Friends of the Richelieu. A river. A passion.

"Tout cedit pays est fort uny, remply de forests, vignes & noyers. Aucuns Chrestiens n'estoient encores parvenus jusques en cedit lieu, que nous, qui eusmes assez de peine à monter le riviere à la rame. " Samuel de Champlain

"All this region is very level and full of forests, vines and butternut trees. No Christian has ever visited this land and we had all the misery of the world trying to paddle the river upstream." Samuel de Champlain

Friday, January 27, 2017

Jessica Ernst Open Letter to Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin Regarding False and Seriously Damaging Statements in Justice Rosalie Abella’s Supreme Court of Canada Ruling, Ernst v AER

January 25, 2017

Open Letter to Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin
C/O Canadian Judicial Council
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0W8

Dear Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin,

Re: January 13, 2017 Ernst vs AER Supreme Court of Canada Judgement by Justice Rosalie Abella

I write to bring to your attention a concerning matter regarding Justice Abella’s reasons in the above decision.

I have followed Justice Abella’s remarkable career for a long time, watching her gently and caringly uphold our Charter; I have always had great respect and admiration for her and her work. So it stuns me that in her above decision in describing why I was banished by the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (EUB, now AER), Justice Abella labels me a “vexatious litigant” and attributes it to the regulator:

“When the Board made the decision to stop communicating with E, in essence finding her to be a vexatious litigant, it was exercising its discretionary authority under its enabling legislation.” (para. 64)

I was no such thing. I was a landowner suffering endless sleepless nights because of Encana’s many unattenuated compressors near my home. I was the subject of lies and bullying by the company and regulator. I tried to get the EUB to engage honestly and respectfully with me and others impacted in my community, to enforce the regulations and appropriately address Encana’s non-compliances. I studied Encana’s noise assessments and the regulator’s deregulation; I documented their fraudulent and outright misrepresentations. Many in my community raised concerns. When we asked Encana if there was frac’ing in our community, we were told no (two years later, I found out Encana had already by that time repeatedly fractured into our drinking water aquifers).

I was not a “litigant” at that time, so it was impossible for me to be a “vexatious” one.

Later in her judgement, Justice Abella acknowledges in fact I was not a litigant:

“Rather than seeking judicial review of the Board’s decision to stop communicating with her when she was first informed of this in November 2005, Ms. Ernst waited two years and then filed a statement of claim on December 3, 2007….” (para. 84)

It is disheartening to me that Justice Abella believes I spent two years just waiting and “chose not to” (para. 129) seek judicial review. During that time, I ran my business, tried to find legal counsel willing to help, helped hundreds of impacted citizens, and researched the frac impacts that were besieging my home and community – including the water and energy regulators covering-up that Encana had broken the law and fractured our drinking water aquifers, keeping it secret from those of us living in explosive risk in our homes.

The day I received Mr. Jim Reid’s November 24, 2005 banishment letter, I immediately sought legal advice. An Alberta lawyer sent me a copy of ERCA Section 43 and told me he would not help me, except to apologize or take the issue public. I was shocked. I have lived much of my life with our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which I love and respect deeply. I knew then, as I know now, that my Charter rights had been violated and I had the right to seek remedy, but it took me nearly two stress-filled years to find a law firm willing to help.

It is a serious finding when a court declares a claimant to be a “vexatious litigant,” resulting in the claimant being restricted or having no further access to the courts. In my understanding, Canadian energy regulators do not have the legal authority to find and declare citizens to be “vexatious litigants,” especially when those citizens are not litigants. The fact is, in 2005 the EUB judged me a criminal, not a “vexatious litigant,” and punished me without due process and without any evidence. To this day, the regulator has never filed a motion in any court accusing me of being a “vexatious litigant.” None of the defendants in my case have.

In Justice Abella’s ruling, I have now been labelled a “vexatious litigant” attributed to the regulator, also without due process and without any evidence. I find this exceedingly shocking and thoroughly unsettling.

I note that Justices Cromwell, Karakatsanis, Wagner and Gascon do not address Justice Abella’s “vexatious litigant” statement in the ruling, but you and Justices Côté, Brown and Moldaver do:

“Our colleague Abella J. suggests that the Board, in deciding to stop communicating with Ms. Ernst, ‘in essence f[ound] her to be a vexatious litigant’ (para. 64). We see no basis for our colleague’s characterization.” (para. 172)

Thank you for acknowledging this. I respectfully ask that Justice Abella’s statements be retracted or corrected (they appear in the summary and para. 64, and were published by various media). It is extremely distressing to me that false and seriously damaging statements are made and left to stand in my Supreme Court of Canada ruling. My main concerns are that:

1) The two defendants remaining in my lawsuit may attempt to use Justice Abella’s statements against me;

2) Justice Abella’s statements could prejudice future judges against me; and

3) I continue to live with escalating harmful energy industry impacts, where the regulator – with no public interest in their mandate since 2013 – has established they are punitive towards me, and may also attempt to use Justice Abella’s statements against me.

