B.C. legal group plans to go back to court after 6 arrested at homeless camp

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Police stand outside the Maple Ridge homeless camp known as Anita’s Place on Sunday, where the city was enforcing a court injunction.

MAPLE RIDGE, B.C. — Pivot Legal Society says it has filed leave to appeal the B.C. Supreme Court injunction used by RCMP to enter a homeless camp in Maple Ridge, B.C., and arrest six people.

Ridge Meadows RCMP said in a release officers made the arrests as Maple Ridge fire department officials and bylaw officers entered the Anita Place encampment on Sunday to enforce the injunction granted earlier this month.

Officials say they were concerned about propane heaters and stoves posing a fire hazard when used in or near tightly spaced tents.

Pivot said in a news release Monday that some of its members witnessed the enforcement and both city officials and RCMP contravened the injunction order.  MORE

What’s at stake for RCMP, prosecutors in the SNC-Lavalin case

Zero convictions despite 7 years and millions spent on SNC investigation, prosecution

Since 2012, the RCMP have charged eight people tied to allegations SNC-Lavalin engaged in bribery of foreign officials. Seven of those accused have had their cases tossed out of court due to delays or problems with evidence. (Christinne Muschi/Reuters)

The political storm over SNC-Lavalin has sparked important debate over alleged political interference in Canada’s justice system and what to do about a huge Canadian company that could fail if convicted of foreign bribery.

On Tuesday, Canadians will hear directly from Jody Wilson-Raybould on whether she was inappropriately pressured as attorney general to intervene in the SNC-Lavalin prosecution.

But beyond the political scandal, consider the failures of the RCMP and federal prosecutors in the case. Since 2012, the RCMP have charged eight people tied to allegations SNC engaged in bribery of foreign officials. Seven of those accused have had their cases tossed out of court due to delays or problems with evidence. RCMP and the Public Prosecution Service of Canada have yet to convict anyone from the company.

Many are asking whether they are really up to the job.

“Canada has a very poor record of enforcement,” says James Cohen, head of the watchdog group Transparency International Canada. “Canadian companies who engage in corruption have sadly been playing the odds that they will not get caught.” MORE

More court challenges expected over new Trans Mountain Pipeline decision

National Energy Board to deliver its decision on reconsideration of marine effects of pipeline expansion that is meant to tap into new markets in Asia for Alberta oil

Even before the National Energy Board delivers its answer Friday on its reconsideration of the $9.3-billion Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion, opponents say there is likely to be more court challenges of any decision.

Last fall, several First Nations, including the Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish, as well as environmentalists and municipal leaders, said the expedited re-examination of marine traffic effects of the project, including on killer whales, was inadequate and could create grounds for another court challenge.

The Trans Mountain marine terminal in Burnaby. JONATHAN HAYWARD /THE CANADIAN PRESS

Among concerns was that the review’s 155-day timeline was too short and its scope was not broad enough, including that it was restricted to a 12-nautical mile strip along the coastline.

Eugene Kung, a staff lawyer with West Coast Environmental Law who has worked with First Nations in the past on court challenges of Trans Mountain, said Thursday the feeling is that the flaws of the review process have not been addressed. MORE

To Litigate or Negotiate: Atikamekw Nation is divided on how to approach land claim

(Grand Chief Constant Awashish points out the Atikamekw territory on a map. Photo: Tom Fennario/APTN)

On January 22, Chief Christian Awashish and few dozen community members from Opitciwan First Nation (one of three Atikamekw communities) held a news conference on the steps of Montreal’s Palais de Justice courthouse.

“40 years! 40 years of negotiations that haven’t led to satisfactory social projects, so starting today, we will cease all territory negotiations and we will commence with a demand for title,” said Chrstian Awashish, before entering the courthouse and kicking off a lawsuit in Quebec superior court demanding recognition of their ancestral land.

The Atikamekw Council of Opitciwan is basing much of their case on the landmark 2014 Tsilhqot’in Nation vs British Columbia supreme court decision.

The Tsilhqot’in decision was the first time the Supreme Court of Canada declared Aboriginal title in litigation. SOURCE

Baltimore files lawsuit demanding Monsanto pay to clean up PCB chemicals in city waterways

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Baltimore is asking a federal judge to force agriculture chemical company Monsanto to pay for cleanup of environmental toxins known as PCBs, following more than a dozen mostly West Coast cities and states that have filed similar lawsuits in recent years.

The lawsuit announced Tuesday doesn’t specify damages, but City Solicitor Andre Davis accused the company and two former divisions it sold off of causing tens of millions of dollars in damages.

The lawsuit says the contamination has caused monetary damages to be determined at trial.

