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Former federal Green deputy leader convicted of criminal contempt for Fairy Creek logging blockades

Angela Davidson participated in Fairy Creek protests that tried to block logging on Vancouver Island
Federal Green Party deputy leader Angela Davidson, left, padlocked to a logging road gate and chained to another person shortly before being arrested on May 18, 2021. TIMES COLONIST

Former federal Green Party deputy leader Angela Davidson — also known as Rainbow Eyes — has been convicted of seven counts of criminal contempt for her participation in the Fairy Creek logging blockades on Vancouver Island beginning three years ago.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Christopher Hinkson ruled Davidson breached a court-ordered injunction and her bail conditions in connection with protest activities on May 18, June 23 and 25, Aug. 10, Nov. 28, 2021, and Jan. 15 and 28, 2022.

Hinkson said Davidson’s conduct was “defiant, repeated and public, and certainly not minimal,” and declined to acquit her for her role in blockades of the Fairy Creek logging site in 2021 and 2022. Sentencing has not been determined.

The Fairy Creek protest began after logging permits were granted in 2020 allowing Teal Cedar Products to cut timber, including old-growth trees, in areas including the Fairy Creek watershed northeast of Port Renfrew. Protest camps were set up close to the cutting site in August 2020 and the RCMP began enforcing a court injunction granted to the Teal-Jones Group, the forestry company that holds the area’s harvesting licence.

Over the next two years, there were about 1,100 arrests involving Fairy Creek protesters.

During the first protest in May, Davidson was standing next to a closed metal gate which spanned the roadway. She had a bicycle lock around her neck that was chained to the gate. She had her arm chained inside one end of a pipe, while another person had his arm chained inside the other end, according to an agreed statement of facts.

An officer told Davidson that she was in breach of the injunction and gave her 10 minutes to leave. When he returned an hour later she was still chained to the gate. An RCMP team cut the lock and she was arrested. She then participated in six more blockades, resulting in seven charges of criminal contempt, court documents say.

Davidson contends she was subjected to “disproportionate policing resources and private surveillance resources on account of her identity as a visibly identifiable Indigenous person,” according to the court documents.

However, the judge said the fact that hundred of other individuals were arrested does not support the argument that Davidson was targeted inappropriately.

“I find that any singling out was in recognition of her unwillingness to respect the various orders of this Court,” wrote Hinkson. “The singling out does not appear to have been facilitated by her Indigenous identity.”

During the trial, Hereditary Chief Walas Namugwis testified that Davidson and other Indigenous people were acting as stewards of the environment and defending the land. He described Davidson’s obligations as being those of a people “groomed to be land defenders.”

Davidson was named as one of two deputy leaders of the federal Green Party in 2022.

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