“Why Should I Be the First?”

In Court on April 1, Judge Brothers asked Jamie Simpson to explain:

If Canadian courts were to recognize the public trust doctrine, then future Ministers of Lands & Forestry could more easily be held responsible if they failed to consult the public on critical decisions that appeared to be in violation of the public trust.

So it was not surprising that Judge Brothers asked Simpson to explain, “Why should I be the first judge in Canada” to rely on the public trust doctrine, given the reluctance thus far of other Canadian judges to cite the doctrine. Simpson went through statements of Canadian judges from a series of cases arguing for the benefits of incorporating public interest doctrine into Canadian law; from their perspective, the common law is not a fixed, unchanging entity, but something that has changed over time in order to deal with changes in the world at large.

Owls Head Goes to Court by Richard Bell


I can answer Judge Brothers’s question: because somebody has to be the first.

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Parks and Protected Areas: What the Government Tells the World

If you have a few seconds, read what the Nova Scotia Government tells the world on its official website about protected areas like Owls Head Provincial Park, site #694.

You will note at no point do they say ” we will secretly negotiate to remove selected protected areas in the plan when approached by lobbyists for wealthy American developers who feel they need golf courses instead of important ecological areas. “At no point do they say, ” we will lie about the history of any protected area we select, and sanitize our websites of any record of it to facilitate its sale for the profit and enjoyment of the few.”

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Parks and Protected Areas: Protecting the Public Interest

Here’s another gem from the government website on Our Parks and Protected Areas Plan:

Our parks and protected areas contribute to our economy by:

  • anchoring our nature tourism industry
  • supporting the outdoor recreation industry
  • helping us brand Nova Scotia as a clean, green place in which to live, work, and do business
  • contributing to local and regional economies
  • employing people (directly and indirectly), especially in rural areas

So now, on April 1, we have to go to Court and fight the government, Premier Rankin’s government, to protect the public interest in the significant, large, coastal protected area referred to as Owls Head Provincial Park.

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