Western Standard

The Shotgun Blog

« Aga Khan granted Honorary Canadian Citizenship | Main | Paul Brandt inspires Wildrose Alliance leadership candidates »

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Bubble zone violation lands B.C. grandmother in jail

Only minutes after Western Standard blogger Rick Hiebert wrote “It continues to be difficult to be a pro-lifer in B.C. this week,” Stephanie Gray with the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (CCBR) released a statement to the media that this afternoon police arrested a 73-year-old B.C. resident, Cecilia VonDehn, outside the Everywoman's Health Care abortion facility in downtown Vancouver.

The B.C. Access to Abortion Services Act forbids any interaction with abortion providers or their customers within 50 metres of an abortion clinic. According to CCBR, VonDehn, however, was not breaking that law. Instead, she was informing people of the existence of that law, known as bubble zone legislation.

Family and friends have not heard from VonDehn since the arrest. She is being held for the night in Canada's notorious Downtown Eastside, in a holding jail known for being a drunk tank. It is not known for certain, however, what condition she is in, nor what conditions she is being kept in.

John Hof of Campaign Life Coalition B.C. was at the scene when the arrest happened.

"It is alarming that police would arrest someone who was simply stating what the law is," said Hof. "The fact that they're keeping a grandmother for the night and her family hasn't heard from her is even more appalling. The suppression of basic expression in Canada should be cause for everyone's concern."

In prophetic words, Hiebert wrote:

Freedom of speech, with the talk of abuses by human rights commissions and such, is becoming an issue to friends of liberty these days. While I don't expect them to be pro-life as I am, I can suggest that banning all forms of pro-life activity here is surely draconian, and certainly something that should be addressed.

With a 73-year-old grandmother in a jail cell tonight, bubble zone legislation is indeed “certainly something that should be addressed.”

Posted by Matthew Johnston

Posted by westernstandard on June 20, 2009 | Permalink


"grandmother ... a 73-year-old ... a grandmother ... a 73-year-old grandmother ..."

Tell me, if a 73-year-old grandmother commits murder, do you think the law should treat the same as it treats a 25-year-old? I do. Age and generational status are irrelevent when it comes to breaking the law. There is no special right for 73-year-old grandmothers to break laws, so her age and family are irrelevent. The repeated emphasis on those points here suggests you are not so much woried about engaging in the real issue of the law. Speaking of that...

"The B.C. Access to Abortion Services Act forbids any interaction with abortion providers or their customers within 50 metres of an abortion clinic. According to CCBR, VonDehn, however, was not breaking that law."

Really? Well it looks like the CCBR has not read the law in question or they are outright lying. The law says, "While in an access zone, a person must not do any of the following: (a) engage in sidewalk interference;" and it defines "sidewalk interference" as including "informing or attempting to inform a person concerning issues related to abortion services by any means...." So if she was informing people of the bubble zone law within the bubble zone, then she was breaking the law.

I also doubt the whole story is that a gentle, kindly old lady who was simply tring to be helpful by pointing out to someone what the law was got thrown into the black hole of Vancouver by the mean gestapo. After the recent story of the 72-year-old woman who belligerantly refused to accept her speeding ticket, we know grandmas can be more than just gentle, kindly old ladies.

The story here is a person broke the bubble zone law and was arrested for it. That's all. The rest is just alarmist hyperbole and sentimentalist puffery.

Posted by: Fact Check | 2009-06-20 5:38:30 AM

Thanks for the update Matthew. Apparently Sissy was arrested after I returned to work...

Posted by: Rick Hiebert | 2009-06-20 6:35:38 AM

To balance an individuals privacy and their own freedom to go about their daily activities with the free speech of others, I have absolutely no problem with 150M bubbles of no–free–speech and limited freedom zones around all medical service providers, or special events, and on public roads and sidewalks. I certainly wouldn't want some busybody pestering me because I chose a medical procedure that went against their aesthetic preference, and i do not appreciate being inconvenienced by protesters who have a parade that disrupts traffic.

