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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

alberta and greenpeace: claims of political interference.

At a media conference on the steps of the Alberta Legislature this afternoon, lawyer Brian Beresh raised concerns that comments by Premier Ed Stelmach and Solicitor General Fred Lindsay could constitute political interference in Alberta's judicial system. Beresh, who is representing Greenpeace activists recently arrested in Fort Saskatchewan and Fort McMurray, told reporters that he was stunned by Stelmach's comments that protesters who trespass at oil and gas facilities should face harsher punishments and Lindsay's musing about using the province's counter-terrorism provisions against protesters.

Alberta and Greenpeace: Brian BereshAlberta and Greenpeace: Mike Hudema
With no evidence that the legal system is not working as it should be, it is being suggested by some legal experts that Stelmach's comments may have hurt the prosecution's case in court. In a media release, Greenpeace campaigner Mike Hudema was quoted stating that "most of us learned in Grade 5 that it is fundamental to our legal system that there must be a separation between the premier and the judicial process." Beresh noted that the tone of the bail negotiations changed after Premier Stelmach's public comments, implying that the release of the activists in Fort Saskatchewan was made more difficult because of the Premier.

Via twitter, my friend Chris Henderson put it best:
Special penalties for protesting is tantamount to suppressing free speech. Punish trespassing, not dissent.
Related Post:
- Alberta and Greenpeace: It's about site security, stupid!
- Alberta and Greenpeace: Tourists home and abroad.


Albertan in NYC said...

Stelmach is doing a great job making Albertans look like redneck reactionaries.

Berry Farmer said...

Ed's interference aside, Shell's claims that they would/could be better prepared for terrorists than they were for Greenpeace is laughable.

I spend much of my time as a rail conductor going into and all around that very upgrader and there is NO security. Getting in is easy and walking around the plant just as simple.

Whatever one thinks about Hudema and his Greenpeacers, Shell has some very serious reflection to do about security around that plant.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to agree with Berry on security. I've worked at a few plants around there, and while there is security main entrances where people have to sign in and out, the gates across the rail lines are often left open for CN to come in, and are not very well monitored. At one site I worked at someone walked in through an unattended gate and stole a vehicle from the plant site.

Albertan in Quebec said...

Greenpeace is doing a Great job at making themselves and their cause look ridiculous.

Ignorant 3rd world country people become terrorist, ignorant first world people join greenpeace.

keep up the good work Hudema. You're a joke.

Anonymous said...

OK, one of yu laughs at Shell, one of you laugh at Greenpeace, here's me laughing at daveberta and the rest of the oh-so-smart set who are in awe of Beresh, Sanjeev the perfesser and Tom Engel the righteous.
sub judice (sorry, did I spel that rong?) is a principle, not a rule, not a law. the principle is that one from the legislative must not bring his/her influence to bear on one from the judicial.
The fact that yer all running around echoing the thespian Beresh's claims of the greatest intrushun (did I spel that rong?) on judicial independence in your lifetime makes me fear for the future. With luck, I'll be dead around about the time you intellectual giants take charge of this world.

Berry Farmer said...

Thank God, sum 1 hoo kan finely spel.

Bary bury kwite cuntrairy.

I think the funniest thing today was when Ed claimed the protesters put Shell workers safety in jeopardy. Like they might have been struck by a falling protester, or what?

Those of us who work for big industry have a much larger chance of being hurt because our companies pay lip service to safety and then send us out in less than safe situations.

Good for those protesters. They did what they did without violence and the risk they took was to themselves.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous good speller,
The fact that sub judice is a principle doesn't mean it can't have very concrete implications in legal proceedings. Stelmach and his band of advisers are half-wits. If we needed any more proof after 2 years, we now have it.

As for Greenpeace's tactics, sure a lot will disagree and many living in Fort Sask or Fort Mac (or even Albertans in Quebec) will object. But that doesn't mean they're not accomplishing what they want.

