New West priest taken away in handcuffs after sentencing for Burnaby pipeline protest

A New Westminster priest is one of the latest anti-pipeline protesters to be sentenced to seven days in jail for violating a court injunction banning protesters from blocking access to Trans Mountain facilities.

Emilie Smith, a parish priest at St. Barnabas Anglican Church, is headed to the Alouette Women's Correctional Centre in Maple Ridge for seven consecutive days after being sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver Wednesday morning.

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She and former Mennonite pastor Steve Heinrichs, originally from Burnaby, were arrested at Trans Mountain’s Westridge Marine Terminal on April 20 after blocking the road into the facility and refusing to leave when asked by police.

"This is a way we are called to live out the reconciliation, is in standing with the Tsleil-Waututh and others to defend this holy land," she told the Record before her arrest. "I think our faith teaches us that we're not supposed to just say nice things to each other, we're supposed to live out our faith in our bodies ... we believe in taking action."

Heinrichs was also sentenced to seven days in jail Wednesday. He will serve his time at North Fraser Pretrial Centre in Port Coquitlam.

Supporters raised their fists in solidarity as Smith and Heinrichs were led, handcuffed, from the courtroom Wednesday morning, according Kris Hermes, a legal support coordinator assisting protesters.

Four protesters have now been handed seven-day jail sentences, and four more – including Order of Canada recipient Jean Swanson and former BC Teachers’ Federation President Susan Lambert – face the same sentence next Wednesday.

St. Barnabas, meanwhile, will “carry on” without its spiritual head until Smith’s return, according to rector’s warden Bruce Alexander.

We’ve got lots of people helping out here,” he told the Record. “It’s not going to stop us.”

Honorary assistant priest Barbara Blakely will handle this Sunday’s services, Alexander said.




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