Rafe to Christy Clark- Spare the kids, parents your Kinder Morgan lectures

Rafe to Christy: Spare the kids, parents your Kinder Morgan lectures

Rafe to Christy Clark- Spare the kids, parents your Kinder Morgan lectures
11-year-old Kate Fink-Jensen (CTV) and Premier Clark (Lyle Stafford, Postmedia)

Premier Christy Clark has taken it upon herself to criticize the parents of two 11-year-olds who protested the Kinder Morgan action in Burnaby and were only not arrested because the police chose to refrain from doing so. The premier is concerned that the these children have been encouraged, by their parents, to “break the law”.

This requires, I submit, a bit of examination.

I trust that premier Clark has no objection to parents instilling in their children the principles by which they govern themselves. I suspect that her son Hamish is being brought up to be a free-enterpriser, as defined by his mother and father. (Oddly enough, after the last legislative session, I assume that NDP opposition leader John Horgan agrees with premier Clark, given his obsequious support of her and her government on the LNG issue).

The King CAN do wrong

The basic issue, as I read the Premier’s remarks, is that these two children were taught to flout the law. This is the argument that those in charge of things have always made. It’s really part of the maxim that “the King can do no wrong”.

The problem is, the king can do a hell of a lot wrong. When he takes away the rights of citizens by passing an oppressive law, for which kings and their ministers are justifiably famous, he’s done wrong. Does that mean that he must nevertheless be obeyed at all cost because his laws by definition are “legal”?

Civil disobedience has been part of the democratic process since the Magna Carta and before. One of the principles is that if you stand against a law, you must pay the penalty. This the kids were prepared to do.

In the present case, the two young girls evidently decided, quite on their own, that Kinder Morgan was interfering with their park and with their neighbourhood and wanted to protest. Presumably if they’d decided they wanted to carry signs supporting Kinder Morgan, the premier would’ve had no objection.

The real issue, then, is that these girls broke the law and whether or not it was a good law or a bad law, is irrelevant. The law is the law, period.

What if enforcing the law is an abuse of process? Let me make the case that it is.

Abuse of Process

The matter is essentially a civil one, not a criminal one. The protesters interfered with Kinder Morgan’s right to conduct survey work for its proposed project and, as a result Kinder Morgan, sued the protesters. Instead of the case proceeding to civil court, with a judgment duly rendered on the merits, Kinder Morgan turned it into a criminal matter by obtaining an injunction from the Supreme Court preventing the protesters from protesting on public property. Now, all of a sudden, the protesters were faced with jail if they don’t do what they’re told.

What is it, you might ask, that the protesters were deprived of by the matter being turned from civil to criminal?

The answer is everything. In a civil court, the protesters had a number of defences open to them not the least of which was the breach of Burnaby bylaws protecting their property, parks, roads and neighbourhoods. Remember that the National Energy Board and the Supreme Court of British Columbia are not the last word on these matters – many of them beg to go to the Court of Appeal and higher.

Does Kinder Morgan have the right, even under government permits, to destroy municipal property? Does it have the right to interfere with citizens using their streets and their parks? Does it have the right to permanently sully the neighbourhood with any pipeline, let alone one that Burnaby residents know from experience is dangerous? What about the rights of people to enjoy their environment?

The citizens of Burnaby were prevented from raising these and other questions by the matter suddenly, at Kinder Morgan’s request, becoming criminal where the only issue is the protesters conduct.

Injunction disfunction

No process causes quite as much discomfort amongst the judges than this one. A number have publicly expressed their concern, including the late and highly respected Josiah Wood of the British Columbia Court of Appeal, who was scathing in his condemnation of this practice.

I’d be the last to suggest that parents should encourage children to break laws that we all know are just and necessary for the survival of a democratic and, for that matter, a safe society.

On the other hand, it seems to me to be an act of commendable citizenship to teach children that there are sacred democratic principles that must be set above laws made for the convenience of the “establishment”.

Surely it’s appropriate that children be taught how we have struggled against these kind of laws going back to the Magna Carta. Surely they should learn about the expulsion of the Tolpuddle Martyrs for fighting for labourer’s rights, the ongoing struggle for free speech, and the struggle against tyranny by the Fathers of the American Revolution.

My library is full of biographies of people like Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, and John Wilkes. I have a substantial mini-library on the American Revolution and those who inspired and fought it. Does this make my house unsafe for my younger grandchildren? Would Ms. Clark have me dealt with severely for telling my grandkids that the people who disobeyed the oppressive laws of the day were heroes? That because of them and other brave men and women we have the rights we now possess?

