Over the last few weeks, a number of people have contacted me through social media and other means to find out what's happening with the Muskrat Falls injunction application. So here it is.
After the Appeal Court of Newfoundland overturned all of Justice Butler's decisions on the first injunction application, and imposed an unprecedented ban on her for having anything to do with any future cases I may be involved in, I resubmitted a new Statement of Claim and injunction application. The first Statement of Claim was based too much on ethical principles and not enough on legal principles in a sense. I can't go further than that, because the issue of costs I was awarded has yet to be settled with the Government and Nalcor.
The new Statement of Claim focuses on one primary theme - unlawful action by the Government, Nalcor, and CFLCO in the development and building of Muskrat Falls. Specifically, the Government committed the unlawful tort of "unlawful interference with economic relations" (description) . Essentially, one party, by its actions against a second party, knowingly causes harm to a third party. One Party = the provincial government. Second Party = Hydro-Quebec. Third Party= taxpayers/ratepayers. The adage goes that the Government knows the water management agreement imposed on CFLCO breaches the Power Contract, which gives Quebec sole access to the power of the Upper Churchill until 2041 (except a small recall). By proceeding with it, and building Muskrat Falls based on it, the government has violated Hydro-Quebec's rights. Hydro-Quebec is now suing us for that breach. We, the taxpayers and ratepayers, will be responsible for the damages awarded and the costs of a useless dam that can only operate at 20% firm capacity without the water management agreement. Hence, the unlawful interference with our economic relations.
In addition, I have included the unlawful treatment of the Nunatukavut and Nunatsiavut governments. The Government is bound by a land claims agreement with the Nunatsiavut that it has broken, and is bound to the Nunatukavut government by constitutional requirements for consultation and accommodation. These three issues of lawfulness have left taxpayers in a position of risk, and all three matters are before the Courts now as a result. To put it simply, my new suit focuses on protecting our economic rights against unlawful government action. It's what is commonly referred to as a "taxpayers lawsuit".
In order to prosecute a "taxpayers lawsuit" I have to qualify for "public interest standing". A hearing date was set to determine public interest standing with Justice Stack presiding over it. However, Justice Stack had already presided over the permanent injunction application granted to Nalcor against the Nunatukavut so I requested he recuse (step down) himself from hearing the matter. The day before the recusal issue was to be heard in Court, the new Chief Justice of the Trial Division named Justice Stack to be Chair of the Independent Boundaries Commission to reduce our seats in the House of Assembly from 48 to 40. I was notified in writing by the Court that, as a result, he would not be hearing the matter - or any matters.
A date still exists on the books for March, so I am hoping a new Justice can be named for that date, and the matter of public interest standing can be successfully determined, so the important issue of an injunction stopping the development of Muskrat Falls can be heard and implemented. This whole process started in November, 2012, and here's hoping it will come to a conclusion within the next 4-6 months. That is my update.
Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the
round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're
not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify
them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change
things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the
crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that
they can change the world, are the ones who do.
US computer engineer & industrialist (1955 - 2011)