The Shotgun Blog
Saturday, August 15, 2009
More Details about Northern Blockade
When I first read the CBC story about the protest going on with the highway blockade in Northern Manitoba I wasn't clear about a few details. Reading today's article in the Winnipeg Free Press provides more details, which I find quite disturbing.
The blockade, consisting of protesters, their vehicles and logs, went up Thursday on a private road leading to the Wuskwatim dam construction site, keeping about 880 Manitoba Hydro workers inside the work camp.
Occupying someone else's property; a private road, and keeping people from being able to pass by on their own property, is criminal, and the people involved in this show of force are criminals and should be arrested. They are preventing people from being able to go to home and be with their families, or just leave the camp in if they want to.
By Friday negotiations with these criminals have resulted in some Hydro workers being able to walk through the blockade.
(Manitoba Hydro spokesman Glenn) Schneider said that of the 880 workers on the site now, 44 are from NCN and 32 per cent of the total workforce -- 283 workers -- are aboriginal.
Since the project began in August 2006, Hydro maintains that of the 2,554 hires, half have been aboriginal and 424 workers, 17 per cent, have been from NCN.
Schneider said the hiring of qualified aboriginals who have registered with the provincial Job Referral Service remains the objective of hiring practices on the site, adding qualified non-aboriginals have been hired only when qualified aboriginals could not be found.
It sounds like these folks protesting have sour grapes and an entitlement mentality.
Protest on public property, don't prevent people from passing by, and you have my support. These actions are nothing less than forcible confinement, and every one of them are criminals that should be taken away with force and charged.
If the information you received is correct, I would agree with you. As neither one of us is actually there, we can only judge based on the information provided, which is why it would be interesting to hear what the protesters provide as a reply to this information.
Perhaps they have simply been emboldened by the lack of government action in the past for illegal blockades.
Posted by: Alain | 2009-08-15 2:13:29 PM
I do not condone what the protesters are doing, but I do have to wonder if "forcible confinement" is not hyperbole. The CBC story you link tells us that they are "allowing people to walk through the barricade", thus no person is being confined, just vehicles are. Were someone to drive up to the outside edge of the blockade with a bus and the workers to walk through and get on, they would not be stopped.
It is also worth noting that in the new story we are told that "Manitoba Hydro and NCN officials refused to ask the RCMP to dismantle the blockade". Absent a complaint from them, the RCMP should not arrest anyone. So long as there is no complaint, the land owner is effectively allowing the protesters to be there, so there is no crime ... yet.
Posted by: Fact Check | 2009-08-15 3:39:11 PM
"but I do have to wonder if "forcible confinement" is not hyperbole."
It might be :)
"The CBC story you link tells us that they are "allowing people to walk through the barricade", thus no person is being confined, just vehicles are."
The second article clarifies that for the first day no one was allowed in order out, the second day they started allowing vehicles through. For that first day, they were prisoners.
"So long as there is no complaint, the land owner is effectively allowing the protesters to be there, so there is no crime ... yet."
I can somewhat see that point. Though certain acts committed on private or public property are crimes whether or not the property owner complains.
Posted by: Scott Carnegie | 2009-08-15 10:02:32 PM
(1) Even if on the first day no one was allowed to pass along the road, it is hardly "confinement" when there are no walls around a person and there is only a barrier along one small stretch of land across which one might want to pass. There was, for example, no one stopping people from walking through the woods to get around the barrier. So while highly inconvenient, "confinement" still seems hyperbolic.
(2) "... certain acts committed on private or public property are crimes whether or not the property owner complains."
Yes, but I hope this does not mean that you advocate charging a person with a crime when there is no victim making a complaint (except for a crime like murder, where obviously the victim cannot complain). If I am assaulted, robbed, raped, confined, or whatever there should be no charges laid unless I support them, since none of those things are really crimes unless the actions were done without my consent. Similarly, if the land owner does not make a formal complaint about the presence of the protesters and the workers do not make a formal complaint about being "confined", the police should arrest no one. But as I said in the first point, even of the latter type of complaint were made, there is good reason to think no "confinement" law was broken.
Posted by: Fact Check | 2009-08-16 7:22:36 AM
1)If someone is threatened with violence for trying to cross a blockade then it is confinement. Not saying this has happened here yet, but just look at other blockades in Canada.
2)No complaints because they do not want to make it worse. They are obviously already being targeted by these people. The government will not touch them. Anyone who disagrees with them will be labeled as a racist.
Posted by: bret | 2009-08-17 1:29:12 AM
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