Re: 13 fined in train protest, May 8.
During the recent coal-train blockade in White Rock, the RCMP acted to enforce the law and protect society while still protecting our stop-coal group’s constitutional right to protest – what a contrast with blood-splattered heads that we see from Russia or the carnage in Syria.
From that initial concept of a mutual respect for human rights, negotiations between our group and the police proceeded with discussions about our mutual determination to avoid any violence and to create a minimum of disturbance for the police, the protesters and the public.
We made it clear we would not tolerate any violence from “outsiders” and that we would work with the police to ensure the safety of the public. For example, we made a commitment to send out teams to warn people to stay away from the train once it had been stopped.
We also expressed our concern to the police that we preferred not to be arrested for “contempt of court” but rather for “trespass.” In the latter case, it may be possible to take our case to the courts and argue the “defence of necessity”; that is, that we stopped the coal train as an act of disobedience for moral reasons – to protect our children’s future lives from destruction by the breakdown of our climate.
Canadian society is one of the few places in the world where a civilized discussion around the issue of human rights can take place with an enforcement arm of the state; in this case, the RCMP. How great is that?
As a result of the patience, understanding and respect of the police, we have the possibility that dramatic changes in society can come about peacefully, if the courts and Canadians decide that our cause is worthy.
So thank you, RCMP.
Peter Nix, Maple Bay
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I completely agree with the stoppage of the coal train to make a point about the huge impact the burning of coal has on the environment.
It all starts from the mines in the U.S., where heavy machinery – trucks, trains, ships, and who knows what else – pollutes our air in the whole process.
At the same time, we have lost the opportunity of making those products here or even the know how thus putting us even more dependent on other countries.
There was also in the paper a mention of a safety issue when the train is stopped. What about the many safety issues when the train is stopped by the many mudslides or the possibility of a major derailment? Remember there are also many dangerous chemicals travelling along this corridor, too. The person who referred to one of the protestors as a blockhead, get a life.
Brian Lauder, Surrey