Nova Scotia: Big legal win by Sipekne’katik against Alton Natural Gas Storage LP and Minister of Environment

Compare this quick ruling (just one month, even in the Time of Corona) with Supreme Court of Canada taking a year to rule in Ernst vs AER on a much more simple matter. I suppose the nine judges had to work hard figuring out how to best piss on our civil Charter rights while protecting the law violating AER, and intentionally lie in their ruling to defame me and my case.

Sipekne’katik v. Alton Natural Gas Storage LP March 24, 2020, Nova Scotia Supreme Court

From the ruling, March 24, 2020:

Judge:The Honourable Justice Frank C. Edwards
Heard:February 18 and 19, 2020, in Halifax, Nova Scotia
Subject:Constitution Act – s. 35 Nova Scotia Environment Act – s. 138
Facts:The Appellant had appealed the April 8, 2019 Decision of the NS Minister of the Environment on the basis of inadequate Crown consultation with the Sipekne’katik Band regarding the Alton Natural Gas Storage Project.
Issue:Whether the Minister made a palpable and overriding error when she concluded that the level of consultation was “appropriate to the circumstances and to the Aboriginal and treaty rights asserted.”
Result:I allowed the appeal and reversed the Minister’s decision.  The Minister’s decision was not supported by the evidence.  While there had been extensive consultations regarding the potential environmental impacts of the Project, the core issue of Aboriginal title and treaty rights was never specifically engaged.  The Minister therefore committed palpable and overriding error when she concluded that the level of consultation was appropriate.  I also found that, but for her misapprehension of the evidence, the Minister would have concluded otherwise. I directed the parties to resume consultations for a period of 120 days or for such time as the parties mutually agree.  In the present circumstances, it is not possible to designate a start date for the resumption of consultation.  That will have to await a declaration by the Province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health that the COVID 19 crisis is over.  The parties are free to agree on an alternative remote arrangement.
I allowed the appeal and reversed the Minister’s decision.  The Minister’s decision was not supported by the evidence.  While there had been extensive consultations regarding the potential environmental impacts of the Project, the core issue of Aboriginal title and treaty rights was never specifically engaged.  The Minister therefore committed palpable and overriding error when she concluded that the level of consultation was appropriate.  I also found that, but for her misapprehension of the evidence, the Minister would have concluded otherwise. I directed the parties to resume consultations for a period of 120 days or for such time as the parties mutually agree.  In the present circumstances, it is not possible to designate a start date for the resumption of consultation.  That will have to await a declaration by the Province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health that the COVID 19 crisis is over.  The parties are free to agree on an alternative remote arrangement.

Refer also to:

2018: Osgoode Hall Conference, Scope of Charter Rights and Redress Panel: “Ernst: a puzzle. Dean Sossin & Joseph Cheng agree”

2017: Jessica Ernst Open Letter to Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin Regarding False and Seriously Damaging Statements in Justice Rosalie Abella’s Supreme Court of Canada Ruling, Ernst v AER

2017: Damaging the Charter: Ernst vs Alberta Energy Regulator by Lorne Sossin, Dean Osgoode Hall Law School, York University. Comment: “It causes one to question how much both the plurality and the dissent were driven by the desired end-state of the judgment, rather than consistency in applying principles of public law.”

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