“Klippenstein, admittedly, ‘would not be the person’ he is ‘without freedom of thought and expression,’ so where’s his outrage at the legal suppressing of those freedoms – aka gag orders? And who would he be then, with his mouth legally taped shut?” Comment to Andrew Nikiforuk’s article in The Tyee on Klippenstein & Wanless quitting

Is a client’s right to freedom of thought and expression (eg posting articles, comments about a legal system inaccessible for nearly all civil Canadians, bad behaviour by judges and lawyers, etc) a valid reason for lawyers to quit a lawsuit? White supremacy certainly isn’t.

Law Society Ontario Rule 2.09, withdrawal from representation:

Les avocats de Jessica Ernst l`abandonnent French translation of Andrew Nikiforuk’s article ongoing, time permitting, by Amis du Richelieu

Another Setback in Landmark Fracking Case as Lawyers Pull Out, Jessica Ernst’s 12-year legal battle over water contamination no nearer resolution by Andrew Nikiforuk, August 8, 2019, The Tyee.ca

Andrew Nikiforuk’s book on the Ernst case, Slick Water, won a Science in Society Journalism Award from the U.S. National Association of Science Writers in 2016.

Jessica Ernst has spent 12 years and $400,000 pursuing a lawsuit against the Alberta fracking industry and its regulator.

Now her Ontario lawyer has let go most of his staff and given up the case.

“I was shocked and felt terribly betrayed,” said Ernst. “The legal system doesn’t want ordinary people in it. They don’t want citizens who will not gag and settle out of court for money so corporations and government can continue their abuse.”

In 2007, Ernst, then an oil patch consultant with her own thriving business, sued the Alberta government, Alberta’s energy regulator and Encana. She alleged her well water had been contaminated by Encana’s fracking and government agencies had failed to investigate the problems.

For more than a decade the case has been bogged down by legal wrangling, legal posturing and constant delays. Three different judges have been involved.The Tyee is supported by readers like you Join us and grow independent media in Canada

The process included a two-year detour to the Supreme Court of Canada, which ruled that Ernst could not sue the regulator because it is given immunity by provincial legislation. The lawsuits against the provincial government and Encana remain before the courts.

And still no evidence has been heard on the actual merits of the case.

Ernst was represented by high-profile lawyer Murray Klippenstein. He told The Tyee in an email that “major changes in the political climate of the legal profession in Ontario” made it “no longer feasible for me to continue my law firm. That was heartbreaking to me, for many reasons.”

Klippenstein is fighting against a recently adopted Law Society of Ontario statement of principles that obliges law firms to “promote equality, diversity and inclusion” and perform annual “inclusion self-assessments.”

Lawyers “will increasingly be judged more on the basis of ideology, skin colour and sex chromosomes than by their competence, skills, effort and professional contributions” under the rule, he argued.

However, advocates for the new rules say criticism from Klippenstein and others showed how badly they are needed.

Legal scholar Joshua Sealy-Harrington argued that the “forceful opposition” showed the insufficient awareness of systemic discrimination in Canadian legal practice, which has been detailed time and time and time and timeagain.

Klippenstein also offered another reason for quitting the case, saying in an email to The Tyee that he “had increasing concerns about Ms. Ernst’s views about the viability of her own lawsuit, in particular because of Ms. Ernst’s highly and increasingly critical views of the legal system, and of the lawyers that were a part of that system, to the point where I thought it was simply no longer viable for us to represent her going forward.”

Ernst said she fully explained her critical views to Klippenstein in 2007 as she vetted potential lawyers. Those views have never changed, she added.

“Murray warned me in 2007 that I would need to spend a million dollars and give up 10 to 12 years of my life, to maybe win a few thousand dollars,” said Ernst.

She said Klippenstein told her that lawsuits like hers were usually settled with a payment and a non-disclosure agreement that silences the person who had sued “because our legal system is set up to make that happen.”

Ernst said she had always been clear that she would not accept a non-disclosure agreement. The issue of contaminated water goes beyond one household or community and the public needs to be aware, she said.

Ernst said Klippenstein also warned her that the courts might order her to pay the legal costs of Encana and the other defendants even if she won the lawsuit.

“I would have to also pay the legal costs of the defendants even if I win but win less than what the defendants offer me to gag,” she said. “Who wouldn’t be bitter?”

Ernst’s lawsuit claims fracking contaminated the water supply at her homestead near Rosebud, about 110 kilometres east of Calgary. Research has shown fracking, in which companies blast water, chemicals and sand underground to crack rock formations and allow methane to flow, can result in groundwater contamination.

The suit alleges that Encana was negligent in the fracking of shallow coal seams; that the regulator breached Ernst’s freedoms under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and that Alberta Environment performed a problem-plagued investigation in bad faith.

Even before the lawsuit was launched, Ernst was locked in conflict with the Energy Resources Conservation Board, now the Alberta Energy Regulator. In November 2005, the regulator sent Ernst a letter saying it had told its staff to “avoid any further contact” with her on the grounds that she had criticized the board and made “criminal threats.”

But in June 2006 Rick McKee, then chief counsel for the regulator, admitted in a taped interview (Liberal MLA David Swann was a witness) that Ernst never presented a security threat to the organization.

She also sued the regulator for violating her charter rights by falsely branding her a “criminal threat” in 2005.

The Supreme Court of Canada split ruling on Ernst’s right to sue the energy regulator included a claim by Justice Rosalie Abella that the regulator found Ernst to be a “vexatious litigant,” though no regulator in Alberta has ever described Ernst as such. Four of the other justices commented on Abella’s claim, noting, “We see no basis for our colleague’s characterization.”

But Ernst has been unsuccessful in having the statement corrected in the judgment, noting it could be used against her in future hearings. The Canadian Judicial Council informed Ernst that it has no policy for correcting errors and that only the Supreme Court can amend or review reasons for its decisions.

Some legal scholars criticized the Supreme Court decision and said it weakened the Charter of Rights and Freedoms by allowing governments to place regulators above the law.

Ernst learned Klippenstein was withdrawing from the case last fall, but didn’t share the information until recently. She was waiting until the law firm surrendered control of her website, she said. The website is an archive of her lawsuit as well as a record of the political, legal and ecological impacts of the brute force technology of fracking.

The Tyee asked Klippenstein why the case has floundered in the justice system for nearly a dozen years.

“Ms. Ernst’s case was and is an enormously ambitious undertaking, involving numerous highly-complex scientific and legal issues, against a number of very powerful, very well-resourced, and very determined opponents,” he said. “We all knew that from the beginning, and we all knew that it would be an incredibly difficult and lengthy and time-consuming effort to undertake it, and a seriously uphill battle all the way.”

Klippenstein said he advised Ernst that she now has three options: she can transfer the case to another lawyer; continue with the lawsuit by representing herself; or let Klippenstein wind down the lawsuit “in a way that is most advantageous or least disadvantageous to you.”

Ernst said that she has rejected the third option.

“I have always been public and open about my case. But since I have no lawyers, I can’t disclose to The Tyee as much as I would like about my next steps,” she said. “I need to keep those options to myself.”

Ernst is philosophical about the latest setback.

“I am a lot less bitter now than I was when I started my lawsuit in 2007,” she said. “I have a wild sense of humour. What I have learned is that Canada’s legal system is a farce.”

“We don’t have a justice system, but a legal system designed to serve the interests of the powerful and to employ judges and lawyers.”

An Ernst chronology

Jessica’s Ernst’s lawsuit against Alberta’s fracking industry and its regulators provides a blunt view of how slow and protracted Canada’s legal system has become.

May 1, 1998: Ernst moves to a small rural property in Rosebud, Alberta. Her well produces soft, high-quality water. Water tests state “Gas Present: No.”

2001: Encana begins an experimental shallow fracturing natural gas project around Rosebud, without consulting with the community or landowners in violation of the Alberta energy regulator’s requirements.

Feb. 14, 2004: Encana drilled and later hydraulically fractured in the drinking water aquifers supplying Ernst, a dozen families and the Hamlet of Rosebud.

January 2005: An explosion at the Rosebud water tower seriously injured a Wheatland County worker. It was reported that an investigation determined the explosion was apparently caused by “an accumulation of gases.”

Nov. 24, 2005: The energy regulator (then the Energy Resources Conservation Board, now the Alberta Energy Regulator) sends a letter to Ernst. It brands her criticisms of the regulator as a “criminal threat” and says it ceases all communication with her.

Dec. 6, 2005: Ernst sends a letter seeking clarification on the regulator’s decision to cut off communication. It is returned unopened.

June 8, 2006: Regulator lawyer Rick McKee questions Ernst in a recorded conversation with a witness. McKee admits that the regulator never saw her as “a criminal threat,” but as an unwelcome critic. He also asks Ernst what it will take to get her to leave Alberta. Ernst replies she will gladly leave Alberta as soon as the regulator starts to do its job.

December 2007: Ernst hires lawyer Murray Klippenstein and files a $33-million lawsuit against Encana, the Alberta environment ministry and the Energy Resources Conservation Board alleging groundwater contamination was caused by the shallow fracking of coalbed methane wells in central Alberta.

Feb. 12, 2009: RCMP officers arrive at Ernst’s home without warrants to ask questions.

Oct. 24, 2009: Prime minister Stephen Harper announces the appointment of Neil Wittmann as new Alberta chief justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench.

July 19, 2010: The U.S. Congress investigates fracking practices, including the impact on drinking water. Encana is one of the companies questioned.

June 24, 2011: The Harper government appoints Barbara Veldhuis to the Court of Queen’s Bench.

Oct. 1, 2011: UNANIMA International, a U.S. NGO, presents Ernst with a Woman of Courage award in New York City.

April 26, 2012: The first hearing on the lawsuit takes place in the Court of Queen’s Bench in Drumheller. Justice Veldhuis requests a shorter statement of claim and volunteers as case manager. Energy regulator lawyer Glenn Solomon asks that the original statement of claim be removed from the court and public record. The request is denied.

Oct. 1, 2012: Defendants apply to have the case moved to Calgary during a case management call with Justice Veldhuis. Justice Wittmann later accepts the application to move the case to Calgary.

