It’s been a long road to get here.
After a few days of argument in the Injunction Case Marineland v. Powell Justice Lococo decided that he would deliver his judgement orally and within 48 hours of the final arguments. On August 9th, 2013 he delivered that judgement to a tiny conference room full of Marineland’s counsel, my counsel, my partner, MAD organizer Helen and Scott Rosts from Niagara This Week. The room was picked because Marineland’s counsel had left and landed in England for a family vacation and he heard the ruling live via teleconference.
The immediate reaction from our side was that we had successfully defended against the majority of the terms of relief sought, negated their attempts for contempt motions to be heard, and still held the ability to hold demonstrations onsite while also restricting their ability to broaden their civil litigation against anyone else involved in Marineland Animal Defense. It wasn’t a victory for either side, but for us we successfully defended the points that were a priority to us and minimized attempts at further damage.
Explaining this case back to supporters, detractors and media became another story though. The oral transcript was not available after the ruling and in the meantime a whole host of theories presented themselves – namely that the court order (the 1 page order and not the ruling) was the definitive legal document and that that document was only applicable to me and no one else. This was pure fantasy – crafted by people with an axe to grind, no legal experience, who had not been in the court room for our case or the ruling and did not see the exhibits or documents involved (and if those people still don’t believe me I’d encourage them to march down to the St. Catharines Court House and obtain all of them!)
Marineland’s counsel told mine that they were ordering transcripts of the oral ruling and they would send us a copy when they obtained theirs. By the time December rolled around my counsel called the Courthouse to find the transcript had been available for weeks. This was another reason for the delay. After the New Year holiday I ordered and obtained my own copy of the oral transcript and after a battle with my scanner was able to scan the documents together as a whole. I put off posting that first version in hopes of cleaning up the scans. That has obviously not happened. (Alongside this I’ve been trying for months to get them on Canlii.com so they are more readily accessible for anyone who wants to see them.)
For a long time I wanted to rush to get this oral transcript out as it shows the process of the arguments and illustrates the application and basically what I’ve been telling people for months. Living through this process though – and similar other theories – has taught me that new conspiracies will simply be created as old one’s are debunked. This kills motivation.
As we approach the beginning of a new operating season at Marineland though, this is a document that needs to be readily available. This is the baseline for conduct which a Judge deemed tortuous and injurious for anyone opposing Marineland. I am solely named in the order because the Judge accepted an argument put forth by Marineland Canada that I am the “sole operating mind of Marineland Animal Defense or the closest thing to.” In that, my name is substituted in and out for Marineland Animal Defense and for all those opposing the captive animal facility. This argument was accepted by Judge Lococo as I refused to give the names of any other organizers, supporters, demonstrators, donors, marshalls, etc. This is not a “loophole” and testing this legal document will provide costly for those willing to try. The court order applies to all those aware of it and I’d seriously discourage anyone from trying to test that. At this stage any test of this court order could be used by Marineland Canada to go back to Judge Lococo and argue that the comprehensive relief sought by them that was originally denied needs to be granted – a 500 FT no protest zone around their entire property + a Jane and John Doe injunction applicable to everyone, for the length of the business. If those two terms are ever granted then ALL protest activity outside of this facility will be in breech of a court order. In the end, that is the end goal for Marineland. I’ve caught flack from some anarchist friends on this point, but realistically this is about understanding effective tactics and acting accordingly. Personally, I am yet to think of something which could potentially have a larger effect than a sustained protest campaign physically taking up space outside of the facility.
All in all, I sincerely hope that everyone who reads this applies the knowledge in their own way to do whatever they can to oppose this park (whoever you are or are associated with). If used correctly, this is a document which can save you a lot of time and energy and also prepare you to protect yourself legally. For those who engage in similar campaigns, it’s also case law you can draw on or expect to be applied. Most injunction case law in Canada centers around commercial interests, Onkwehon:we land defense and blockades or anti-choice extremism in the 1980’s. For public advocacy defenses that don’t include physically blocking people from entering facilities (anti-choice), physically blocking roads, highways or railroads (Onkwehon:we land defense) this will be an important case moving forward.