READER COMMENT: Should protestors pay?

Last week we asked readers whether protestors who occupy a company's property should be liable financially for...



Last week we asked readers whether protestors who occupy a company's property should be liable financially for damages and lost production. We got an earful. First, respondents to the poll were almost evenly split: 51% said yes and 49% said no.


But it was the "yes" side that took the time to comment.


Art Avery who is retired to Westlock, AB, but worked 40 years in Fort McMurray, wrote: "Not only should they [protestors] be held liable, they should be charged with trespassing, public mischief and wanton disregard for the safety of others. This is a form of terrorism and sooner or later someone is going to get hurt or, heaven forbid, killed.


"I find it hypocritical," he continued, "that all these people are 1) not from Fort McMurray, so do not know the facts, and 2) were seen to be wearing clothing made from byproducts of the oil industry. If you are so against the oil sands, then do not wear, use, ride in, eat or have anything in your possession that is a byproduct of the industry. It is only then that you can declare that you are against the industry – that is if you are still surviving!"


Richard Potter, a geologist retired to Bedford, NS, said this: "It has been customary in the past for mine managers to be completely responsible for all those on the mining lease. This is both for safety and security reasons. Theoretically, the mine manager could refuse entry to the Prime Minister. Protestors should be charged with trespass and all damages, economic and otherwise."


Mining companies have the tools to handle protestors, noted Brent Bowlin, president of JSL Synecdoche in Mississauga, ON. "Protestors and any other non-authorized personnel on a premises either in a plant setting or even an outside mining operation should be dealt with in accordance to the health and safety manual of the company and the governing body enforcing the regulations. Quite simply, it's a health and safety matter."


I've been on enough mine sites to know that health and safety is paramount. I have sat through the safety lectures, donned the required 10 kg of underground gear, and filled my pockets with gloves and ear protectors. I wonder how Greenpeace activists would respond if they were asked to do the same before entering the site.


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