Feb 28/97 - Ts'peten court update; Canada pushes Quebec case while Clark in jail



February 28, 1997

Canada's national newspaper, the Globe and Mail, today reported that a major Supreme Court of Canada case is proceeding despite the absence of native rights lawyer Bruce Clark. The article, "Ottawa to file briefs in Quebec secession case," indicates the federal government is "filing formal arguments against unilateral Quebec secession." Signifi- cantly absent from the listed intervenors is the name of Dr. Clark, who won the right to appear as intervenor on behalf of the Mi'gmaq nation, arguing Mi'gmaq sovereign rights over territory claimed by Quebec.

Meanwhile in Surrey, BC, the defense case in the Ts'peten (Gustafsen Lake) trial continues in the absence of Clark. Clark was arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced with great alacrity by the BC authorities, who continue to avoid the jurisdictional challenge of Clark's impregnable legal arguments. In June 1996, the Upper Canada Law Society overturned attempts by the BC legal establishment to disbar him, finding that: "The genocide of which Dr. Clark speaks is real...we are sympathetic to his assertion that the courts have been unwilling to hear his argument."

Although thus far denied counsel of choice, Clark's traditionalist clients formally adopted his legal arguments yesterday, two binders of which were entered by Ts'peten legal team member Manuel Azevedo.

Clark reportedly continues to work on the upcoming March 11 appeal of his 3 month jail sentence, and has been placed on kitchen duty -- washing pots and pans in the Prince George Regional Correctional Centre (PGRCC) institutional kitchen. Concerns for his safety remain in light of death threats against him from senior RCMP. These surfaced in the Ts'peten trial, when RCMP videotapes were played which had recorded statements including: "Kill this Clark and smear the prick and everyone with him."

Today, the defense case continued to hear testimony from Ernie Archie. Yesterday Archie, a local Secwepemc (Shuswap) native, told of shots fired directly into the camp by one of Lyle James' cowboys in June of 1995. James, the American "owner" of an approximately half-million acre ranch near the Sundancers' camp, also invaded the camp with a party of armed ranch hands and threatened to "string up some red niggers," the court was told in earlier testimony.

News of this shooting, important evidence supporting defendants' claims of harassment from the ranch, was not reported by the mainstream media.

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