August 10, 2021, Duncan – The BC Supreme Court has again confirmed that it is illegal for the RCMP to set up exclusion zones that block public and media access on public roads. In a written decision released August 9, 2021, Justice Thompson stated, “The RCMP’s action of blocking road access for the purpose of enforcing an order prohibiting the blocking of road access is a measure that has not been justified. Nor have the media restrictions been justified.”
The Justice noted the principal purpose of the injunction issued to Teal Jones “is to maintain public access to roads in the injunction area. The RCMP are blocking vehicle access to roads that serve as the main entry points to the injunction area. I concluded that the RCMP has not shown that their exclusion zones and associated checkpoints are reasonably necessary to carry out their enforcement duties. In short, these RCMP blockades are unlawful.”
The Justice also granted the media’s application for a “variation to the injunction to add a direction that the police will not interfere with access to any part of the injunction area by members of the media who are trying to gather information and evidence for their publications, except where there is a bona fide operational rationale requiring interference, in which case the interference is to be as minimal as possible.”
In the Court’s ruling of July 20, 2021, as well as in a letter dated February 13, 2020, the RCMP Commissioner stated that exclusion zones, stop checks, and physical and vehicle searches are activities considered illegal for RCMP use. Despite these clear instructions, RCMP have ignored these rules and still refuse to abide by them.
To this day, RCMP continue to block access to public roads. They have installed a gate at Granite Main, and began seizing personal possessions and vehicles despite initially telling forest defenders they were giving them 24 hours’ notice to freely leave. Personal possessions are being trucked away by Teal Jones employees.
Everyone who loves BC’s old-growth forests is reminded that this government has completely failed to protect even one hectare of the old-growth forest in TFL 46, which Pacheedaht Elder Bill Jones has welcomed the Rainforest Flying Squad to join him in protecting.
It should also be noted that Teal Jones is in the process of applying for more old-growth cutblock permits, and that BC Timber Sales continues to auction off old-growth cutblocks to the highest bidder.
Kathleen Code, RFS spokesperson: Phone: 250-418-5313, Email: email@example.com
Saul Arbess, RFS spokesperson: 250-383-5878 or 250-686-0764, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org