An extension for a court injunction against old-growth logging protests on Vancouver Island will not go forward.
Justice Douglas Thompson handed down his decision Tuesday hours before the injunction was set to expire.
Thompson detailed his decision against further RCMP enforcement on behalf of Teal-Jones in Tree Farm License 46 in a 32-page document.
In it, Thompson cited the erosion of law, the RCMP’s infringement of civil liberties, including the impairment on freedom of press, and the Court’s risk of “further depreciation of its reputation,” as his core reasons for not granting the extension to the Teal-Jones Group.
Justice Thompson wrote that “it is not just and equitable in all the circumstances of the case” to grant Teal Cedar Products Ltd.’s request for an extended injunction order.
Though many old-growth activists were hoping public interest over the preservation of old-growth forests in BC would play into the rejection, Thompson overruled that.
“While a powerful case might be made for the protection of what remains of British Columbia’s old growth temperate rainforests, and this issue is of considerable public interest and importance, the evidence marshaled to support this argument cannot be considered,” Thompson said.
Rather, Thompson continued to cite contravening orders directed at RCMP officers for their removal of identification and choice to associate with the “thin blue line patches”—a Canadian flag with a blue line between it that is often associated with both police solidarity, but also linked to police violence and impunity.
“It might be argued that this is ‘just a patch, just a symbol.’ But we all know the impact that symbols can have,” Thompson said.
“And, enforcement has been carried out by police officers rendered anonymous to the protesters, many of those police officers wearing ‘thin blue line’ badges.”
Leader of the BC Green Party expressed her gratitude that the injunction extension was rejected, but also called on the BC government.
“With over 1,000 arrests, Fairy Creek is the largest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history, and I am relieved to see the court reject the request to extend the injunction,” said B.C. Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau, MLA for Cowichan Valley.
“This ruling does not solve the crisis of leadership we are facing in B.C. The province has not done its job and now the courts have stepped in. The increasing violence at Fairy Creek has been extremely troubling and this government has failed to keep the police from overstepping their authority.”
While this does not cease old-growth logging or the blockades in the Fairy Creek area, it is vindication for many old-growth protestors and members of the media who have experienced injustice from RCMP officers in Fairy Creek for the past year.
RCMP will still enforce the rule of law in the area.