Saturday, November 3, 2012

Occupy Nova Scotia: An Open Letter To Mike Savage

Good morning my friends! Today I am going to share a letter that I wrote but have not sent. It is my own letter and not meant to be misinterpreted as representing the voices of any of the people charged last November 11th, nor to represent the Occupy movement or Occupy Nova Scotia; these are my own words and represent myself and my involvement with the movement. I would seriously like to see this issue addressed and will be working towards applying pressure and pursuing avenues to make it happen. So, without further adieu, here we go.

"Mayor-Elect Mike Savage,

I would like to start this letter off by congratulating you Mr Savage, on being elected to the mayoral seat in the Halifax Regional Municipality. Although my own run was not nearly as successful, I am looking forward to being actively engaged in municipal politics over the next four years and seeing what positive changes you will be bringing to the people of HRM.

Though it should be noted that you will see at times that I might criticize you and your decisions, after having met you several times over the course of the election, I believe you have honest intentions to better this city and the municipality as a whole. The onus will be on you to demonstrate the strength of character I believe I saw in you. Despite my personal opinion of your personal character, which is a positive one, we will disagree on political matters and this is nothing against you or your character. Who knows, perhaps I will find nothing to disagree with but this is, however, politics. 

On that note, I would like to bring up a political issue to which you will soon have the ability to address. As mentioned, I have met you several times and I also followed your campaign and have heard your disdain for the treatment of the Occupy Nova Scotia movement last year. As you are aware, and asked me of a few times, I was a member of the Occupy Nova Scotia movement. It is about this issue for which I am writing this letter.

You are, as many others, aware of what happened that day, the ensuing media frenzy and of course the charges laid on 14 of the protesters that day. After months of delays and push-backs, last May the charges were withdrawn by the prosecution (the HRM) due to lack of evidence to convict. There was some brief media coverage and the matter has since remained quiet however it is far from resolved. I will take a moment to explain myself.

The charges, as mentioned, were withdrawn. What does that mean? It means that HRM could, at any time in the future, decide to reopen the case and proceed with the charges again. In a metaphorical sense, this is an admission of guilt of wrongful arrest without having to acknowledge it, say it or accept responsibility for it. We were given the option of accepting Adult Diversion as a plea and I, like most of the others, rejected this offer because we felt strongly that we would win our court battle; apparently so did the prosecution. It was shortly after this rejection of their offer that our charges were withdrawn.

I am writing you to ask you to address this situation. I stand by my actions from that day and no court of law, regardless of evidence or illegal charges will ever convince me otherwise. This is what I would like from you, as my new Mayor and someone in a position to do something:

1) Have the charges officially dropped. I am not asking for an official apology, though it would be nice, but I would like to have closure. With charges being simply withdrawn it is as though they are being held over my head all the time; following me, and 13 others, wherever we go; living with the fear and knowledge that our lives can be turned upside down at any moment. Drop them and let us be free of our chains of burden that we carry still to this day; almost one year later.

Bring closure to this despicable act of deceit and violence. You have met me and you have commended me for the work I was doing; you showed me respect and you have seen, as I have shown many others, that I am a competent, informed and passionate individual. Again, I'm not looking for an apology from you, from City Hall or from the HRPD (though again, it would be a nice gesture); no, what I want is that part of my freedom back. My rights were violated that day and a part of my freedoms locked up with me in a jail cell; I have since been released, but my freedom still rots in a cell.

I urge to please consider this request on my behalf and on behalf of the 13 others who carry this unnecessary and unjust burden upon their shoulders everywhere they go. Give us back the freedom that was so wrongfully and painfully stripped from us.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

John Thibeau"