Squamish Five

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The Squamish Five (sometimes referred to as the Vancouver Five)[1] were a group of self-styled "urban guerrillas" active in Canada during the early 1980s. Their chosen name was Direct Action.

The five were Ann Hansen, Brent Taylor, Juliet Caroline Belmas, Doug Stewart and Gerry Hannah. Unlike other groups, they were not motivated by a political ideology, but, they were activists who had become disenchanted and frustrated with traditional methods of activism. They believed that by engaging in semi-symbolic propaganda by the deed, they could jolt people into action themselves.[citation needed]

Contents

Early actions

The first actions associated with the group were not particularly militant. They vandalized the headquarters of Amax, a mining company which had been granted a special exemption from environmental laws,[citation needed] and offices of the British Columbia Ministry of Environment.[2]

After these actions, the group dispersed. Belmas and Hannah retreated to the Rocky Mountains, and Hansen, Taylor, and Stewart moved underground together, becoming more militant. They began training with stolen weapons in a deserted area north of Vancouver, and stole a large cache of dynamite used for construction work. They supported themselves through various forms of fraud and theft.

Bombing campaigns

Cheekye-Dunsmuir bombing

On 30 May 1982, Hansen, Taylor, and Stewart traveled to Vancouver Island and set off a large bomb at the Cheekye-Dunsmuir BC Hydro substation causing $5 million in damages.[1] Four transformers were damaged beyond repair, but no one was injured. The hydroelectric project had been criticized by some as environmentally unsound and contributing to the destruction of wilderness on the Island. After the bombing, the group again recruited Hannah, a member of the punk rock group Subhumans, well known for his criticism of BC Hydro executives; and Belmas, an idealist from the suburbs who had been radicalized in the process of opposing a retail pornography outlet in her Port Coquitlam neighbourhood.

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