Friends of the Richelieu. A river. A passion.

"Tout cedit pays est fort uny, remply de forests, vignes & noyers. Aucuns Chrestiens n'estoient encores parvenus jusques en cedit lieu, que nous, qui eusmes assez de peine à monter le riviere à la rame. " Samuel de Champlain

"All this region is very level and full of forests, vines and butternut trees. No Christian has ever visited this land and we had all the misery of the world trying to paddle the river upstream." Samuel de Champlain

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Alberta Energy Regulator’s Response to Ernst Case ‘Inaccurate and Misleading’, Say Professors

Photo: Colin Smith

By Andrew Nikiforuk published today |

Two University of Calgary law professors have demanded Alberta’s energy regulator withdraw its “inaccurate and misleading” statement on a Supreme Court of Canada ruling that a landowner couldn’t sue it for alleged rights violations. (...)

“The Court did not find there was a breach of Ms. Ernst’s Charter rights, and made no findings of negligence on the part of the AER or its predecessor the ERCB,” declared the statement.

But law professors Shaun Fluker and Sharon Mascher have written in a popular legal blog that the regulator’s claim isn’t true.

“The AER Public Statement is inaccurate and misleading, and is not the sort of action we would expect a quasi-judicial tribunal to consider appropriate,” they write. “The Supreme Court made no finding at all on a breach of the Charter in the Ernst decision.” (...)


“This Public Statement on the Ernst decision is long on self-vindication and short on facts,” they wrote. “Most problematic is that the AER incorrectly states the Supreme Court has cleared it of wrongdoing in its dealings with Jessica Ernst.”

The regulator’s statement said the Supreme Court “made no findings of negligence on the part of the AER or its predecessor the ERCB” (Energy Resources Conservation Board).

But the issue before the court wasn’t negligence but the constitutionality of the immunity clause, Fluker and Mascher note. “To suggest that the Court made no findings of negligence suggests that it made a finding of ‘no negligence’” they wrote.


Although the AER is supposed to arbitrate disputes between landowners and oil and gas companies over pollution, land devaluation and public health impacts, it rarely performs that function, said Fluker in an interview.

“Any landowner who has a problem with industry has to go to the AER,” said Fluker who runs a public clinic to help rural citizens impacted by energy developers. “But they are not going to get a fair shake. The AER is there to look after industry and that’s a big problem.” (...)


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