FREDERICTON - In the latest salvo in the war between Fredericton Mayor Brad Woodside and the Occupy movement, the group has used video to hit the City.
Done to bolster their case in a lawsuit for what they see as an illegal eviction violating their Charter rights, Occupiers spliced together two videos showing Woodside contradict himself on the issue.
The first part of the video is a clip of Woodside saying a few nights before the eviction the situation would end up in court. But in the second clip (from this publication publicly available online), in an interview during the mayoral race last month, Woodside states he never said it would go to court.
"...it's an example of his clear dishonesty," said Alex Davenport, one of the evicted Occupiers and plaintiffs in the lawsuit. "He tore the camp down before the deadline because he knew that the by-law warning he issued us was fraudulent...there was nothing in the by-law we were violating."
Davenport claims the City had to act because a simple by-law ticket for staying past the deadline would've shown the municipality didn't have a leg to stand on.
"With all the facts laid out, it's very clear there was some conscious action outside of the law. [Woodside] wouldn't have been able to give us a ticket, because we would've took it to court and won," said Davenport.
The City informed the Occupiers through letter back in January they would be evicted from their shelter on City property for violating section 5, Buildings and Structures, of by-law T-4.
"The Director of Engineering and Public Works shall give to any person who erects or maintains a building or structure contrary to this section three days notice in writing to remove the same or such portion thereof as may be within or over a street. If such person fails to obey the notice, the Director of Engineering and Public Works shall report the facts and circumstances to the City Clerk."
However, the shelter was located in Phoenix Square, a property beside City hall, not "within or over a street," as the by-law states. Nor is there anything in the by-law giving the City the right to dismantle the structure, as was done less than three days after Occupiers received the letter.
Davenport further points out the City recently passed a new by-law that prevents structures such as the Occupy shelter from being erected on the City's public squares in the future.
"If the city already had a by-law which prohibited the erection of such structures, why would they have needed to pass this new by-law?" asked Davenport.