City of Vancouver lawyer Ben Parkin has a 2 p.m. date on Nov. 8 with a judge at British Columbia Supreme Court in the Law Courts at Robson Square, near the Occupy Vancouver camp at the Vancouver Art Gallery.
Or is it 9:45 a.m.? The chambers schedule (below) that includes the case known as City of Vancouver vs. Sean O’Flynn-Magee, Jane Doe, John Doe and other unknown persons (File S-117498) says it’s in the 9:45 a.m. session.
City of Vancouver wouldn’t hustle this matter before a judge when people aren’t expecting? A stealth application to avoid an occupation of the court? UPDATE: The “Attendance List for the 8th Day of November, 2011” still lists the application in the 9:45 a.m. session, but the more authoritative “Vancouver Supreme Court List” shows the city application is to be heard by Associate Chief Justice Anne MacKenzie in room 55 at 2 p.m. (MacKenzie was the judge who presided over the Basi-Virk B.C. Rail corruption trial, which occupiers might call a case of 1% crony capitalism.)
Parkin’s mission, as ordered by Mayor Gregor Robertson and city manager Penny Ballem, is to convince a judge to order protest structures removed from the Vancouver Art Gallery where the protest began Oct. 15. The city also wants the authority to empower police to enforce the Land Regulation Bylaw on VAG property, which is leased by the city from the Province of British Columbia. Robertson and his governing Vision Vancouver party are desperate to end the protest camp for fear that NPA challenger Suzanne Anton will gain in popularity as the Nov. 19 election approaches.
The legal filings do not explain why Sean O’Flynn-Magee was chosen. Occupy Vancouver, like all the Occupy Wall Street clones, is supposedly leaderless. Magee is a digital journalist in Vancouver and here is his Facebook page.
The legal filings (below) spell out the reasons for the city’s injunction and the laws it wants to enforce. Specifically, the Land Regulation Bylaw says it is illegal, without permission of the city manager, to:
(d) construct, erect, place, deposit, maintain, occupy, or cause to be constructed, erected, placed, deposited, maintained or occupied, any structure, tent, shelter, object, substance, or thing on city land.
The city is also pleading sections of the Bylaw that ban lighting fires and burning materials; depositing garbage outside of garbage containers; and removing soil.
This may not be a slam-dunk for the city. In fact, it’s plausible that the protesters’ lawyer could introduce a City of Vancouver Tweet sent Oct. 15 via Hootsuite as evidence that city manager Ballem permitted the protest!
The city did not become serious about regulating activity on the site until Nov. 4, the day after a camper nearly died of a drug overdose and the day before a camper did die of an apparent drug overdose.
Even if the court approves the city’s application, the Occupy Vancouver protesters vow to stay and resist authorities. Stay tuned.
News and views on Vancouver 2010 (and beyond) from Bob Mackin.