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Why we’re bringing the government to court

Colleen Thorpe

Executive Director

Published on 

You’ve probably seen in the news recently that Équiterre has decided to take legal action against the federal government, seeking to reverse its approval of Equinor's Bay du Nord oil project off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador.

There’s been a lot of reaction to this decision.

From the many comments, questions and encouraging messages that we’ve received, it seems that everyone has an opinion, and that’s a good thing.

Challenging a government decision in court is not a tactic we use often, but it is a very useful one when done right.

We’re fortunate to live in a great democratic country – where we can propose new ideas, encourage debate and reflection, call out government inaction and even challenge government decisions.

Équiterre has been fighting for a healthy planet for nearly 30 years, and we will always work to push further.

Legal action is a way to get our government to review its decisions, but also its processes. We will be investing a lot of time and energy in this process, but our objective of encouraging changes that will have major impacts on the future is well worth the effort. Will we win? Only time will tell, but you can be sure that we won’t give in!

That's how we've won other legal battles in recent years.

In 2013, we sued the federal government and forced them to revise the list of pesticides deemed harmful to our health in order to protect our environment and our health.

In 2021, with the Centre québécois du droit de l’environnement (CQDE), we won a victory at the Supreme Court against the provinces of Alberta, Ontario and Saskatchewan on carbon pricing.

And this time, we want to encourage the federal government to reconsider its decision on Bay du Nord by also taking into account the greenhouse gas emissions generated during post-extraction combustion. A major impact considering that Bay du Nord plans to produce hundreds of millions of barrels of oil!

I’m grateful that we are so well supported in this legal process. The committed lawyers at Ecojustice filed the lawsuit on behalf of Équiterre and the Sierra Club.

It will take a lot of hard work on our part to go through these proceedings and to keep society informed about this important issue. That's why we're counting on your support.

For years we’ve known that we need to move away from our dependence on oil - to make ourselves more economically resilient, but more importantly, for our safety, our health and the health of our environment.

There are better and safer opportunities for fossil fuel workers in the wind, solar and energy efficiency sectors. With your support, we will continue our work to educate, lobby, and mobilize governments to create these opportunities.

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