UPDATED with English translation. Gérard Montpetit: Judicial terrorism and frac’ing

May 31, 2021

Good Morning, Jessica

It is with deep sorrow that I learned, in The Tyee, that your judicial battle was over.  You are right; you may have lost the judicial battle, but you won the battle of public opinion…. 

I would add that others benefited from your actions; as a pioneer, you had to drop the charges, but your example has fired up the imagination of others. Greatest infinite tool humans have – our imagination. Courts of law can be used against «Big Oil».  Last Wednesday,  in the Netherlands, Shell was ordered by a court to reduce its GHG by 45%.

https://fossilfree.media/2021/05/a-landmark-day-in-the-fight-against-fossil-fuels/
I believe that this is a indirect victory for you.  Bloomberg (not a left wing activist group!!!) says that the «oil industry is on the ropes»

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-05-30/this-time-is-different-outside-opec-oil-growth-stalls?srnd=premium-canada

That is not all; The IEA  puts big oil on notice; no more investment in coal mines , oil wells  or gas wells. This time, Jason Kenney cannot blame activists unless he wants to be laughed at!!!!

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2021/05/18/news/%20stop-coal-oil-gas-investments-international-energy-agency

In the attached document «en français» included below, I lashed out at the abusive use of the courts of law by gas companies in Québec and elsewhere; I call it «Judicial Terrorism». In the nineth paragraph, I wrote;

A contrario, les personnes qui n’ont pas les ressources financières et les relations politiques de l’industrie pétrolière ont des difficultés. Pensons à Mme Jessica Ernst, une résidente de l’Alberta. Lorsque l’eau de son puits a été contaminée, elle a intenté une poursuite contre Encana. Les enjeux étaient tels que certaines parties de la poursuite se sont même retrouvées devant la Cour suprême du Canada. Après 20 ans de combat et des frais légaux qui frisent les 400 000 $, elle a été contrainte d’abandonner le combat.[7] 

And I use TheTyee’s account of your battle as  a link to those who want to know more about your legal odyssey.

Bravo, Jessica for everything that you did.  

Nous t’aimons

Gérard

Judicial Terrorism by Gérard Montpetit, Translation June 10, 2021 MUST READ!

Failing to win the battle to persuade the public to approve hydraulic fracturing, the gas companies have launched a number of lawsuits arguing that they are treated unfairly. For example: ‘… Gaspé Energy is before the courts to demand a permit to drill in Gaspé’s Galt 6 well, which had been refused by the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Jonatan Julien…‘ (1) The ‘Centre Québécois du Droit de l’Environnement’ denounces the alarming tendency of gas companies that make an abusive use of the courts to promote their interest at the expense of the health and well-being of the citizens.(2)

With the lack of social acceptability and the very controversial law106 adopted in 2016, the oil companies are trying to play the victim by appealing to the courts. This parody of justice calls to mind the second definition of the verb ‘to prostitute’: ‘ to debase through self-interest (avilir par intérêt)’. Furthermore, this lawsuit is implicit blackmail, twisting the arm of the minister to oblige him to ‘negotiate’ the granting of a permit authorizing this well.

Similarly, Pieridae Energy is suing the government of Québec for $32 million to demand compensation for the ‘disguised expropriation’ of the Haldimand site in the Gaspé area; ‘….this expropriation arises from the regulations of the application of the law on hydrocarbons….’ (3) Does a government have the right to to protect its population, especially in an inhabited zone?

Not lacking nerve, Pieridae wants to obtain a subsidy of nearly a billion dollars from Ottawa to start its Goldboro project in Nova Scotia (4) Just like the liquified natural gas project on the banks of the Saguenay river(GNL Québec), the Goldboro project intends to export liquified natural gas to Europe. However, according to report #358 of the BAPE, the justification for a natural gas liquefaction facility in Québec as a transition energy is very debatable; the same reservations should apply to Goldboro’s plans for natural gas export.

As one might expect, the oil companies have made multiple attempts to silence the opposition or to blackmail the government to accept ‘ petroleum friendly legislation’. Could we call this ‘judicial terrorism’? We might recall that Gastem sued the tiny municipality of Ristigouche for $1.5 million because the municipal council refused to allow Gastem to compromise the quality of its citizens’ water supply. The judge rejected the indecent allegations of Gastem.

