Statement to the Court about Injunction from Ann Pohl (not including a few off the cuff remarks)

AFFIDAVIT OF ANN POHL

With Reference to Court File Number MC 663-13

Court of Queen’s Bench of New Brunswick,
Civil Court, Trial Division, Judicial District of Moncton

Between:
SWN RESOURCES CANADA, INC., Plaintiff/Applicant 

– and-

LORAINE CLAIRE, JIM PICTOU, SEVEN BERNARD, JASON OKAY, GREG COOK, WILHELMINA (“WILLI”) NOLAN, MELANIE ELWARD, ANN POHL, RACHEL DAIGLE, SUZANNA PATLES, JOHN DOE AND JANE DOE, Defendants/Respondents

I, Ann Pohl, of xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Bass River, in the County of Kent, Province of New Brunswick, telephone: 506-xxx-xxxx, email: xxxxxxxx@xxxxxxxx, make oath and say that:

1.   I am a defendant/respondent named in the Order issued by the Court of Queen’s Bench, which is found in Court File # MC 663-13.

2.   Along with nine other named individuals and “John Doe” and “Jane Doe,” I understand that the Court of Queen’s Bench, with Judge Rideout presiding, did issue an order restraining me from certain activities, and that the order was dated the 3rd day of October, 2013, and subsequently extended by 10 days beginning October 11, 2013.

3.   As of today’s date of October 16, 2013, I have not yet been served the documents related to this matter by the Plaintiff. For almost all the time since October 3, 2013, I have either been at my customary place of residence or at work in a highly visible location in the upriver Kent County area. It seems highly irregular that I have not been served personally as I am so accessible. I question if the Plaintiff simply seeks to threaten and bully me, rather than engage me. 

4.   Notwithstanding the plaintiff’s lack of service, I am given to understand that the restrictions set out in this Court Order for an ex parte interlocutory injunction apply to me, and I am to be arrested if I:

  • stand at or near the operations or storage facilities of SWN RESOURCES CANADA or any other contractors employed for the Plaintiff’s shale gas seismic exploration work;
  • am a “nuisance” to the Plaintiff in any of their shale gas seismic exploration operations;
  • aid, counsel or encourage anyone to do these things.

As well, there are a number of other both wide-sweeping and specific restraints on my activities by this Court Order.

5.  As I see it, this Court Order seriously undermines my rights to life, liberty and security of the person as guaranteed by    Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The injunction represents, in effect, a ban and a gag order on my right to peacefully assemble and protest anywhere in the Province of New Brunswick where SWN RESOURCES CANADA is either undertaking or considering to so seismic testing. I have no criminal record. I did not threaten to commit harm to any employee of the Plaintiff, nor have I threatened to do damage to their equipment.

6.   Based on these points (3. to 5. above), the injunction is arbitrary, capricious and unnecessary.

7.  I understand that on October 18, 2013, the Court of Queen’s Bench in Moncton will consider the request of the Plaintiff to have this order extended, and that I as an affected party can appear at this hearing. To that end, I have prepared the statement found in the attached pages, labelled Exhibit A. I ask leave of the Court to read into the record both my Affidavit and my statement in Exhibit A.

8.   All content is this Affidavit and in the Exhibit are my true words. 

SWORN before me, at Rexton, in the County of Kent, in the Province of New Brunswick, this 16th day of October 2013.

____Reg Whalen__________________     ________Ann Pohl __________________

     Commissioner of Oaths                                     Ann Pohl

EXHIBIT A (ANN POHL STATEMENT) 

The court must understand that my human rights are being violated by this injunction. In my Affidavit, I have already referenced Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights. In addition, I am bound by the ”colour of right” and other international principles that empower me and others of like mind to protect our communities, public health, environment, clean drinking water,  wildlife, traditional livelihoods, quality of life, property values, and much more, through non-violent means.

Unconventional refracturing (“fracking”) for shale gas and oil involves a combination of new technologies and mechanical strategies for releasing methane from the deep shale layers of the planet. These include use of huge amounts of water, made ”slick” by industrially-protected chemical cocktails, with long distance arrays of deep and horizontal drilling, and more. Available peer-reviewed scientific research about  “fracking” shows that it cannot be managed safely at this time, and when things go wrong the damage wrought cannot be undone. This industrial activity puts all future generations in our bio-region at risk of grievous harm.  Because this industrial activity is likely to poison drinking water, weaken long-standing rural communities and traditional livelihoods, destroy property values, and negatively impact the health of human beings, wildlife, farm animals, and vegetation (including garden produce, farm crops and forested areas) in the vicinity of the industry, I am obliged to act in defence and protection of the same.      

