#notmyCBA: LUO calls on members to resign from CBA over #CBAchevron
The Steering Committee of the Law Union of Ontario is urging all of its members to resign from the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) as a result of the CBA’s intervention in Chevron Corporation, et al. v. Yaiguaje, et al. We have written to CBA to this effect; the full text of this letter is at the end of this post.
This case is about massive environmental contamination in Ecuador caused by oil company Chevron Canada. The deliberate contamination by Chevron (then Texaco) of the Amazon forest resulted in pollution levels 30 times higher than the Exxon Valdez disaster.
In 2011, after nearly 20 years of battle, an Ecuadorian court ruled that Chevron had to compensate victims for the destruction it had caused. The Supreme Court of Ecuador ratified this decision and set damages at US $9.51 billion.
In December 2013, the Ontario Court of Appeal held that Ecuador’s indigenous communities were entitled to have their case against Chevron Canada heard in Ontario. Chevron is appealing this decision to the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC).
In September 2014, the CBA announced its decision to have Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP submit a brief to the SCC on issues of corporate identity. Blakes represents Chevron in other matters. This decision by the CBA both followed and propelled widespread criticism from CBA sections and CBA members, including the CBA’s Legislative and Law Reform Committee, which had recommended against proceeding with the intervention when it was first proposed. Critics pointed to a lack of consultation in the intervention decision-making process and a violation of the CBA’s stated public interest/access to justice mandate.
In calling for CBA member resignations, we follow the lead of advocates, lawyers, and law students who are protesting both the process and the substance of the CBA’s intervention. In particular, we would highlight the following statements:
- Petition to CBA: Withdraw from the Supreme Court of Canada or Don’t File an Argument
- Letter from CBA’s National Aboriginal Law Section
- Letter from CBA’s National Civil Litigation Section Chair (Sept 24, 2014)
- Letter from CBA’s National Environmental, Energy, and Resources Law Section (Sept 25, 2014)
- Joint letter from Aboriginal Law Student Association McGill, Environmental Law McGill, Feminist Collective of McGill Law, McGill Radical Law Student Community, Osgoode Hall Law Union, University of Toronto Law Union (Oct 8, 2014)
- Open letter from former and current CBA members (Oct 10, 2014)
- Letter from Canadian Hispanic Bar Association (Oct 14, 2014)
- Motion by OBA Constitutional, Civil Liberties and Human Rights Section (Oct 14, 2014)
- Motion by CBA Vancouver Island Aboriginal Law Section (Oct 15, 2014)
For current information about the case and the CBA’s intervention, see the CBA Chevron Facebook page.
Law Union’s letter to the CBA:
To Whom It May Concern:
RE: CBA’S INTERVENTION IN CHEVRON CASE
We write to advise you that the Steering Committee of the Law Union of Ontario is urging all of its members to resign from the CBA as a result of your intervention in Chevron Corporation, et al. v. Yaiguaje, et al at the Supreme Court of Canada.
Your intervention flies in the face of any concern for the environment; your stated commitment to access to justice; your own members’ objections; and our profession’s ethic requiring us to act in the public interest, unless acting for a party to litigation.
Law Union of Ontario – Steering Committee