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Sorry Cranky Conservatives! Carbon Pricing Wins the Day

Sorry Cranky Conservatives! Carbon Pricing Wins the Day

The Supreme Court ruling is good news for anyone invested in a habitable planet. But fixing the climate is going to take more.

Canadians worried about the survival of the country had cause for relief Thursday morning with news the Supreme Court of Canada had ruled 6-3 the federal government is entitled to impose a national carbon-pollution pricing system — in other words, to act like the government of Canada.

Had the court done what a cabal of climate-change-denying provincial Conservative premiers had hoped to achieve, one almost wonders what the point would have been of remaining a confederation.

Thursday’s ruling settles that question for a generation, if not longer, at least as far carbon pricing goes. Quite possibly for a lot more than that, too.

Even Alberta Premier Jason Kenney crankily admitted at a morning news conference that “there’s no court we can appeal this to,” while vowing, naturally, to make a political fight of it.

It remains to be seen how that will work out, but it seems likely “The Resistance,” as Canada’s conservative leaders used to like to think of themselves back when they were riding a little higher, will try to think up more taxpayer-funded mischief as long as there is a Liberal government in Ottawa.

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David Climenhaga , TheTyee.ca, carbon tax, government, canada, conservative party, climate change, carbon pricing, supreme court of canada, alberta, jason kenney

Canada, the Supreme Court hold that Carbon Tax is Constitutional

In Canada, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Ottawa has the power to impose a carbon price across the country as a “matter of national concern.” This is a major win for Trudeau and he can really make sure that the Canadian economy further declines to enable the Build Back Better agenda.

Let me make this VERY CLEAR. Even the US Supreme Court upheld Obamacare by holding it was a “TAX” When Obama deny that. Even the US Supreme Court would have struck down Obamacare as a social program, but as a TAX it held that government can impose ANY tax it so desires and at any rate. When it comes to taxes, the Supreme Courts of Europe, USA, Canada, or Bangladesh, will ALWAYS rule in favor of governmental power to TAX without constraint. They will ignore the history that 99% of all revolutions unfold because of taxes. Therefore, do not be surprised about tax rulings by the courts. This is also when Western society is doomed. We will not be able to sustain this sort of government beyond 2032. So just start planning now for the next real Great Reset which will be the overthrow of republics.

This is why in my solution, TAXATION must be abolished – PERIOD! If we simply printed the amount of money we needed to run government and it is capped at say 5%-10% of GDP, it would be far less destructive than taxation for the debt will never be repaid. At times, the accumulative interest expenditures have reached 70% of the debt showing that the real problem is borrowing in the first place. All of this COVID and Climate Change is a cover-up for the fact that the system of debt is coming to an end…

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martin armstrong, armstrong economics, climate change, carbon tax, canada, taxes, supreme court of canada, canadian government

Horgan’s Pipeline Push Betrays His Reconciliation Promise

Horgan’s Pipeline Push Betrays His Reconciliation Promise

First Nations expected a new era; instead the government has embraced colonialism and ignored UNDRIP law.

‘Is this a scorecard of how many First Nations say yes compared to those who say no? Is that how we measure rights and title?’ Photo by Michael Toledano.

It’s the same old story Indigenous Peoples have heard for generations.

B.C. Premier John Horgan tells the public “the rule of law” demands the Coastal GasLink pipeline go ahead. Permits are in place, and the courts have approved construction.

The opposition of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs is not important to Horgan, as he points to 20 First Nations that have signed agreements to allow the pipeline and negotiated benefits. The five clans who have not agreed don’t seem to count.

Is this a scorecard of how many First Nations say yes compared to those who say no? Is that how we measure rights and title?

Are we not in a new era of reconciliation? A new decade? The decade of the enactment of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) Act in this province?

What would I expect from the premier in this new era, in this particular situation when he needs credibility with First Nations if his commitment to UNDRIP is to be taken seriously?

I would expect the premier to look back on past decisions and ensure they were made in the spirit of UNDRIP — including approval of the Coastal GasLink pipeline. His party was making political promises to uphold UNDRIP long before the NDP were in government.

In the 2014 Supreme Court of Canada Tsilhqot’in decision, the justices stated clearly that provincial and federal governments need to be prepared to cancel already approved projects if First Nations establish title to the land and oppose them.

