Sunday, September 26, 2010

Perpetual prison for protesters

Update : Betty's response below

An editorial in the National Post two days ago compared the peaceful civil disobedience and incarceration of 82 year old environmental activist Betty Krawczyk with that of 62 year old anti-abortion protester Linda Gibbons :
Two court injunctions; two women who violated them in a way that significantly harmed no one; prison time for both that would come as a shock to some violent offenders.
In it Chris Selley suggests that the "outraged supporters on both sides" should "consider joining forces" to look "the ferocious power of the state straight in the eyes" because "true civil libertarians must stand up for people they don’t like for the greater good".

In quoting from my blogpost on Betty K's Sept 22 hearing, Mr. Selley says he suspects that I would "decline the opportunity" to similarly defend Ms. Gibbons. I'm not convinced she requires further defence from me, given she has already recently received two stirring ones in The Sun and NaPo, further linked to by Selley in his weekly roundup, while the MSM has entirely ignored Betty this time round.

Selley on both protesters : "Not caring is pretty much where I’m at, incidentally."

Let me see if I can awaken those libertarian sensibilities of yours, Mr. Selley, in the one case here with which I am more familiar.

You wrote : "I happen to think court orders should be obeyed, and that those who defy court orders should be punished."

You probably already know Betty strongly agrees with you on both those points, but what has driven an otherwise law-abiding citizen to resort to defying that sensibility?

The government hires a corporation to clear publicly owned land. Members of the public protest. The corporation, on behalf of the government, gets a court order to prevent the public from making further protests and then the government arrests those who disobey it. The public's beef is actually with the government defiling public lands and not with the hired corporation, but the courts collude with the government in a SLAPP suit that leaves the public no legal recourse against the government. It's a built-in fail.

Are you quite sure you don't care about this, Mr. Selley?

In forwarding Selley's NaPo piece to me, Cliff at Rusty Idols said : "The point that all Canadians right, left and center have much to fear from the precedent of perpetual imprisonment for protesting is essentially true."

Yes it is.

Update : This blogpost was cross-posted at Back of the Book, where Betty left the following response :

Very good article. I am often compared to, or lumped in with, the anti-choice people but I am decidedly pro-choice. They are free to protest as they please, just as I am, but I am fundamentally opposed to their philosophy.
This attitude that women shouldn’t have control over anything, even their own bodies, is one reason, a big reason, in my opinion, that the world is in such a mess.

And of course it is about religious dogma that underlies the anti-choice people’s fervor that makes them so concerned about a fertilized egg and so uncaring of women. And this uncaring attitude about women slops over into being uncaring about the environment, because after all, they don’t really regard this earth as their home.
Thanks for caring.

Betty Krawczyk.



deBeauxOs said...

IMHO, Chris Selley needs more than the 'clues' you've provided to him, Alison.

He may have to remove his corporate blinders.

Cliff said...

It isn't a great analogy between Betty Krawczyk and Linda Gibbons; Krawczyk's peaceful protest causes minor financial distress to a huge corporation, Gibbons' opposition to clinic bubble laws is arguably a direct threat to vulnerable women.

The context of BC's bubble laws was pro-life protesters crowding, blocking and harassing women already dealing with a stressful traumatic event. Shouting murderer directly into their faces, shoving gory photos under their noses and was enacted in 1985 when a doctor was shot.

Clinic bubble laws are more similar to restraining orders against abusers than restrictions on the right to peaceful protest.

Cliff said...

make that 1994

kootcoot said...

I agree that the comparison between Ms. Gibbons and Betty is disingenuous at best. Last I noticed bulldozer operators or corporate pig CEOs hadn't been MURDERED as part of protest against environmental devastation for the profit of the few.

How many doctors providing abortion service to women have been shot (or shot at), or clinics blown up in not only the Wild West USA but also here in the peaceable kingdom of HarperLand?

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