Old growth defender sentenced in Nanaimo for two traffic blockades

Old growth defender sentenced in Nanaimo for two traffic blockades

A climate activist has been sentenced at the Nanaimo courthouse for his involvement in two traffic blockades last year.

Deraek Menard, 34, was one of 12 people involved in blocking traffic on the Trans-Canada Highway south of Nanaimo, at Cranberry Avenue, on April 8 last year.

The group was holding signs saying Save Old Growth and it blocked an estimated 200 vehicles.

Police came and Menard had super-glued his left hand to the road. They eventually arrested him and he was released with conditions stating he would not block traffic.

Twelve days later, on April 20, Menard was part of a group blocking northbound highway traffic at the base of the Malahat. He was attached to a sleeping dragon, which is when protestors are handcuffed together through something like PVC pipe to make it more difficult to cut through. Traffic was blocked for more than three hours.

The judge sentenced Menard to a suspended sentence with a 12-month probation order. It means Menard will have a criminal record and he will be resentenced if he reoffends during the next year.

After leaving the courthouse Menard apologized to those disrupted by the blockades but says it doesn’t change his view that we’re in a climate emergency.

“It’s mid-spring right now and there are 30,000 people last I checked under evacuation in Alberta because of forest fires. The whole province is blanketed in smoke so thick that most people can’t go outside and simultaneously here in B.C. we’ve got flood warnings and landslide warnings evacuation notices across the province while also having forest fires,” Menard said.

“This is literally right out of a disaster movie where people aren’t listening to the scientists.”

He will also have to perform 40 community service hours and pay a victim fine surcharge.

Deraek Menard apologized after the sentencing to those he disrupted during the traffic blockades.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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