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When Indigenous Assert Rights, Canada Sends Militarized Police

When Indigenous Assert Rights, Canada Sends Militarized Police

It’s become routine, but ignores latest law on rights and title, say experts.

The use of heavily armed RCMP to enforce a court injunction and tear down an Indigenous blockade against TransCanada’s Coastal GasLink pipeline in northwestern British Columbia last week was part of a familiar pattern, say criminologists.

“It seems like Canada uses a show of force and police repression whenever it wants to contain First Nations exercising their aboriginal rights and title,” said Shiri Pasternak, a criminologist at Ryerson University and director of the Yellowhead Institute, a research centre focused on First Nations land and governance issues.

“Canada is creating the problem by refusing to recognize what its own courts are saying about aboriginal rights and title,” added Pasternak.

Over the last decade rulings by the Supreme Court of Canada and lower courts have established that Canadian governments have a duty to consult and accommodate Indigenous people before resources are extracted from their land, and that in many cases their land and title rights have not been extinguished.

Unlike many elected First Nations governments along the pipeline route, which signed economic benefit agreements with TransCanada, the hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en Nation have remained opposed to intrusions on their traditional lands.

Jeffrey Monaghan, a criminology professor at Carleton University who co-authored Policing Indigenous Movements: Dissent and the Security State with Andrew Crosby said the dismantling of the Wet’suwet’en blockade was intended to send a national message.

“It was very carefully choreographed to communicate to the national audience that any protests against oil and gas pipelines are going to be cracked down upon. I think it was highly symbolic. Police action doesn’t stop with the Wet’suwet’en,” said Monaghan.

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How this man’s legal challenge could stall LNG Canada

Michael Sawyer

How this man’s legal challenge could stall LNG Canada

A massive new fracked gas export plant in Kitimat may have just received the go-ahead, but a Smithers resident is arguing a pipeline vital to the project should have faced a federal review — and he’s won before

LNG Canada has announced that the international consortium is ready to proceed with Canada’s largest ever infrastructure project, but, in a David and Goliath scenario, a challenge by a Smithers environmental consultant is aiming to temporarily derail or delay the $40-billion megaproject.

Michael Sawyer is arguing that the Coastal GasLink Project, a 675-kilometre pipeline running from Dawson Creek to Kitimat, should have faced a federal review by the National Energy Board instead of relying on provincial approval.

Although the $4.7-billion pipeline is set to be built entirely within B.C. — which would usually put it under the jurisdiction of the province — the pipeline, which would supply the LNG Canada export terminal in Kitimat, connects to an existing pipeline system that is federally regulated.

Also, Coastal GasLink Pipeline Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of TransCanada Pipeline Ltd., which means under the Constitution Act the pipeline is within federal jurisdiction and should be regulated by the National Energy Board, Sawyer says in an application to the board.

Sawyer-Challenge-CoastalGasLinkProject-NEB by The Narwhal on Scribd

“A pipeline that crosses international boundaries or provincial boundaries would normally be federally regulated,” Sawyer told The Narwhal, pointing to a 1998 Supreme Court decision that said if a provincial pipeline is “functionally integrated” with an existing federally regulated line, it becomes an extension of the federal line.

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Top Canadian Court Permits Worldwide Internet Censorship

A country has the right to prevent the world’s Internet users from accessing information, Canada’s highest court ruled on Wednesday.

In a decision that has troubling implications for free expression online, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld a company’s effort to force Google to de-list entire domains and websites from its search index, effectively making them invisible to everyone using Google’s search engine

The case, Google v. Equustek, began when British Columbia-based Equustek Solutions accused Morgan Jack and others, known as the Datalink defendants, of selling counterfeit Equustek routers online. It claimed California-based Google facilitated access to the defendants’ sites. The defendants never appeared in court to challenge the claim, allowing default judgment against them, which meant Equustek effectively won without the court ever considering whether the claim was valid.

Although Google was not named in the lawsuit, it voluntarily took down specific URLs that directed users to the defendants’ products and ads under the local (Canadian) Google.ca domains. But Equustek wanted more, and the British Columbia Supreme Court ruled that Google had to delete the entire domain from its search results, including from all other domains such Google.com and Google.go.uk. The British Columbia Court of Appeal upheld the decision, and the Supreme Court of Canada decision followed the analysis of those courts.

