Opinions and Current Issues Blog

Saba Ahmad is a Litigator working on environmental, administrative and commercial matters in Toronto. Learn more at www.sabaahmad.com

#Metrolinx asks Court to Strike Clean Train’s Submissions – and to Award it Costs

Clean Train Coalition is seeking the court’s permission to appeal a decision against it.  In November, the Divisional Court held the Coalition had no right to seek review of the process Metrolinx followed in choosing diesel technology for the Union-Pearson Air Rail Link.  It awarded $33,500 against an all-volunteer, public interest group seeking to protect the environment and the health of those who live near the rail corridor.

On Friday, Metrolinx served the Coalition with a motion by  to strike certain of its arguments and submissions.  Here is an excerpt of the materials Metrolinx does not wish the Court of Appeal to see:

Before Robert S. Prichard joined Metrolinx, where he now Chairs its Board of Directors, he served as one of four Commissioners of the Ontario Law Reform Commission (“OLRC”), which concluded:

“. . . . to the extent that individuals are precluded from vindicating public rights unless they have some private or special interest in the litigation – the law is offensive and not compatible with our notions of who ought to have access to the judicial process in the face of widespread harm caused to all, or a significant segment, of the community.”

“This report, then, will recommend the liberalization of the standing rules, as well as substantial alteration of the law of costs, so that certain persons with interests hitherto not represented in court can have such interests recognized and protected in that forum, without being deterred by both the law of standing and the existing costs regime. . . it is our view that a form of one way rule should apply in the circumstances where we believe change is warranted.”

            OLRC, Report on the Law of Standing, 1989, at pp. 2-3.

Metrolinx should not be permitted to use the existing costs regime to deter citizens groups from attempting to vindicate public rights, in the face of widespread harm to the community and the environment.

Clean Train Coalition will resist the motion.  While Metrolinx attempts to use the existing costs regime to prevent a community group’s participation in the judicial process, Clean Train Coalition considers environmental protection and public health to be worth the fight.

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One comment on “#Metrolinx asks Court to Strike Clean Train’s Submissions – and to Award it Costs

  1. Peter Shepherd
    March 11, 2013

    Metrolinx is not following the two Statutory Acts it is bound to act under, or the Ministry of Transport’s expressed Sustainability Strategy.

    http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statutes/english/elaws_statutes_06g16_e.htm#BK5

    Metrolinx Act, 2006

    S.O. 2006, CHAPTER 16

    Consolidation Period: From June 30, 2011 to the e-Laws currency date.

    Last amendment: 2011, c. 9, Sched. 27, s. 31.

    Objects

    5. (1) The objects of the Corporation are,

    (a) to provide leadership in the co-ordination, planning, financing, development and implementation of an integrated, multi-modal transportation network that,

    (i) conforms with transportation policies of growth plans prepared and approved under the Places to Grow Act, 2005 applicable in the regional transportation area,

    (ii) complies with other provincial transportation policies and plans applicable in the regional transportation area, and

    (iii) supports a high quality of life, a sustainable environment and a strong, prosperous and competitive economy;

    (b) to act as the central procurement agency for the procurement of local transit system vehicles, equipment, technologies and facilities and related supplies and services on behalf of Ontario municipalities; and

    (c) to be responsible for the operation of the regional transit system and the provision of other transit services. 2006, c. 16, s. 5 (1); 2009, c. 14, s. 5.

    ———————————————————————————————————————————————————-

    http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statutes/english/elaws_statutes_05p13_e.htm

    Places to Grow Act, 2005

    S.O. 2005, CHAPTER 13

    Preamble

    The Government of Ontario recognizes that in order to accommodate future population growth, support economic prosperity and achieve a high quality of life for all Ontarians, planning must occur in a rational and strategic way.

    The Government of Ontario recognizes that building complete and strong communities, making efficient use of existing infrastructure and preserving natural and agricultural resources will contribute to maximizing the benefits, and minimizing the costs, of growth.

    The Government of Ontario recognizes that identifying where and how growth should occur will support improved global competitiveness, sustain the natural environment and provide clarity for the purpose of determining priority of infrastructure investments.

    The Government of Ontario recognizes that an integrated and co-ordinated approach to making decisions about growth across all levels of government will contribute to maximizing the value of public investments.

    Therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:

    Purposes

    1. The purposes of the Act are,

    (a) to enable decisions about growth to be made in ways that sustain a robust economy, build strong communities and promote a healthy environment and a culture of conservation;

    (b) to promote a rational and balanced approach to decisions about growth that builds on community priorities, strengths and opportunities and makes efficient use of infrastructure;

    (c) to enable planning for growth in a manner that reflects a broad geographical perspective and is integrated across natural and municipal boundaries;

    (d) to ensure that a long-term vision and long-term goals guide decision-making about growth and provide for the co-ordination of growth policies among all levels of government. 2005, c. 13, s. 1.

    ———————————————————————————————————————————————————-

    http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/sustainability/strategy/framework.shtml

    Ministry of Transportation

    ……. Strategic Goal 5

    Demonstrate good stewardship
    The breadth and scope of MTO’s mandate offers many opportunities to practise good stewardship of Ontario’s resources – human, financial and natural. Every time we make a decision, we need to consider how it will affect the surrounding ecosystem and communities. MTO’s transportation activities must include protecting and conserving the province’s resources and dealing with any potentially negative effects of our activities or operations. Areas of focus include:

    recognizing that many natural resources are finite and shared, and making every effort to conserve, reuse and recycle them as much as possible
    minimizing disruptions to the natural environment or to historic or cultural features
    responding to climate change by reducing GHG emissions from the transportation sector and preparing for the potential impacts of climate change
    investigating methodologies to improve our ability to incorporate sustainability in our Environmental Assessment process
    supporting the Ontario Public Service-wide Green Transformation, an initiative that will reduce the environmental footprint of the provincial government and foster a green organizational culture

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This entry was posted on February 23, 2013 by in Uncategorized.
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