NEWS

Alan Dutton battles Kinder Morgan for right to protest

01/13/2015 04:44 EST | Updated 03/15/2015 05:59 EDT
One of the Burnaby Mountain pipeline protesters named in a multi-million dollar lawsuit by Kinder Morgan says he has no plans to settle his legal fight quietly.

Retired Burnaby professor Alan Dutton says he's digging in against the multinational pipeline company as a matter of principle and he wants the case thrown out of court.

"The allegations we engaged in conspiracy to commit various unlawful acts that's of course a ridiculous charge," said Dutton on Tuesday outside the court house in Vancouver.

The lawsuit began in November, when Kinder Morgan's attempts to do survey work on Burnaby Mountain were blocked by protesters.

The company sued five people for $5.6 million in damages. Four of the protesters settled out of court with the company, but Dutton refused. 

"The issue is to protect our rights to protest, our right to freedom of expression. If we lose those rights then what kind of country do we have?," said Dutton.

"So, I don't care so much about winning or losing. That's not the issue. The issue here is to stand up for our rights." 

In a written statement, Kinder Morgan says it never tried to prevent protesters from freely expressing their views, and Dutton's decision to continue with legal action is unfortunate.  

Since the company has dropped the lawsuit Dutton is no longer on the hook for millions of dollars, but if he loses in court he may have to pay Kinder Morgan's legal fees.

Nevertheless he says he has no plans to settle quietly.

"I can't settle. There's no way. There's a moral imperative here," said Dutton. 

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