The EUB judged and punished me without due process and without any evidence, because they were admittedly humiliated. In my seeking remedy for that, the Supreme Court of Canada has done the same, but the reason is unclear. I cannot understand why Justice Abella made such statements and why the Court published them.

Our Charter, emulated the world over, is now fractured for civil Canadians because of my loss. I expect our energy regulators will take advantage of this to enable industry’s profits and harms. I will live with that burden for the rest of my life. Must I also suffer the repercussions of being defamed in a Supreme Court of Canada ruling?

I respectfully request answers and correction in whichever way you deem fair and just.

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.


Jessica Ernst



Note personnelle: Même une juge de la Cour suprême du Canada peut être à côté de la track, des fois. Ci-dessus est une reproduction de la lettre ouverte adressée à l`un des juges de la Cour suprême qui a rendu un jugement dans la cause de Jessica Ernst contre Alberta Energy Regulator de l`Alberta. Jessica a senti le besoin de faire quelques mises au point.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Alberta Energy Regulator’s Response to Ernst Case ‘Inaccurate and Misleading’, Say Professors

Photo: Colin Smith

By Andrew Nikiforuk published today |

Two University of Calgary law professors have demanded Alberta’s energy regulator withdraw its “inaccurate and misleading” statement on a Supreme Court of Canada ruling that a landowner couldn’t sue it for alleged rights violations. (...)

“The Court did not find there was a breach of Ms. Ernst’s Charter rights, and made no findings of negligence on the part of the AER or its predecessor the ERCB,” declared the statement.

But law professors Shaun Fluker and Sharon Mascher have written in a popular legal blog that the regulator’s claim isn’t true.

“The AER Public Statement is inaccurate and misleading, and is not the sort of action we would expect a quasi-judicial tribunal to consider appropriate,” they write. “The Supreme Court made no finding at all on a breach of the Charter in the Ernst decision.” (...)


“This Public Statement on the Ernst decision is long on self-vindication and short on facts,” they wrote. “Most problematic is that the AER incorrectly states the Supreme Court has cleared it of wrongdoing in its dealings with Jessica Ernst.”

The regulator’s statement said the Supreme Court “made no findings of negligence on the part of the AER or its predecessor the ERCB” (Energy Resources Conservation Board).

But the issue before the court wasn’t negligence but the constitutionality of the immunity clause, Fluker and Mascher note. “To suggest that the Court made no findings of negligence suggests that it made a finding of ‘no negligence’” they wrote.


Although the AER is supposed to arbitrate disputes between landowners and oil and gas companies over pollution, land devaluation and public health impacts, it rarely performs that function, said Fluker in an interview.

“Any landowner who has a problem with industry has to go to the AER,” said Fluker who runs a public clinic to help rural citizens impacted by energy developers. “But they are not going to get a fair shake. The AER is there to look after industry and that’s a big problem.” (...)


Monday, January 16, 2017

Alberta poll shows readers back Jessica Ernst, not Supreme Court decision

Poll found in the Lethbridge Herald:


Do you agree with the Supreme Court decision that Alberta’s energy regulator has immunity from being sued?

No (82%, 449 Votes)
Yes (18%, 96 Votes)

Total Voters: 545


Un sondage trouvé dans un journal albertain demande à ses lecteurs si ils sont d`accord avec le jugement rendu par la Cour suprême du Canada vendredi passé. C`est clair que même les gens de l`Alberta en ont assez de se faire bousculer par l`industrie pétrolière et gazière.

Friday, January 13, 2017

La Cour suprême interdit à une Albertaine de poursuivre l'agence provinciale de l'énergie

La Cour suprême du Canada vient de trancher: l'agence AER (Alberta Energy Regulator - un peu comme la Régie de l`Énergie au Québec) peut déclarer une citoyenne canadienne de terroriste sans aucune preuve et interdire à ses employés tout contact avec elle, brimant ainsi les droits de liberté d`expression à une Canadienne. Çà me donne froid dans le dos...