December 2012: In its legal brief filed with the court, the energy regulator changes its 2005 accusation that Ernst posed a “criminal threat” and described her as being an “eco-terrorist.”

Jan. 18, 2013: A second court hearing takes place in Calgary, where the courtroom is packed. Ernst refused to accept the change of venue and attends the Drumheller Court House with a witness. Encana does not argue to have the case struck, though the company website states that the case has no merit.

Feb. 8, 2013: The Harper government promotes Justice Veldhuis to the Alberta Court of Appeal. She advises that ruling on arguments in the Ernst case is “not an option.”

Feb. 15, 2013: During a case management call, Justice Veldhuis says Justice Wittmann has volunteered to take over the case.

Sept. 19, 2013: Justice Wittmann, despite not having presided over the original hearing, rules Ernst has a valid Charter of Rights and Freedoms claim but that the regulator is protected by legislation giving it immunity from civil litigation. He dismisses the regulator’s claim that Ernst is an “eco-terrorist” due to “the total absence of evidence.” He denies the Alberta government’s attempts to get the word “contamination” removed from Ernst’s statement of claim.

January 13, 2014: During a case management call, Justice Wittmann grants the Alberta government another chance to try to get Ernst’s case thrown out (at great cost of time and money to her). The hearing is set for April 16, 2014, and the case is moved back to Drumheller, where by law, it belongs.

Feb. 18, 2014: The Alberta government files a brief to strike the lawsuit against it. It argues the government has no duty of care to landowners and immunity. The motion comes three years after the lawsuit was launched.

March 18, 2014: Ernst responds to the government. Her lawyers argue that the approach taken by Alberta Environment is an abuse of process.

April 16, 2014: Drumheller Court of Queen’s Bench hears the Alberta government’s application to be removed from the Ernst case. Justice Wittmann orders document exchange between Ernst and Encana.

Sept. 15, 2014: The Alberta Court of Appeal rules that Alberta’s energy regulator cannot be sued by citizens even if it breaches constitutional rights.

Nov. 10, 2014: Chief Justice Wittmann rules that Alberta Environment can be sued. He orders Alberta Environment to pay Ernst “triple costs,” still less than the legal cost of protecting her case from having been thrown out.

Nov. 13, 2014: Ernst’s lawyers appeal the ruling on the regulator’s immunity to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Jan. 30, 2015: The Alberta government finally files its statement of defence.

Nov. 4, 2015: The Hamlet of Rosebud sends a petition to the Supreme Court of Canada arguing the energy regulator should not be exempt from lawsuits over Charter violations. It is rejected and not included in the docket. On a different case a letter from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers is accepted.

Jan. 12, 2016: Supreme Court of Canada hears the case

Jan. 13, 2017: In a split decision the Supreme Court of Canada rules that Ernst cannot sue the regulator.

Jan. 17, 2017: Chief Justice Neil Wittmann announces his retirement and recommends that the parties choose a replacement case management judge together. Ernst instructs her lawyers to write, “Our client believes that case management is not in her interest and therefore requests that the matter no longer be subject to case management… Our client also does not believe that it is appropriate for the parties to play a role in selecting a case management judge.”

Jan. 27, 2017: Encana and Alberta Environment provide their preferred judges to replace Justice Wittmann. Justice Eamon, one of their preferred judges, becomes the new case management judge.

March 29, 2017: The court orders case management to continue. 

Aug. 26, 2018: Klippenstein and Wanless resign from the case. 

June 30, 2019: Ernst announces that her lawyers have dropped her landmark case. To date, Encana still has not disclosed key records to Ernst, as required by Alberta’s Rules of Court and ordered by Justice Wittmann in July 2014

Email sent to Ernst from Republic of Ireland responding to above article:

Hi Jessica

Good to see your still strong.

The establishment don’t know what to do with you. It’s clear from the comments that your story is well known now. Your credibility with the public is growing every year. It’s clear your operating in the public interest. I hope new lawyers step up.

Regards
Ed

Comments in The Tyee to Nikiforuk’s article:

The only way, as I see it, for Canada to stop this kind of injustice, is for us to stop subsidizing the oil and gas industry. We give it money, license to destroy and powers of monopoly. As we develop alternatives: solar, wind, geothermal, wave..we choke the monster. As to the courts, they are politically incentivized. Time to clean house.

Shame on Klipppenstein for stringing Jessica along like that! No wonder raped women often don`t press charges.

It’s also very odd that the lawyers quit when I thought the client had to dismiss a lawyer rather than the lawyer dismiss the client.

I think the law firm needs to do the right thing now and disburse the funds owing to Ms. Ernst in the trust account. [Thank you Julie! I do not believe I will see my money or my files.]

I’m surprised they haven’t fulfilled this requirement.

I fully agree with you on both counts. So many things I could say about this..

Could this be the reason Lawyers, Judges and most associated with our legal system( not justice system) are considered by most Canadians as one step below child molesters and in a place where snakes and other crawly creatures look down on them.

It’s a rigged game. Just ask Weibo Ludwig…….

Actually, you should ask the parents and friends of the person who was killed.

Its a rigged game.
Abuse people until they snap, then fetshize any victims.

Totally agree.
The representatives who are supposed to represent us instead prop up the interests of the corporate sector. This is unacceptable but we are forced to accept it.
Even political change as in the last election in Alberta was reversed with the election of the UCP folks who in my opinion are not productive as representatives. 
Bogus campaigns to defend the interests of CAPP are being spun as proper taxpayer initiatives. So dumb.

And to have a biased legal system which seldom if ever set new precedents, resting on their laurels with decisions made in the era of complete exploitation and “Britannia Rule the Waves”. Judges who “earn their fees” by citing what a long-dead previous judge ruled, instead of doing their “due diligence”.

It’s troubling.

The zenith of this DeMockracy junk is the Trump error in the USA which will arrive here if folks decide to vote Conservative federally.

Alberta is able to currently sustain the poor governance of the Conservatives due to the bank of oil but how much longer is this bank going to function before climate change bankrupts it?

I’m curious why folks don’t see the problems with monetizing everything and selling everything for a hoarding citizenry.

But do we citizens really “hoard”? Last I heard, personal debt is somewhere in the stratosphere, as opposed to bank accounts.

But yes, we have difficulty placing a value on something unless we’re told the $$ amount of said something.

The legislation in Canada, provincially, federally stipulates that the polluter pays a fee – which is only a nominal sum for the discharged effluents. There is little or no limit for the pollution, just for the fee. In fact, under Stephen Harper, lakes were considered suitable to become mining tail ponds through some obscure annexes / schedules to environmental legislation.

Having all this legal precedent that there is free range for pollution, blessed by all the laws in the land, Ms. Ernest is expected by all to be a good citizen, suck it up and march on the big gov drum – she might even get some pittance of a compensation. But the law will not side with her.

The case is simple, there is nothing complex in it. The only complexity is created by the procedures one needs to go through to get a modicum of justice. In BC it is a whole great piece of legislation only about the procedural hoops (and the associated fees) one needs to get through to see a judge. Law is not for the poor, that is for sure.

That is the only problem when it comes to self-representation: if one doesn’t know the procedures involved, one’s case can end up very, very fast dismissed on technical grounds. But the case itself is very simple. However, the lawmakers can be asses and nobody can do anything about that (see the case of Ms. Ernest being declared a vexatious individual by one of the judges – I would bet my house that that judge was influenced). Judges are little autocrats in their courts.

Canadian polity is set up with a very, very conservative system set up to protect the interests of those that have and give them the ability to make decisions concerning the exploitation of Canada’s resources for their own interest, while narrowing any meaningful option for hoi poloi. For instance, there isn’t any talk anymore of public housing built from municipal/provincial/federal money for rental purposes. Real estate, banks, insurance, and developers made sure to extinguish this thought from Canadian’s mind.

And so it goes…

 

The only complexity is the gauntlet ordinary citizens run to get justice and the failure to get this justice.

So pleased to hear Mrs. Ernst call the justice system a farce. 
It truly is. You’d think contaninated water is a simple case. Just think how anything more complex than that is out of their ability to deal with.

This appears to be an issue that goes beyond Ms. Ernst’s personal situation. There appears very much to be a public interest component to this issue.

So why is it that an organization like Ecojustice, which claims to act in the public interest, has not jumped on board with an offer to assist Ms. Ernst?

Good question!

“Klippenstein said he advised Ernst that she now has three options: she can transfer the case to another lawyer; continue with the lawsuit by representing herself; or let Klippenstein wind down the lawsuit ‘in a way that is most advantageous or least disadvantageous to you.'”

So what’s behind door number 3 Mr. Klippenstein? Settle and gag?

From Klippenstein’s letter to the Law Society of Ontario published in Quillette:

“In short, I would not be the person I am without freedom of thought and expression. I will not be told what to say or what to value—especially by the regulator of what is supposed to be a body of independent lawyers. And so I have decided that I must contribute, in my little corner, in my limited way, to the defence of those freedoms. I did this knowing that taking a stand on this issue might destroy the career and law firm I had built. And it has, although it has been a disaster I have been able to manage.

Compelling speech is unconscionable regardless of the principles a person is made to parrot.”

How noble, putting his business on the line to defend some “freedoms.” Seems “compelling speech” is a terrible thing in Klippenstein’s book – especially when it happens to him.

Klippenstein, admittedly, “would not be the person” he is “without freedom of thought and expression,” so where’s his outrage at the legal suppressing of those freedoms – aka gag orders? And who would he be then, with his mouth legally taped shut?

Klippenstein’s made it clear he’s all about defending “freedoms” as they apply to him, so I’d like to know what he thinks about reaching into the legal toolkit and pulling out the heavily-used duct tape – to suppress and kill those freedoms in others?

“She said Klippenstein told her that lawsuits like hers were usually settled with a payment and a non-disclosure agreement that silences the person who had sued ‘because our legal system is set up to make that happen.’

Yeah, no shit – does Klippenstein avail himself of such a rampant set up?

October 18, 2018 – “How Non-Disclosure Agreements Have Become a Cancer on Democracy – The powerful, from churches to energy companies, pay to keep wrongdoing secret.”

https://thetyee.ca/Opinion/…

“Ernst said she had always been clear that she would not accept a non-disclosure agreement. The issue of contaminated water goes beyond one household or community and the public needs to be aware, she said.”

