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