June 8 & 9: Helena Andrade

June 8 & 9: The Frontlines of Plutocracy

Helena Andrade

8 Protestors prepared for several days at sea
Coast Guard Captain Munney
4 Crewmen

The Frontlines of Plutocracy

A chain of kayaks, sailboats, and fishing vessels are blocking the Salish Sea to tanker traffic from Galiano Island to Tsawwassen. The standoff escalates as the Coast Guard arrives to break up the formation. As an empty leviathan hovers within 50 meters of their kayaks protestors are jostled and harassed by a Coast Guard zodiac. With a squall coming in from the northeast, tempers are flaring.

Scene 1:

The Coast Guard zodiac approaches the floating blockade, keeping a respectful distance.

CM: (speaking through a megaphone) This is Captain Alan Munney. Turn your kayaks around and head for port.

P: No! We’re not leaving!

CM: This is Coast Guard’s jurisdiction. Leave these waters immediately.

P: No!

P: We’re prepared to be here for as long as it takes to stop the tankers!

CM: You are breaking international law. This is your last warning. Leave these waters immediately!

P: No way!

P: No more tankers on our coast!

P: You’re supposed to guard the coast, not the tankers!

P: We’re staying until those tankers turn around!

The zodiac does a couple circles in the water to jostle the kayaks then approaches within spitting distance.

CM: I am the authority here. You are all under arrest for breaking maritime law and obstructing international trade.

P: Fuck you!

P: Go get the real criminals! They’re sitting in the Legislature!

P: Don’t be a dupe! You’re protecting a plutocracy!

CM: Environmental protection of the coast is a matter for the courts (here Captain Munney’s speech is drowned out by the sound of a helicopter overhead).

The helicopter blades lift water around the kayaks, which are connected by ropes for greater stability. The protestors signal to each other that they are firmly dug in. One of them is filming the confrontation.

The zodiac retreats.

Scene 2:

As the sound of the helicopter fades, the Captain and his crew confer.

CM: Bastards! (his phone rings) Munney. (he turns away)

Crew: Those people aren’t going anywhere voluntarily.

Crew: How do you arrest someone in a kayak?

Crew: No idea.

Crew: From the air?

CM: (turning back to his crew) The Minister wants this resolved asap before the media blows it up. Shit!

Crew: There’s a message, Sir, from the tanker captain. He says they have snipers on board for these situations.

CM: Christ! This isn’t the Gulf!

Crew: Yet.

Scene 3:

As the helicopter retreats, the kayaks form a circle.

P: We’ve got back-up coming from Mayne Island. They should be here within 20 minutes.

P: The Coast Guard’s harassing Jamie and them at section 12 now. The rest of her affinity group is heading there.

P: What’s the weather doing?

P: Wind’s picking up. Rain on the way.

P: Awesome! I feel so alive out here!

P: Yeah! Let it rain!

P: Yep, this beats collecting signatures. As if that’s going to stop anything!

P: Leave that to the Dogwood people.

(all laugh)

P: Here comes the zodiac.

The zodiac zooms up.

CM: (speaking into a megaphone) All right everyone. You have a choice: either you voluntarily board the Coast Guard vessel now or we call in the RCMP. Your choice. I strongly advise you to cooperate with us and board the vessel now without incident.

P: I’m willing to spend the rest of my life right here in my kayak.

P: Same.

CM: (into the megaphone) That’s unfortunate. For you.

P: Dude, if you really loved this place you’d be on our side. You’ve sold your soul to the highest bidder.

CM: RCMP boats are on the way. They won’t be as sympathetic as me.

P: This is a peaceful protest!

CM: I am the law and I say you are terrorists.

P: We are citizens! Labeling us terrorists is tyranny!

P: Down with the petrostate!

The sound of approaching motorboats drowns out the protestors’ shouts. The blockade, which lasts for several weeks, successfully ends the export of oil on Canada’s West Coast.