From August 25 to 31, British Columbian environmentalists will be attending Wild Earth 2008 - the movement's tenth annual forest action training camp. The invitation to the event boasts that proposed workshops will include "conflict resolution/non-violence training." But at least one of the camp's workshop instructors has been in the news for using more controversial protest techniques.
In an email sent to bcenvirowatch listserv members, organizer Zoe Blunt announced former Anti-Poverty Committee member Thomas Malenfant would be teaching a session on "Resisting the 2010 Olympics." Last year, Mr. Malenfant was charged with two counts of mischief and one charge of breaking-and-entering after he and three other committee members trashed Premier Gordon Campbell's office in Vancouver.
At the time, Vancouver Police Department Constable Howard Chow was quoted by The Province's Ian Austin and Jennifer Saltman as stating, "These aren't activists, they're not protesters, these are people intent on coming to events, to offices, to people's residences, and they're intent on breaking the law."
But, in an interview with Public Eye, Ms. Blunt defended Mr. Malenfant's attendance at the camp explaining, "Well, what he's doing is a workshop. There's not going to be any trashing of any premier's offices in Bella Coola as far as I know. It's a workshop. It's educational. And, yes, it is political. And people have a right to be political. People who have been convicted of drunk driving can be in politics. So to suggest Thomas should not be allowed to discuss the things he has experience with I think would be a silly argument."
Mr. Malenfant pled guilty to the breaking-and-entering charge on August 8, 2007, receiving a suspended sentence with 18 months probation. The Crown stayed the proceedings on the two other charges. The following is a complete copy of the aforementioned email.
Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2008 22:36:19 -0800
Subject: [bcenvirowatch] Wild Earth: New workshops announced
From: "Zoe Blunt"
Mark your calendars now for Wild Earth 2008, the 10th annual BC forest action training camp! Join us August 25 to 31 in beautiful Bella Coola, in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest on BC's central coast. Participate in workshops and discussions on all aspects of forest protection, from lobbying to tree sits.
Transportation, camping and meals are provided.. Bring your own tent and sleeping bag. Suggested donation: $50 (sliding scale). Please, no dogs. RSVP! Volunteers are needed. firstname.lastname@example.org 250-885-8219 wildearth2008.blogspot.com
We're pleased to announce four more sessions on the schedule:
(Workshops are held at the discretion of the presenters)
- First Nations, Logging, and Clayoquot Sound - Steve Lawson and Suzanne Hare, First Nations Environmental Network
- Resisting the 2010 Olympics - Thomas Malenfant, Anti-Poverty Committee
- Wild Women's Circle - Radish
- Swimming for Change - Renate Herberger
Welcome to Nuxalk Territory - Qwatsinas
The Great Bear Rainforest and the House of Smayusta - Qwatsinas Environmental Racism - Danielle Hagen Conflict Resolution and Non-Violence Training - Zoe Blunt and Danielle Hagen Tree Climbing Safety - Chris Johnson Herbal First Aid - Garliq Wilderness First Aid - John Hobart First Aid for Protestors - John Hobart Basic Survival - John Hobart Rainforest Campaigns in Olympia - Pat Rasmussen
Join us in VICTORIA for WILD EARTH DAY
Wed. August 6
10 am to 8 pm - Free
Featuring Live Music with
OLIVER SWAIN of Outlaw Social
WOLF from Iskra
TONYE Aganaba from Vancouver
and many more!
Plus poetry and spoken word
Environmental and Social Justice
and a noon picnic
We are planning to rent a school bus and drive from Victoria to Vancouver and then to Bella Coola on Monday, August 25, returning Sunday, August 31. A ride is also being offered from Kamloops. Folks who are making their own travel arrangements, please RSVP so we can coordinate ride shares.
Wild Earth 2008 is hosted by the House of Smayusta and Vancouver Island Community Forest Action Network. forestaction.wikidot.com
Thank you to our supporters and volunteers!