What would John Wilkes say?

One biography I would urge upon the premier is that of John Wilkes. He was a rebel in 18th century London who amongst other things, went to jail for criticizing a speech by George III. He supported free speech when it was not fashionable to do so. In Parliament, he supported the Americans’ right to independence.

Wilkes was exiled, returned and thrown in jail again. Voters in the city of London rioted in his support as he was expelled from Parliament for sedition. He wound up the Lord Mayor of London, in spite of his lifelong war against the “establishment” of the day.

What position would Ms Clark have taken had she lived in those times? Would she have supported George III, his supine Prime Ministers and the laws they passed to suit themselves and the “establishment” they represented?

Or would she have said to Hamish, “this man Wilkes is a hero and is trying to establish and encourage the liberties of people including the right of free speech?”

The point is that premier Clark is being facile. She ignores the fact that the parents of these two girls are obviously trying to teach them the principles of free speech and freedom from oppression by bad laws made for people who hide behind them.

This was an obvious political maneuver to appear to be on the side of “Law and Order” in order to assure her supporters that she is unyielding in her fight for special rights and privileges, all nice and legal like, for the “establishment” no matter what.


About Rafe Mair

Rafe Mair, LL.B, LL.D (Hon) a B.C. MLA 1975 to 1981, was Minister of Environment from late 1978 through 1979. In 1981 he left politics for Talk Radio becoming recognized as one of B.C.'s pre-eminent journalists. An avid fly fisherman, he took a special interest in Atlantic salmon farms and private power projects as environmental calamities and became a powerful voice in opposition to them. Rafe is the co-founder of The Common Sense Canadian and writes a regular blog at rafeonline.com.

39 thoughts on “Rafe to Christy: Spare the kids, parents your Kinder Morgan lectures

  1. Christy needs to have the difference of an injunction and the law explained to her. There significant difference. Bullying has many separate definitions including hiding behind an injunction and saying that it is right. I wonder how any person that condones muzzling protests has in good conscience sleeps at night including that person who passed this injunction. Remembrance day reminds us how dear a price was paid for all of the citizens of this country to be heard without fear of reprisals.

  2. For anyone who has watched the TV series, Lie To Me, the above photograph of Christy Clark is quite revealing. The look on her face makes it quite clear that what she’s really upset about is not parents allowing their children to “flout the law”, but the fact that even children are participating in the protest. Why? Because it’s much easier to get away with denigrating adults participating in civil disobedience than children doing the same thing.

  3. What I find objectionable is that Premier Clark should be running the provincial government, not giving parenting advice or criticizing other’s parenting skills.

    She has way overstepped her bounds.

  4. Any political leader as disliked and unpopular as Christy Clark after supposedly winning an election should be considered as having lost any mandate they ever had to govern…or in her case, sit as provincial Premier.
    In Clark’s case…she should have lost that right when she lost her own riding…what was that telling us?
    It obviously told her nothing or the B.C. Liberal party.
    It was only party constitutional politics that allowed her to even remain as party leader.
    From here on out…it gets worse for her and sadly…she did it to herself with her complete inability to see any further than the corporate gods who dictate her agenda.
    And a healthy dose of sheer arrogance.
    I have seen some bad Premiers come and go over the years, but this one has crashed and burned faster an any of them.
    Anyone politician this unpopular just doesn’t get it and should be considered an albatross around the party’s neck.
    To keep her around will only speed up their own demise.
    The B.C. Liberals need to show some real leadership to the people of B.C.and get rid of her.

  5. a very intelligent explaination of why a very unintelligent premiere is completely wrong. Who is she, a law breaker in her own right, to accuse others of being law breakers. Christy you are only making yourself look more ignorant each time you open your mouth and spout. Do us a favour. Resign and keep quiet and go off and work from r whatever corporation is stupid enough to hire you.

  6. Christy Clark had a good teacher who taught her how to bugger BC and its citizens.
    She is the epitome of Gordon Campbell in a dress.
    Come on BC we all remember him don’t we?
    He resigned as Premier before he got voted out,and then Harper rewarded him with a plumb position as Ambassador of Canada in Britain.
    It just goes to show doesn’t it?

  7. Another good piece Rafe.

    So our “closet Queen” Crusty Clarke emerges to make an arse of herself again – her truly strong trait.

