July 25, 2017
Fault Was It?
Fires didn't need to happen
Betty Krawczyk, Cumberland
ring of fire is circling a large part of our province. The fires are a
direct result of unabated commercial logging. Huge multinational companies
have, in essence, been given the BC public forests, (native lands) by
different BC governments for free (they pay only a few dollars for the trees
which is why the US accuses BC lumber of being subsidised). I am
asked…exactly how are the commercial logging companies the villains in this?
Because only controlled
burning, to rid the forests of accumulated buildup of forest debris,
especially after clear-cutting, will stop the catastrophic wild fires
occurring now. And who opposes controlled burning so vehemently that
controlled burning doesn’t happen? Why, the multi-national logging
companies. Why do they oppose? Because even a controlled burn many very well
take out some of the commercial tree farm trees from time to time. Any
controlled burn is a risk to their bottom line. The province, no matter who
is in power, will not go against the logging companies. Commercial logging
needs maximized profits; politicians need maximized votes and political
What stopped the citizen’s mass environmental protests when people came out
in droves years ago to protect BC forests? What stopped all those protests?
Primarily BC Chief Justice Madam Beverly McLachlin, as she was then (she is
currently Chief Justice of Canada). McLachlin laid down the definitive
ruling of how environmental protesters were to be treated if arrested. They
were to be charged, but not under the Criminal Code as everyone else is
charged for a misdemeanor.
Environmental protesters were to be put into a special category. They would
be charged with Contempt of Court which is a much more serious charge. But
how did this happen? What was the reasoning behind making protesters guilty
of Contempt of Court? They weren’t protesting the Court, they were
protesting commercial logging.
But McLachlin reasoned that by protesting the injunction (a judge’s order)
and refusing to move, protesters were bringing the justice system into
disrepute. She wrote: “The gravamen (the essence) of the offense (of
protesting) of criminal contempt is not actual or threatened injury to
persons or property, other offenses deal with those evils. The gravamen of
the offense is rather the open, continuous, and flagrant violation of a
But that’s what a protest is about, to come together with like-minded
citizens, in the freedom to be open, to speak truth to power, to try to
attract attention to the destruction of BC forests and other environmental
destructions, and yes, to give voice to this for as long as possible. We
were willing to face arrest, but I don’t blame anyone for not being willing
to be deprived of the protections of the law itself.
Is there a remedy? Yes, more
protests. And maybe even a little help from our new Attorney General, David
The Attorney General could certainly help in persuading the police and the
Crown to treat all citizens equally. As he is the former president of the BC
civil liberties association, I put great faith in David Eby’s wish to right
this egregious wrong.
©2017 Betty K | Blog:
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