Serious interference from officials of the Matsqui federal Prison is threatening to sabotage the jurisdictional appeal of Shuswap elder and political prisoner Jones William Ignace, aka Wolverine, who is currently serving an eight year sentence there for his role in the 1995 Ts'peten (Gustafsen Lake) standoff. The prison is withholding appeal papers which require his signature and were faxed to the prison administration for that purpose on November 12th by his counsel Dr. Bruce Clark.
The Supreme Court of Canada has turned down part of the appeal submitted by Ignace and fellow Ts'peten Defenders James "OJ" Pitatwanakwat and Shelagh Franklin. The remainder of the explicitly sovereigntist appeal, which challenges Canada's jurisdiction over territories which it never legally obtained by purchase or treaty, could still go ahead, pending Ignace's signature. However, the prison seems determined that that signature will not take place.
On Wednesday, the national spokesperson for the Free the Wolverine Campaign Splitting-the-Sky John Hill, acting as legal agent for Dr. Clark, spoke to Matsqui official Sheila Lowar of the warden's office, who confirmed that the prison would not facilitate Ignace's signature on the documents.
Hill then spoke to a Mark Kimball, also of Matsqui prison, and outlined the urgency of obtaining Wolverine's signature on the appeal papers in order to meet a court deadline. Hill further explained that he could not deliver the documents in person, as he has not been allowed to visit Ignace in Matsqui, although Hill apparently meets the stringent security screening requirements of the federal Corrections process since he is permitted to visit Pitawanakwat in another federal facility, near Mission, BC. Matsqui prison has been unwilling or unable to provide reasons for refusing him access. Kimball advised Hill that the signing would be expedited and that he could visit Wolverine for this purpose.
Upon his arrival at Matsqui however, Hill was again told by line staff that the visit was refused. He informed one of these officers, a Greg Martin, that the authorization had been granted by Mr. Mark Kimball. Yet when Officer Martin referred the matter to his Superior Deputy Superintendent Nancy Wrenshaw, she reiterated that Hill would not be permitted to visit Wolverine. She further refused to assist or permit the legal documents to be signed by the appellant Ignace.
"I informed them that they were wilfully obstructing Mr. Ignace's right to appeal", Hill told S.I.S.I.S.
According to Dr. Bruce Clark "this is standard BC stuff, and the instructions probably came from Crown Counsel. It is further evidence of the criminal conspiracy of the bench, bar and legal establishment to forestall the law respecting native sovereignty over unceded lands from ever being addressed."
For more information:
Splitting the Sky
National spokesperson, Free the Wolverine Campaign
Phone/Fax: (604) 543-9661