A judge has authorized police to arrest and remove anyone who breaches his order for protesters to stay away from a salmon farm on Midsummer Island near Alert Bay, off the north end of Vancouver Island.
Marine Harvest Canada was granted an injunction just before Christmas by B.C. Supreme Court Justice Peter Voith, after a protest occupation of its Midsummer Island operation that began last summer.
In his decision, Voith noted that up to 30 people occupied Marine Harvest sites starting in August, putting up tents, a bunkhouse and an outhouse “placed in a manner that interfered with the ability of staff to do their work,” along with a steady stream of boats tying up at the licenced operation to deliver supplies and equipment to the protesters.
“Some of the occupiers have engaged in threatening behaviour towards Marine Harvest staff,” Voith wrote.
Named as defendants in the legal action are protesters Alexandra Morton, Ernest Alfred, Sherry Janine, Molina Dawson, Karissa Glendale and “John and Jane Doe,” representing the additional protesters and supporters who chose not to participate in the court proceeding and in some cases left the site to avoid being served with notices.
Voith described Alfred’s actions in one incident as “antagonistic and threatening,” and noted that protesters often outnumbered Marine Harvest staff, tying up boats without authorization and interfering with operations.
The judge added that the lawyer acting for the protesters, Greg McDade, did not contest the validity of the federal and provincial permits issued to Marine Harvest, and Dawson and Glendale are not representatives of an Indigenous group that could lay claim to the area.
Both in the past have delivered “eviction notices” to Marine Harvest and expressed an intention to continue to “monitor” the site, Voith wrote, adding that none of their actions is “consistent with a desire to monitor.”
“It is un-contradicted, on the evidence before me, that [Marine Harvest] has, on numerous occasions, offered to sit down with the defendants, or some of them, to discuss their concerns,” Voith wrote. “The defendants have had no interest in such discussions.”