The Vancouver poet Stephen Collis has recently been part of a group of dedicated land defenders protecting Burnaby Mountain, on unceded Coast Salish territories, against the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain oil pipeline. Now Texas-based Kinder Morgan – the largest energy transmission company in North America – has served five of these activists, including Stephen, with a $5.6 million dollar lawsuit. Kinder Morgan is seeking an injunction to halt protests on Burnaby Mountain against its surveying work for the Trans Mountain Pipeline.

The trial is now pressing ahead. On Wednesday Kinder Morgan’s lawyer referred to what he called a poem by Stephen (actually more of a blog post, but a poem nonetheless!) as evidence against him. Kinder Morgan's lawyer also referred to the "angry, even violent facial expressions" of the protestors as as an assault on the company. #KMface quickly became an online meme of selfies with angry facial expressions. Wednesday also saw a large rally at the courthouse with a contingent from Simon Fraser University, where Collis teaches, in support of the land defenders and activists. SFU faculty and students are outraged by the case. 

The Georgia Straight, Vancouver’s free weekly news and entertainment paper, have indicated that they will publish an open letter to help us speak up in support for those facing legal proceedings this week. Stephen and the other protestors need support from the poetry community, so please sign your name here to our letter of petition in support of their rights to free speech and protest on public land.

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