Sea Shepherd Crew assaulted-Latest News December 13, 2005 1:54 PM
Justice is Strange in the Great White North (Captain Paul Watson)
Commentary by Captain Paul Watson
The Canadian Charter of Rights is a wonderful document. It looks very pretty and sounds awfully nice. It certainly presents a marvelous illusion of human rights.
Canadians have been convinced they have rights like the right to free speech and _expression for example.
But what is set upon paper does not appear to be accepted in reality. It appears that some Canadians have more rights than other Canadians.
Canadians have the freedom to kill baby seals but they don't have the freedom to protect them.
Some Canadians have the freedom to assault people they disagree with while others do not have the freedom to even witness or document an injustice.
In April of this year, eleven Sea Shepherd crew were arrested and charged with witnessing, photographing and filming the killing of baby seals on the ice off Eastern Canada without permission from the government of Canada.
A few months later, the government decided to charge Captain Paul Watson with the same "offense" despite the fact that he did not leave his ship.
The eleven crewmembers were physically assaulted by the sealers and struck with sealing clubs, their faces were bloodied and they had cameras smashed. The entire incident was documented on video.
In response to the assault, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police refused to charge the sealers because according to the police, "the presence of the Sea Shepherd crew on the ice provoked the violence of the sealers."
Sounds like an excellent precedent for a rapist. "I'm sorry your honour, but she looked so pretty that she provoked me into raping her."
The video evidence of the assault was then turned over to the Federal Department of Fisheries as evidence that the crew had approached within a half a nautical mile of a seal being killed.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society filed a suit against the Department of Fisheries and Oceans stating that the regulations prohibiting the witnessing and documenting of a seal being killed were unconstitutional.
On December 9th, 2005, Judge Nancy Orr of the Provincial Court of Prince Edward Island delivered a bizarre ruling. First she agreed that our rights were infringed.
"The applicant's right to freedom of _expression has been infringed in this case by the provisions of sections 32 and 33 of the Marine Mammal regulations."
Then she ruled that the government had a right to infringe on our rights.
"The Respondent (The Canadian government) has clearly shown on the evidence in this matter that these regulations are demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society."
And therefore she ruled against us and dismissed our motion.
In other words she ruled that the Canadian Charter of Rights guarantees the rights of citizens except when the government of Canada decides to infringe upon those rights.
As a result, Captain Paul Watson and his crew were ordered to stand trial for the horrific crime of approaching a sealer killing a seal without government permission.
Canada is a land where the rights of sealers to attack seal defenders is protected and where constitutional rights are only rights when it is convenient for the government to present the illusion of freedom of speech and _expression. In other words, in Canada you have the right to speak until you speak and the right to _expression until you express yourself.
You can almost smell the bananas.
To view photos of Sea Shepherd crew members being assaulted, please visit: http://www.seashepherd.org/news/media_051210_1.html .
Action: Taking a strong stand against this violation of human rights, as described by Captain Watson, can help achieve a precedent that will benefit the seals. If you have any connections within the human rights movement, and/or are willing to challenge the glaring injustice administered in that Maritime courtroom, please contact Sinikka: firstname.lastname@example.org .
[ send green star]