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Sheila's Free Speech page

Exercise your rights or they disappear!

Freedom of Speech; use it or lose it

This is my "home" page -- I haven't been able to pay much attention to it except for adding a little musing on the millenium just before New Years' 1998 -- I'm gradually adding some more documentation, though, and intend to eventually give a history of protest politics in this country from my own perspective. I've been there for quite a bit of it . . .meanwhile I have started a blog.


Shirts off to the Saskatchewan Court of Appeals!

Since Gwen Jacobs first won the right for Ontario women to take off their shirts on hot summer days, I have applauded her action. Since I tend to spend the hot days out at Bareass Beach, I have not yet felt compelled to claim that right. I have for twenty years defended our right to sunbathe naked at Bareass Beach, though, and that right is pretty well established; even as we speak the Meewasin Valley Authority is building us a parking lot.

So today I cheer. Sympatico did not pull our website and justice prevailed in the Sask. Appeal Court with the decision that women in Saskatchewan have the same rights as women in the rest of the country. To all those folks who fear men will all turn into animals, I say, "Lighten up. "Many of them already are.


Of course Sympatico did pull our website a few days later

February 1999 and this story picks up again with the cops, crown and court all trying to ignore us while they bury the evidence deeper and good old SaskTel polices free speech!

Jump in the Sympatico police car and let it take you round the pathetic tour of this sad excuse for an Internet provider. They took us down because someone threatened to sue them... Now we are promising to sue them and we generally make good on our promises!


Looking to the Millenium

December 29, 1998. It is spooky to realize that not much more than a heartbeat separates me from a bag lady. I have a roof over my head, regular food and a computer on the internet. I have no bank account and several creditors (including the Province of Saskatchewan) are looking for me so I dare not open one. The good part of this condition is that no one is trying to extract anything from me because they know I have nothing -- and occasionally someone throws some extra cash my way.

Spookier still is the realization that not much more than a heartbeat separates my middle class friends from me. This struggle with the Justice System has cost me a lot over the past six years, but I never had any illusion that I had anything, anyhow. I grew marijuana for the same reason most people grow marijuana -- to augment a repectably-gained income which simply did not cover the bills. I knew it was against the law and I took a chance. I was living in an illusory world based on my experience that people did not turn others into the police over private matters that were doing no harm to anyone. Which is what I still consider my grow operation to have been. At no time has anyone come forward to suggest he or she was my victim. My only remorse is that I allowed a woman named Maureen Donnelly into my house.

I do miss my house. And I miss my plants. I do not miss the astonishing amount of physical work it took to keep that whole scene together, though. In a sense, it is a relief to be that heartbeat away from being a bag lady.

The air in which my mind functions is wonderfully clear. I live on the internet within a fulfilling community -- at least it is as fulfilling as the community outside my physical door which is not a community at all, really, but a collection of people trying to hang on to what they have or else take stuff from other people. My companion is TV. The place I live has cable so I have a wide range of wonderful television to watch. Although I still can find scorn in my heart for soap operas and country channels, I no longer set myself above those who have the TV on during the daytime. The truth is that I never turn it off. It is my companion and my sleeping pill.

I particularly like this time of year on television. The gathering of bests and worsts into lists, the assessments, appraisals, analyses, and resolutions -- it is contagious, and especially so this year, as we contemplate the last year before the year 2000. Some great things happened this year. The suggestion that Pinochet may be brought to justice for his crimes against humanity is wonderful news. And the last of Pol Pot's murderous crazies in Cambodia have been reeled in, although it remains to be seen what will happen to them.

This global injusticebusting is the macrocosmic equivalent to what my partner and I are pushing on this website. Locally, we are getting little encouragement in this enterprise. There is encouragement enough in knowing we are part of a general push for justice and accountability. And to see the rock move a tiny little bit is to experience something mythic. We may not be Promethean but we are Sisyphean. And we know why we are pushing. That rock may roll back down the hill but we know we have to get it up the hill far enough that others can see it. That rock is the truth.

In an interview with Bill Cameron on CBC Newsworld, author Michael Ignatieff discussed the controversy regarding Pinochet. A significant number of people in Chile do not want to go through a trial where old wounds would be opened. Ignatieff expressed the opinion that however painful the wounds, disclosure of the truth is a necessary process if "closure" is ever to be achieved on this topic. He went on to comment that the truth is often painful, but insisted that without it, no society can be healthy.

injusticebusters agree. There can be no closure without full disclosure -- a public inquiry would be good.

So the twentieth century is 99% gone and I have been around for more than half of it. The Nuremburg Trials took place before I went to school. But since Adolf Eichmann, no new criminals have been tried for crimes against humanity.

