise that one of the first people the Iraqis executed after the fall of Saddam Hussein was a chap named Bandar y Bandar, their Chief Justice. Justice fails like anything else and when it does this has to be dealt with. Respect is not something automatic, it has to be earned and it can be lost. Our system is failing us and it needs fixing. Silence won’t fix it, it will just make it worse.
      As for a descent into anarchy, any revolution creates a certain amount of temporary anarchy but history shows us that what blooms from it is a better garden. The status quo aids only a choice few.


      Sep 23, 2010 at 12:16pm

      Oh please, the ballot box is where you do your protesting. Air time on TV and bleating does nothing to sway the system. If you rally your troops to the ballot box over your cause, then the government is thrown out on the issues. Its called Democracy. Its obvious that there is no mainstream support for this kind of piffle or else the government of the day would not have been re-elected. In or out, its the voters who decide, not some whiners on the TV bites. Get over your pedophile comparisons, its irrelevant as the law is the same, regardless of the offense.


      Sep 23, 2010 at 1:48pm

      Of course, you wouldn't be saying such drivel, beelzebub, if the issue of the day were something that was detrimental to your interests, i.e. double standard. Also, your concept of democracy is rather juvenile. Actually, it sounds servile.

      Ray I

      Sep 23, 2010 at 2:59pm

      Keith, I suppose we disagree on a fundamental issue. Property Rights. Specifically the role of our courts to defend them. You analogy with killing Jews is a straw man at best. There is no logical analogy to be made between ethnic slaughter and the defence of someone's right to lawfully use their private property as they see fit, provided they do so within the law.

      If you do not like property rights then you must seek a political solution not a legal one. Sorry but you lose.

      Jennifer Whittall

      Sep 23, 2010 at 3:28pm

      Our judicial system here in B.C. has too few judges to prosecute drunk drivers who maim whole families yet has no problem finding a kangaroo court to railroad this brave & articulate Great Grandmother.
      Betty K is an inspiration!