Environment featured

News brief: Forest defenders score victory in mainland moose legal battle

Rally at the Halifax Law Courts. Photo Robert Devet

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Members of Extinction Rebellion Nova Scotia who were involved in the blockade to save mainland moose habitat from destruction scored a bit of a victory in their legal battle with Westfor Management Inc.

The forest defenders were fighting a broad and sweeping interlocutory injunction that would bar them from interfering with Westfor not just at the locations of the earlier blockades, but  anywhere WestFor is licensed to conduct harvesting operations. Legal support was provided by Ecojustice. Jamie Simpson of Juniper Law also worked on the case.

In a decision dated March 11 Justice Kevin Coady found that Westfor had indeed made a convincing case against Extinction Rebellion and the individuals engaged in the blockades, and that the earlier injunction was valid.

However, he refused to issue the future constraints Westfor had sought to impose on the forest defenders.

“Westfor has not provided sufficient evidence to establish the high degree of probability that Extinction Rebellion will obstruct or otherwise interfere with future operations,” writes Justice Coady. 

“It relies on the Rockypoint Lake and Napier Lake blockades to support its position. Similarly, it relies on the prior “herbicide protests” and protests on the Halifax MacDonald Bridge. I have reviewed Extinction Rebellion’s social media posts and find they advocate for general resistance but not specific action,” the decision states.

As well, Justice Coady did not award costs against Extinction Rebellion.

“This organization, and similar public interest groups, are well-intentioned and play a role in our modern-day democracy,” he writes.

“This outcome was what we felt would be a real win. If they threw out both the broad part of the injunction and didn’t make us pay court costs, that was better than we were expecting,” Nina Newington told the Nova Scotia Advocate. 

Newington is one of the forest defenders who was arrested late last Fall. She has frequently acted as a spokesperson for the group.

Meanwhile, these same constraints thrown out by Justice Coady are also contained in an undertaking the forest defenders were obliged to sign after their arrest. Newington wonders if this undertaking could now be amended, given Justice Coady’s decision.

The forest defenders are not out of the woods yet, as they still face criminal charges for barricading the two access roads. On March 15 dates will be set for future court action in this matter at the Digby court house.

Nina Newington has written about the court case on these pages. Read it here.

See also: News brief: Forest defenders arrested

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  1. While this win is encouraging to anyone who is concerned about protecting our environment and the endangered and ar-risk species who call our environment, ‘home,’ it is somewhat discouraging to know the reality of the situation. That is, why do regular, Nova Scotia citizens have to take such extreme measures to do the job of government when it comes to protecting endangered species and the habitats they need to continue to survive and exist? Why is the Provincial Government still ignoring the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia’s ruling and order that the government MUST obey its own environmental laws? If McNeil, and now Iain Rankin, can outright ignore the Province’s environmental laws how else can Nova Scotians ensure that we are doing our best to protect our forests, lakes, rivers and coasts from the apparent unending assault that irresponsible industry continues to hammer against our wildlife and wildlife habitats? Will Nova Scotians repeatedly have to put their own freedom and well being on the line to do the government’s job for it?

  2. I agree with the comments of Robert Bright above . What are the answers to these questions and where is the justice for Nova Scotians . The people , the animals and the environment ? We are held to the letter of the law but not the government and large corporations? Are there any powerful people out there with a keen understanding of the importance of these issues ? How to get the youth involved ? When kids take up the fight they sometimes get media attention.

  3. My fellow Ontarions who are concerned about the destruction of the wetlands read this please !we can save our lands from expropriation and extinction if we all work together ,this story from Nova Scotia proves it !

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