LETTER: Protests should not obstruct

In regard to “Activists vow to disrupt pipeline construction” (Abbotsford News, Friday, Dec. 2):

The current uproar about pipelines makes it clear that an ever-increasing number of activist special-interest groups are crossing the line between legal protest and illegal obstruction.

Protest, the expression of dissent, is not only legal but a vital part of democracy and must be defended.

However, obstruction – which is preventing other people from going about their lawful business – is not a part of our democratic legal structure, and must be suppressed.

Obstruction challenges the democratic legal process and opens the door to any number of interest groups taking the law into their own hands and undermining democratically elected governments.

Basing illegal obstructionism on “social licence” is nothing but an attempt to undermine and/or sideline the legitimate power of parliament and to turn activist special-interest groups into lawmakers in their own right – that is, a second, competing government to the one we elected.

This is intolerable because “social licence” has no basis in the Canadian Constitution and in Canadian law. Sooner or later, and probably sooner, the federal and provincial governments are going to have to make it clear that the duly elected governments – and not activist special-interest groups – are in charge of Canada.

Ian Kluge

Abbotsford