Can’t thank you enough for that Ms. Ernst.

“Klippenstein also offered another reason for quitting the case, saying in an email to The Tyee that he ‘had increasing concerns about Ms. Ernst’s views about the viability of her own lawsuit, in particular because of Ms. Ernst’s highly and increasingly critical views of the legal system, and of the lawyers that were a part of that system, to the point where I thought it was simply no longer viable for us to represent her going forward.'”

Good call Mr. Klippenstein, we know she won’t let you gag her and kill her freedoms, and you obviously don’t have what it takes to go up “against a number of very powerful, very well-resourced, and very determined opponents,” so best you run along to your “little corner” now and go defend – in your “limited way,” – those freedoms you feel apply to you personally.

Clearly, Jessica Ernst is looking out for the rest of us, and I sincerely hope she continues to expose and share the rampant industry, regulator and government contamination, corruption and cover-ups – as well as the goings-on of the disgusting “gag-factory” and its “workers” – as they continue to try to pass it off as a justice system in this country.

“We don’t have a justice system, but a legal system designed to serve the interests of the powerful and to employ judges and lawyers.”

~ Jessica Ernst.

ps. Please return Ms. Ernst’s money to her, immediately – some of it has been donated by concerned citizens around the world – who are facing the same industry, government and regulator abuse and squashing of their freedoms – and It doesn’t belong to you.

“Mr Murray Klippenstein

Klippensteins, Barristers & Solicitors

160 John Street, Suite 300

Toronto ON M5V 2E5

Dear Mr Klippenstein:

I met you several times during the 12 years of your representation of Ms Jessica Ernst of Rosebud in Alberta. I am now wondering about your withdrawal from her case after so many years as her lawyer, and so many hundreds of thousands of dollars. Your notice of withdrawal was on 26 August 2018, but she informs me that it is at present incomplete in terms of accounting, documentation, and financial return of the trust account.

The trust account of $40,000 is a very significant amount of money, especially to Ms Ernst – who is no longer able to work in her profession.

I consulted the Law Society of Ontario’s Practice Management Guidelines for Client Service and Communication, Section 2.18 Withdrawal of Services, or Otherwise Ending the Engagement. There are many references to the Rules of Professional Conduct Section 3.7 which clearly describe the obligations of a lawyer. You do not appear to have followed most. Do you intend to do so in a timely fashion?

While you claim to have minimized your office staff, it appears the physical office still exists, and you have not given up your accreditation as a lawyer in Ontario. It would therefore appear that you have obligations of some urgency to fulfill for Ms Ernst.

Your prompt attention would be appreciated by many of us who have followed her case and her website.

Yours truly,

Linde Turner

CC The Law Society of Ontario

Ms Natasha Hassan, Opinion Editor, The Globe and Mail

Mr Ossie Sheddy, Editor, The Drumheller Mail

Mr Jacques Gallant, Legal Affairs Reporter, Toronto Star

Mr Andrew Nikiforuk, Investigative Journalist

Ms Jessica Ernst”

https://www.ernstversusenca…

pps. Thank you again, Andrew Nikiforuk, for your consistent and tremendous reporting.

  •   annie_fiftyseven 

    Well done (as usual), annie!!!!!

     

    Wonderful. Thank you so much.
    I’d say we all need to be writing to this lawyer as I do believe returning client trust money is an obligation of ethical practice.

    -She said Klippenstein told her that lawsuits like hers were usually 
    settled with a payment and a non-disclosure agreement that silences the 
    person who had sued “because our legal system is set up to make that 
    happen.”-
    tic freedom of speech does not mean a thing when individual has no recourse against immunity. legal language is shrewdly manipulated expressions that fail to describe non substantial vs substantial rights of that whom has no recourse but to sew. mumbo jumbo, you say? exactly. those that make the decisions are caught in there as much as the one with seeking compensation for “damage” while the culprit has immunity, or any other legally offered benevolence by those representatives representing individuals on whose behalf they seek election. back to the case, where even the representing lawyer may give up cause there is no money to be had. we are just made like that. so, what gives. oh yeah, we know when we run out of the air to breathe. tic?
    i rest my case.

    Does Jessica have a GoFundMe page? I’m sure a lot of people would love to donate.

    I would suggest that if folks want to donate to Jessica that they contact her directly.
    A GoFundMe page set up by interested parties would be productive as well.

     

    And there are LOTS of people who WON’T donate to her! There IS another side to every story. Ernst has acted like a phucking idiot with many of her decisions which she made AGAINST her lawyers best advice. She should just have represented herself rather than direct a lawyer in what HE KNOWS is a losing battle for her. But then she wouldn’t be able to bitch about her huge legal bill, along with all her other “oh woe is me – I’ve been SO wronged” tears……

    Hope your tap water burns.

    “Ernst has acted like a phucking idiot with many of her decisions which she made AGAINST her lawyers best advice.”

    So do tell, where exactly were you a fly on the wall? And what were these “many decisions she made AGAINST her lawyers best advice?” You seem pretty emotional, so it might be best to just let it all out.

    “She should just have represented herself rather than direct a lawyer in what HE KNOWS is a losing battle for her.”

    How do you know “HE KNOWS?” And how does “HE KNOW?” And what does “HE KNOW?” And when did “HE KNOW?” And, If he’s sure ‘HE KNOWS” it’s a “losing battle for her,” why bother to take it on – and take her money? Doesn’t say much for the professionalism and integrity of the lawyer now does it.

    Have to love your logic….these types who know it all…are privy to it all, likely in the privacy of their basement rooms…need to be called to account for their superior wisdom. Much more often.

    What decisions are you talking about? Were you on her legal team?

    Or, one of the ‘troops of lawyers’ on the side of the o/g ‘boys’…you know – the lawyers get together – ‘hammer’ out a deal. Maybe the ‘settlement’ is Large and Jessica’s lawyer calculates his ‘percentage’? ‘Large’ settlement and ‘small’ disclosure agreement. Lawyers on ‘both’ sides would see “win/win”…Everyone gets Paid. That’s the ‘model’ for litigation that’s worked for ‘industry’ since, well, forever…“Principles” are not a consideration. The prevailing ‘meme’ is that “everyone has their price”.

    bailey22’s attitude would ‘fit’ in many of those scenarios. 

    I hope Jessica is getting good advice and support for her continuing battle and her ‘choice’ of lawyers. I don’t think the industry would be above ‘planting’ her with a ‘free’ one of their own!! [Thank you dda!  I think the same thing. don’t fret, Klippenstein and Wanless quitting on the public interest (our drinking water), taught me a lot]

    If I sound cynical – it’s because I am.

    Look, I don’t know who you are but she has been wronged.

    How do you expect her to direct a lawsuit as an ordinary citizen? Surely you see this is difficult to do?

    I don’t understand why you are blaming the victim.

    Here is a link to Jessica Ernst’s website. It is a comprehensive story of her whole sordid experience of dealing with Encana.
    https://www.ernstversusencana.ca/

    I think it used to show a link to Klippenstein’s who were collecting donations in a trust fund on her behalf, but that link has evidently been taken down. It also shows an email address for Jessica herself. You might like to ask her about the possibility of an alternative vehicle for donations.

    To those of us who have made previous donations in support of her legal expenses, this recent development is a huge dismay and frustration.

    There must be ways we can HELP HER!!!. 
    Findings by the Courts in Ms. Ernst’s case have implications and could be precedent setting on many issues – including water protection. WE ALL have an interest in helping her to achieve justice. 
    Here in BC we have many organizations (Raven Trust/Sierra Club of BC, etc.) that are all supporting cases that involve the same basic issues of water, and the ‘battle’ with industry to protect the environment and our homes. We also have some REALLY good and principled lawyers. I hope people will ‘step up’ – even if it’s a letter to your MP…Or – if you’re a smart, principled, semi-retired lawyer???
    I’ve been following both Ms. Ernst’s case and that of Diana Daunheimer (she often reads the Tyee – perhaps she can comment?? Diana???). Industry doesn’t mind ‘facing off’ with individuals such as Jessica or Diana. They can tie them up in court for years while draining their bank accounts and their life energy with their deep pockets, troops of lawyers, and ‘friends’ in ‘high places’. (Don’t even get me started about “non-disclosure agreements”). 
    How is a Judge allowed to get away with calling someone a “vexatious litigant” and make it a part of the legal record? And why? Because she wouldn’t “settle” and just ‘go away’. It’s ALL about the money, isn’t it???
    Sure not impressed with her “lawyer”…hopefully she’ll fare better without him!
    Thankyou Andrew, for this update. I hope the next one has ‘better’ news.

    Agreed….
    We can help.

    As far back as we can go in History the law was always on the side of the rich and powerful. The French revolution did the mistake to keep all the top bureaucrats and advocates (lawyers) a life. The Russian Revolution did the same because who else would know how to run the administration of a country, without the chance that everything would end up in anarchy. The US and actually with that any constitution was written by rich people fore the rich and powerful everywhere. There was actually never a real democracy. If we want change, real change we have to start from the bottom again. A climate catastrophe may will initiate that. But that is what Jessica Ernst actually tried to avoid, to show the public the destruction of fracking and the O & G in general.

    “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, 
    but not every man’s greed.” … 

    we will be greedy to drink salt water, live in disrepair, have pity on ourselves in smoke and wonder why our children most of all, can not trust us to feed them healthy food.

    Fracking does not force gas out of rocks. It converts a solid substance called Kerogen to methane gas and dissolves our nice solid bedrock with it. The little pictures of cracks are not the full story. They blow massive holes in our bedrock and then pump chemicals into the rubble to dissolve it. Massive methane kesjage results. The courts think They care protecting western power by siding with The coin and gas industry. That was once true. No more. Canada has the most to lose. Your wild fires and landslides and sinkhokes as well as water contamination are all probable outcomes of the practice

    That is so ridiculous it is abysmal.

    Kerogen is something completely different, in different rock, known as oil shale.

    Andrea Silverthorne – Would enjoy a conversation with you about the fracking process. Living in Alberta and seeing the length and breadth of the silent water diversion into fracking projects is unsettling to say the least.

    Water will soon be the new oil.
    Problems already present in the USA.

