Great-Grandmother’s Protests a Danger to Society

Vancouver BC, July 8, 2006 – Vancouver environmentalist Betty Krawczyk, 78, is back in jail pending trial for her protests at Eagleridge Bluffs in West Vancouver. On Friday, July 7, Justice Brown ordered Krawczyk to remain in custody at Surrey Pre-Trial Centre until her next hearing at BC Supreme Court on September 15.

“For her own good, Ms. Krawczyk must be detained to protect the public,” Justice Brown stated. “Entering construction zones endangers Ms. Krawczyk, those accompanying her and the workers.”

Krawczyk was removed from court Thursday and held overnight for her bail hearing Friday afternoon. She appeared in a gray BC Corrections sweatsuit and slippers, her short white hair combed flat. She said the court has no right to hold her without charge. “I’m held in some sort of limbo,” she said. “I feel it’s contrary to my rights as a citizen.”

Justice Brown said she is considering criminal contempt of court charges for Krawczyk’s three attempts to stop construction in a wetlands area in May and June. Dozens of Eagleridge supporters were arrested along with Krawczyk in May after pitching tents in the path of bulldozers, linking arms and refusing to move. The Eagleridge Bluffs area now falls under a court order to prevent protestors from blocking construction to upgrade the Sea-to-Sky Highway.

“The Crown is using this as a way of keeping any sort of publicity away from issues about the way we do business in BC, and about the way the Attorney General instructs the police to arrest people,” Krawczyk told Justice Brown. “I really resent being arrested under the auspices of a corporation that’s destroying a precious bio-system – an American company – under the BC courts.”

Justice Brown then interrupted Krawczyk, saying, “This is not a place for a political speech.”

Krawczyk has four previous convictions for contempt of court. In total, she has served over a year in jail for her efforts to prevent logging in Clayoquot Sound, the Elaho Valley and the Walbran Valley.

During the hearing, the judge scolded Krawczyk for representing herself. “I have repeatedly suggested you get legal advice. I can’t give you legal advice.” But Krawczyk said the only lawyer she would work with was Cameron Ward, who is not available.

Meanwhile, Ned Jacobs of the Coalition to Save Eagleridge Bluffs reports that logging and clearing the trees and brush from the route has temporarily stopped because Bluffs volunteers have found nesting migratory birds in the path of the logging. A 200-metre wide swathe of broken earth and stumps is visible from the highway and from the air, but covers only about half a kilometer of the seven-kilometer route. He writes:

“The protesters are not giving up . . . By locating active nests of protected birds, they have delayed the destruction of the Larsen wetlands. They continue to call for a halt to this dangerous diversion and to the breaking of our Olympic promise.”

But the Coalition’s appeal of the injunction was denied by the court on July 4th, and it now appears construction will continue as soon as the nesting season is over.

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For more info about Eagleridge Bluffs, the wetlands and Kiewit Inc’s plan to blast a new highway over community opposition, visit here: mostlywater.org/node/4147

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