SLAPP 2: does public’s role in planning process need protection in Canada? Yes

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slappConcern over protecting public participation in the development process is spreading from the US to Canada. Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP) laws, which are common in the US, are being introduced in British Columbia and Quebec, and, the movement is percolating in Ontario as well, writes Paul Devlin, a vice president for The Saint Consulting Group who was based in Canada.

There is a particular challenge brewing in Big Bay Point in the Lake Simcoe region. Please see these two articles for some perspective:
http://www.nowtoronto.com/news/story.cfm?content=166491
http://www.environmentaldefence.ca/pressroom/viewnews.php?id=441

The challenge becomes balancing the protection of local citizens’ ability to express their concerns without retribution from developers, and the protection of developers from frivolous actions by citizens that delay projects resulting in higher costs. This should be monitored closely by all interested parties from developers, local citizen groups, and various interested stakeholders.

The Saint Report posted last April an account of Quebec’s efforts to move against suits that silence protests and another post in March byJeffrey Gould, general counsel for The Saint Consulting Group, on legal rights to protect citizens from getting SLAPPed by developers’ lawsuits.

Paul Devlin is vice president of The Saint Consulting Group, email devliin@tscg.biz or call 781 836 4345.

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