Polychlorinated biphenyls, a type of man-made chemicals used widely in paints, inks, lubricants and electrical equipment until they were banned in 1979, have been linked to cancers and harm to immune, reproductive, nervous and endocrine systems in humans and animals. MORE

Judge Denies TransCanada’s Request for Most Pre-Construction Work on Keystone XL Pipeline

Ruling Deals Yet Another Setback to Proposed Dirty Fossil Fuel Project

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The Keystone XL pipeline would bring oil from Hardisty, Alta., to Steele City, Neb. (Natalie Holdway/CBC)

Great Falls, MT — A federal court ruling today further delayed the proposed Keystone XL pipeline by reaffirming that TransCanada cannot conduct any construction activity on the controversial tar sands pipeline and continuing to block most pre-construction field activities, including construction of worker camps.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Montana ruled in November that the Trump administration violated bedrock U.S. environmental laws when approving a federal permit for the pipeline. The ruling blocked any construction while the government revises its environmental review.

Today, the court largely stood by that ruling, finding that TransCanada is unlikely to succeed on its appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. It also ruled that TransCanada remains blocked from constructing worker camps and conducting most other pre-construction activity along the pipeline route. The court did allow TransCanada to store pipe in storage yards located off the pipeline right of way, but only on private land that has been properly surveyed and analyzed. The court noted that any investment of resources would be at the company’s own peril. MORE


U.S. judge denies request for Keystone XL pipeline pre-construction work

Nature’s Rights Put to Vote in City ‘Fed Up’ With Poisoned Water

Algal Blooms Continue to Threaten Lake Erie Ecosystem

In two weeks the citizens of Toledo, Ohio, will go to the polls and decide whether to pass a legally dubious “Lake Erie Bill of Rights” to give residents the ability to sue farmers on behalf of algal-bloom-threatened Lake Erie.

Environmentalists say the novel city charter amendment will give citizens the power to do what Ohio politicians are afraid to do: take polluters to court and fight back against algal blooms that poisoned Toledo drinking water in 2013 and 2014.

The Feb. 26 vote from America’s industrial center, which largely went for President Donald Trump (R) in 2016, comes at a time when Democrat coalitions are coalescing around a Green New Deal in Congress.

But the move to endow natural resources with special “community rights” to sue has sunk everywhere else such laws were passed in the United States, and the activists behind Toledo’s move know they have precarious legal footing. MORE

Norman’s defence accuses Trudeau PMO of attempting to direct prosecution

The prosecution should not be discussing trial strategy with the (PMO’s) right hand person’ – Mainville

Suspended Vice-Admiral Mark Norman and his lawyer Christine Mainville leave court following a hearing on access to documents in Ottawa, Friday November 23, 2018. (Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

A pretrial hearing in the breach-of-trust case against Vice-Admiral Mark Norman took a sudden political turn Monday when the defence alleged that prosecutors have been talking trial strategy with the bureaucratic department that supports Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office and the federal cabinet.

The federal government is fighting defence requests for the release of un-redacted notes from meetings between officials at the Privy Council Office (PCO) and Crown lawyers.

In an email sent to Norman’s lawyers on Friday, one of the lead prosecutors, Barbara Mercier, said the documents being sought by the defence are being censored because they deal with “trial strategy” and censoring them is entirely appropriate.

That prompted defence counsel Christine Mainville to accuse the Prime Minister’s Office of trying to direct the case.

She also said the Crown should not be discussing strategy with PCO because the PCO instigated the investigation into an alleged leak of cabinet secrets Norman has been accused of orchestrating. MORE

B.C. First Nations back in court over whether governments can restrict their fishing rights

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VANCOUVER—Five Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations are in court this week appealing a 2018 B.C. Supreme Court decision they say unduly limits their right to a commercial fishery.

The First Nations are looking to the B.C. Court of Appeal to recognize not just the right to a commercial fishery but one that is sustainable, economically viable and allows “widespread participation of our people.” MORE

Tell Premier Horgan: Use all the tools in your toolbox to stop Trans Mountain!

It’s outrageous.

Premier Horgan is in court, defending a Christy Clark-era decision and opposing the Squamish Nation’s legal challenge that seeks to stop the Trans Mountain pipeline and tankers.

This isn’t what they were elected to do. The BC government promised to use all the tools in its toolbox to stop the Trans Mountain pipeline and tankers project.

So why is Horgan now fighting to uphold the pipeline project’s approval – and against the Squamish Nation – in court?

When the project was first approved in 2016, then-Leader of the Opposition John Horgan asked of the Premier, “Why is Christy Clark hiding behind a flawed process created by Stephen Harper?” [1]

Now that he’s Premier, we’re forced to ask the same question of him.