Plan B protestors fined in court

Ryan Ross
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RCMP clear out a group of protesters blocking construction at the Plan B highway re-alignment site in October.

A group of Plan B protesters that included Green Party leader Peter Bevan-Baker were fined in provincial court Tuesday for their roles in trying to stop construction of a highway realignment project in Churchill.

Darcie Lanthier, the Green party’s former interim leader, was the only one to appear in court in Charlottetown Tuesday while the rest entered guilty pleas through their lawyer.

While there were 10 people facing trespassing charges, Lanthier was there on a criminal charge of obstruction for resisting arrest after she was told to leave the construction site.

Lanthier’s case was the first dealt with Tuesday afternoon and after a brief recess she changed her plea to guilty on the obstruction charge.

Crown attorney Gerald Quinn told the court Lanthier was arrested for mischief in October after someone at the site told the RCMP she was in a fenced-off restricted area. The driver of a piece of heavy machinery was unable to use the equipment because Lanthier and her son were in its direct path.

When an officer told her she was trespassing, Lanthier responded that she was exercising her right to free assembly. When the officer told her she was being arrested she ignored him and when he tried to escort her off the site she went limp.

That’s when three other RCMP officers joined him to carry her away.

Lanthier refused to identify herself to police and they were on their way to the Provincial Correctional Centre when she decided to cooperate.

When it came to a sentence, Orr followed a joint recommendation from the Crown and defence and imposed a $250 fine with 12 months of probation, during which time she must complete 100 hours of community service.

Orr also ordered Lanthier to stay away from the Plan B site during that time, unless she is driving on the Trans-Canada Highway and she must write apology letters to the arresting officers, the project manager and the equipment operator.

Lanthier also has to pay $40 to the victims of crime fund.

Orr also dealt with 10 other protestors Tuesday whose cases were carried over from Monday when the court was closed due to the bad weather.

Bevan-Baker, former NDP leader James Rodd, Boyd Lee Allen, Douglas W. Millington, Catherine M. Grant, Cindy Dawn Richards, Catherine J. Russell, Kathleen Anne Murphy, Alyssa Dawn MacAusland and James Robert Roy Johnston were not in court Tuesday.

Each of them was charged with trespassing after they tried to disrupt work at the Plan B site in October.

Their lawyer Mitch MacLeod, who also represented Lanthier, told the court he had been in contact with a representative for the group who said they wanted to change their plea to guilty.

Quinn recommended a $200 fine for each of them with a $75 administration charge and Orr agreed.

rross@theguardian.pe.ca

twitter.com/ryanrross

Organizations: Green Party, RCMP, Provincial Correctional Centre Trans-Canada Highway

Geographic location: Charlottetown, October.Their

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Recent comments

  • Law Abiding Citizen
    February 07, 2013 - 01:25

    I feel the trespassers got what they deserved. Glad to see the justice system prevailed in the end. These people are not above the law, and now it has been proven in court. Also, do they realize that New Brunswick has recently built HUNDREDS of kilometres of new highway costing hundreds of millions of dollars without protest? PEI is building six (6 km). Maybe they should try putting this in perspective and then they may understand why so many people find them laughable.

  • incredible
    February 06, 2013 - 21:07

    Many of the comments focus on the momment on the ground (ie by the bulldozer) etc. It is getting close to the time that we look back aways to where the system is breaking down. It is understandable that yes the system " appears" to work for the general public while a few stand up to be shot down and we tend to SUPPORT THE SHOOTING AS THEY COST US THE TAXPAYER MONEY. Well history shows us that the time comes that if we dont stand againest the anarchy of beauracacy/politicians ( as puppets of the corporate monitized world) the time will come our community WILL be involed in extreme civil disobiedence. We need to join togeher as people in a community and resist corporate greed that lives by the bottom line alone. Did we need a new roadway as opposed to adequate educational funding? Do we need it at the expense of adequate workplace training for our unemployed young people? Do we need it as opposed to adequate community services, such as meaningful particpatory community goverment decision making? I don"t know. Please ask yoursel the question

  • Stand up
    February 06, 2013 - 14:39

    Do people get to choose how they do community service? In this case, I think helping out a civil rights group would be good.

  • GoGo Girl
    February 06, 2013 - 11:34

    WOW.... That is a pretty stiff punishment, I've seen real criminals charged much less, for way worse. Plus an apology letter, what, Sorry for caring, I'm sorry you had to go through this Darcie, but I am glad that you do care so much. Thank-you.

