Thursday, 2 August 2007

Rabaska Protesters Muzzled by Legal Costs, Environmentalists Say

Those with the deep pockets win, it seems.

Ninety-three residents opposed to the plans for a new liquid natural gas port across the river from Quebec City have had to agreed not pursue their legal challenge to the project, because legal costs had grown too high.

Last September two environmental groups, the Coalition Rabat-Joie and the Association pour la protection de l’environnement de Lévis (the town on the south shore of the St. Lawrence where the Rabaska project is supposed to be built) started a court case against Rabaska and the city of Lévis, alleging that the project violated one of the town’s zoning ordinances. Rabaska challenged the competence of one of the expert witnesses called by the environmentalists, and legal fees rather quickly rose beyond their ability to pay, according to stories in Le Devoir and La Presse

This is not the first time—and it won’t be the last—when a big player has been able to stop protests by dragging out a legal process so long that their critics give up. I’m involved in one at the moment, a class action suit against the Montreal Gazette and other corporations for theft of electronic rights which was begun in 1997 and has made little headway. The media corporations involved would like to see us (the ERDC, the Electronic Rights Defense Committee) go away, but we’re not going to.

Can't let the bastards grind you down, if you can possibly help it.

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