On July 7, 2006, a BC Supreme Court judge ordered that Betty Krawczyk, 77, be held in jail until September 15, 2006. That is the date of her “trial” on allegations that she breached a court injunction order in a civil action commenced by the companies constructing the Sea to Sky Highway improvements against Dennis Perry and Bruce MacArthur. Betty is not a party in that case.

Betty was arrested after repeatedly pitching a small tent in the path of excavation equipment to protest the government’s decision to destroy a unique and sensitive ecosystem known as Eagleridge Bluffs.

Here are some learned comments on the practice of “government by injunction”:


“Government by injunction is a thing abhorrent to the laws of England and this province.”

Ontario Court of Appeal

“Having obtained an injunction in protection of a private right, the plaintiff seeks to turn it into a public criminal prohibition against the whole community, on the ground that there would be otherwise a flouting of the due course of justice. Can it be doubted that the proposition carries its own condemnation? It is indeed an ingenious argument for securing the aid of the criminal powers of the equity court against any persons whom the court can be induced to regard as having affronted its dignity or having interfered with the due performance of its functions.” Bora Laskin, 1937, Canadian Bar Review

“This has been a maliciously effective, pseudo-legal way of breaking the back of legitimate moral process.” Martin Luther King, Jr., 1963, commenting on the injunction that landed him in the Birminingham Jail.

“There is today the grave question of whether public order should be maintained by the granting of an injunction…” Southin J.A., 1990, Everywoman’s case, BC Court of Appeal

[This is], in essence, a request for the court to craft a proscriptive law binding on all citizens respecting certain activities. It is not the assertion of a civil claim at all, but the adaptation of the mechanics of a civil claim for the purpose of legislating, by way of injunction, a form of ad hoc criminal law…I think this proceeding amounts to a kind of officially induced abuse of process.”, McEwan J., 2003, BC Supreme Court

Why bother with laws at all, when companies and governments can employ injunctions to arrest people? Let’s identify bothersome activities and have a judge enjoin John Doe, Jane Doe and everyone else from engaging in them. Let’s then authorize the police to enforce the injunctions by arrest, then have the judges convict people of criminal contempt of court for disobeying their orders. That way we can avoid all the procedural technicalities thrown up by the Criminal Code, troublesome impediments to justice like formal charges, bail provisions, jury trials, maximum sentence lengths, etc. In fact, we don’t need a Criminal Code at all-just have the judges make a few ad hoc criminal laws by way of injunctions, with breaches punishable by contempt of court…enjoin John and Jane Doe from committing theft, assault, murder etc….