Posted by: Doug Ransom | 2009-06-20 6:41:24 AM

The bubble-zone legislation is certainly an affront to liberty and the sheerest hypocrisy, Matthew, but not because of who wound up being arrested. She knew she was breaking the law, and regardless of her motives, the honest thing to do is to accept the penalty.

And Fact Check, cut the crap. You have no idea what this woman's character is like and for you to cast negative aspersions on her without having the slightest idea amounts to no more than a nasty drive-by smear. I realize it's early, but have some coffee or something.

Tell me, if union workers, with their penchant for violence, are allowed to disrupt access to a job site, or prevent citizens from dumping their garbage at an approved dump site when they've decided they won't do it themselves without better pay, and street protesters, also with their penchant for violence, are allowed to block major arteries for sometimes days at a time, then how is it consistent to make an exclusionary zone for, of all things, abortion clinics?

It wouldn't be because they serve primarily women, would it?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-20 8:33:40 AM

Again mathews with the anti-woman sentiments. Just drop a hundred pounds or so and your wife might find you attractive again and then you can stop being so bitter and mysogenistic.

Posted by: DrGreenthumb | 2009-06-20 10:26:23 AM

"Again mathews with the anti-woman sentiments. Just drop a hundred pounds or so and your wife might find you attractive again and then you can stop being so bitter and mysogenistic."

Either show how the statement doesn't make sense, or shut your yap, Poison Pill.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-20 10:48:45 AM

echoing the first commenter: grandmother, grandmother, grandmother. What difference does her age and grandmotherly status make? Would she be less wise or less a figure meant for us to sympathize with if she were younger, or what we used to call in more sexist days an "elderly spinster?" Give us a break. How about "woman arrested for..." or even better, "person arrested for..." Doesn't sound the same, does it?

Posted by: BillBC | 2009-06-20 11:39:50 AM

Canada is cursed by God, this, the worst genocide in the history of the world, will continue until the end of the world now because of the damned genocidal unrepentant demonic state of those with power and guns who control this country.

The cursed state of this country is so grotesque that these bloodthirsty whores now force all Canadians to pay for these murders with their tax money. It is time for all those who oppose this the worst genocide in the history of the world to leave Canada permananently. If you stay YOU personally are funding this genocide with YOUR money that these genocidal pigs are taking from you in order to fund this murderous genocide, just like the Nazi pigs took in taxes to build the gas chambers.

Posted by: Exodus | 2009-06-20 12:01:59 PM

Update on The two arrested from a press release from CLCBC



VANCOUVER, BC, June 20, 2009–

Campaign Life Coalition BC has just learned of the release of the two pro-life demonstrators arrested yesterday at the abortion facility near Broadway and Commercial in Vancouver yesterday. After being led away in handcuffs shortly past noon on Friday June 19, 72 year old grandmother Sissy Von Dehn and 58 Year old Donald Spratt, spent 24 hours in the downtown east-side Vancouver jail. They were released shortly after 1 PM today on a promise to appear for a hearing on the charge of alleged breach of the Bubble Zone Sec. 21.b.

Both Von Dehn and Spratt signed an undertaking to remain away from the 2500 block Commercial Drive area and the adjacent alleyways and to appear in BC Provincial Court on Friday July 3 at 2 PM.

Upon her release Sissy Von Dehn commented that she was disappointed with her treatment at the hands of the Vancouver Police Department. At no time during her incarceration was she able to make a hone call. She three times tried to use a phone made available, but it did not work. When she asked about that the officer simply replied “that happens sometimes.” Her family had no way of knowing her status as all inquiries to the police led others to believe she would be making a call. “I guess there is no guarantee of your one phone call after all” she added.

Von Dehn also commented how surprised she was that she had been arrested at all. “Police assured me on two occasions that carrying these same Bubble Zone notice signs was within our rights and in no infringed on the Bubble Zone legislation. It was quite a shock to be hauled off to jail for notifying passersby of a BC law.”

At present we have had no contact with the other person arrested with Von Dehn and will update everyone when we do.