    You can be sure the US is coveting all the water we “waste” by letting it flow into the oceans:

    https://watershedsentinel.ca/articles/site-c-nawapa/

    Check out NAWAPA, they will implement it over my dead body.

    It’s included in my link, ph. If you can find the book “Canada’s Water: For Sale?” it’s worth the read, even though it’s 50 years “out of date”. It lists all the water schemes that were (and still are IMO) sitting as “studies” in some CEO/senior bureaucrat desks…..

    PS I am sure that, in the name of freedom and democracy, some government, both in Canada and the US would be glad to “accommodate” your “request”……

    Very, very sad.
    Given all the bullshit going on with TMP, with FN Reconciliation, with Tsilhqot’in, with the Kenney and Ford mobs and with the criminal Trump, this story is just another move in the wrong direction.
    All the above is predicated on the supremacy of the corporation over the citizen. With global warming and a climate catastrophe just decades away when are folks going to wake up to the realization that we can’t eat, drink, breathe or love money and that corporations just don’t give a damn about anything but more money.
    If a civilized society does not put the welfare of it’s citizens at the very zenith then perhaps it’s not so civilized after all. Perhaps it will not remain a society for much longer.

    Extinction may be too good for us.

    Julie Ali  political ranger

    Our society is designed to monetize everything.

    As such in Alberta we have accepted jobs now for a $260 billion environmental liability for future generations. This liability is going to be way larger in my opinion and all Canadians will be forking out big cash for the liabilities of CAPP.

    In addition, I’m pretty sure that the tailings ponds aren’t going to be remediated and instead the contents will be dumped into the Athabasca River with the full complicity of the federal government as per their recent move to promote this business.

    This article indicates that the provincial and federal government appear to understand that remediation isn’t possible so dumping oilsands waste water into the river is the most cost effective method for the industry to meet it’s remediation requirements. It’s ridiculous.

    https://edmontonjournal.com…
    ‘Toxic tailings … need to be cleaned up’
    Alberta’s regulatory system allows for the release of treated industrial and municipal effluents, but Muir said they would need to be adapted if treated oilsands water is to be released.

    This would become “acceptable” under the theory that, because it’s too late to do anything effective about the mess we’ve made, we may as well carry on. I think it’s one of those Evangelical things. Or George Carlin:
    https://www.youtube.com/wat…

    Solution: DON’T VOTE CONSERVATIVE…… EVEN LOCALLY!!!

    Political Ranger you above everyone else Knows that the definition of DEMOCRACY is a JOKE when it comes to CANADA and MOST other so called Free Countries…THe (Government) Corporate CONTROL FREAKS , the RIGHT WING THINK TANKS ( funded by Right Wing People and TANKS from south of the Border) literally “OWN” CANADA 
    And their definition is 
    GOVERNMENT of the CORPORATIONS
    GOVERNMENT by the CORPORATIONS
    and 
    GOVERNMENT “for” the CORPORATION
    ELECTIONS are a JOKE When all the Parties are infiltrated and Aligned even the NDP

    governance is fine, party leadership is not.

    I have this notion that a behind he scene mob is ultimately running all party’s

    The description of the institutionalized, authoritarian corruptions that ensure justice is not served, citizens are crushed by corporations, and democracy is dead, accurately attest as to why major political change is the only way justice and political responsibility will be born. Regulators and lawyers who practice with an effective form of impunity testify to our degraded society.

    The ‘center’ of politics created and enabled these corruptions while claiming accountability and transparency. History doesn’t lie. Politicians, regulators, lawyers and bureaucrats must be held accountable. Whistle blowers must be protected and promoted.

    Amen!

    I still don’t get how a public regulator can have legal immunity—such a thing invites illegality. The law is an ass. Yet Ms Ernst must be heard. What can be done?

    The so called “Public Regulator” is not really public. 
    It is one of those self governing bodies funded by the Oil and Gas Industry. 
    So, they have their own Fox that gets to control our hen house.
    That is how screwed up this scenario is.

    They’re “not really public” AND they’re not ‘really regulators’!!! The whole concept of “self monitoring and self regulation” is a complete failure. For any ‘organization’. It would only work if those making the decisions were independent, ethical and intelligent. Sadly, that’s not the ‘reality’.

    We need to scream about this. Or at least burn them out, the Alberta legislature should be forced to amend the law. Maybe they think they can squirm under the AER because it’s a quasi public entity.

    The Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta folks appear to have organized this set up to ensure that the regulator is immune from lawsuits. It’s made the regulator above the law in my opinion.

    Citizens can protest all they want to but now that it is established none of the political parties will meddle with this set up.
    Even the NDP folks did not alter REDA.

    It’s troubling but at least we know the system is set up for the benefit of corporations and to the detriment of citizen landowner rights.

    If we take the meaning of ‘sovereignty’ seriously, and our sovereign officer exists to guarantee it is a democratic sovereignty (as opposed to a personal one) and, further, that a separate judiciary is one of the tools to achieve it (along with the parliament and executive branches of government), then the Albetarian government’s self-entitled immunity cannot stand long—there has to be a way to cleanse whatever is blocking or challenging the sovereignty of our democracy. Responsibility for finding it ultimately lies with our sovereign.

    Our Constitution ideally tries to keep our sovereign(s) as non-political as possible —which is why we avail the rules of royal succession (it could just as well be Spanish or Zulu as British, for the purpose) which instantaneously fills the office vacated by death using a straightforward assignation of the next in hereditary line instead of having to elect a ‘head of state’ like most republics do. Ideally ‘royal assent’ is a perfunctory approval of parliament’s legislation, but when its ability to pass bills is stalled by, say, a hung parliament, the sovereign (or her governor proxy) is pledged to act: either find another group of Members in the existing parliament who are committed to passing bills by a majority vote, or call an election to replace it; in the event of catastrophe when parliamentarians can’t legislate for some reason, the governor may even appoint a cabinet for as temporarily as possible. Dissolving parliament when no party has the confidence of the House isn’t interfering with the ‘will of the people’ as measured by the elected parliament, but rather referring the matter directly back to the people.

    It happens so rarely that our Common Law system of legal precedence as yet only informs rather crudely about any particular circumstance; when the governor seeks advise, tradition has prioritized cabinet minsters of the Crown to supply it—plainly not ideal because, as we know, cabinet is almost always composed of partisan politicians and their advice might therefore be biased.

    Protocols have evolved to ameliorate this ‘weak link’ between our head of state and her impartial guarantee that we have a government that can act at all times. The ideal was challenged when Harper infamously bullied the Governor into proroguing parliament so his minority government could avoid a confidence vote it feared losing: his “advise” to the GG was obviously partisan; he was trying to grant his party immunity from democracy when the proper course was at hand—simply allow the confidence vote to proceed and precedent and protocol would do the rest as perfunctorily as the ideal. Nevertheless, Her Excellency is not required to give reason for her decision, only to appear, at least, to have made it for the general good and not to favour any faction.

    Harper’s bullying prorogation was so outrageous (especially since an alternative coalition had made its commitment to government known to the GG) that an extreme resort was contemplated: petition the Queen herself to intervene (presumably to reverse her GG’s permission to prorogue improperly and undemocratically)—which might have actually precipitated the “constitutional crisis” Harper was spewing about. Talk about creating precedent! Arguing against such a move (guess who!) was, allegedly, that a trespass upon the sovereign’s ideal impartiality would be made, that it would “unconstitutionally” (in Harper’s words) oblige the Queen to make a political decision that properly belonged to democracy—the way he defined it, anyways.

    Not merely hypocrisy on Harper’s part —since a democratically elected majority of MPs was prepared to become government (the bill at issue was already tabled, even!)— it was the acid test which the GG should have relied on to make the right decision (a proper example was BC’s Governor refusal to call an election at Christy Clark’s request when her government had just lost a confidence vote in parliament and an alternative group of MLAs was prepared to govern in an assembly only just elected—it’s really quite transparent and simple).

    Although unprecedented, the Queen’s intervention would seem legitimate and appropriate since her vice-regal representative had plainly erred in permitting Harper’s undemocratic prorogation request, or had been ill-advised or even bullied (!) Just because it had never been done before doesn’t mean it can’t ever be done, especially when the sovereignty of democracy is at stake.

    So the sovereign must sometimes intervene, but only after every protocol and precedent to avoid it has been exhausted—and, one should hope, when the challenge is an overtly partisan attempt to supersede sovereignty of democracy.

    If allowed, every kind of rare or unprecedented excuse can be made to supercede this sovereignty for partisan reasons—which is why the sovereign must intervene as impartially and demonstrably as possible from time to time.

    The immunity the Albetarian government has given itself needs to be tested in law and shit-canned if it fails. The governor there needs to either challenge her ministers to explain this apparent sop to private interests (Big Fracking), file papers at court herself, or kick it upstairs to the Governor General, the SCoC and the federal parliament.

    It’s as rare as our environmental circumstances are unprecedented, but a legitimate, if intentionally limited, responsibility of the sovereign to ensure we have a government that can act democratically, and that includes within the rule of law tested in court.

    Naturally we’ve already heard all about how “undemocratic” the judiciary is—but that’s from the same thugs who’ve challenged our Constitution, Sovereign and democratic sovereignty in unprecedented ways.

    complexity starts with dishonesty and spreads its disease and hate far and wide to cover up and dispel the idea of wrong doing on a massive and unacceptable scale. Just because it happens, it by no means makes it justified. When will we notice that this is what and how our entire top down economy is now held up on a thread called magical endless debt

  • It seems to me that Klippenstein was never the right lawyer for this case and best never engaged to begin with, or dismissed years ago.

    Jessica Ernst travels the Globe inveighing against hydraulic fracturing of shale, which has nothing to do with her case. If the misrepresentation is at that basic a level, no wonder her Counsel withdrew.

    “Jessica Ernst travels the Globe inveighing against hydraulic fracturing of shale, which has nothing to do with her case.”

    No she doesn’t. Ms. Ernst is often invited by industry-threatened communities to pop over and talk about the information and data she’s amassed on her case, as well as the rampant contamination, corruption and cover-ups she’s exposed, and personally endured, at the hands of industry, regulators and government.