EFF intervened in the case, explaining [.pdf] that such an injunction ran directly contrary to both the U.S. Constitution and statutory speech protections. Issuing an order that would cut off access to information for U.S. users would set a dangerous precedent for online speech.  In essence, it would expand the power of any court in the world to edit the entire Internet, whether or not the targeted material or site is lawful in another country.

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Telecoms Must Defend Our Privacy, Court Confirms

Telecoms Must Defend Our Privacy, Court Confirms

Ontario decision orders companies to represent subscribers’ interests.

Hidden faces

Court ruled law enforcement’s request for thousands of subscribers’ cell phone records breached Canadian Charter rights. Anonymous photo via Shutterstock.

In today’s communications driven world, no one collects as much information about its customers as telecom companies. As subscribers increasingly rely on the same company for internet connectivity, wireless access, local phone service, and television packages, the breadth of personal data collection is truly staggering.

Whether it is geo-location data on where we go, information on what we read online, details on what we watch, or lists identifying with whom we communicate, telecom and cable companies have the capability of pulling together remarkably detailed profiles of millions of Canadians.

How that information is used and who can gain access to it has emerged as one the most challenging and controversial privacy issues of our time. The companies themselves are tempted by the prospect of “monetizing” the information by using it for marketing purposes, law enforcement wants easy access during criminal investigations, and private litigants frequently demand that the companies hand over the data with minimal oversight.

As a result, courts and privacy commissioners have regularly faced questions about the rights and responsibilities associated with subscriber information. For example, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada ruled last year that Bell’s “relevant advertising program,” which provided advertisers with the ability to target ads based on subscriber personal information, ran afoul of Canadian privacy law because the company simply presumed that it could use the information without an explicit, opt-in consent.

The Canadian courts have similarly grappled with a myriad of privacy issues, including whether basic subscriber information carries with it a reasonable expectation of privacy (the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that it does) or if an internet provider can be required to reveal the identities of internet subscribers in a copyright infringement lawsuit (it can subject to conditions limiting how the information is used).

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In Supreme Court, a Battle Over Fracking and Citizens’ Rights

In Supreme Court, a Battle Over Fracking and Citizens’ Rights

Jessica Ernst’s long fight to challenge legislation putting energy regulator above the law reaches top court.


Jessica Ernst on her land in Alberta. Photo: Colin Smith.

After years of legal wrangling, Jessica Ernst and Alberta’s powerful energy regulator finally squared off in the Supreme Court of Canada yesterday.

For almost two hours, all nine justices questioned lawyers from both sides in a case that will determine if legislation can grant government agencies blanket immunity from lawsuits based on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

At times the debate was so bogged down in legal jargon and little known cases that it felt as though the participants were holding a conversation in a foreign language.


Join The Tyee and acclaimed energy journalist and author Andrew Nikiforuk for a special evening on fracking. Nikiforuk will survey the latest energy battleground and discuss his new book, Slick Water, which centres around Jessica Ernst’s landmark case. The event takes place Jan. 28 in Vancouver. Find further details and ticket information here.

But the heart of the matter remained simple: Can a regulator prevent a citizen from suing it for damages when the citizen feels their charter rights have been violated?

Ernst alleges the Alberta Energy Regulator violated her rights by characterizing her as a “criminal threat” and barring all communication with her.

The claims are part of her multipronged lawsuit related to the regulation of fracking. She says fracking contaminated aquifers near her homestead near Rosebud, about 110 kilometres east of Calgary, and is seeking $33 million in damages.

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Charter Rights at Issue in Fracking Supreme Court Case

Charter Rights at Issue in Fracking Supreme Court Case

Jessica Ernst’s long battle over rights, well contamination reaches highest court Tuesday.


Jessica Ernst stands in front of Encana compressors in Rosebud, Alberta. Photo by Tor Lundberg Tuorda.

An Alberta woman’s landmark eight-year battle over fracking regulation, water contamination and Charter rights will take centre stage in the Supreme Court of Canada Tuesday.

Jessica Ernst claims fracking contaminated the water supply at her homestead near Rosebud, about 110 kilometres east of Calgary. She is seeking $33 million in damages.

Ernst is also taking on the agency that regulates the energy industry in Alberta, claiming it has denied her the right to raise her concerns effectively and is shielded by unconstitutional legislation that bar citizens from suing it for wrongdoing.

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the David Asper Centre for Constitutional Law at the University of Toronto have intervened in support of Ernst’s position and the lawsuit could change the way the controversial technology of hydraulic fracturing is regulated in Canada.

