The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Beatrice Olivastri, Friends of the Earth Canada
(613) 241.0085 ext. 26 /
Chris G. Paliare, Paliare Roland Barristers (416)
646.4318 /
Hugh Wilkins, Ecojustice (416) 368.7533 ext. 34 /
Albert Koehl,
Ecojustice (416) 533.1231 (French and Spanish inquiries)

Canada Back in Court Over Kyoto Lawsuit

Appeal of KPIA decision launched a week before next climate change meetings


Lawyers for Friends of the Earth Canada
gave the Government of Canada notice yesterday that they will be appealing a
recent Federal Court decision in Canada's first ever climate change lawsuit. The
much anticipated appeal comes one week before the world gathers in Poznan,
Poland for the next round of international climate change

The original lawsuit was launched in June by pro
bono lawyers from Paliare Roland Barristers and Ecojustice (formerly Sierra
Legal Defence Fund) on behalf of Friends of the Earth Canada. They were seeking
a declaration from the court that the government had failed to meet the legal
requirements of the federal Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act (KPIA). These
requirements include a Plan based on meeting Kyoto targets and drafting and
enacting legally binding regulations to combat climate change.

"If the Federal Court's decision was left
unchallenged, Canada's woeful inaction on the climate change crisis would be
allowed to continue despite domestic law that clearly states the Government must
act," stated Ecojustice lawyer Hugh Wilkins. "We simply cannot stand by while
the government picks and chooses which laws to enforce. All of our laws must be
upheld - even the ones the government finds inconvenient."

The Federal Court ruled that the legislation
itself is not justiciable - meaning it is not an issue the Courts can
resolve. The appeal will seek to have the Federal Court decision set aside
and ask the Court of Appeal to declare that the Minister of the Environment and
the Governor in Council are violating the KPIA.

"We are looking to the Federal Court of Appeal to
provide more guidance on the issue of justiciability," said eminent Canadian
lawyer Chris Paliare. "The KPIA itself states that it is binding on the
Government. If the government is not accountable in the courts for its
admitted non-compliance with this legislation, it could make the same claim for
various other laws that it does not want to obey. That makes this an
important case, not just for the Kyoto Protocol, but also for democracy and the
rule of law."

"Friends of the Earth cannot let the Government
of Canada defy its domestic law on climate change," said Beatrice Olivastri, CEO
of Friends of the Earth Canada. "If we cannot enforce the KPIA, it makes a
mockery of the democratic process in the current session of Parliament and any
private member's bill that is considered. How can we debate future
commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions when we fail to enforce the
current law of the land on climate change?"

For a copy of the ruling please visit

As Canada's only national environmental law charity, Ecojustice is building the case for a better earth.