In order to restart drilling in Québec, Questerre Energy Corporation launched a lawsuit in October, 2018 in order to force the government of Québec to invalidate the regulations which forbids fracking in the St Lawrence lowlands. In March 2019, Questerre temporarily suspended its suit. The chairman of Questerre, Mr Michael Binnion was a former President of the Quebec’s Oil and Gas Association (QOGA) later known as The Energy Association of Quebec. Since Questerre was the cutting edge of this drive, could this halt in the proceedings allow back-room negotiations for the purpose of invalidating the laws and regulations against hydraulic fracking?

Furthermore, the petrochemical industry is preparing to sue the federal government because it wishes to curb plastic pollution. According to the allegations of the industry, Ottawa’s stance would not be founded on science. (5)

The mechanism to resolve disputes between investors and states (investor-state dispute settlement, ISDS) of NAFTA also falls under the heading of large scale judicial blackmail. Lone Pine Resources is suing Quebec (through the intermediary of the federal government) for the sum of $250 million because law 18 of the Charest government forbade drilling in the bed of the St Lawrence. We are waiting for the verdict! (6) . Also, TransCanada Pipelines has sued the American government for $15 billion because President Obama refused Keystone XL. Obviously, the company abandoned its suit when President Trump authorized the pipeline. It remains to be seen if TC Energy will submit another lawsuit after the ratification of the decree signed by President Biden on January 20, 2021!

In contrast, individuals who do not have the financial resources and the political connections of the oil industry have difficulties. Let’s consider Jessica Ernst, a resident of Alberta. When the water in her well was contaminated, she sued Encana. The issues were such that some aspects of the lawsuit had to be resolved by the Supreme Court of Canada. After 20 years of litigations and legal costs approaching $400,000, she was forced to give up. (7) It’s been 14 years of litigation and 20 years living frac’d.

The courts are legally and ethically obliged to arbitrate conflicts in order to render JUSTICE on the basis of legitimate laws. The allegory of blind Themis’ scales is the symbol of justice (8)

In this balance, the overwhelming weight of the wealth of the oil industry is beginning to fade. After all , the very powerful International Energy Agency demands immediate action on climate, including …’ the end of all investments in coal mines and gas and oil wells….’ (9) and (10)

1] https://www.lesoleil.com/actualite/exploration-petroliere-vers-un-feu-vert-a-des-forages-en-gaspesie-bb177254506c21bb0222fd18e3b04593

2] https://www.cqde.org/fr/nouvelles/communique-la-gaziere-pieridae-energy-inc-tente-daffaiblir-le-cadre-reglementaire-en-vigueur-le-cqde-denonce-une-tendance-inquietante/

3] https://drive.google.com/file/d/1k2OmMVyX78Xw-Ve-H1jPlVOhfUz5NelR/view

(Demande introductive d’instance)

4] https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/pieridae-goldboro-lng-negotiating-with-ottawa-1.5953360

5] https://act.environmentaldefence.ca/page/83022/action/1?ea.tracking.id=NewsDN&ea.url.id=5316889

6] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0LOwmwgkdA 

7] https://thetyee.ca/News/2021/05/18/Brutal-Legal-Odyssey-Jessica-Ernst-Ends/?utm_source=national&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=200521

8] https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justice_(allégorie)

9] https://www.nationalobserver.com/2021/05/18/news/%20stop-coal-oil-gas-investments-international-energy-agency

10] https://www.lapresse.ca/actualites/environnement/2021-05-19/rechauffement-climatique/une-feuille-de-route-pour-la-carboneutralite.php

Terrorisme judiciaire by Gérard Montpetit, May 27, 2021 MUST READ!

À défaut d’avoir gagné la bataille de l’opinion publique en faveur de la fracturation hydraulique, les gazières se sont lancées dans une orgie de poursuites judiciaires. Par exemple, «l’entreprise Gaspé Énergies s’adresse au tribunal pour réclamer un permis de forage à Gaspé, au puits Galt 6, que le ministre de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles, Jonatan Julien, lui a refusé.»[1] Le Centre québécois du droit de l’environnement (CQDE) dénonce cette tendance inquiétante.[2] Cette utilisation abusive des tribunaux pour promouvoir les intérêts des gazières au détriment de la santé des riverains et du bien commun des citoyens est inacceptable.

Suite au déficit d’acceptabilité sociale et de la très controversée loi 106 adoptée sous bâillon en 2016, les pétrolières tentent de jouer à la victime en ayant recours aux tribunaux. Cette parodie de justice rejoint la deuxième définition du verbe «prostituer» : «avilir par intérêt». De plus, cette poursuite est un chantage implicite qui tord le bras du ministre pour l’obliger à «négocier» l’émission d’un permis qui autoriserait le forage du puits convoité.