During the fifty-three years since the end of World War II, we have witnessed amazing things, triumphs of the human imagination. It is often said that anything we can imagine, we can accomplish. Although our goals have been impressive in technology and science, and members of our species have walked upon the moon, I am saddened that the same imaginative pyrotechnics have not been put to social problems. There are many clues, in many holy books which urge tolerance and moderation in our dealings with one another. All religions I know of discourage lying and stealing, bearing false witness and greed. And how much imagination does it really take to conceive of a world where people treated each other well, complementing each others' weaknesses instead of exploiting them? We've gone pretty far with coming up with ways to be vicious and miserable with each other. Would it be too much effort to turn our imagainations kindwards?

Too much for Saskatchewan, it would seem. Which is why we came up with the slogan in response to the new licence plates. Of course our skies are alive and so are most skies! This is hardly anything we can take credit for. But our people? Zombies. Our government? Zombies with tattered integrity. Zombies who have made their peace with uranium and gambling casinos.

We didn't used to have starving children in Saskatchewan. Or homeless children. Or a huge number of our brightest kids taking drugs (ritalin) because they were "unmanageable."We didn't used to have huge numbers of young people committing dangerous crimes. Now we have all these things. And we have more police than we ever had!

I grew up in a farming community and my Dad was a farmer. I know that many farmers can be idiosynchratic and stubborn and maybe have an exaggerated view of their own importance in the general scheme of things. But I don't remember them as being so mean.

Maybe the whole privileged part of the world has become mean as what folks thought was a stable state of affairs has shown itself to be distinctly unstable. I can only hope that the mean bunch of liars who are running things now get run out of town. I have no idea where they would go, though, maybe to your town. And they're not going to go anywhere gracefully or peacefully. It would be a whole lot easier all around if they'd just fess up to some of their wrongdoing, apologize to those they have wronged, and spend some time becoming acquainted with the truth.


Picketin'

On August 27, 1994, I was arrested, along with Richard Klassen and his nephew Rob. We were all charged with four counts of criminal defamation. I was additionally charged with breaching an undertaking to keep the peace (I was awaiting trial on marijuana cultivation charges) and assaulting a police officer.

It was a giant joke and it was the beginning of my discovery that I am invisible! Eventually the charges were all withdrawn or quashed. I was outraged that I could be stripped of my right to free speech for a full year based on charges which would not stand up in Court. So I sued them. I had to abandon the lawsuit because I was busy fighting the marijuana charges. (I did not do too badly on those after I got rid of all the lawyers. I was guilty, but not nearly as guilty as they would have had the Court believe.)

I ended up spending four months in Pine Grove Correctional Centre. (I was eligible for early release as soon as I got in but they conveniently lost the paper work so I got lost in bureaucrat hell)

I lost everything except a couple of things.

But I learned a lot. Like, if you piss THEM off, they can really treat you badly. But the only reason we get mad and piss people off is because we're scared or annoyed because no one will tell us what is going on.

Once you figure out what is going on, you can contemplate STRATEGY.

And that is what this freespeech page is about -- sharing the strategies I learned, with a lot of help from fellow injusticebuster Richard Klassen, who will tell his own stories.


Cultivatin'

They came with a bad warrant

They locked me up for 48 hrs. during which time they released videotape to the TV stations.

They stole my poor spidermite infested plants, equipment, several hundred dollars worth of stuff that had nothing to do with growing marijuana. . . including all my files on Martensville and other cases of falsely accused persons.

They laid the same charges on my 14 yr. old son after planting dope in his room. . . this is the picture they took as "evidence"

After a lawyer had secured a plea bargain, in December 1994, they withdrew the offer (a $4,000 fine and a few hundred hours of community service) and laid on some more serious charges -- being in possession of $72 thousand proceeds of crime. I was found guilty of cultivation, possession for the purposes of trafficking, and having $5 thousand proceeds of crime. I was acquitted on the trafficking charge. The judge didn't want to send me to jail. The whole thing went on for five years. It was all fairly intense.

The Crown originally wanted several years; with help from injusticebuster Richard Klassen, I got nine months.

I also met the brothers and sisters who helped lots. They hate lawyers, too.

Watch for the full story -- including disclosure which proves Saskatoon police will put human life at risk just to get a bust. February 6, 1999: This story is still coming!


My thoughts on how we got to the sad state where women are getting a chance to act out their most cynical and pathetic impulses are on the page called Deconstructing the Victim Machine. A February rant against the whole justice system is being developed. And cyberspace freespeech activism is happening here right now!