Media Ignores ForestEthics Defeat 

November 12th, 2014 | Poletical News 

On October 31st, the environmental advocacy group known as ForestEthics was dealt a severe legal setback in Canada. A panel of judges declined the group's application for a judicial review of three decisions made by the National Energy Board, one of which included how such groups can participate in the Enbridge Line 9 hearings.  

The court referred to ForestEthics as a "classic busybody", stating that the group fell short of making a valid legal case for review. Unfortunately, most Canadians weren't made aware of this legal blow by any mainstream media outlets.

Here is an excerpt of the official ruling:

[30]           Forest Ethics is not “directly affected” by the Board’s decisions. The Board’s decisions do not affect its legal rights, impose legal obligations upon it, or prejudicially affect it in any way: League for Human Rights of B'Nai Brith Canada v. Odynsky, 2010 FCA 307 (CanLII)409 N.R. 298; Rothmans of Pall Mall Canada Ltd. v. Canada (M.N.R.) reflex, [1976] 2 F.C. 500 (C.A.); Irving Shipbuilding Inc. v. Canada (A.G.), 2009 FCA 116 (CanLII), [2010] 2 F.C.R.488. Therefore, Forest Ethics does not have direct standing to bring an application for judicial review and invoke the Charter against the Board’s decisions.

[31]           In oral argument, Forest Ethics submitted that it had status in this Court as a litigant with public interest standing.

[32]           However, Forest Ethics falls well short of establishing that it satisfies the criteria for public interest standing: Canada (Attorney General) v. Downtown Eastside Sex Workers United Against Violence Society, 2012 SCC 45 (CanLII), [2012] 2 S.C.R. 524 at paragraph 37 and the more detailed discussion at paragraphs 39-51.

[33]           Indeed, in this application and on this record, Forest Ethics is a classic “busybody,” as that term is understood in the jurisprudence. Forest Ethics asks this Court to review an administrative decision it had nothing to do with. It did not ask for any relief from the Board. It did not seek any status from the Board. It did not make any representations on any issue before the Board. In particular, it did not make any representations to the Board concerning the three interlocutory decisions.

[34]           The record filed by Forest Ethics does not show that it has a real stake or a genuine interest in freedom of expression issues similar to the one in this case. Further, a judicial review brought by Forest Ethics is not a reasonable and effective way to bring the issue before this Court. Forest Ethics’ presence is not necessary – Ms. Sinclair, represented by Forest Ethics’ counsel, is present and is directly affected by the Board’s decision to deny her an opportunity to participate in its proceedings.



ForestEthics is a California based environmental group which receives much of its funding from the Tides Foundation. The group is mostly funded by American interests and helps finance anti-oilsands campaigns in Alberta. To find out more about ForestEthics and Tides, click here.