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“War in the Woods”

Tommy Tree Hugger and Dustin shackled and were escorted from the back of Nelson court house to a 14 day sentence handed down by Justice McEwan in the fall of 1998.

A year early they had defied a court order issued by McEwan to the office of 6 mile Kootenay Lake Ministry of Forestry to stop concerned citizens protesting to protect their source of water and the stability on the steep mountain sides of Perry’s Ridge along the Slocan River.

They had good reason; as a number of hydrological reports indicated that Perry’s Ridge was vulnerable to massive slides that would increase with logging roads and clear-cuts.

There was also growing pressure from the Sinixt First Nation that was starting to organize to reestablish their claim to exist in their traditional Canadian territory on western Canada’s Columbia River valley. Perry’s Ridge is a Sacred area for Sinixt at the south end is Frog Peak a mythical place for the Sinixt.

The “War in the Woods” was a term coined by the BC NDP to vilify individuals involved in the increasing number of large well organized forestry protest like “Claycout Sound.”

The Nelson court house was packed with supporters for the sentencing hearing.

The defendants had desperately tried during several previous court hearings to have the “injunction” tossed out and the “civil disobedience” charges dropped.

We had tried to invoke the “principal of necessity” clause as a defence. Judge McEwan basically laughed and called the defendants anarchist, trouble makers and a couple other insults. He quickly dispatched with an all knowing smile the “Principal of Necessity” as not a viable defence against environmental degradation.

According to Justice McEwan the “environmental movement” would never qualify to use the “ principle of necessity” as defence to protect life on the planet.

McEwan along with other Canadian justices are wrong and will soon not be able to continue to protect their industrial overlord’s vast profits in Canada’s banking and resource sector. From the growing body of science that concludes humanity must rein in industrial activity that is polluting our common source of water, air and climate.

Now 25 years later in 2022 the second in BC interior“ lock down” and 17 arrests have taken place on the “ Argenta/Johnson’s Landing”.

Now the “principal of necessity” cannot be or should not be laughed at by current Canadian judges. This is no laughing matter.

We spent 10 rough days in the Nelson city jail drunk tank. Basically 10 days in the “hole” of a real prison.

Valhalla Wilderness Society procured Peter Richie’s law office and we launched an appeal and claimed our sentence of 14 days in the drunk  was “cruel and unusual punishment”. We lost the appeal but one of the three appeallant judges agreed with our claim. Which as we were told by Mr Richie does matter.

Every day about noon Dustin and I would sing gospel and folk tunes for an hour or so. We made a couple little instruments with popsicle sticks, styrofoam coffee cups and elastic bands. We sang our hearts out for that time while the other guests cheered us on.

The last day or 2 were dark, but we sure Loved life when we returned to the Light.

1998 Photo of Dustin and Tom hand cuffed coming out of Nelson court house

Note: Everything on this site is based on personal experience and research. We do not profess it to be an absolute truth, as everything can change based on someone’s experience, situation, and background knowledge. If you see something that you feel needs another perspective, or if you would like to add any factual knowledge, please reach out to us with your thoughts and resources. We are open-minded and welcome constructive input.