    It is sad to think about our Premier not being able to differentiate between parental guidance and political revenge. Those children were being taught to stand up for what they believe in – even though it might upset the powers of be. Tut – tut, our premier slams the parents for teaching the children to break the law ! Christy would probably know as she was a “hell raiser” when she was young and got expelled from university for failing exams.

    It appears we are but a few steps from being a province run by a dictator – probably modelled on Harper’s style.

    It is enlightening to hear the province with the worst record in the country for child care, child poverty, telling off loving parents for instilling honourable beliefs in their children.

    There is no question that this province is being run by fools, idiots, criminal elements and retards !

    How on earth do you fix stupid ? Stupid is as stupid does – thank you Cluck-cluck Clark.


    1. Indeed!
      And we KNOW you can’t fix stupid!
      This is what happens when we elect a political opportunist who is rude, loud, and arrogant all at the same time!
      A bit of humility and more respect for those who elected her would have gone a long ways to help her popularity level.
      Too late now!

  8. Laws to protect the wealthy or the elites are not laws, they are mere diktats to keep those in power, in power.

    Laws that prevent democratic actions are not laws, but constraints against freedom.

    Laws that allow politicians and their friends to rape public resources or pillage the public coffers are not laws, they are crimes.

    It is time for all good people to rise up and rid ourselves the chains of corrupt laws, so designed to to keep corrupt politicians in power and if good people stand and defy such laws, they should be deemed as hero’s.

  9. I suppose she would think that those black kids in the deep south in the early days of the civil rights movement should not have sat at the lunch counter after all

  10. I agree with Rafe here 100%. I would add that what he says is applicable to the population as a whole. I have been ranting to friends and anyone who will listen about what I can only describe as an “authority complex”…or “authority worship”. It seems too many citizens are mentally ill equipped to understand the crucial role civil disobedience plays in a healthy democracy. “Law breakers” were in some manner or another behind so many of the freedoms we take for granted and it pisses me off to the core that people’s instinctual response to protest or the slightest of inconveniences is the oft repeated “they’ve gone too far”. If an intersection is closed for 10 minutes by a protest that causes traffic backups, people holler and scream that protesters should get a job, or that the police should do theirs and…arrest or use force against them. If a public sector union goes on strike, they don’t have long before they are legislated back or merely declared an essential service. Shit – you don’t even need to be a public sector worker anymore to find your right to strike stripped; Air Canada anyone? Clark’s ridiculous parenting advice is merely a reflection of the predominant narrative of a society of ahistoric morons. It’s a defeatist apathy that is small in its vision, and precisely why change is so hard to achieve while being so badly needed.

  11. Great article. All laws are not just laws. Christy just doesn’t like it when she doesn’t get her way. She stamps her feet and starts lashing out like a child who has not been taught right from wrong. At least the children at the protest have been taught that lesson and may grow up more honest and honorable.

  12. Nice and well laid out Article Rafe. I miss you on the radio. You always have good insight and fair look on both sides.


  13. So … Premier Clark, who lost her seat in the last election but somehow remained Premier is trying to become the ‘image of political correctness’ is she? Well then! I didn’t bother to read, what I believe to be true basically speaks for itself. The woman should just keep her mouth shut. as It was obvious in the last election that NO ONE IN HER RIDING was expecting her to have an opinion in the first place. <- that's called 'leading by example'. Perhaps then, the protesters would be a little more considerate. (Perhaps, but I hope not)

  14. Agreed, Larry Norman. Independent news sources rock for the information, analysis, opinion and insight they provide. And they allow citizens, communities, associations, movements, etc. wherever they may be to access and share without the filters, the adverts, the spin doctors, the PR firms, the gate keepers. Sure, you have to think – not simply consume – but that’s what democracy takes.

    The kids are alright. Brilliant article, Rafe.

  15. Great Article. Something to be said about independent News Sources these days cause Mainstream no longer has Journalistic Integrity when carrying hypocrites and then rolls advertiser Kinder Morgan /Trans Mountain soft sell commercial. Wow just wonder who are the stupid ones. TY Keep up the Great work!

