An elderly woman has been sentenced to jail for defying a judge’s order after she interfered with work at a pipeline construction site.
The British Columbia Supreme Court sentenced Laurie Embree, a 70-year-old grandmother of one, to seven days in jail on Tuesday for blocking construction at a pipeline site. Embree is one of the first people to be jailed for trying to interfere with the expansion project of the Trans Mountain Pipeline — a crude oil pipeline that runs from Alberta to the west coast of British Columbia.
“I have lived my 70 years abiding by the law,” Embree said as she addressed the court. “But if we look back into our history there have been many times when our laws support injustices.”
Following months of protests and attempts to interfere with construction, Justice Kenneth Affleck granted Kinder Morgan — the owners of the Trans Mountain Pipeline — an injunction protecting them from environmental activists. The ruling forbids anyone from getting near two vital work sites.
“The law sir, that you have created, and that I, and many others are peacefully challenging, is unjust. It supports an industry that is not just harming children, or black people, or women, or Indigenous peoples. Your law, in fact, is supporting an industry that has been scientifically proven to be harming the whole world and every living thing on it,” Embree went on.
The elderly grandmother is not alone.
Over 200 arrests have been made since Affleck issued the injunction, and protesters have vowed to continue opposing the project. Since the expansion of Trans Mountain began, environmental groups have orchestrated numerous attempts, such as blocking tankers trying to get across bridges, in order to interfere with construction progress. (RELATED: Jane Fonda ‘So Disappointed’ With Justin Trudeau)
“I have no doubt these protests have been carefully organized,” Affleck stated. “They did so to gain publicity for a cause in which they believe. That is not a basis they can defy this injunction without consequences.”
Canadian officials, concerned that pipeline activists will try to utilize the elderly for their cause, have warned that old age won’t serve as a deterrent for getting arrested.
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