Dans le même ordre d’idée, Pieridae poursuit le gouvernement en exigeant 32 millions pour «l’expropriation déguisée» du site Haldimand; «…cette expropriation découle des règlements d’application de la loi sur les hydrocarbures…lesquels ont interdit les activités de mise en valeur des hydrocarbures sur le périmètre d’urbanisation…» [3] Un gouvernement a-t-il le droit de protéger sa population, surtout dans une zone habitée?

Comme Pieridae ne manque pas de culot, elle veut « téter » une subvention d’un milliard de dollars pour mettre sur pied le projet Goldboro en Nouvelle-Écosse.[4] Tout comme le projet GNL Québec sur les rives du Saguenay, le projet Goldboro veut exporter du gaz naturel liquéfié (GNL) vers l’Europe. Pourtant, selon le rapport #358 du BAPE, la justification pour l’usine de liquéfaction de GNL Québec était très contestable; les mêmes réserves devraient s’appliquer au projet d’exportation de gaz naturel liquéfié de Goldboro.

Comme on peut le constater, les pétrolières ont fait de multiples tentatives pour réduire les opposants au silence ou obliger les gouvernements à se plier à leurs exigences. Est-ce qu’on pourrait nommer cela la politique du «terrorisme judiciaire»? On se souviendra que Gastem avait poursuivi la petite municipalité de Ristigouche pour 1,5 million de dollars parce que le Conseil municipal refusait de compromettre la qualité de l’eau de ses citoyens. Le juge a rejeté les prétentions indécentes de Gastem.

Dans le but de relancer les forages au Québec, Questerre Energy Corporation a intenté une poursuite en octobre 2018 pour faire invalider le règlement qui interdit la fracturation dans les basses-terres du Saint-Laurent. En mars 2019, Questerre a suspendu sa poursuite. Le PDG de Questerre, M. Michael Binnion, a été le Président de l’Association pétrolière et gazière du Québec (APGQ), devenue l’Association de l’Énergie du Québec. Puisque c’est Questerre qui est le fer de lance de ce mouvement, on peut se demander si cet arrêt des procédures permettrait des tractations inquiétantes derrière des portes closes ayant pour objectif de faire invalider les lois et règlements édictés contre la fracturation?

Ce n’est pas tout. L’industrie pétrochimique se prépare à poursuivre le gouvernement fédéral parce que celui-ci veut juguler la pollution du plastique. Selon les allégations de l’industrie, la politique d’Ottawa ne serait pas fondée sur la science.[5]

Les poursuites en vertu du mécanisme de règlement des différends entre investisseurs et États (en anglais Investor-state dispute settlement, ISDS en abrégé) de l’ALÉNA relèvent également du chantage judiciaire à grande échelle. Lone Pine Resources poursuit le Québec (par l’intermédiaire du gouvernement du Canada) pour la somme de 250 millions de dollars parce que la loi 18 du gouvernement Charest interdisait les forages dans le lit du fleuve. On attend le verdict! [6] De même, TransCanada Pipelines a poursuivi le gouvernement américain pour la somme de 15 milliards parce que le Président Obama avait refusé Keystone XL. Évidemment, l’entreprise a abandonné la poursuite lorsque le Président Trump a autorisé cet oléoduc. Reste à savoir si TC Energy intentera une autre poursuite après la ratification du décret que le Président Biden a signé le 20 janvier 2021!

A contrario, les personnes qui n’ont pas les ressources financières et les relations politiques de l’industrie pétrolière ont des difficultés. Pensons à Mme Jessica Ernst, une résidente de l’Alberta. Lorsque l’eau de son puits a été contaminée, elle a intenté une poursuite contre Encana. Les enjeux étaient tels que certaines parties de la poursuite se sont même retrouvées devant la Cour suprême du Canada. Après 20 ans de combat et des frais légaux qui frisent les 400 000 $, elle a été contrainte d’abandonner le combat.[7]

Les tribunaux ont l’obligation légale et éthique d’arbitrer les conflits d’intérêts pour rendre la JUSTICE en se basant sur les lois légitimes. L’allégorie de la balance de Thémis est le symbole de la justice.[8] Dans cette balance, le poids de la richesse de l’industrie pétrolière est en train de baisser. Après tout, la très puissante Agence internationale de l’énergie (AIE) demande une action immédiate en faveur du climat incluant «… la fin de tout investissement dans les mines de charbon et des puits gaziers et pétroliers.…» [9] et [10]

