Federal expropriation of Nanoose Bay struck down

On March 6, Federal Court Justice Campbell granted the application of anti-nuclear and environmental groups to strike down the expropriation of the Nanoose Bay testing range by the federal government. The court found that the public review of the expropriation was not properly conducted. There were 2,465 submissions made and 235 presentations made in person at the hearings. The report summarized the submissions in 21 one-line responses described by the Court as "vague and often ambiguous."

The purpose of the expropriation was to turn that portion of the seabed over to the U.S. military for submarine testing. In line with their usual policy, the U.S. military refuses to "confirm or deny" the presence of nuclear weapons on its vessels and a major concern amongst those presented at the hearings was that the expropriation for that purpose violated the expressed will of the people of British Columbia to be free of nuclear weapons. One aspect of how the case was argued was that the will of the people which had been expressed through the declarations of many municipalities and the province itself to be "nuclear free" was being violated by the expropriation. The parties have 30 days to decide if they will appeal the decision. Since the Campbell government is unlikely to oppose the renewal of the lease of the seabed to the federal government, there may be a behind-the-scenes deal struck which will prevent the issues from being aired in open court.

Source: TML Daily, March 18, 2002 - No. 51

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