SWEARView Decision: Drennan v. K2 Wind Ontario Inc.
A long awaited decision has been reached in the SWEAR (Safe Wind Energy for All Residents) case, which resulted in Justice Duncan Grace staying the proceeding until such time as a Renewable Energy Approval (REA) is granted for the K2 Wind project. SWEAR was represented by Julian Falconer, a prominent human rights and constitutional lawyer.
"This is not a dismissal of the proceedings, only a delay until after an REA has been issued" explains Dave Hemingway, President of SWEAR.
The question arose at the hearing as to the ability of the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) to hear a question on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the "Charter") and how the Green Energy and Economy Act and "level of harm" apply.
"This is very important"says plaintiff, Shawn Drennan. "If the Green Energy Act and its legislation are found to be in violation of the Charter, the burden of proof shifts from having to prove serious harm to human health to the possibility of harm, a much lower threshold."
The Drennans, members of SWEAR, stepped forward in 2012 to be the named persons on the lawsuit. Although the Drennans' name is widely known in this case, Hemingway adds that there is a broader public interest being served. "It has taken time to educate the public to the fact that this case is not personal to the Drennans, but the understanding is now clearly there. This case is for the people of Ontario who want safe wind energy in their communities and beyond. The government says that massive industrial wind turbines are safe. We, the people, are holding them accountable."
According to Hemingway, the greater issue is the Charter Challenge, specifically Chapter Seven, which guarantees the security of the individual. "The Charter is the government's promise to every man, woman and child in Canada, guaranteeing that we will have security to conduct our affairs and lives in relative peace. The government of Ontario did not exercise due diligence when crafting the Green Energy and Economy Act. A very heavy handed approach was used. Rural Ontario does not take kindly to this type of governance."
SWEAR is currently fundraising to cover the ongoing legal costs of this case and would like to thank everyone who has supported the case to date
For more information contact: Dave Hemingway (press contact only)