  • Will Brown from Maine
    February 06, 2013 - 11:22

    re "sensible shoes" comment. Good to see you disagreed w/ Plan B. Below that, though, you mention that the RCMP "only had a job to do." Well we all, no matter what our job or what situation we might encounter, have a job to do, which is to weigh a situation and either involve ourselves or continue on our merry way and ignore standing up for what is right. Think of the saying that goes "if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem." Civil Disobedience occurs when people think about and act against something, like Plan B or standing up to the bully, because it goes against the their convictions to just let it pass by them. When Henry David Thoreau sat in the Concord jail for his Civil Disobedience and his friend Ralph Waldo Emerson came to visit him, Emerson said, "Henry, what are you doing in there?" And Thoreau responded, "Ralph, what are you doing OUT THERE?" Point is that the Plan B protesters, and all who tried to get the Ghiz' boyz to backpeddle and reconsider the plan, did not get them to stop. The bully's kept bulling their way along, regardless, and that is going to cost them their offices. Unfortunately the contractor's money is made, backs have been patted, pockets have been padded, cigars distributed to all the Big Daddy's. The physical damage will be done, the safety stats. will not improve and another boondoggle will scar the island and its memory for a long time to come. Some keep saying "get over it"; but that is both the easy way to avoid thinking about the situation and also the easy way to justify one's own smugness because it's just too darn complex to be bothered by having to engage the brain. Those who rant about the nonsense of the "green environmentalist hippies" will continue to sit in their own treetops waiting for their next hot topic to complain about, like a flock of old crows waiting for their next roadkill. Thoughtfulness, unfortunately for us all, is lost on them for the brain does not need to be engaged; just the mouth hinged to flap about in the island winds. So thanks to the protesters; you did what needed to be done and your convictions will serve the island better in the long run. Eventually enough people will "get it" and that will be yours and your children's victory.

  • Blame the government
    February 06, 2013 - 11:12

    I'm amazed there are actually people willing to stand up to the years of abuse, sense of entitlement, lack of vision, and downright ignorance and ineptitude that passes for government in this province. Of course the Liberal hacks here and elswhere will try to spin it away from that.

  • Fools
    February 06, 2013 - 09:24

    To all of you bashing these people, just so you know they were there standing up for YOUR future. Not just because they want to "hug trees". It's the fact that they have a higher education and are aware of what's happening to the world. They're fighting tooth and nail to make sure you and your families have a future, and that your kids actually have a world to grow up in. Don't be so foolish to bash others that are doing the exact opposite for you. I've met all of the individuals involved. This may surprise you (I'm sure it will) those people that were out there weren't hippies, tree huggers, potheads, anarchists, or beatniks. Those people were mothers, sisters, brothers, fathers, grandfathers, graduates (both doctorates and bachelors of science or other applicable fields), and individuals who know nature and are aware of it's boundaries. If your scientists, environmental experts, Ph.D's, nature lovers, etc. are telling you that this is the wrong thing to be doing, then why are all of you choosing to disregard them completely and continue to call them "tree huggers". If the scientific community was to tell you, "Hey you probably shouldn't stick your head in that reactor core, it will fry your brain and the radiation will definitely kill you. You need to protect your brain to live." Would you still do it? Call us brain huggers? Probably not. We could go into grave detail on exactly what will happen, but we just try to warn you guys to keep you safe. So why must it be so different when it comes to our planet, our environments, our ecosystems. Just like our brain it's an extremely complex system of connections. If we destroy any part of it, the rest has immense trouble functioning. If we mess it up too much, it'll collapse and we will suffer from it. We're (the scientific community/nature lovers) trying to stop you from sticking your heads in the reactor core. We're trying to make sure everyone keeps living.

  • Young Islander
    February 06, 2013 - 08:58

    I for one am confused. What about the "Idle no more" movement? The natives have blocked roads and bridges and disrupted many but they were not arrested (before I am attacked: I am by no means racist, predjudice or anything of the sort). As a young person I am grateful to see the "tree huggers" as you all have been calling them, standing up to protect our environment. The generations before us have neglected and created a mess of our environment that us younger generation now get to try and clean up. So, before you sit there judging these individuals for standing up for something that they believe in maybe you should take a look at who is really to blame for all this mess. Ghiz!

    • chris
      February 06, 2013 - 11:04

      I totally agree, the old adage applies here if you are of the majority, english speaking of non-minority identified Canadian you are put into one group of how the civil laws are applied to you and if you are a Native there are another set of laws the courts use in processing you and that usually means you can do as you wish and have no fear of arrest or prosecution. If people don't believe this look at the past, Oka for instance, a QPP officer was shot and killed there by a Native they blocked highways and roads for over three weeks was their consequences for their acitons not for them and no justice was found for the dead QPP officer. No there's no prejudice with the average Canadian just in how justice is delivered by our Court systems.