    People wanna know, and Ms. Ernst is gracious enough to share.

    Jessica has been to Ireland a few times. The last been to help us celebrate our onshore fracking ban. Jessica surprisingly was never against fracking. Her story for us was about injustice and how the public interest in Canada was being undermined to facilitate the oil and gas industry. She prepared us for a possible future thankfully we may now be lucky enough to avoid. 
    I remember her talking to us about how a healthy community knows how to protect its self. We came to understand how the oil and gas industry uses money to devide community. 
    Jessica changed the way we were thinking about oil and gas development. Her experience and her testimony sort of brought our thinking to place where we could see our possible future with a sence of reality. She prepared us.
    She reminded us to fight in a way that reflected our values. 
    We recognised her courage and credibility. We know Jessica will always act in the public interest. She’s not for turning. When it comes to protecting our place we will honour her by standing our own ground.
    I hope Jessica can get new lawyers. [THANK YOU EDDIE!]

    What an amazing tribute to Ms. Ernst. Thank you Eddie, that’s fantastic! And I wish you and your wise, healthy community continued wisdom and good health for many years to come.

    All the best,

    Annie

    People who invite Ms Ernst to share are usually pretty featherbrained themselves.

    You seem extremely fixated on Ms. Ernst and shale. Don’t let it turn into something creepy.

    I think that citizens have a right to hear the evidence. 
    This doesn’t make them credulous. 
    But certainly it might make them intelligent.

    True – but inviting Ms Ernst does make them credulous.

    • Have you even read the information about this case?
      Hydraulic fracturing is the problem.
      But then maybe you aren’t interested in the facts?

      @ Julie li – Have you even read the information about this case?

      There is no shale in Ms Ernst’s well.

      But then maybe you aren’t interested in the facts?

      Actually I have read the evidence. 

      I believe you haven’t but certainly you do like to push your stance on everyone else. I’m curious why.

      If you don’t know there was no shale or shale gas involved, then you certainly don’t know the case

      “If you don’t know there was no shale or shale gas involved, then you certainly don’t know the case.”

      Ms. Ernst’s area is a shit-show of industry’s hybrid wells, where companies have been allowed to recomplete and commingle their production from coals, sands, silts and shales.

      “But then maybe you aren’t interested in the facts?”

      Yeah, facts that are obviously way beyond your comprehension and pay grade.

      But the initiating well about which Ms Ernst embarked upon this crusade, was shallow coal. Very far from being typical.

      “But the initiating well about which Ms Ernst embarked upon this crusade, was shallow coal. Very far from being typical.”

      Yeah not “typical,” real industry players classify CBM as “unconventional” – like shales and tight sands – where industry’s brute force and ignorance is required, followed by regulator and government corruption and fraud – to try and cover-up the resulting shit-show.

      You can read all about it in Nikiforuk’s award-winning book Slick Water. Here’s a peek:

      “Two decades before the fracking of shale rock would create a storm of rural protest and hundreds of documented cases of groundwater contamination throughout North America, government subsidies and research funded a coalbed methane revolution in the United States. The unconventional assault on coal, which Halliburton would later call ‘production enhancement,’ dramatically unsettled communities from Colorado to Alabama. The aggressive industry would eventually give birth to a methane cloud half the size of Connecticut, which now hovers over the Four Corners region of the country and which inspired a ‘lock the gate’ movement in Australia.

      In 2014, scientists called the cloud the largest ‘methane anomaly’ that can be viewed from space; the hot spot represents nearly 10 percent of the United States’ methane emissions.

      CBM, the oil and gas industry’s first blitzkrieg on unconventional resources, remains a startling treatise on the hazards of hydraulic fracturing. The original aim was to extend the shelf life of fossil fuels by exploiting more difficult and extreme resources. But neither industry nor regulators appreciated the complexity of coal or the consequences of fracking one of the world’s most naturally fractured rocks.

      The smashing of coal seams in nearly a dozen basins left a troubling legacy of exploding homes, flammable water, uncontrollable methane seeps, and earthquake swarms, as well as major lawsuits in Alabama and Colorado. The frenzied operation also led to something called the Halliburton Loophole, a lobbying effort to exempt the U.S. fracking industry from federal oversight and the Safe Drinking Water Act.

      As such, the United States’ CBM revolution offered an uncanny preview of the political controversy and geological unrest that the technology of fracking would unleash as it spread to other unconventional resources. It also serves as a damning prologue to Jessica Ernst’s story.

      … In the late 1970s, U.S. research abruptly changed its focus from mine safety to methane mining. Severe shortages of conventional natural gas had closed schools and public buildings and sparked acrimonious congressional hearings.

      Faced with dwindling domestic oil and gas supplies, the U.S. government decided to attack ‘poorly understood and high cost’ resources, including shale gas, tight sands, and coalbed methane. Yet a landmark 1978 study warned that cracking open these unconventionals would be ‘controversial, costly and risky.’ In fact, at the time, the oil and gas industry considered the idea of sucking methane out of coal beds so preposterous that the resource was referred to as ‘moonbeam gas.’

      … In retrospect, LEAF lawyer David Ludder considers the battle over coalbed methane a trial run for shale gas fracking. The experience taught him that landowners across North America can expect the worst from government and industry.

      They can expect to be deceived. They can expect to find non-disclosure about the risks. They can expect denials of responsibility. And they can expect the government to not protect them.'”

      You ‘liked’ your own comment? How pathetic.

       

      Yetypu’s an obsessive industry shill who likes to vote himself up. Pretty typical, and yes – seriously pathetic.

      “Foilist, Yetypu and Geologybob have for some time been appearing on the same energy related Cif threads lobbying for oil and gas – obfusticating and paraphrasing each other like an unfunny version of the Three Stooges. It could be that they are all just hugely enthusiastic about fracking – after all whats not to love about it – right?

      Obviously they all work in the oil and gas industry and make no secret of this, though Yetypu tells us he has now retired.

      This must be how he finds the time to advocate continued oil and gas production on another 44 online forums.”

      https://protectedareawatch.org/2013/11/01/astroturfing-in-gasland-part-ii-we-are-not-amused/

      & what about annie_fiftyseven?

      Ignorance on a rant.

      I hardly think that providing you with facts and figures constitutes a rant.

      You would be more productive if you did the same.

      Currently you do not appear to be very factual.

      I hope you have flammable water.

      Inflammable water is about as likely as Ms Ernst winning.

      Fossil fuel rationing, is coming.

      [EXCELLENT COMMENT, THANK YOU ANNIE!]

      Seriously, do you ever get nauseous from the taste of your own bullshit?

      Industry’s gas migration and contamination is widespread, and there’s no telling how far that industry shit-show will travel, before it maims or kills the next unsuspecting citizens.

      “On the afternoon of March 24, 1985, the Ross Dress for Less clothing store at West 3rd and Ogden in the Fairfax District of Los Angeles blew up into an inferno. A spark from somewhere—most likely a janitor flicking a basement switch—ignited an invasive cloud of methane with a hellish boom. The explosion ripped up concrete slabs, blew out windows, singed cars, and cracked walls. ‘Fire belching fissures’ opened in the ground.

      The conflagration injured twenty-three shoppers, some of whom suffered third-degree burns. It also forced the evacuation of twenty to thirty stores along a quarter-mile commercial strip. One witness said the sky was ‘raining fire.’ Another compared the disaster to an earthquake. ‘Out of nowhere the room exploded,’ a shopper told a TV news crew, ‘and I was thrown to one side.’

      For days, escaping plumes of methane gases licked the foundations of buildings and sidewalk cracks. Firefighters tried in vain to extinguish the flames.

      The explosion did more than rattle the residents of Los Angeles—it inaugurated the continent’s first debate about hydraulic fracking, horizontal drilling, and migrating gases.

      The oil and gas industry blamed the explosion on bacteria and naturally seeping gases. Scientists, however, reckoned differently. They identified hydraulic fracturing and abandoned leaky oil wells as the chief suspects.”

      The above is from Nikiforuk’s award-winning book Slick Water. As well, one of the most important facts revealed in his meticulous research is that it doesn’t matter how bad industry’s community-wide water contamination is, or how badly they blow your ass up in a spectacular industry shit-storm explosion. At the end of the day, with the assistance and blessings of governments and regulators, industry can continue to frac those contaminated communities more more more … with whatever the brute force and ignorant flavour of the day is.

      “Now it appeared that one of the province’s highest-paid civil servants wanted Jessica Ernst to stop talking about fracking altogether. In his message, Peter Watson—who is now the chair and CEO of Canada’s National Energy Board—said that his staff had caught Ernst making critical comments about Alberta’s government at public meetings. ‘I’m very concerned about what you are saying,’ said Watson in a loud, angry voice. He then hung up.

      … Ever since industry had drilled and fracked a dozen oil wells within about half a mile of his farm in Happy Valley, Jack had had problems with methane and ethane in his well. So much gas was pouring up the well that it had punched out the walls of the pump house, Jack told Ernst, and one day an explosion had scorched the inside of the shack.

      The oil company had reluctantly hired a water supply company to professionally install a venting system, yet a spurt of methane-frothing water still pissed out of a pipe.

      Neither regulator wanted to get involved, explained Jack. The EUB said it was Alberta Environment’s responsibility, and Alberta Environment bounced everything back to the EUB. When Jack objected to more drilling near his farm, because his water was already fouled, the EUB told him that ‘contaminated groundwater was not a ground for objection.’

      Fed up, Jack wanted to go public. ‘Will you help me?’ Ernst said yes. She drafted a news release, but it never got sent.

      Days later, two gas-in-water experts hired by industry showed up to test Jack’s water. Just as Jack entered the pump house, an explosion blew it to pieces. The next thing Jack remembered was standing seventy-five feet from the building, tearing flaming clothes off his body. All three men ended up in hospital.