Still Photos of the arrest available.

Campaign Life Coalition BC

Posted by: Servant | 2009-06-20 4:08:58 PM

Abortion, the killing of babies, remains a sacred cow for the Left. The irony is that while they claim they are pro-women, abortion is anti-women as it is practised here.

Bubble zones only exist for this sacred cow. We see no such thing to protect hunters, fishermen, loggers, miners and many others who too often have their lives endangered by "protesters". The concept of a bubble zone has no place in a free and democratic society. Only those protesters who use force or intimidation should be arrested and charged be it for abortion mills, hunting, fishing, logging or any other legal activity.

Posted by: Alain | 2009-06-21 12:11:07 PM

I was thrown in jail 2002 in Kamloops after having violated the same bubble zone back several years ago.
They carried out the arrest warren in Kamloops after I returned and was having a pro-life event at the UCC in Kamloops.
A man appeared in plain clothes asking about the event and asked who I was then said he was a cop and arrested me.
I spent the night in a Kamloops holding cell.
It was terrible and I know Sissy and she is a great person.
God bless her.

Posted by: Merle Terlesky | 2009-06-21 4:35:15 PM

Fact Check,

Thanks for the information about the bubble law. It does sound like a pretty extensive violation of liberty, though.

Providing information isn't the same as harassment, or at least I think a distinction can be made.

Posted by: Terrence Watson | 2009-06-21 4:53:11 PM

Hey Watson. Did you get your electronic cigarettes yet?

Posted by: The Stig | 2009-06-21 5:04:03 PM


Yep. I had some difficulty finding an outlet I could trust. But I did order some eventually from an elderly woman who sells e cigarettes to supplement her income. Figured she couldn't afford to cheat me, and several message boards spoke highly of her shop.

They're not bad, the c-cigarettes. The batteries seem to last a while, as do the cartridges. The main problem is I got no instructions with my order and had to figure out how to put the thing together myself.

Not a big deal, but I wondered for the first while if it was going to blow up or melt in my hands.

The taste is inferior to regular cigarettes, unfortunately. Not bad, but not great. I just got the regular tobacco flavor, but next time I'll try one of the flavored varieties.

The one really nice thing about them is that I can take a drag and put the thing back in my front pocket.

If you want to give them a try, let me know and I'll post the link to the shop I used.



Posted by: Terrence Watson | 2009-06-21 5:46:07 PM

Abortion is WRONG. It always has been WRONG. It leads to the death of cultures. It causes mothers to kill their born children. [As in if only I had aborted my fetus, I would not have this child interfering with my life-style. After all, I could have killed the child when it was in my womb, so why in God's name cannot I do it after it has been born? This born child has no right to interfere with my life. What's that you say, Caylee?]

Posted by: dewp | 2009-06-22 12:39:54 AM

The taste will likely improve as the companies fine-tune their smoking mixes, Terrence. But it will likely never have the flavour of a traditional cigarette, because in that case the tobacco is not merely heated, but combusted.

Odd thing is I've heard people say that vaporized marijuana actually tastes better than smoked marijuana, so I was expecting the same to be true of tobacco. I wonder what tobacco in a full-sized vaporizer like the Volcano would taste like?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-22 6:28:39 AM

cannabis tastes best smoked in a plain zigzag rolling paper. The vaporizor's I've tried make the ganja taste and smell like burnt popcorn.

Posted by: DrGreenthumb | 2009-06-22 9:42:09 AM

Any smell would beat the smell of burning cannabis, Greenthumb. When people compare a product's smell to that of a skunk, there's nowhere to go but up.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-22 9:55:43 AM

How did this get to be about smoking dubies instead of bubble zones. Maybe we need bubbles zones around all the dope smokers at Broadway and Commercial. Strange how the cops are there in a minute to arrest peacful demonstrators while across the street the MJ odour wafts all through the sky train station holding area and no-one does anything. Tells you where the priorities are in Vancouver. Protect the baby killers and let the dope heads run free.

Posted by: Servant | 2009-06-22 5:55:25 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.