ForestEthics fights for one-way democracy – by Peter Foster (National Post – August 16, 2013)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

The question is whether eco storm troopers will abide by the decision if they lose

Eco radicals have a highly flexible approach to public participation, but little or no flexibility on its allowable conclusions. When it comes to forcing a green agenda on people – say, via removing the right to object to local wind farms in Ontario — they are all in favour. When it comes to new pipelines, however, they believe in the widest possible consultation, but with only one acceptable decision: Ban them.

This week the government’s regulatory streamlining legislation for new energy projects, contained within 2012’s Omnibus Bill C-38, was the subject of a lawsuit by an arm of San Francisco-based environmental group ForestEthics, which has for years been front and centre in anti-oil sands and anti-forestry activism.

A subsidiary, ForestEthics Advocacy, FA, and an individual named Donna Sinclair, both represented by celebrity Toronto lawyer Clayton Ruby, FA’s chairman, sought to overturn the government’s provisions on the basis that they restrict freedom of speech, not to mention threatening the survival of life on earth.

Before early last year, pipeline hearings had become an arena for a radical filibuster against oil sands development. Enbridge’s Northern Gateway hearings, which recently concluded, heard from literally thousands of intervenors, both directly and through written submissions. The Harper government sought to streamline the process, not, as radicals claim, to “silence” critics, but rather to draw reasonable bounds around what is discussed, and who should be allowed to intervene. How many times, and in how many ways, do you need to hear that we are climate doomed?

Environmental non-governmental organizations expressed outrage at Bill C-38, concerned that it might frustrate their ability to bog down other major domestic pipeline proposals, such as the twinning of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline to the West Coast, and now TransCanada’s Energy East project, to take Alberta oil across Canada to New Brunswick. They had already succeeded in delaying — perhaps killing — TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to the Gulf Coast.

Radicals have always utilized well-intentioned innocents as human shields, and Ms. Sinclair seems to be a typical example. She is a retired senior writer for The United Church Observer who lives in North Bay. One may not doubt the depth of her convictions, but convictions cannot be the basis for intervenor status.

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