      Jack, who suffered third-degree burns to his face, back, and arms, spent a month there. Peter Watson, deputy minister of environment, promised Jack water delivery and an investigation if he promised to remain silent. Jack’s family reluctantly agreed. To this day, no regulatory record of the event exists in the public domain.”
      _____________________________

      “After EnCana repeatedly fractured the Rosebud drinking water aquifers, the community water tower blew up in an explosion, sending a worker to hospital with serious injuries:

      ‘investigators say an accumulation of gases appears to have caused the explosion that destroyed the Rosebud water tower … the operator was unable to detect the gases by smell and did not use a detection device … ‘

      The new reservoir cost the community about $700,000.”
      _________________________________

      “In one well-known case in Ohio, a house exploded soon after a nearby hydraulically fractured well was drilled. After much investigation by the regulatory agency and a private geological engineering consulting firm, followed by study of the case by a distinguished review committee, it was concluded that methane may have migrated to the house along shallow horizontal fractures or bedding planes. …

      Other cases of methane explosions in homes and wellhouses have been investigated in Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Texas. In some of these cases, the explosions were found caused by gas migration from hydraulically fractured wells.”
      _________________________________

      “A 2009 regulator report summarized 64 gas migration cases in 22 counties in Pennsylvania dating from the 1990’s to 2009 caused by the oil and gas industry; five cases were caused by hydraulic fracturing that contaminated numerous wells and two springs used as domestic water supply. The 64 cases resulted in 11 explosions, five fatalities, three injuries, a road closure, and numerous evacuations with residents in one community displaced for two months.”
      _________________________________

      “A comprehensive investigation in Kansas demonstrated that leaking industry gas had migrated almost seven miles. The migrating gas caused explosions in 2001 in Hutchinson that destroyed two businesses and damaged many others. Two people died from injuries in a subsequent explosion three miles away the next day caused by the migrating gas.”

      http://www.frackingcanada.ca/industrys-gas-migration/

      “New information has surfaced in the water well explosion in the summer of 2014 injuring three members of a Palo Pinto County family.

      According to new scientific studies commissioned by the family, and included in newly filed court papers, the explosion was the direct result of fracking operations a quarter mile away.”

      https://www.ernstversusencana.ca/texas-scientists-link-fracking-to-methane-contamination-and-explosion-of-cody-murrays-water-well/

      Funny then that there is not one proven case of harm due to hydraulic fracturing.

      [ANOTHER EXCELLENT COMMENT ANNIE, THANK YOU!]

      Yeah, definitely more than one.

      The US EPA has known about the frac harm for decades.

      As stated in a 1987 EPA report to Congress: “During the fracturing process, fractures can be produced, allowing migration of native brine, fracturing fluid, and hydrocarbons from the oil or gas well to a nearby water well. When this happens, the water well can be permanently damaged and a new well must be drilled or an alternative source of drinking water found.

      … When fracturing the Kaiser gas well on Mr. James Parson’s property, fractures were created allowing migration of fracture fluid from the gas well to Mr. Parson’s water well. This fracture fluid, along with natural gas was present in Mr. Parson’s water rendering it unusable.”

      https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/interactive/us/drilling-down-documents-7.html?_r=2

      And there’s plenty more where that came from:

      We have the frac harm from coalbed methane fracs, where a company injects over 18 million litres of frac fluid directly into a community’s fresh water zones, as happened near Rosebud, Alberta.

      This type of frac harm comes as no surprise to industry, but then again, it doesn’t take a rock scientist to figure out if you frac a water supply, you’ll contaminate a water supply.

      “Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP): Past operations have contaminated water resources:

      CAPP’s Alex Ferguson says many worries about water quality are based on past operations involving coal-bed methane — shallow deposits in closer proximity to groundwater. These did occasionally contaminate water resources, he says. In some of the more infamous instances, affected landowners could light their well water on fire.”

      After industry’s community-wide water contamination in the Rosebud area – and the water tower blowing up, the regulator allowed the companies to continue their carpet-bombing frac frenzy.

      https://www.ernstversusencana.ca/the-lawsuit/

      And then we have the frac harm from the oil fracs near Ponoka, where industry admitted they “blew the cap rock to hell.”

      “Ronalie Campbell comment: ‘At a hearing with a local oil company and government official present, the oil rep blurted out “it wasn’t us, it was Encana, CNRL, and all those others before us that blew the cap rock to hell.”‘”

      https://www.ernstversusencana.ca/aer-albertas-new-energy-regulator-seeks-the-worlds-trust-as-albertas-caprock-is-fracd-to-hell/

      “‘Oil wells on the Campbell property have caused gas from 1,757 metres to enter their aquifer,’ said Muehlenbachs, a world expert on the fingerprinting of stray oilfield gases.

      A separate 2011 study by J.D. Mollard and Associates concluded that bedrock fractures or natural faults might have created ‘enhanced permeability pathways’ for hydrocarbons to move into local aquifers.

      If the regulator permitted hydraulic fracturing in an area already made insecure by natural fractures, ‘then they are in fact negligent’ and would be liable for water contamination, added Muehlenbachs.

      … When the Campbells went public with their concerns about the impact of drilling on groundwater quality in 2008, they say they got a phone call from an industry worker involved in the vertical hydraulic fracturing of wells in the area during the 1980s.

      ‘He was scared to death,’ said Ronalie Campbell. In several late midnight calls the worker told the couple that industry ‘fractured your area and that this is what caused the water contamination.'”

      After industry’s contamination of the Campbell’s water supply, the regulator allowed the companies to continue their caprock-busting frac frenzy.

      https://thetyee.ca/News/2013/10/18/Alberta-Energy-Regulator-Dispute/

      And then we have the frac harm from the tarsands fracs where, again, industry blew the cap rock to hell.

      “Steam Injection Fracking Caused Major Alberta Bitumen Leak

      Review finds fractures spread like cracks on a frozen lake, resulting in uncontrolled seepage.

      A new independent technical review on the cause of a large and costly 2013 bitumen leak in northern Alberta found a form of hydraulic fracturing that injects steam into the ground to be the main culprit.

      The panel, appointed by Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. to review its initial findings on the cause of the leak at its Primrose facility, also documented that industry frack jobs, contrary to industry claims, can break cap rock, shoot out of zone, link to natural fractures and penetrate into groundwater.

      Fractures made by CNRL, one of the country’s largest bitumen extractors, not only connected to natural fractures in the area, but also cracked their way through several non-targeted formations.

      These industry-induced fractures then penetrated ‘generally impermeable shales’ and passed through groundwater before erupting to surface more than 500 metres from the original targeted zone in the Cold Lake oilsands region of Alberta.

      … At CNRL’s Primrose operation, the company injected an ‘excessive fluid volume’ into the formation that lifted the ground by nearly a foot, fractured the protective shale cap rock, and created ‘vertical hydraulically induced fractures’ through several different formations way above the zone containing bitumen.

      … ‘Uncontrollable enabling conditions’ for the incident included the tendency for hydraulic fractures to move vertically in one formation and then to connect to natural fractures and faults in the next. The report suggested that neither industry nor the provincial regulator sufficiently understand all the operational risks and geological hazards …

      … the technical review, written by four engineers with more than 120 years of experience in the industry, argues that industry activity can connect to natural fractures, impact groundwater, fracture beyond target zones, and induce uncontrollable reactions underground.”

      https://thetyee.ca/News/2014/07/24/CNRL-Seepage-Review/

      And then we have the frac harm from the gas fracs near Grande Prairie, where the regulator admits they can’t regulate industry’s brute force and ignorance.

      “On Sept. 22, 2011, workers from Crew Energy and service company GasFrac Energy Services attempted to frack a well in a liquids-rich gas reservoir near Grande Prairie in northern Alberta.

      Workers on the well site failed to heed a number of warning signs and inadvertently perforated the well at about 137 metres below surface and delivered high-pressured shots of water, sand and toxic chemicals into the water table rather than the intended gas reservoir more than a kilometre further underground.

      … Neither the ERCB nor Alberta Environment intends to fine Crew or GasFrac.

      … ‘There is no amount of regulation that can overcome human error,’ said Alberta’s Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) spokesman Darin Barter.

      ERCB released an investigation report [Dec. 20, 2012] that cites inadequate management of risks as one of the main causes of a September 2011 accident that contaminated groundwater with toxic hydraulic fracturing chemicals, including the cancer causing agent known as BTEX (benzene, toulene, ethylbenzene, and xylene).”

      https://www.ernstversusencana.ca/gelledpropane-gel-gasfrac-crew-caltrex-hydraulic-fracturing-fluid-contaminated-groundwater-near-grande-prairie-ercb/

      Rampant frac harm from coalbed methane fracs, oil fracs, tarsands fracs and gas fracs … and that’s just in Alberta.

      Of course, there’s always ways to “mask” that frac harm, and maybe even make it “disappear.” So for that we can expect some good old fashioned regulator and government corruption and fraud – among other things.

      Government editing of independent water contamination reports is always a big hit:

      “Justice Wittman also questioned Ernst’s lawyer Murray Klippenstein about the government’s filing of a report by the Alberta Research Council that dismissed Ernst’s water well case as insignificant.

      The government claimed the report was an independent review that proved there was no merit in the Ernst case.

      Klippenstein argued that such a filing of evidence was inappropriate at this time.

      He also submitted a collection of Alberta Environment emails obtained through freedom of information legislation that he argued show the Alberta Research Council report was edited by Alberta Environment and not an independent review.”

      https://thetyee.ca/News/2014/04/18/Anti-Fracking-Suit/

      The classic fracphuuckaround; another popular choice:

      “Some of the same toxic contaminants found in sampling by the EPA at Pavilion were found by Alberta Environment in groundwater at Rosebud, and were dismissed, ignored or reported incorrectly by the Alberta Research Council. The wholly owned government agency was notified of the errors and omissions, but did not correct them as is required to maintain laboratory accreditation in Canada.

      The contaminants include: diesel range organics, benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylenes, phthalates, and tert-butyl alcohol which is used in hydraulic fracturing and not expected to occur naturally in groundwater; tert-butyl alcohol (TBA) is a known breakdown product of methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE, a fuel additive), also used in hydraulic fracturing and not expected to occur naturally in fresh groundwater.”

      http://www.frackingcanada.ca/industrys-gas-migration

      Some cookin’ and shreddin’, definitely a fan favourite, and just super trendy when you have to deal with the frac harm and what to do with it:

      “Public Herald 30-Month Report Finds DEP Fracking Complaint Investigations Are ‘Cooked’ & Shredded

      … During the 2011 Atgas blowout investigation in Bradford County, Chesapeake Energy was allowed to dismiss their own pre-drill water test results to avoid liability for contaminating a water supply. This simple act by DEP ended up changing the background water quality data for the area, creating an artificial history of drinking water quality that could be used to dismiss other complaint cases.

