RCMP officers and protesters face off at a camp in Fairy Creek with tripod structures visible in the background. (Submitted by BC RCMP)

RCMP officers and protesters face off at a camp in Fairy Creek with tripod structures visible in the background. (Submitted by BC RCMP)

LETTER – Our taxpayer money is being used to protect Teal Jones’s bottom line

Dear editor,

Much has already been said about Fairy Creek and the fight to protect B.C.’s old-growth forests, but many people may not be aware of the troubling turns this week has taken.

On Monday, Aug. 9, a large contingent of RCMP officers advanced on the Fairy Creek blockade headquarters camp, where they proceeded to arrest dozens of peaceful protesters and install a gate to prevent anyone entering the camp.

In the next few days, they destroyed most of the structures in the camp and began towing vehicles away.

If you see images on social media of the supposed mess and garbage purportedly left behind by the protesters, please understand that this detritus is the result of police actions. The camps have been running with careful attention to cleanliness, safety, composting, waste disposal, and recycling.

Whatever readers think about the blockade, everyone should be aware of the immense expense the RCMP has gone to over the past months: thousands of person-hours, including massive amounts of overtime; dozens of vehicles deployed, including daily use of helicopters, both for surveillance and to drop in ATVs, personnel, and other supplies; and hiring contractors to carry out tasks like towing vehicles, extracting protestors, and destroying structures.

This is our taxpayer money being used to protect Teal Jones’ bottom line. I find this outrageous.

Further, the officers consistently display problematic behaviour. On Aug. 9, I personally observed the following: 1) Most of the officers were not wearing visible name badges. 2) A majority of them were wearing Thin Blue Line patches, in defiance of the RCMP directive not to wear this insignia. 3) At least one officer refused to give his badge number, despite being asked repeatedly.

Additionally, video footage is emerging that shows aggressive behaviour from numerous officers toward peaceful protesters, with Indigenous activists targeted first and more roughly than white ones.

The officers on the scene repeatedly say they are only defending Teal-Jones’ injunction. Yet a Supreme Court ruling, written by the Honourable Mr. Justice Thompson on Aug. 9 (the very same day), clearly states: “These police actions have seriously and substantially impacted important liberties within the injunction area, including the ability of individuals to circulate freely, and freedoms of assembly and expression, including freedom of the press.”

The ruling continues: “The RCMP has not established that the police actions under examination are reasonably necessary for either of the duties they assert. It follows that the RCMP do not have legal authority for these actions. The actions are unlawful.” (Emphasis added.)

The police are acting outside the law. This should be of concern to every reader and every resident of BC.

Jen Groundwater,

Comox

Letter to the Editor