La Cour suprême du Canada a rejeté la demande d'appel à la Cour suprême de Jessica Ernst, cette résidente de Rosebud en Alberta qui accuse l'entreprise Encana d'avoir contaminé son puits d'eau. Jessica Ernst souhaitait pouvoir poursuivre l'Agence de réglementation de l'énergie (AER) de l'Alberta pour avoir brimé son droit à la liberté d'expression et pour négligence.

La décision a divisé le plus haut tribunal du pays. Cinq juges ont rejeté le pourvoi de Jessica Ernst et quatre juges voulaient le lui accorder.

Jessica Ernst demandait 33 millions de dollars en compensation. L’AER est protégé par une immunité pour toute poursuite en cas de négligence.

Selon la juge Rosalie Abella, il est évident et manifeste que l’article 43 de l’Energy Resources Conservation Act est une disposition d’immunité catégorique et fait obstacle à la demande de Mme Ernst.


Au Canada, il est presque impossible pour un citoyen de poursuivre civilement une agence gouvernementale, que ce soit une agence municipale, provinciale ou fédérale. Ces agences sont dotées de dispositions qui leur garantissent l'immunité contre toute poursuite civile.



Supreme Court rules fracking critic doesn't have charter right to sue

Canada's top court has ruled that an Alberta landowner does not have the right to sue the province's energy regulator for infringing her constitutional rights.

In a 5-4 split decision, Supreme Court of Canada justices rejected Jessica Ernst's challenge to sue the Alberta Energy Regulator for denying her right to freedom of expression. (...)

The ruling also defended the immunity clauses that protect many government bodies from lawsuits. (...)

She (Ernst) argued that the Alberta Energy Regulator violated her charter right to freedom of expression by refusing to accept her complaints and pressuring her to stop making criticisms publicly and through the media.

Ernst said efforts to engage with the regulator were ignored and her letters were returned unopened.

"I think they were trying to scare me into silence," she told CBC News Thursday. (...)


Personal note: Let this be a lesson: don`t complain, and don`t expect good service and respect from any governmental agency, or you will be humiliated, banned and declared a terrorist. And don`t you dare complain to the media.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Supreme Court of Canada rules Friday January 13 in Jessica Ernst`s case!

Photo: Colin Smith

Supreme Court of Canada / Cour suprême du Canada

(le français suit)


January 9, 2017

For immediate release

OTTAWA – The Supreme Court of Canada announced today that judgment in the following appeal will be delivered at 9:45 a.m. EST on Friday, January 13, 2017. This list is subject to change.


Le 9 janvier 2017

Pour diffusion immédiate

OTTAWA – La Cour suprême du Canada annonce que jugement sera rendu dans l’appel suivant le vendredi 13 janvier 2017, à 9 h 45 HNE. Cette liste est sujette à modifications.

Jessica Ernst v. Alberta Energy Regulator (Alta.) (36167)

36167 Jessica Ernst v. Alberta Energy Regulator

(Alta.) (Civil) (By Leave)

Charter of Rights - Constitutional law - Enforcement - Remedy - Freedom of expression - Statutory immunity clause held to preclude adjudication of individual’s action in damages for alleged Charter breach by the regulator - Is s. 43 of the Energy Resources Conservation Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. E - 10 constitutionally inapplicable or inoperable to the extent that it bars a claim against the regulator for a breach of s. 2 (b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and an application for a remedy under s. 24(1) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Can a statutory immunity clause bar any and all Charter claims for a personal remedy made pursuant to s. 24(1) of the Charter - Vancouver (City) v. Ward, 2010 SCC 27, [2010] 2 S.C.R. 28.

The appellant owns land near Rosebud, Alberta. She brought an action against: i) EnCana Corporation for damage to her water well and the Rosebud aquifer allegedly caused by its construction, drilling, hydraulic fracturing and other activities in the area; ii) Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, claiming it owes her a duty to protect her water supply and had failed to address her complaints about EnCana; and iii) the respondent regulator, for “negligent administration of a regulatory regime” related to her claims against EnCana. She brought a further claim for damages against the regulator under s. 24(1) of the Charter for alleged breaches of her s. 2 (b) Charter rights. She alleges that from November, 2005 to March 2007, the Board’s Compliance Branch refused to accept further communications from her through the usual channels for public communication until she agreed to raise her concerns only with the Board and not publicly through the media or through communications with other citizens. She submits the respondent infringed her s. 2 (b) Charter rights both by restricting her communication with it and by using those restrictions to punish her for past public criticisms and prevent her making future public criticisms of the respondent.