      In the recent report published at Public Herald, we uncovered a total of nine ways that officials at the DEP kept drinking water contamination across Pennsylvania, like the Atgas blowout case, ‘off the books.’

      In Delmar Township, Tioga County, we found a single inspector cooked nine of 27 cases, a likely 33% increase in the total number of polluted water supplies. Some of these cases were cooked when the inspector ignored clean pre-drill test results to rule that oil and gas operations were not responsible for water damage.

      Or, the inspector would use a contaminated post-drill test provided by industry as if it was a pre-drill test.”

      https://publicherald.org/public-herald-30-month-report-finds-dep-fracking-complaint-investigations-are-cooked/

      Of course, as you can imagine, the whole corruption and fraud protocol probably gets a little boring after awhile, so when it’s time to change it up – or regulators just need a break – slamming doors on frac-harmed residents is always a quick and easy option:

      “After investigating only 9 out of more than 50 energy wells (over a period of 8 years) within about a mile of the Campbell’s contaminated water well – the ERCB reached a ‘conclusion:’

      ‘In conclusion, the results of the 2013 and past exhaustive and extensive testing conducted on behalf of the ERCB in connection with the investigation have consistently shown no evidence of a link between the gas [butane, ethane, methane, propane, H2S] present in your water well and oil and gas activities in the area.

      As such, the ERCB’s investigation has been concluded and we are now proceeding to close our file in this matter.’

      … ‘Case closed with no concern for the landowners or the community’s water. We still have to live with it.’

      —Ronalie Campbell”

      http://www.frackingcanada.ca/the-regulators-conclusion/

      Of course, no frac harm cover-up would be complete without a round of “blame it on the air and the water-well driller.” Pretty cool, unless you’re the water well driller:

      “‘If I were working for EnCana right now, I could not talk to you about this,’ said Gerritsen. ‘So I quit.’ In 2004, Gerritsen was under contract to EnCana when the water problems began at Kenney’s farm. During his contract, a consulting firm, Hydrogeological Consultants Ltd. (HCL) was hired by EnCana to investigate the Kenney water problems and write a report.

      ‘At Sean’s (Kenney), we drilled a new well and they used that for testing … the foam coming out of Sean’s well – the foam he said looked exactly like beer in a mug – they threw it out. There was one test they did that they threw out because the nitrogen level was 30 percent. They said it was contaminated from the air.’

      … In January 2005, the consulting firm concluded that the silt in Kenney’s new water well was related to ‘inappropriate design.’ The high levels of nitrogen found in the water ‘did not appear to be a result of the stimulation of the 05-14 Gas Well.’ Or in plain language: The nitrogen is a freak occurrence, and the dirty water is the water-well driller’s fault. The report dismissed the possibility that nitrogen used in the shallow gas-well fractures had migrated into the groundwater, along with anything else that might have been in the gas well.

      ‘I was quite upset about this,’ said Gerritsen. ‘I had a meeting with EnCana and I said I’m done, I don’t want you to call me. I said I knew what they did up in the hills.’

      … Gerritsen leaned over the table. ‘The concern now is chemicals possibly in the water,’ he said. ‘Certain things at Redland—I thought, why didn’t they check for this? Why didn’t they check for methane levels right away? Nitrogen levels? But they didn’t check for hydrocarbons at any time.'”

      http://www.frackingcanada.ca/industrys-gas-migration/

      As well, it would be totally remiss of me not to mention those “just because” regulators, and the frac-harmed gag-order recipients; where would the industry and their rampant frac harm be without them?

      “On April 30, 2001 a small drilling company now owned by the Canadian gas company Encana fractured a well at the top of Dry Hollow, a burgeoning field in western Colorado that has seen one of the fastest rates of energy development in the nation.

      The well sat at the end of a dirt drive among pinion pines and juniper at the crest of a small mesa overlooking the Colorado River. It was also less than 1,000 feet from the log farmhouse where Larry and Laura Amos lived.

      As usual that day, water trucks lined up like toy soldiers on the three acre dirt pad cleared for drilling just across the Amos’ property line. They pumped 82,000 gallons of fluids at 3,600 pounds of pressure thousands of feet into the drill hole.

      Suddenly the Amos’ drinking water well exploded like a Yellowstone geyser, firing its lid into the air and spewing mud and gray fizzing water high into the sky. State inspectors tested the Amos well for methane and found lots of it. They did not find benzene or gasoline derivatives and they did not test fracking fluids, state records show, because they didn’t know what to test for.

      The Amoses were told that methane occurs naturally and is harmless. Inspectors warned them to keep the windows open and vent the basement, but they were never advised to protect themselves or their infant daughter from the water. It wasn’t until three years later, when Laura Amos was diagnosed with a rare adrenal tumor, that she started challenging the state about the mysterious chemicals that might have been in her well.

      Much of what is known about the makeup of drilling fluids comes from the personal investigations of Theo Colborn, an independent Colorado-based scientist who specializes in low-dose effects of chemicals on human health and has testified before Congress (PDF) on drilling issues. Although she opposes drilling, her research is referenced by scientists at the EPA, at the United States Geological Survey and at state-level regulatory agencies and is widely believed to be the most comprehensive information available.

      Spurred by reports of water contamination in Colorado, Colborn painstakingly gathered the names of chemicals from shipping manifests that trucks must carry when they haul hazardous materials for oil and gas servicing companies. Whenever an accident occurred — a well spill in Colorado, or an explosion at a drilling site in Wyoming – she gathered the data that became available after water and soil samples were tested for contaminants, adding the results to her list.

      Industry officials say they use such tiny amounts of chemicals in the drilling – of the million or so gallons of liquid pumped into a well, only a fraction of one percent are chemicals – that they are diluted beyond harmful levels. But on some fracturing sites that tiny percentage translates to more than 10,000 gallons of chemicals, and Colborn believes even very low doses of some of the compounds can damage kidney and immune systems and affect reproductive development.

      In Garfield County, there were signs this was already happening. Animals that had produced offspring like clockwork each spring stopped delivering healthy calves, according to Liz Chandler, a veterinarian in Rifle, Co. A bull went sterile, and a herd of beef cows stopped going into heat, as did pigs. In the most striking case, sheep bred on an organic dairy farm had a rash of inexplicable still births — all in close proximity to drilling waste pits, where wastewater that includes fracturing fluids is misted into the air for evaporation.

      Among Colborn’s list of nearly 300 chemicals — some known to be cancer-causing — is a clear, odorless surfactant called 2-BE, used in foaming agents to lubricate the flow of fracking fluids down in the well. Colborn told Congress in 2007 that it can cause adrenal tumors.

      Laura Amos, who suffered from such a tumor, pressed Encana on whether the compound had been used to fracture the well near her house. For months the company denied 2-BE had been used. But Amos persisted, arguing her case on TV and radio. In January 2005, her lawyers obtained documents from Encana showing that 2-BE had, in fact, been used in at least one adjacent well.

      ‘Our daughter was only six months old when fracturing blew up our water well,’ Amos wrote in a letter to the Oil and Gas Accountability Project, an anti-drilling group. ‘I bathed her in that water every day. I also continued breast-feeding her for 18 more months…If there was a chemical in my body causing my tumor, she was exposed to it as well.’

      In 2006, Amos stopped talking to the media after she accepted a reported multi-million settlement from Encana. The company was fined $266,000 for ‘failure to protect water-bearing formations and…to contain a release of (gas production) waste.’ Yet investigators also concluded, without further explanation, that hydraulic fracturing was not to blame.

      Asked about the Amos case and the rash of complaints in the area, an Encana spokesman said the company disagreed with the state’s judgment on the Amos case and emphasized that there was no proof that fracturing had caused the explosion. Environmentalists had created a climate of fear in the community, he added.

      ‘The concerns residents have expressed — and some of them are legitimate and heartfelt concerns — a lot of them are out of misinformation,’ said Doug Hock. ‘Just because chemicals are used at a site does not create risk. We have a proven process that helps us ensure that there are no pathways.'”

      https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/drill-for-natural-gas-pollute-water/

      Love Hock’s “no pathways” statement. Three years after they frac’d the Amos’s, Encana frac’d directly into Rosebud’s drinking water supply (as per their own data). That’s some “proven process.”

      1987, a long time ago, apart, not one of your examples was bout fraccing done as it should have been.

      Getting the wrong depth by confusing feet & metres, is hardly standard.

      “1987, a long time ago, apart, not one of your examples was bout fraccing done as it should have been.

      Getting the wrong depth by confusing feet & metres, is hardly standard.”

      Excuse me, I’ll have you know that here in Alberta we call that “world-class” and we couldn’t be prouder. We’ve been fracking here for 60 some-odd-years now and we’ve got our brute force and ignorant aquifer-injecting-caprock-busting-water-tower-exploding “technique” down pat. And if our octogenarian frac’ers have a depth perception problem and irreversibly screw our drinking water with toxic, carcinogenic frac chemicals – oh well – you can’t regulate that shit anyway, and it’s a “world-class” depth perception problem; other lesser communities should be so lucky.

      I’ll also have you know that our 60 some-odd-year “world-class” brute force and ignorant aquifer-injecting-caprock-busting-water-tower-exploding “technique” is 100 percent proven and safe – which is why we have a “world-class” system of regulator and government corruption and fraud, as well as a “world-class” protocol for slamming the door on frac-harmed residents, a “world-class” approach to shutting them up, and a “world-class” routine for blaming the frac harm on other shit. That’s a “world-class” CYA system for our experienced industry right there, and we’re proud of it.

      Really?
      But isn’t this what Ms. Ernst’s case is about? A proven case of harm due to hydraulic fracturing?
      But I guess our society is set up to impede this sort of disclosure.

      Not even Ms Ernst’s {no longer} lawyers know what her case was about.

