SEVEN GREENPEACE PROTESTERS were removed from Vancouver’s Ironworkers Memorial Bridge — also known as the Second Narrows — on Wednesday afternoon after hanging from it since early Tuesday.
According to a Greenpeace spokesperson, the stunt was a “success.”
Which begs the question, how does Greenpeace define success? Here’s a summary of what resulted from this bit of civil disobedience.
One oil tanker was delayed in departing from the Trans Mountain pipeline terminal in Burnaby because the dangling protesters impeded shipping traffic under the bridge. That backed up some other traffic.
The real purpose, though, was to get publicity for the cause, which is to try to stop the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Videos of protesters hanging from a historic bridge over Burrard Inlet makes great media.
From that perspective, it was a success.
But at what cost to you and me? It would be interesting to know what the bill will be for the three and a half hours it took the RCMP’s aerial extraction team to remove the protesters.
The public shouldn’t have to pay for it.
There’s a system that some municipalities apply to those responsible for neighbourhood disruptions. If the residents of a house are disturbing the peace with loud parties or drug activity, for example, and police need to go and quiet things down, there’s a cost to that.
So those responsible must pay those costs, which would include the salaries for members of the police force as well as any vehicles that are used in transporting them to the scene. If a fire truck or ambulance is required, that gets added to the bill.
It makes total sense. So why shouldn’t protesters like the ones who decided an illegal publicity stunt was a good idea have to pay for the privilege?
The answer is, they should. It’s expected they’ll be charged with mischief or impeding a vessel under the Canada Shipping Act. The RCMP’s costs and court costs should be added to the mix.
By, the way, kudos to Premier John Horgan for condemning the protest.
Mel Rothenburger’s Armchair Mayor editorials appear Mondays through Thursdays on CFJC- TV. His Armchair Mayor column is published Saturdays on ArmchairMayor.ca and CFJC Today. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.