Through this court order, I am being told that one of the few remaining avenues for trying to stop the activity has been closed off. What are those of us who wish to protect our communities, watersheds and forests from this dangerous government policy supposed to do?

The government of New Brunswick has ignored almost three years of widespread and informed citizen opposition to this industry. There is no reason to think this will change now. The way the laws are written, if SWN RESOURCES CANADA concludes its seismic testing program, the corporation can immediately roll over into making an application for a license to drill for gas. Recent experience with seismic testing on wetlands and outside the company’s lease area shows the government will allow the corporation all manner of variances to proceed with this drilling expeditiously. This is why I am so firmly opposed to exploration for the best locations in our communities to do shale gas fracking, and I have the human right to speak out and protest against this incursion.  

My rights to “peaceful assembly” and “association” and “freedom of expression” are violated by this court order. The United Nations’ International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Articles 19, 21 and 22), which Canada ratified on May 19, 1976, guarantees my right to express my opinions freely and to advocate and partake in peaceful protest against shale gas development in association with any and all others who share my commitment to prevent shale gas development through peaceful protest. We work together because we want to preserve the rights and quality of life for all future generations. This is what I have been doing. In a statement made on December 10, 2012, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said in part:

“Millions of people have gone on to the streets over the past few years, in countries all across the world, emboldened by what is happening elsewhere, some demanding civil and political rights, others demanding economic, social and cultural rights.

“This groundswell is not simply a question of people demanding freedom of expression and freedom to say what they think and make clear what they want.

“They are asking for much more than that. They are asking for an end to a situation where governments simply decide what is best for their populations without even consulting them. They are asking for their right to participate fully in the important decisions and policies affecting their daily lives, at the international, national and the local levels. Many people in many countries have been making it clear they are fed up with their leaders treating them with disdain and ignoring their needs, ambitions, fears and desires.

“Every citizen shall have the right and the opportunity to take part in the conduct of public affairs… as well as to free expression, assembly and association. These are among the rights enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which 167 States are party…

“I salute all those who are… saying we have a voice, we have our rights and we want to participate in the way our societies and economies are run. Because that is how it should be.” http://www.ohchr.org/en/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=12865&LangID=E

At this time, the New Brunswick Ombudsman is carefully considering a communication from myself and 28 others. It outlines some of the major shortfalls of the government in regards to the consultation process and background research appropriate to a democratic society that is contemplating an environmentally risky economic stimulus plan. We, the signatories to this appeal to the Ombudsman, maintain that the government is proceeding with shale gas development in an invalid manner, and that the government will not dialogue with New Brunswickers honestly and sincerely about our concerns. For close to three years, the government has done its utmost to avoid, deny and dispel communication of information and ideas that ran counter to its policy of promoting deep shale mining for oil and gas in the province. There is hope that the Ombudsman’s Office has the power to undo this government juggernaut by finding, through their own investigations, that the Government of New Brunswick failed to follow a valid, ethical and fair consultation process, and is proceeding with shale gas development based on fraudulent research. However, the Ombudsman’s mandate is limited and specific so we cannot predict what will come from this.

It must also be noted that the Government of New Brunswick failed utterly in its duty to free, prior and informed consultation with First Nations residents of New Brunswick, which is a clear violation of the right to self-determination contained in Article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Article 1 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The right of Indigenous Peoples to free, prior and informed consultation about any industrial activity in their traditional territories (under the Peace and Friendship Treaties, this includes all Crown and other public lands in New Brunswick) is upheld by several key Supreme Court decisions as well as the Canadian Constitution.  As a Canadian citizen who is aware of these agreements, precedents, treaties and laws, I am personally obliged to uphold them. That means I must “associate” myself in writing and in person with the Mi’kmaq and other Indigenous persons who are actively involved in the campaign to protect our region from the hazards of fracking, and whose rights are being so violated.  As things stand, I am deprived of the freedom to assemble and associate with these individuals at protest sites in Kent County, and I am forbidden to encourage and support others to do so.

I ask the Court to uphold the human rights of all New Brunswickers and deny the application to continue this injunction against myself and the other named parties as well as John and Jane Doe. The issue that SWN RESOURCES CANADA has is with the Government of New Brunswick not with those of us defending our homes, our drinking water, the health of our families and our communities, and the natural environment that sustains all life.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s