Ernst’s lawyers hope the Supreme Court will eventually rule that the Alberta Energy Regulator violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms by limiting her ability to communicate with the agency.

Such a decision would punt Ernst’s case back into Alberta’s courts where it can continue its slow course. Ernst considers the regulator the most at fault in her famous and multi-pronged lawsuit.

In a “factum” prepared for the Supreme Court, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association argues that immunity clauses for regulators are an affront to government accountability and a licence to abuse power.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Supreme Court rejects Rio Tinto’s efforts to dismiss Innu class action lawsuit

Supreme Court rejects Rio Tinto’s efforts to dismiss Innu class action lawsuit

Innu claim mines have harmed environment and their way of life

The Supreme Court of Canada has refused to end a class action lawsuit filed by two Innu communities against the Iron Ore Co. of Canada and the Quebec North Shore and Labrador Railway Co.

The country’s highest court dismissed with costs their appeal of a Quebec Court of Appeal ruling. No reasons were provided Thursday as is customary when the court makes such a decision.

The Innu First Nations of Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam (Uashaunnuat) and Matimekush-Lac John claim the IOC, which is majority owned by Rio Tinto, has violated their rights for nearly 60 years and are seeking $900 million in compensation.

The Innu claim the mines and other facilities have ruined the environment, displaced members from their territory and prevented them from practising their traditional way of life.

They also say a 578-kilometre railway between Schefferville and Sept-Iles has opened up their territory to “numerous other destructive development projects.”

‘A great victory’

The allegations have not been proven in court.

“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court is, in fact, a great victory for all First Nations in Canada that are seeking to force companies to respect their rights,” the chiefs of the communities said in a news release.

Uashaunnuat Chief Mike McKenzie said the Supreme Court ruling means Rio Tinto and its subsidiaries will no longer be able to evade its lawsuit, which now reverts to the Quebec Superior Court for trial.

“We are more determined than ever to see it through to the end and, sooner or later, the company will have to answer for what it has done, including its systematic violation of our rights since the 1950s,” he said.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…


Canadian Supreme Court’s top judge dismisses activist label

Canadian Supreme Court’s top judge dismisses activist label

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) – Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin brushed off criticism on Thursday that her court, which has clashed with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, has been too activist.

McLachlin, the court’s longest-serving chief justice, has presided over numerous decisions that reversed Parliament’s decisions, and made landmark rulings on prostitution and physician-assisted suicide that were opposed by the ruling Conservatives.

In response to a question as to whether her court is improperly activist, she said: “We try to answer the questions put before us in accordance with the constitution and the law. I leave the labels to other people.”

Harper’s Conservative government has also found itself at the losing end of decisions on mandatory minimum sentences and Senate reform. Last year, the court rejected one of Harper’s picks to fill a Supreme Court vacancy.

While Harper’s critics charge that he has been dismissive of the rule of law and the constitution, some social conservatives have argued McLachlin has gone to far in extending constitutional rights.

The National Post ran a headline in May dubbing her “unofficial leader of the opposition.”

Asked by a reporter how she felt about that title, she said: “My feelings are irrelevant, but descriptions of various sorts as to how institutions are perceived or function, one can expect this, so it’s par for the course.”

McLachlin, 71, was speaking at a rare press conference, during a Canadian Bar Association conference. She said she welcomed robust debate on the role of the court, but declared: “I’m not a politician, I’m a judge.”


Supreme Court Rejects Argument to Dismiss Landmark Fracking Case

Supreme Court Rejects Argument to Dismiss Landmark Fracking Case

Jessica Ernst’s charter claim hearing slated for 2016.

The Supreme Court of Canada has rejected a motion by the country’s most powerful energy regulator that Jessica Ernst’s case involving fracking and groundwater contamination raises no significant constitutional claim and should be dismissed.

Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin ruled that the case raised a significant constitutional question on whether or not an “immunity clause” in the regulator’s legislation placed it above the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Is the regulator’s immunity clause, asked McLachlin in her June 25th ruling “constitutionally inapplicable or inoperable to the extent that it bars a claim against the regulator for a breach of” the Charter of Rights and Freedoms?

But Glenn Solomon, counsel for the Alberta Energy Regulator, argued in submissions to the court that “no constitutional question should be stated in the present matter.”

After the Supreme Court agreed to hear the charter case last April, it required lawyers representing Jessica Ernst to clearly state the question and Solomon to agree on the wording.