Hudema understands his goals, audiences and tactics better than 90% of the hacks in the PAB, that's for sure.

Robert G. Harvie, Q.C. said...

Interseting polls today.. PC Party, followed by the Wild Rose.

A refusal to understand the fundamentally conservative leanings of our citizens is simply going to doom the Liberals and NDP to continued obscurity.

Conservative Albertans will strongly support the sentiments of our Premier.

And as for Greenpeace and their mouthpiece.. uh, the laws apply to EVERYONE. Get used to it. Go peddle your enviro-fascism somewhere else. The tollerance we show for people committing criminal and quasi-criminal offenses in the name of "free speech" is ridiculous.

Eddie - hope your Attorney General kicks some ass on these yahoos.

Berry Farmer said...

Enviro-facism? A little harsh and not historically comparable.

Over-reaction is a trademark of irrationality.

How about "conservo-facism?"

... the passing of legislation that allows for executive-style decision-making regarding public infrastructure (ie. Bill 50 and Bill 19).

Ain't Greenpeace what's doin' that [sic].

... and while we're on the topic of spelling, "tolerance" only has one 'l'... but who's counting?

Ken the Rat said...

Okay Mr. Berry Farmer, how would you improve our electrical infrastructure if Bill 50 is not the way?

It's interesting to see that the Enlightened Savage (who's left other political blogs in his dust, especially since he, um, well, came out) has been asking for an actual policy discussion and getting very few comments.

Meanwhile Daveberta has stuck to criticism and has lots of traffic (and shout-outs in the Journal).

Looking forward to reading about how Doug Horner should be blamed for the U of A not placing in the top 58 in the world.

Berry Farmer said...

Dear Ken,

I'm glad you asked:

First of all, I don't dispute that the power grid in Alberta is due for some upgrading and expansion. My opposition to Bill 50 is not about development, but rather the wholesale abrogation of the public consultation process.

The current Bill proposes to construct brand new north-south lines in both the east and west of the province. Do we need both? What is the endgame? Are we proposing to sell our electricity to the south? Why not east-west lines to tap into BC's hydro power or even east toward Manitoba's in order to benefit from the concept of a rolling peak demand?

Why have most of these plans been drawn up and presented to Albertans as a fait accompli? AESO's own rules say they must present a cost/benefit analysis of any large scale development. Where is it?

Truth be told, it has never been done.

There are several options available to Albertans vis-a-vis a new grid, but the problem with Bill 50 is that there is no dialogue about what is best for Alberta. Where to build it? Who pays? Overhead or underground (or a combination)? It is simply government (and business) deciding what is best for us... or at least that is what they tell us. I wonder whose best interest all this is really considering.

Increasingly, my prime concern with this government is the way they shape legislation so that it can be carried out without public debate or recourse.

Sadly, most Albertans don't take enough notice of how much their ability to engage in the process is being stripped.

So, Ken-the-rat, I am not opposed to a new power grid, but I think we need to share ideas about what we need... and who is to pay for it. Bill 50 precludes any of that debate...

... but then again, I'm just a poor berry farmer.

Kindest regards.

Ken the Rat said...

Excellent Mr. Berry (I'm a former grain farmer),

I'd say the North-South is purely Edmonton-Calgary focused. If Ed and Lloyd were the major centres of the province, we'd see East-West.

The idea about exporting electricity I think only lives in the head of Hugh MacDonald, because it doesn't make sense to anyone in the real world. Is Montana about to go through a population explosion?

The point Mr. Berry made about public awareness will be crucial for the government as no matter how electricity will be generated, you need to get it from A to B. They are clearly doing a horrendous job right now, would a new minister make the difference?

This has to be built in someone's backyard; any volunteers?

Berry Farmer said...


I'd volunteer... if it was put underground and the cost was shared between producer and consumer... say 50/50.

I also believe quite strongly that this is about the export of power to the USA; the Americans can build power lines as well as anyone and Montana is not an island.

At any rate, Ken, thanks for your civility.