We want to share some of the messages of support we have received from donors like you who contributed to our legal defense fund against Kinder Morgan. Kinder Morgan filed a $5.6 million SLAPP suit against five main organizers of the demonstrations on Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area. Two defendants very quickly accepted a no-cost discontinuance, but three continued. Alan Dutton took the transnational corporation to court, demanding recognition by the court of the Kinder Morgan suit as a SLAPP suit and settlement with special costs. Alan lost on a technicality but Kinder Morgan then issued a unilateral discontinuance which stopped a planned appeal. The unilateral discontinuance forced Kinder Morgan to pay some, but not all, of Alan's court costs.
The experience fighting Kinder Morgan in court led Alan to build a new more focused organization to fight for law reform and anti-SLAPP suit legislation to stop large corporations from using civil suits to stop public participation and deny Charter rights. We must lobby the BC Green Party, Conservative Party and Liberal Party to support and endorse anti-SLAPP suit legislation in B.C..
To protect democratic rights, we must build a movement to force political parties to support the protection of democratic rights through anti-SLAPP legislation and that is what we are now committed to. To help, demand that political leaders, unions, professional associations and environmental groups take a stand for law reform against SLAPP suits.
Special thanks to BC NDP MLA Jane Shin, Eternal Sustainability at Kwantlen University in Surrey, British Columbia and NS NOPE from North Vancouver for all their support and encouragement. The idea to lobby for anti-SLAPP legislation first came from Janice Edmonds at NS NOPE and from Jane Shin, MLA Burnaby-Lougheed. There is growing support from MPs and MLAs and candidates for the coming federal election. The support has been an outstanding testament to solidarity in the fight for law reform to stop SLAPP suits. The following are individual statements.
"Dear Alan, I am writing to express my immense gratitude and respect for your courageous act of activism for our community by speaking out against climate change and expressing serious concerns about Kinder Morgan’s pipeline expansion on Burnaby Mountain.
Over the past months I have been working with Burnaby City’s Mayor and Council and Member of Parliament Kennedy Stewart, as well as my fellow MLAs including Opposition Environment Spokesperson Spencer Chandra Herbert on this important issue. Recently I led a roundtable discussion with concerned citizens and local stakeholders regarding Kinder Morgan’s controversial activities on Burnaby Mountain, to discuss grassroots public awareness campaign approaches I can take in informing and engaging more residents... I understand the harsh difficulties you are facing with the recent court case made against you and others for voicing your concerns. British Columbians deserve to keep our province economically prosperous and environmentally protected, and our local residents have all the right to safety in our homes and schools - and to be free to speak out. If I may be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Jane Shin, MLA for Burnaby-Lougheed
Deputy Economic Sectors Spokesperson for Trade, Immigration & Multiculturalism"
"Thank you. Fight the Power!" (Sechelt)
"This money is to support [you] who share a vision with me for a just and sustainable society where people are empowered to protect the environment from the activities and expansion of companies, like the pipeline giant Kinder Morgan." (Vancouver)
"If Alan Dutton is successful, KM will be constrained in using this SLAPP tactic against us in the future. Also, we will strengthen alliances with others who may be the targets of SLAPP suits in the future. SLAPP = Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation. If we can take the initiative to strengthen democracy even a little, it's worthwhile." Karl Perrin, Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan
Keep up the fight. We will support you. (Gabriola)
My thoughts and hopes are with you. (Nanaimo)
Thank you for your courage and steadfast determination to protect our land, our people and democracy. Keep the peace! (Nanaimo)
Thank you for protecting the forest and standing up to the bullies. All the best. (Salt Spring Island)
A little something to help weather the storm. (Vancouver)
"We stand behind you as a new group to fight climate change and return the world to sanity." Social Justice Environmental Defense Working Group
Thank you for “resisting and protecting”. (Nanaimo)
"I just want to voice my support for the noble and selfless effort and stand you take towards being part of the voice of our environment. I keep checking in to hear any news about Burnaby and today I was happy to read about the celebrations for the achievement. Environment is the fabric that holds us all together; it is the only common ground between those who champion for a peaceful world and those who are bent on fanning the fire of conflicts somewhere else. It saddens me to see that those bent on inflicting pain on the environment are the very same people who went to high institutions of learning and know it’s at their finger tips that the only thing keeping them alive is the environment. Even the smallest-brained being would see it is fatal to cut the branch of a tree while sitting on the same branch, in the name of pruning the tree to make it look better. The environment is what we and our governments are all sitting on, but the same high intellectuals of the same governments have resorted to cutting the only branch we all sit on, in the name of better development of the tree. The result is obvious; we all go down, when the branch goes down. This is the worst form of terrorism. I would still equate the environment to a ship, and all of us existing in it. When one person is busy puncturing the walls of this ship on one side, and the rest in other rooms don't care about it because the holes punctured just seem small, and not in their rooms, it’s just a matter of time before enough water pushes in, and we all suffer the same fate. These rooms imply nations. When someone is puncturing the environment in Canada, it’s just a matter of time before others in the far East feel it and start to drown. When someone is busy putting holes in the walls in the East, it’s just a matter of time before someone in Canada feels the pinch. Hasn't global warming started to pull others into its path? Yes, it is very true when you say that it’s absurd that we have to fight our own governments to save the environment. Why has common sense become so uncommon up the hierarchy of leadership in this world?
Even if I have no direct way to show my support for the noble course you endeavor, this single voice down the terrains of Africa stands with you in this effort to save the environment. No matter our development agendas in this world, none of these development struggles will matter if the environment is gone. When this branch falls, we all fall. Earth should not be allowed to look like Mars." (Kenya)
"With you in spirit. We have to win this one!" (Vancouver)