    • Well Said
      February 06, 2013 - 11:39

      Very well said, Young Islander. Now if you can just convince some of the other young islanders to vote maybe things will begin to change. You made a very good point about the "idle no more" protests.

  • Second
    February 06, 2013 - 08:44

    I also agree. Actions put forward on those days were in no way criminal, and people standing up for the better of their community and the entire island should not be charged or fined by government. As a born and bred islander, I hold this island very close to me and I would do anything to protect it from being ravaged by goverment to increase their productivity and the "economy". I'd rather have forests, streams, ponds, rivers, and fields for island children to play and learn in, than paving over paradise with concrete "progress". And it's not just for the next generation we need to protect this island for... it's for all of us that call this place home; where we breathe, get water, grow our food, and live every day. I can guarantee this will be the last time the government of Prince Edward Island walks all over us and shows blatant disregard for its people. It's time to wake up and speak up islanders. This is our home. The outcome of this project would have ended much differently if we united and stood together. Keep that in mind for future projects that are undoubtedly to come.

  • rick
    February 06, 2013 - 08:35

    sorry day , - disgusting Government. Need the fines to pay for Ghiz trips around the world, Egypt, India and what have you. Next he will be touring Europe, - and we are powerless fools, --

  • WeWillRemember
    February 06, 2013 - 08:02

    Proud ouf you Darcie! And everyone else who will be appearing in court! PEI needs to support these folks with continued donations, I for one will be sure to attend their Art Show in support. I know there were at least two more protesters who were charged, but later the charges were dismissed due to paperwork errors on the part of the RCMP officers. The fact that Darcie has to write apology letters is outrageous! I for one will NEVER trust the RCMP on PEI, EVER AGAIN. What happened in those woods will be with us as we oppose each and every issue in the future. How the RCMP treated people coming to the site to witness the extraction of the protesters, how they blocked the road for reasons of 'safety', how they lied to the protesters, WE WILL REMEMBER. Support the opposition to Plan B by being involved with all the issues still facing us on PEI: Fracking, Land Use, HST, Abortion Access, more TCH projects ... DON'T FORGET WHAT HAPPENED IN THE HEMLOCKS folks, it was important and we should all promise that WE WILL REMEMBER.

    • Sensible Shoes
      February 06, 2013 - 09:01

      While I don't agree one bit with Plan B or any other plan for diverting the roadway as it was, I cannot agree with your statement of not trusting RCMP on PEI ever again. Those officers act under orders and just have a job to do. They were not necessarily happy with Plan B or what they have to do, but I can assure you blaming the police for the actions of one Ghiz government is misplaced. The RCMP were, in fact, ordered to remove the people for their own safety. Just remember, it was the Ghiz government, not the RCMP acting on their own. Make sure the LIberals never get elected again.

    • PEIsland lover
      February 06, 2013 - 09:54

      Talk about misplaced blame! That's like blaming the waitress for the chef's mistakes. WEWILLREMEMBER, stop screaming like a child and get an education.

  • A Voice
    February 06, 2013 - 07:58

    What a sad day indeed for those who were exercising their rights, and to be treated as criminals. Had this whole Plan B project been dealt with " fairly " in the beginning, the people given a chance to say their " two cents worth " before the bulldozers appeared on the scene, all would be well. This behaviour on the part of the gov't is not at all " democratic." What about one's " freedom of speech " in our society?

  • Jesus C
    February 06, 2013 - 07:42

    Good to see that it will cost these rubber booters for costing ME the tax payer more money by delaying the project. Hopefully this will deter all other tree huggers from engaging in this criminal behaviour in the future. As for Ms. Lanthier, congrats on not knowing the law and then acting like a child when the police try to enforce it. I wonder if the police carried her dignity to the car that she dropped when her body went limp?

  • MonRckinley
    February 06, 2013 - 07:40

    UPPERDUNKER: Heroic? LOL.

  • Lest we forget
    February 06, 2013 - 07:20

    In the history of gaining freedom, has there ever - even once - been a situation where the truth hasn't been put on trial, convicted and sentenced? From Christ to suffragettes, from abused mining / factory workers to the victims of racism. It's the price one pays for truth. And the truth is Plan B is wrong on every level. The needless environmental devastation, the political deceptions, and the persecution of those with courage to speak out against it. Lest we forget, this shameful scar on PEI will remain for generations to come and to do nothing about it brings shame on us all.

