Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Logging protest arrests

Chris Davis, Pincher Creek Voice

Mike Judd and Jim Palmer (foreground)
were two of three protesters arrested this morning

C. Davis photo
Just before 9:00 am this morning, February 1, three four protesters at the site of proposed logging in the Castle Special Place area near Beaver Mines were arrested.  The proceedings were quite civil. Several media organizations were on scene to document the event.  While expressing his regrets at the situation "between neighbours", RCMP Joe McGeough directed his officers to arrest those citizens who declared themselves unwilling to leave the site.  They were taken to the Pincher Creek RCMP detachment, and were expected to be processed and released within a couple of hours.

Beaver Mines businessman Jacques Thouin leads the crowd in one last
 chant at the protest site

C. Davis photo

Close to 30 people took part in the protest, including many locals and other individuals from various parts of southern Alberta.  Those who declined to be arrested moved to another site at a range road just outside of the Castle Special Management Area boundary and continued to protest.

Stop Castle Logging spokesman Gordon Petersen said there would be a court hearing in in Chambers at the Calgary Court Centre on Friday, February 3 at about 10:00 am for five of the protesters cited specifically in Court Order 1201-00816 which was issued on Friday, January 27.  Petersen said several of the parties named in the Enforcement Order intend to appeal it.
Gordon Petersen and
RCMP Inspector Joe McGeough

C. Davis photo

This was the 21st day of non-stop protesting at the site.  Petersen estimates about 150 people have helped maintain the picket line during that time.  In an email today after the events detailed above he said "We have a number of issues with the Enforcement Order including the draconian and undemocratic order that, 'The Parties shall not occupy or use any other public lands in the Province of Alberta unless otherwise authorized to do so.' We are asking SRD to instruct SLS to stand down and not to begin any logging until the appeals are heard. If the logging were to begin, and if we were successful on appeal, we would also seek penalties for any damage the logging caused."

SRD representatives have indicated that they now consider this to be a police matter and out of their hands.

RCMP Press release, February 1, 2012:

Four Arrested at Beaver Mines Protest

On February 1st, 2012 at 8:00 AM two members of the RCMP, acting on a Queen's Bench Enforcement Order, attended a public protest in the Beaver Lake District.  Approximately 50 people including the RCMP, SRD, protesters and media were in attendance.

Following the arrival of the RCMP the majority of the protesters voluntarily left the location of the logging activity and moved to a location near the site.  Four individuals informed the RCMP they felt it was a matter of conscience and cooperated fully with the police on being arrested. These persons were transported to Pincher Creek and released on an undertaking to appear in Queen's Bench Court in Calgary, Alberta on February 24th, 2012.

The identities of the arrested individuals will not be released as these proceedings are civil and no charges are laid.

The RCMP would like to thank those protested, Sustainable Resources and Development personnel and the logging company for their considerate response and generous patience in this matter.

 C. Davis video


  1. Dave Mayhood1/2/12

    Those arrested have taken a huge risk for their attempts to protect the Castle ecosystem from further logging. They will need considerable resources to defend themselves. I hope all who share their beliefs pony up to help them, according to their ability to do so.

    People need to understand clearly what is going on here. SRD is being run entirely for the benefit of the logging industry. The logging industry runs SRD, and SRD is determined to crush any and all opponents of their unlimited logging policy. In their Enforcement Order, SRD has even gone so far as to deny anyone they care to name any use or occupancy of public land anywhere in Alberta without their permission. That's maybe half to two-thirds of the province. If you so much as drove through the closed area, or if you stopped to talk to the protesters, this order may even apply to you.

    All of this was done with the stroke of a pen by a petty functionary at SRD in Edmonton. By that means, the protesters and the thousands of folks who drove through the closed area to go skiing stand convicted of trespassing without ever having had the opportunity to defend themselves in court.

    Premier Redford knew this was going on. She had a chance to fix the problem. She didn't.

    An election is coming. You know what you have to do.

    Dave Mayhood

  2. Anonymous2/2/12

    Interesting comment by the protestor who said many local people can't openly protest because of government subsidies and handouts.

    To what extent are we all being "bought off" by promises of short term economic gain....while our true weath is "clear cut" for foreign interests. I understand the woodchips that will replace parts of the Castle wilderness are gong to Japan. Our raw bitumen is slated for China...if the subsidies to the oil patch keep enough of us muzzled.

    REminds me of that Cree saying: Only when the last tree is cut, and the last fish shipped east to a sushi market somewhere, will we albertans realize we can't eat money. Or drink it either!

  3. Karina2/2/12

    It is so disappionted that our governments do not concern the future of our land nor our future generations. We all should reconsider which party will get our votes.
    Many thanks to those who protest and speak up for us !

  4. Anonymous4/2/12

    And what does Alberta get for the trees? Hardly anything. We still have the lowest stumpage fees in North we are virtually giving trees away for wood chips for Japan. Nice work if you can get it..even if you are destroying wildlife habitat, eco-systems and watersheds. Spray Lakes Lumber has a very poor environmental record, so they must have some good "friends" at Sustainable Resources or the Tory Caucus. The envelope is in the mail.

  5. Lynn5/2/12

    There are more pros than cons to logging this area. There has been 5 years of research done by SRD prior to the decision of allowing the logging to proceed. Trees have nothing to do with the grizzlies, anytime I have ever spotted a bear, they are in the clear cut area, where the berries are growing and where they can turn over stumps to find insects. If the forest becomes too dense, the animals leave because nothing is growing there anymore. My Grandmother, as a child, used to pick berries behind the Crowsnest Mountain. The berries aren't there anymore, and haven't been there for many, many years because the trees overtook the area, killing off the existing vegetation. The dense forest makes it easier for the pine beetle to take over. Logging has been in the area for 100+ years, and at least now, because of SRD, it is done right. They aren't going to just let Spray Lake to do what they want, they are going to be monitoring them on a regular basis, because that is their job.

    These people that work for SRD have gone to school to study on how best to protect the land. One person said that there is no research done to prove certain things, how does he know that there is no research. The Alberta Forest Service has been around since 1953, put in place to help protect the land and wildlife. In the "old" days, all they needed was love for the land, a riding horse and two pack horses to work for the Forestry, but throughout the years they had to go to school to learn how best to preserve the land. Now, the people that choose to be SRD officers, have to go to university. I fully trust that they are doing their job for the benefit of our future in this area, not for the money, but because they love the land just as much as we do, and that is why they chose it for their career.

    The one thing I was wondering about is, if these protestors are so concerned about the environment, why did they have their vehicles running while they were protesting, emitting fumes into the air? Seems a little hypocritical to me. Like I said...just wondering.


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