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Green Party deputy leader sentenced to 60 days for role in Fairy Creek protests

Angela Davidson, also known as Rainbow Eyes, was convicted in January of seven counts of criminal contempt
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

An old-growth logging protester and deputy leader of the federal Green Party has been sentenced to 60 days in jail for her role in the Fairy Creek protests.

Angela Davidson, also known as Rainbow Eyes, was convicted in January of seven counts of criminal contempt for breaching an injunction covering the Fairy Creek area and breaching her bail conditions for incidents spanning from May 2021 to January 2022.

Davidson was initially arrested after blocking a road by chaining herself to a gate in the Fairy Creek injunction area. She was released on condition that she not return to the area. The subsequent offences involved returning to the injunction area, ignoring the terms of her house arrest.

Davidson, 38, was sentenced in Nanaimo Wednesday to 60 days in jail, minus 12 days for time served pre-trial, and 75 hours of community service.

At sentencing hearings this month, the Crown called for a 51-day jail sentence for the Kwakwaka’wakw woman, and either a $2,250 fine or 75 hours of community service.

Defence lawyer Ben Isitt asked for any more jail time to be suspended, suggesting a 13-day sentence that would have been negated by time already served.

Davidson addressed the court during her April 5 sentencing hearing, saying she did not intend to show disrespect to the court with her actions, but that she was forced to return to the area “by a higher calling” taught to her by elders, her grandparents and “spiritual leaders of our nations.”

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson said Davidson considers it her duty to protect the land, particularly cedar trees, and she said she was chosen by her elders to take on that role.

However, Hinkson said it’s not for the court to rule on the morality of Davidson’s cause, only to apply the law as it exists.

“If one law is broken and the breach is ignored, this could be seen as an invitation to ignore other laws and orders, which could only lead to the breakdown of the freedom under the law which we so greatly prize,” Hinkson said.

Hinkson said he had received several letters of support for the “passionate environmentalist,” including from federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs Grand Chief Stewart Phillip.

May, who sat next to Davidson’s parents during the hearing, said she was horrified by the length of the sentence.

“That woman has strength and moral courage, and really, a joyful heart,” May said. “And I’m just honoured to work with her.”

Davidson was appointed deputy leader of the Green Party in early 2022 by then interim leader Amita Kuttner and reappointed by May when she replaced Kuttner.

May raised concerns about laws governing injunctions, saying that private companies are often successful in gaining an injunction to stop protesters, while Indigenous communities or environmental groups who want to protect ecosystems with injunctions rarely succeed.

More than 1,100 arrests were made in the Fairy Creek protests, making it the largest act of civil disobedience in Canada.

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