Jessica Ernst's Lawsuit Against EnCana + Alberta Govt. a Battle for Every Canadian's Charter Rights

Jessica Ernst on her land in Rosebud Alberta

Every Canadian resident owes their gratitude to landowner Jessica Ernst for standing up to EnCana and the Alberta government's regulators over the contamination of the water on her property in Rosebud Alberta. As her excellent and informative website explains, the landmark $33-million lawsuit alleges that industry activity including the hydraulic fracturing of shallow coal seams between 2001 and 2004 in central Alberta contaminated local aquifers with methane, making Ernst's water flammable.

For those who don't know much about Jessica's ongoing 6 year battle with Encana and the Alberta regulators, the timeline and details of her suit on her website are very educational, especially for others considering taking on the fossil fuel industry and its bought and paid for governments. Jessica's lawsuit isn't unique, hundreds of groups and individuals including first nations and local governments have launched suits before. In almost every case the lawyers representing the fossil fuel giants found some dubious arcane detail that the courts found in favor of.

But never before has the government itself intervened to successfully claim that their regulators were exempt from the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in Canada or the Bill of Rights in the U.S. But last year, Alberta's Chief Justice Neil Wittmann dismissed the claim against the Alberta energy regulator for negligence and breach of Charter of Rights.on the grounds that a statutory immunity clause excepted it from civil action and Charter claims. Ernst's lawyer Murray Klippenstein argued that no government or province can legislate themselves out of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Charter of Rights, on which Ernst's claim is based. He called the Charter "the supreme law of the land."

Isn't the reason why citizens in democracies have bills and charters of RIGHTS to defend themselves against the tyranny of their own governments? Of course, Jessica has supporters throughout the legal community including Ecojustice and Unanima International who named Jessica Woman of Courage for 2011. In addition, Jessica has the unanimous support of the environmental community - you know, all those of us that Harpo and his asshole henchmen like Joe Oliver call 'terrorists'. The Mud Report's last post asked, 'Who Are the Real Terrorists? The People Protecting the Land or the Fossil Fuel Corporations and Govt.?' From Jessica's story, the answer is clear.

But just to make the point about RIGHTS perfectly clear, today's headlines in The Calgary Herald '‘National disgrace’ explains that the Harpo regime, in response to Alberta First Nations suing the Harper government over drinking water, has broken it's promise and legislated liability protection for the government if citizens get sick or die from drinking water in an attempt to preempt the courts from ruling in favor of the First Nations. Canada's fossil fuel corrupted governments are both a National and an International disgrace.

Everyone, Canadian or not, owes their gratitude to landowner Jessica Ernst for standing up to the fossil fuel billionaire bullies and their bought and paid for tyrants in governments worldwide. Who are the real terrorists? They are those who undermine our liberty in the service of big money, those who pollute our commons in the service of their own avarice, those who terrorize every living thing in pursuit of more money, more power, more-more-more for the exceptional few.