Gérard Montpetit

Membre du CCCPEM (Comité des citoyens et citoyennes pour la protection de l’environnement maskoutain)

le 27 mai 2021

1] https://www.lesoleil.com/actualite/exploration-petroliere-vers-un-feu-vert-a-des-forages-en-gaspesie-bb177254506c21bb0222fd18e3b04593

2] https://www.cqde.org/fr/nouvelles/communique-la-gaziere-pieridae-energy-inc-tente-daffaiblir-le-cadre-reglementaire-en-vigueur-le-cqde-denonce-une-tendance-inquietante/

3] https://drive.google.com/file/d/1k2OmMVyX78Xw-Ve-H1jPlVOhfUz5NelR/view

(Demande introductive d’instance)

4] https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/pieridae-goldboro-lng-negotiating-with-ottawa-1.5953360

5] https://act.environmentaldefence.ca/page/83022/action/1?ea.tracking.id=NewsDN&ea.url.id=5316889

6] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0LOwmwgkdA 

7] https://thetyee.ca/News/2021/05/18/Brutal-Legal-Odyssey-Jessica-Ernst-Ends/?utm_source=national&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=200521

8] https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justice_(allégorie)

9] https://www.nationalobserver.com/2021/05/18/news/%20stop-coal-oil-gas-investments-international-energy-agency

10] https://www.lapresse.ca/actualites/environnement/2021-05-19/rechauffement-climatique/une-feuille-de-route-pour-la-carboneutralite.php

Refer also to:

Gas in your maple syrup, Du gaz dans ton sirop

Many more comments responding to the news about the ending of my case here:

Nikiforuk: The Brutal Legal Odyssey of Jessica Ernst Comes to an End (post includes translation of the article into Spanish). “They whispered to her you cannot withstand the storm. She whispered back, I am the storm.”

Parallel situations between Canada and Honduras: Father Melo and Phil Little compare Berta Cáceres with Jessica Ernst on radio program, América Libre.

New Irish Study: Frac’ing not compatible with human rights law; “Must be banned worldwide” … “No amount of regulation can adequately address all the problems that fracking causes” 

A few new comments in:

The first one came via Canada Post with a hundred dollar bill attached:

dear jes, sadly I read the Nikiforuk article in the tyee. May the Blessings be on you to live through the fact that there is No Justice on earth.

You did not Fight in Vain and that’s the Main Thing and also why I believe you do not owe money to the generous contributor of your cause, IF they are like me, they gave to your courage of Fighting, not to WIN. you’re in NO WAY to blame in this.

Here is a surplus of money I want to share with YOU.

I will always love you jes. may Grace accompany you in health and everything. xxx

2. Sorry to Hear the Time has Run Out

Good evening Jessica … I was very disappointed to read that the time has run out on your lawsuit against Encana. What an injustice! There is no question that the Alberta/Federal governments, the judiciary, the regulator and Big Oil all conspired against Jessica Ernst to make sure that Big Oil did not lose the case. And the final straw was your lawyers leaving the case and then not providing you with all the essential files relating to the case.

You must be totally exhausted, but in some ways relieved that it is over. That said, I am sure you are disgusted to see Encana walk away untouched. However, looking at the bigger picture, the campaigning you’ve done against hydraulic fracturing around the world has been amazing and you have informed millions of people that HYDRAULIC FRACTURING is UNACCEPTABLE. Jessica Ernst has led the charge.

I speak from experience when I say that your presentation to 400 people at the Stephenville Arts and Culture Centre turned the tide against fracking on the West Coast of Newfoundland. The support we received from your presentation and the media interviews you gave resulted in the Panel Review and a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing was established in our province.

Coverage of your presentations in NL was also shared with the other Atlantic provinces and that resulted in organizations in our province linking up with anti-fracking groups right across Canada and down into the US and even in Europe. So while you lost a courageous battle in Alberta, you were instrumental in winning campaigns against fracking all over the world.

We cannot thank you enough for the support you gave us. [We] will be thinking of you as you adjust to life now that the court case is over. You have reserved a special place in the hearts and souls of the Port au Port/Bay St. George Fracking Awareness Group.

….said she will be sending positive energy in your direction and hopes you get a chance to relax and take some well deserved time for yourself. “Thinking of you.”

Sincerely, … Kippens NL

Ernst presenting at Stephenville Arts and Culture Centre NL, 2013. Photos by Aiden Mahoney.

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