      Back in the 70,s my dad took the municipality of West Vancouver to court as the municipality bylawed logging as illegal, my dad had bought 20 acres of second growth timber. The municipality broke my family, financially and physically. Expropriation without compensation, the Appeals court of BC sided with the municipality, split decision, 2 judges from West Vancouver sided with the municipality, the one from Vancouver supported us.
      Remember you get law through the legal system, not justice.
      Mayor Jones, had my unmuffled car in his driveway several early morning wakeup burns in his driveway, as buddy would signal me when the popo showed up, down the street and into his dads garage I would go.

      There is increasing evidence that monied interests win out over most (all?) other concerns, and that the political class at all levels primarily represent these interests. This seems to have been the way of things throughout history with the rich and powerful marketing political systems (e.g. ‘representative democracy’) meant more to appease and control the masses than be more inclusive in decision-making and policy-setting. While small battles occasionally set back this arrangement, the overall trend and consequences remain firmly in the hands of a small cabal of influential individuals/groups. The realization of this has lead me to give up on there being any ‘political’ solution to our various dilemmas. Better to focus on local victories and forsake the larger (and biased/corrupt) systems as irreparable.

      Seems a little fatalistic….nothing is eternally irreparable…at least I doubt that conclusion.

      Yes, current law may benefit the powerful more than we would like, but law is not maintained exclusively by the powerful. One also has to look to the people…..and the ease with which their attention wanders, the quickness with which they respond to the worst elements on the political scene………and abandon as quickly politicians who actually try to make change.

      At some level, I fear we all think we should be more powerful…..get our way immediately, or else. In Alberta, we had four years of essentially good government…government that made many changes of benefit to ordinary average Albertans. But come election time, these same average Albertans chose anger and resentment over good child care, a decent minimum wage, hospital and school infrastructure programs, and a carbon tax that was funding significant clean energy diversification in our economy.

      Can we blame that all on laws that favour the rich? Or do too many of us think we’re of that ruling class, for our own good, or the good of our country?

      From a certain perspective my view may be interpreted as ‘fatalistic’; from another it is a reflection of pre/historical trends. We might like to tell ourselves a narrative that our political systems have improved and expanded their ‘inclusivity’ by considering the ‘vote’ of more and more people (e.g. women, minorities, immigrants, etc.) but the question to consider is do our ‘representatives’ truly consider the interests of a wider array of people or is that just a story we like to believe because it gives us a sense of agency in the sociopolitical realm? Or, do they consider more significantly the wishes and concerns of their political and financial backers? Again, I would argue they are far more interested in the latter and that government is by and large by, for, and of the elite. And this is increasingly true the further one moves away from a small, local government. Large and extremely impersonal governments tend to provide bread and circuses for the masses, while helping their friends and families pillage the treasury…but they market their decisions as ‘good for the people’.

      I don’t disagree with your analysis…for the most part….though I would suggest that ‘the people’ themselves have a lot to do with perpetuating this system.

      There has to be a prior conditioning to trust the big boys, blame the poor, see our individual lives through deluded glasses, believe that free choice is absolute instead of constrained, etc. etc. Too often in discussions with people who identify as progressive, I come up against these myths of meritocracy and blame. I’m shocked, but not surprised, because lateral violence is encouraged in our societies. It keeps the people from building anything so ‘socialist’ as solidarity……

      And it serves the Liberal elites. Christ tried to tell us about rich people….camels and needles what?

      Once we understand that and refuse to participate in the war on the poor………in any damn way………things will shift. Hell…Jason Kenny might even get a few pies in the face, instead of cheers from his angry, white, and entitled base. Until then, of course our politicians will serve their real masters…and do everything to keep the people sleeping.

      Indeed, we are conditioned almost from birth to believe that government serves everyone. The elite employ every propaganda trick in the book to legitimise their power and control. Legitimisation activities account for a large percentage of their time and energy (and the treasury).
      I’m increasingly of the opinion that government (and the elite they serve) are the most significant contributors to our various existential dilemmas, particularly as they chase the infinite growth chalice–and all government, regardless of stripes or intentions, pursue growth. For the most part this is for economic reasons (our socioeconomic system requires perpetual growth to keep from collapsing; in fact, with declining marginal returns on our investments increasing in severity we are bound to experience less and less ‘prosperity’ even with more and more ‘investment’–or debt as the case may be for the past few decades).
      For me, degrowth (and that includes much, much smaller and less intrusive government) may be our only possible way out…of course, only time will tell.

      Degrowth yes…..and your analysis suggests that’s happening already as our hair brained extractivism makes more damage, and less profits all the time. But small government is a libertarian myth used by the right wing to create more centralized corporate run governments.
      Its not small government, its government with the ability to orchestrate the big changes we have to make quickly….in order to prevent total climate catastrophe.

      Now this might be a hard sell……but the changes we have to make aren’t small ones…….and good governments everywhere (including the local, municipal and community) will need to be part of the planning and implementation.

      Take single payer health care for example. small government would have never delivered that. The social democracy of Tommy douglas in Saskatchewan successfully pulled it off….and in the face of large organized opposition from the Liberal opposition and the American Medical Association.

      WE need the people on side…and we need to talk to them about real solutions….out those silver bullet right wing quick fixes for what they are. Bull shit most often.

      But small government is a libertarian myth used by the right wing to create more centralized corporate run governments.
      One Big Government is (somehow) “socialist”, while the same size government, split among a myriad of corporations, is (somehow) “democratic”. Libertarianism, at least the version painted by The Dude here in the Tyee, still believes in the concept of “the corporation” – explicitly created to skirt around the nasty notion of personal accountability. Authentic Libertarianism posits that each person is responsible for their actions.
      But, as my ol’ daddy used to opine (about communism): “Some people are more equal than others!” Same may be applied to just about any “-ism” (except anarchism?)

      Actually, we had pretty good government in Alberta over the last 4 years, if you overlook the fact the Notley ND’s couldn’t make the Big 5 pay higher royalties, or stop catering to pipeline dreams….

      I think a big part of that good government was that we elected average people, to some extent, in 2015…young people, people of colour, women……….yes, they had a high learning curve, but they actually stood for election out of principle, not because they expected to win….

      And they worked hard to learn. Part of getting away from ‘some more equal than others’, is getting away from having any sense of contempt for the poor……the young….or the immigrant. Good government shouldn’t be rocket science…….it should be about taking care of the society you serve, legislating fairness and equity, providing needed services.

      These things aren’t hard to do. What’s hard is to convince more people that voting for principles and friends and neighbours is better than voting for slick promises of low taxes, promises made by men in suits with connections to heavy industry.

      A rule of thumb might be: If the promises sound too good to be true, you might be looking at a charlatan. Take jason for example: he’s declaring war against environmentalists…AND environmental science. He’s defending Big Oil against anyone who says bad things about the industry.

      Hard not to see a crooked bully boy promise there.

      Just to set the record straight. IMO the worst NDP government is better than the best Liberal government – and there is NO comparison at all with the CPC since Harper & McKay screwed David Orchard.
      NDP leadership in BC in the 90s came darn close to Socreds in their contempt for (non-unionized) workers.
      And from what I remember of Peter Lougheed, he was a decent sort.
      The function of government in reality has mostly devolved into money handling, as opposed to governance. legislating fairness and equity, providing needed services, etc.

      Ms Ernst says… quote “”“We don’t have a justice system, but a legal system designed to serve the interests of the powerful and to employ judges and lawyers.” [Tyee] “”

      Better believe it folks and their power is backed up by every politician in Canada including BC politicians!

      One more 100% money back guaranteed valid reason not to ever participate in voting so that the mucky-mucks can continue with the myth their political puppets democratically represent the 99 and one tenth percent of us. Here in just 1 minute and 40 seconds let Bill Hicks get this B.S. squared away: 

      I know, I know, you’re thinking or saying this is Canada, NOT the Excited States of America. That’s not incorrect, nevertheless, that is a distinction without a difference.

      Here’s Hans Sherrer with more reasons not to vote:
      Voting is the most violent act someone can commit in their lifetime. http://forejustice.org/vote/voting_is_an_act_of_violence.htm

      I think you are wrong M.L.! If we educate ourselves about the candidates running in our riding and if we vote for the candidate who best reflects our own beliefs we will get better government. If everybody “HAD” to vote and every candidate “HAD” to provide a full resume of their experience and beliefs we would win.
      But now, all most voters vote for is a political party. If you foolishly believe that Justin Trudeau really controls the Liberal Political party and makes all the decisions that are made for the benefit of Canada…you are wrong. The Liberal Party of Canada controls Justin Trudeau..lock stock and barrel!

      If everybody “HAD” to vote… Those are mighty big IFsEd, and as for the verbs had, how would this be enforced?

      As for this: But now, all most voters vote for is a political party…
      Right, and not infrequently it’s the party their parents voted for.

      Decades ago I was visiting my siblings when our mother walked in smiling so wide her ears almost dropped into the corners of her mouth.
      Since she was a habitual frowner we asked her what was up.
      She said she had just voted and then volunteered she had voted for Frank McGee.
      I remarked I thought she voted NDP and she responded McGee was NDP. So I told her Frank was PC not NDP and the frown resumed.

      You see back then the party wasn’t listed along with the candidate and Maw like almost 50 percent of her fellow Canucks was just not swift enough to keep those kind of intricacies sorted out.

      For about 2 decades Martin has been my neighbour and he’s a decent sort. About half a year ago out of nowhere he volunteered with great smug emphasis he ALWAYS voted conservative.

      Once a month Martin receives from the province a disability benefit of 1,235.42.
      Of that sum 375.00 is labeled as “shelter allowance”. In Victoria you couldn’t rent a kid’s tree house for 375.00 per month.

      What I didn’t tell Martin was the glorious Cons would like to take that paltry 375.00 away from him. The reason I said nothing is like my mom, Martin’s mind is already made up and he would become confused with facts.

      The problem with your voting dream Ed is that forty-eight per cent of Canadian adults have inadequate literacy skills—a significant increase from a decade ago.

      https://www.conferenceboard.ca/(X(1)S(heumcphr5lrqf5zllomgsved))/hcp/provincial/education/adlt-lowlit.aspx?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1

      Besides there’s this:
      “If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal” 
      — Emma Goldman (1869 – 1940)

      and default history just keeps on repeating itself over and over and over again (like twilight zone eh!) and no political government in the world is getting it right.

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