But Solomon told Ernst’s lawyers that “We will not be able to agree on a constitutional question.”


The Alberta Energy Regulator’s obstruction cost Ernst more time and money, but she is satisfied with McLachlin’s ruling and definition of the final constitutional question.

“If energy regulators can violate our charter rights, there will be no protection for citizens living in areas where industry is fracking for hydrocarbons,” Ernst told The Tyee.

Fracking damage alleged

Hydraulic fracturing, a technology described by industry as a combination of “brute force and ignorance,” injects highly pressurized fluids into shallow and deep formations with the goal of splitting open rock as dense as concrete to release small amounts of oil and gas over vast distances.

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Rocco Galati challenges role of Bank of Canada in latest case

Rocco Galati challenges role of Bank of Canada in latest case

Maverick lawyer argues central bank should provide interest-free money for infrastructure

The lawyer best known for stopping the Supreme Court appointment of Judge Marc Nadon has turned his sights on the Bank of Canada.

Rocco Galati has taken on a case for a group called the Committee for Monetary and Economic Reform, or COMER, which wants the central bank to return to the practice of lending federal and provincial governments interest-free money for infrastructure.

“They felt it was important in the face of the financial sector meltdown in 2008, the banking meltdown, and the drastic reduction and elimination of human capital infrastructure such as health care, universities and basically the stuff that the Bank of Canada from 1938 to 1974 funded,” Galati said in an interview with CBC’s The Exchange with Amanda Lange.

His clients have been dismissed as conspiracy theorists, but Galati argues the law is there to support their case.

The Bank of Canada was set up in 1935 in the wake of the Great Depression to provide a means for settling international accounts and to provide interest-free loans to government to finance infrastructure investments.

History of infrastructure funding

Projects like the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Trans-Canada highway were funded in this way, and the central bank also underwrote Canada’s Second World War effort as well as the building of hospitals and universities.

But in 1974, the central bank stopped providing interest-free loans to government so it could join the Bank for International Settlements, a kind of central bank of central banks.

Galati argues that from then on private banks became government’s lender, contravening the act that established the central bank.

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Landmark Fracking Case Gets a Supreme Court Hearing

Landmark Fracking Case Gets a Supreme Court Hearing

Oil patch consultant Jessica Ernst alleges Alberta has intimidated landowners.

The Supreme Court of Canada said today that it will hear thelandmark case of Jessica Ernst, which squarely challenges how the Alberta government has treated landowners and regulated hydraulic fracturing.

The decision both stunned and exhilarated the 57-year-old Ernst.

“I’ve always known my case was important for water and all Canadians, that’s why I am taking this legal stand,” said Ernst who lives in Rosebud, Alberta.

“The court will now hear my appeal that provincial energy regulators not be legally immune from violating the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms when trying to intimidate citizens harmed by fracking,” added Ernst. Her stand against the industry and the Alberta government has made her a folk hero throughout North America and parts of Europe.

However, a win at the Supreme Court does not mean that she will win her lawsuit, explained Ernst to the Tyee. “It means I would be sent back to the lower court in Alberta to begin my lawsuit against the Alberta Energy Regulator. It means still a very long, hard, expensive journey.”

The Supreme Court only hears about four per cent of all civil Charter claims brought to its doorstep.

Eight years ago, oil patch consultant Ernst sued Alberta Environment, the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) and Encana, one of Canada’s largest unconventional gas drillers, over the contamination of her well water with hydrocarbons and the failure of government authorities to properly investigate the fouling of groundwater.


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Canadian Government: This Reporter’s Question About ALEC ‘Undeserving of Response’ | DeSmog Canada

Canadian Government: This Reporter’s Question About ALEC ‘Undeserving of Response’ | DeSmog Canada.

As some of you may know, I’ll be starting a new rolein January 2015 as an investigative resources correspondent for Reuters.

Getting access to records about government decisions and policies has long played a key role in the work of many journalists around the world. It will also be a key element for me in the weeks, months and years to come.

So to end off 2014, here are a few examples of some of my recent experiences with government efforts to either release or hide information.

Canada’s information watchdog has noted that the Supreme Court of Canadarecognizes access to information as a quasi-constitutional right of all Canadians.

Obtaining access to information is an extension of freedom of expression since it allows the population to be informed and speak about government policies and decisions on how these governments spend public money.

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Olduvai IV: Courage
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