  16. Breaking who’s law? I find it interesting to note that now criminal charges have been tossed (due to Kinder Morgan not having the right GPS coordinates for their survey … are we scared yet) … that Christie has now chosen to haul Patrick Moore … headlined as the ex-president of Greenpeace … out into her media court. •

    Let’s take a closer look at Patrick Moore. It would be awesome if the media published his bio. He was tossed out of Greenpeace in 1986. After leaving Greenpeace Moore established a family salmon farming business, Quatsino Seafarms, at his home in Winter Harbour. In this year he was also elected president of the British Columbia Salmon Farmers Association. In a nutshell … since then, Moore has been funded/used by the GMO lobby, the Nuclear power lobby, the Climate change deniers, the forestry industry, and Asia Pulp and Paper who are clear-cutting the tropical rainforests.

    Here are some snippets spanning the mid-90’s to 2009 … and now the Harper/Clark coalition have hauled his sorry ass out once again.

    • -Moore addressed a Biotechnology Industry Organization conference in Waikiki saying, “There’s no getting away from the fact that over 6 billion people wake up each day on this planet with real need for food, energy and materials”, and need genetically engineered crops to this end.

    • -Moore has stated that global warming and the melting of glaciers is not necessarily a negative event because it creates more arable land

    • -Moore is supported by the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), a national organization of pro-nuclear industries … He argues that any realistic plan to reduce reliance on fossil
    fuels or greenhouse gas emissions would require increased use of nuclear energy to supply baseload power.

    • And …. The best for last …. In 2010, Moore was commissioned by forestry giant Asia Pulp and Paper to report on its logging activity in Indonesia’s rainforests, resulting in a glowing review … noting his advocacy for the felling of tropical rainforests for the planting of genetically engineered crops.

    It would be really, really, really interesting to know if Patrick received a pay check from Christie et al for his latest little piece of media covered wisdom. Hey Rafe?

  17. Maybe Ms Clark would like to explain to the children of B.C. why she has chosen to partner with, or sell out our province to, some of the most immoral criminals on our planet? Petronas and Tanoto both are guilty of massive human rights abuses and environmental destruction. They have treated their own indigenous people with heartless brutality. Human trafficking and slavery are rife in Malaysia, yet Ms Clark has agreed to allow Petronas to bring in their own labourers, as our laws would make the project ‘cost prohibitive’. Cristy Clark has absolutely no moral ground to stand on when she has already sold her soul to the devil. Our children will find out what hypocrites our generation has been soon enough.

      1. Thanks Damien. I’ve been living in Malaysia and am just catching up. We should add to the mix the financial and political stability of Malaysia itself. Petronas accounts for over 50% of their GDP, which has kept the regime in power, but all company finances are a national secret. They are investing here because they’ve drained their own oil fields. The Malaysian government is in the midst of a huge investment scandal involving $50 billion which could bring about their collapse. Excellent choice of long-term partners, there is likely to be a major revolution there in the next two years.

  18. Mr. Mair, though I frequently disagree with your point of view, in this instance I am with you 100%.

  19. Christy Clark…..the beer slinging wench that “studied” at the Sorbonne ( it has to be true! Its on her CV!).
    An intellectual light weight that couldnt find “honest” let alone spell it , in the dictionary even if her political career depended upon it. But then again, maybe it does….

    How can I tell Ms Clark is an idiot?
    Her lips are moving.
    Speaking of idiots, where IS Pamela Martin these days?
    Pammy’s been awfully low key these days hauling in that obscene 140k per annum salary as Christy’s “Presser”. Seems somewhat ironic that her Press secretary is “out of the press”

    1. It is true. She spent a whole month at the Sorbonne in some sort of “study French” program one fateful summer. Her CV is almost not misleading.

  20. Right on Rafe for so brilliantly pointing out the obvious. Sadly as you have pointed out this is par for the course with right winged and back sliding politics and more likely always will be, human nature and all that. The various governments throughout Canada need to understand that the great assault on what many in this great land hold dear to our hearts and souls has hit a breaking point. They should prepare for more and louder Burnaby Mountain type incidents from a broad range of the people of Canada. Heave duh Steve!!


  21. I truly believe that Christie Clark doesnt understand what civil disobedience is.. if you asked her for a definition, she would likely say ‘its when you break the law’. Its sad when the average citizen is more rationale and intelligent than their elected leader.

  22. For shame, Clark – you are disgrace to energy progressiveness, education, environmental stewardship, and your pathetic trteatment of B.C. citizens and their families. Get a job you can do right.

  23. What about CC’s running a red light with a child in her car to show off to media? It’s okay to break the law in that case? What about BC Rail, Quickwins, the Health Care Firings Scandal (including a death caused by callousness), is it okay to break laws in those cases? Christy has a lot of nerve scolding anyone for anything given her penchant for lies and law-breaking.

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