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Court grants injunction limiting activity of ironworkers protesting at Corner Brook hospital site

Ironworkers will be able to continue their protest outside the construction site of the regional hospital in Corner Brook, but will have restrictions on stopping vehicles entering the site.
Ironworkers will be able to continue their protest outside the construction site of the regional hospital in Corner Brook, but will have restrictions on stopping vehicles entering the site. - Gary Kean

There is now an injunction against them, but disgruntled ironworkers will be allowed to continue their protest outside the regional hospital construction site in Corner Brook.

The group, upset at the lack of local jobs being made available with the project, has been picketing at the hospital site since June 11.

Marco Cahill Corner Brook Partnership, the general contractor for the project, had filed an application in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador for an injunction restricting the protestors’ access to the site.

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The injunction was sought against Local 764 of the International Association of Bridge, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers, even though the protestors have claimed they took the action of their own volition and not at the behest of their union.

In granting the injunction Thursday afternoon, Justice George Murphy ruled the legal action could proceed against the union because union officials had flown to Corner Brook prior to the protest starting, have been present at the site during the protest and have acted on the protestors’ behalf in dealings with the contractor and police.

Murphy ordered the protestors to remain outside the outer gate to the construction site and prohibited them from interfering with anyone having lawful access to the site from coming and going.

Murphy said it was fine for the protest to continue in the area of a short stretch of road leading from the Lewin Parkway to the outermost gate, beyond which the judge considered to be the delineated construction site.

The protestors are not allowed to park any vehicles on the road leading into the outer gate, nor place or erect any structures on the stretch of road.

Murphy said the protestors will be permitted to briefly stop people and vehicles entering the site solely for the purposes of communicating the fact they are staging a protest and their reasons for doing so.

He ruled that no one entering the site is to be stopped any more than once and that the interruption of their passage is to cease if the person being stopped expresses they do not wish to engage in the communication with the protestors.

Murphy said it should not take any more than a few minutes for protesters to get their message to anyone they stop.

During his oral judgement delivered Thursday, Murphy noted that there had been some unlawful interference of vehicles attempting to enter or leave the construction site. He found it concerning that some of these delays were allowed to happen in the presence of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary.

The judge said it is incumbent on the police officers to prevent unlawful activity wherever it occurs and urged the police to take action should any unlawful activity be witnessed at this site.

Murphy also stated that the court will not tolerate any violations of the injunction order, reminding that any violations could result in the loss of the right to protest at the site altogether or further restrictions on the activity he is permitting in the order.

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