EDITORIAL – Greenpeace protesters should pay the costs of publicity stunt

Protesters shortly before police extracted them. (Image: Screenshot, Greenpeace video)

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 and CFJC Today. Contact him at

About Mel Rothenburger (6804 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

5 Comments on EDITORIAL – Greenpeace protesters should pay the costs of publicity stunt

  1. That would be accountability and there is none in our Justice System

  2. And will you charge the Estate of the people who got killed, what a stupid idea, accidents do happen to very responsible drivers for various reasons, so hurry up and wait.

    • Liz:
      Accidents do happen and they are for the most part the result of recklessness and/or carelessness.

  3. Bea Moser // July 5, 2018 at 7:07 AM // Reply

    It stops commerce and ties up our emergency responders, but also puts the RCMP’s lives at risk unnecessarily.These men and women want to get home safely at the end of their shifts.

  4. I personally think that anyone causing a road accident should have to pay, out of their own pockets, all the time spent by the police, the ambulance, the firefighters and all the people waiting in line because of said accident…would that help cleanup the stupid and reprehensible behaviour so commonplace on our roadways presently? The “common good” should not have to pay for anyone’s bad decisions.

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