The respondent brought an application to strike paragraphs from the Statement of Claim or grant summary judgment in its favour. The Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta granted the application and struck out the appellant’s negligence and Charter claims. While the Court held that the Charter claims were not doomed to fail and did disclose a cause of action, it held that the courts were precluded from considering the claims by the statutory immunity provision in the Energy Resources Conservation Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. E-10. The Alberta Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.

36167 Jessica Ernst c. Alberta Energy Regulator

(Alb.) (Civile) (Sur autorisation)

Charte des droits - Droit constitutionnel - Exécution - Réparation - Liberté d’expression - Il a été jugé qu’une disposition législative accordant l’immunité empêchait de trancher une action en dommages-intérêts fondée sur une violation de la Charte censément commise par l’organisme de réglementation - L’art. 43 de l’Energy Resources Conservation Act, R.S.A. 2000, ch. E-10 est-elle constitutionnellement inapplicable ou inopérante dans la mesure où elle rend irrecevable une demande contre l’organisme de réglementation relativement à une violation de l’al. 2b) de la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés et une demande de réparation en application du par. 24(1) de la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés ? - Une disposition législative accordant l’immunité peut-elle rendre irrecevable toute demande de réparation personnelle fondée sur la Charte faite en application du par. 24(1) de la Charte ? - Vancouver (Ville) c. Ward, 2010 CSC 27, [2010] 2 R.C.S 28.

L’appelante est propriétaire d’un bien-fonds à Rosebud (Alberta). Elle a intenté une action contre i) EnCana Corporation, pour des dommages à son puits d’eau et à l’aquifère de Rosebud, censément causés par les activités que l’entreprise exerce dans la région, notamment ses activités de construction, de forage et de fracturation hydraulique, ii) Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, alléguant que ce ministère avait envers elle une obligation de protéger son approvisionnement en eau et qu’il avait omis de donner suite à ses plaintes au sujet d’EnCana et iii) l’organisme de réglementation intimé, pour [traduction] « négligence dans l’administration d’un régime de réglementation » en lien avec ses réclamations contre EnCana. Elle a en outre présenté une demande en dommages-intérêts contre l’organisme de réglementation en application du par. 24(1) de la Charte pour de présumées atteintes aux droits que lui garantit l’al. 2b) de la Charte . Selon l’appelante, de novembre 2005 à mars 2007, la Direction de la conformité de l’organisme intimé avait refusé d’accepter d’autres communications de sa part par les canaux habituels de communication publique jusqu’à ce qu’elle accepte de ne faire part de ses préoccupations qu’à l’organisme, et non publiquement par les médias ou par des communications avec d’autres citoyens. Elle prétend que l’intimé a porté atteinte aux droits que lui garantit l’al. 2b) de la Charte en restreignant ses communications avec l’organisme et en utilisant ces restrictions pour la punir de ses critiques antérieures et l’empêcher de formuler d’autres critiques publiques de l’intimé.

L’intimé a présenté une demande pour obtenir la radiation de certains paragraphes de la déclaration ou un jugement sommaire en sa faveur. La Cour du Banc de la Reine de l’Alberta a accueilli la demande et a radié les réclamations pour négligence et les réclamations fondées sur la Charte présentées par l’appelante. Même si la Cour a statué que les réclamations fondées sur la Charte n’étaient pas vouées à l’échec et qu’elles révélaient effectivement une cause d’action, elle a statué que les tribunaux ne pouvaient connaître des réclamations en raison de la disposition législative accordant l’immunité, prévue dans l’Energy Resources Conservation Act, R.S.A. 2000, ch. E-10. La Cour d’appel de l’Alberta a rejeté l’appel.

Supreme Court of Canada / Cour suprême du Canada :

(613) 995-4330

- 30 -

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Into The Mystic

We were born before the wind
Also younger than the sun
Ere the bonnie boat was won as we sailed into the mystic
Hark, now hear the sailors cry
Smell the sea and feel the sky
Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic

And when that foghorn blows I will be coming home
And when that foghorn blows I want to hear it
I don't have to fear it
I want to rock your gypsy soul
Just like way back in the days of old
Then magnificently we will float into the mystic

And when that foghorn blows you know I will be coming home
And when that foghorn whistle blows I got to hear it
I don't have to fear it
I want to rock your gypsy soul
Just like way back in the days of old
And together we will float into the mystic

Come on girl

Too late to stop now

Van Morrison