We know SGSC member Mairy Beam for her volunteer service as — among other things — a member of the Board of Directors, and her regular shift at the Centre’s reception desk. As of October 2, we may also know her as a convicted criminal.
“I was arrested August 24 at a demonstration in front of the Kinder Morgan tank terminal in Burnaby,” she explains. “I promised to appear in court on October 2, and was released. But…” she adds, “if I plead guilty on the 2nd, I will be taken off in shackles and jailed for up to 14 days.”
Mairy laughs when asked if she’s ever been arrested before. “Of course not!” It’s a first — a very deliberate first.
Before attending the demo, she did a “bold action” training session with Coast Protectors — the group, hosted by
the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, that leads protest action against the Kinder Morgan pipeline and tanker project. Some 40-50 people attended this particular demonstration, most of them there to remain legally on the sidelines, supporting the 4 who chose to sit in one of the chairs placed across the road into the tank terminal.
“I went there having already decided that I would sit in one of those chairs,” says Mairy. “That meant I would be arrested for disobeying the Court injunction and blocking access to the terminal.” She was indeed arrested, will indeed appear in court, and may well spend 14 unpleasant days in jail.
Why do it? Why risk jail? Why not write a cheque, or sit, literally, on the protest sidelines?
“I’ve been thinking about the Alberta Tar Sands and this pipeline project for a long time,” she says quietly. “It’s a horrific crime against nature.”
And that is that.