  • warner toms
    February 06, 2013 - 07:13

    This seems to be very heavy handed. A criminal record is a terrible burden and this was hardly resisting arrest. She 'went limp'. If we are looking for a criminal we need go no further then the office of one Mike Duffy. He fraudulently claimed to be a permanent resident - so as to be able to represent the good people of PEI in the Senate in the first place. Now it is being discovered that he continues the fraudulent claim by grabbing over 33,000 dollars in extra claims. He holds the place he claims to represent in the lowest of esteem and 'rips off the canadian taxpayer. This woman, on the other hand, has represented the position of the majority of Islanders in a non violent fashion in the highest traditions of Civil Disobedience first brought to the forefront of public action by none other than the great Gandhi.

  • XComa
    February 06, 2013 - 07:05

    Lately, the Government has caused many sad days.. With all the unnecessary spending and unnecessary Government employees along with their unnecessary Expenses the there will be more Sad days to come... HST will not be implemented too long before the Tax rate is increased... We will have more Taxes on more Items at a Higher rate in order to Pay for the Government and it's Inefficiencies...

  • Well Said
    February 06, 2013 - 06:29

    @ upperdunker , you couldn't have said it more truthful , you got the criminal aspect of this correct . Well done

  • It's too bad
    February 06, 2013 - 06:12

    The only thing missing was these protesters should've spent a night in the hollow....the RCMP were too lenient with them.

  • peter
    February 06, 2013 - 06:08

    hope the court takes a serious look at child endangerment as well, one thing to stand up for what you beleave in (even a couple of trees) but another thing all together to use your child for your ends

  • louannmac
    February 06, 2013 - 03:59

    Strange, highways and train tracks as well bridges are blocked at times by the First Nations and supporters, and "no" charges are laid. Unlawful assembly of all, so what gives!!!!!!!

  • David
    February 05, 2013 - 23:44

    They should be amde to pay for any costs that were associated with them. Why should taxpayers have to foot the bill because few lazy people wanted to get their faces in the media. Let these people also foot the bill for the extra fencing and security that had to be put up and hired because of them,.

    • I agree with David . . .
      February 06, 2013 - 10:42

      I agree with David. And women should never have been given the vote, they should be back in the kitchen where they belong, only white people should be privileged and the working poor should be glad they have menial jobs. Well put David, well put. Who needs protesters anyway, and what have they ever accomplished?

    • judith arnold
      February 06, 2013 - 21:06

      LAZY!? Oh Lord, you really don't get it. These are not the lazy people. The lazy people are the ones who sit and complain about the people who get off their bums and try to DO something before we're buried as deep in muck as the streams of Bonshaw. If taxpayers' money is being wasted, look to the ones who are grabbing it off us coming and going, and then blowing it on whatever whim looks like it will them (not us) the most good.

  • upperdunker
    February 05, 2013 - 22:34

    It's a sad day when heroic actions are deemed criminal and the real criminals bask in the legislature of Prince Edward Island.

    • Bob
      February 06, 2013 - 05:49

      It's a sad day when upper dunker considers these loonys heroic. Heroic should be mentioned in sentences of people risking there own lives to save others and not these bunch of hippies

    • Agree
      February 06, 2013 - 06:50

      I agree with Upperdunker.....

    • Sylvia
      February 06, 2013 - 07:28

      Exactly. Agree 100%.

    • D. Macswain
      February 06, 2013 - 07:32

      Heroic actions? So you call trespassing on a government construction site, disturbing and interfering with construction workers who are only trying to do their jobs and provide for their families a heroic act... I believe that's closer to being more of an inconvenience, and annoyance rather than heroic.

    • get real
      February 06, 2013 - 08:18

      Instead of sleepy hollow these protesters should have been sent for psychiatric assessment.....great to see the leader of the NDP involved in this foolishness....so that leaves one party to vote for in the next provincial election....I guess we will be Liberal Red again. The PC's are to busy bickering and sleeping amongst themselves and the NDP are hugging trees and smoking dope...

    • Twiggy
      February 06, 2013 - 09:18

      Technically, in terms of basking, it is somewhere along the Mediterranean, for the young star Premier anyway.. and the adventuring university prez..and their entourage. Of course I stand with the Plan B protestors but take note of how politicians,media and their establishment messengers ( on this forum for example )exploit the situation. The more it is about the protestors then the more the govt. can divert attention from themselves. What we need to know is three things- Where is Ghiz? And who is paying for it? Let us put Plan B in context of ongoing govt. largesee. Info please, media.