TORONTO, Sept. 16, 2011 /CNW/ - St Marys VCNA, LLC has submitted its
claim to NAFTA Chapter Eleven Arbitration alleging the McGuinty
government was so politically motivated to secure a Hamilton-area
provincial seat and to benefit Liberal political insiders that it used
a Minister's Zoning Order and Declaration of Provincial interest - for
the first time ever in a quarry application - to kill the Flamborough
In plain language, St Marys' claim alleges:
The McGuinty government - Minister Jim Bradley - took extraordinary and
unprecedented steps to kill a proposed quarry that is adjacent to the
home of his former senior staffer and the staffer's wife, who was a
senior adviser to Liberal Premier Peterson
The government facilitated funding and legal assistance to the community
group fighting St Marys' quarry through the Greenbelt Foundation,
chaired by former Premier Peterson's senior policy advisor
Despite an exhaustive FOI request, the government records that were
provided did not contain ANY scientific evidence that the quarry would
compromise the watershed, water quality or quantity, wetlands, or the
natural environment or any scientific reason to deny St Marys the right
to a fair and impartial hearing.
St Marys is using this challenge and a separate judicial review by its
Canadian subsidiary, St. Marys Cement Inc. (Canada), to obtain a fair
and impartial hearing into the substantial merits of its St. Marys
Cement's quarry application. St Marys is seeking damages of not less
than $US275 million in compensation for the loss, harm, injury, loss of
reputation and damage imposed by various governments.
By submitting its Notice of Arbitration, St Marys, a U.S. investor, has
commenced a process that will create a three person international panel
to review, in early 2012, St. Marys' allegations of serious fairness
and due process irregularities taken by governments that harmed the
company and its investments.
St Marys has exercised its rights under the law by filing a Notice of
Arbitration under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). St.
Marys previously filed a NAFTA Notice of Intent on May 13, 2011 over
the unfair treatment of its investment in Hamilton, Ontario. On May 19,
St Marys Cement filed an Application for Judicial Review by the Ontario
Superior Court of Justice. St. Marys continues to await high-level
government consultations as part of the NAFTA claim process.
The governing Liberals won the riding in question, Ancaster - Dundas -
Flamborough - Westdale, by a narrow margin of 6.7% in the 2007
In 2006, St Marys Cement took over an application for a license to
extract high quality aggregate from a site it purchased in Flamborough.
In April 2010, then Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the Hon.
Jim Bradley, imposed a Minister's Zoning Order on the site. After St
Marys Cement appealed this decision to the Ontario Municipal Board
(OMB), the government issued, in April 2011, a Declaration of
Provincial Interest which gave it license to overturn any OMB
NAFTA Notice of Arbitration allegations:
The NAFTA Notice of Arbitration is based, in part, on substantial,
heavily redacted materials obtained under Freedom of Information and
reads, in part:
A local organization, Friends of Rural Communities and the Environment
(FORCE)… included Mark Rudolph, the former Executive Assistant to
former Minister of the Environment Jim Bradley and Mr. Rudolph's
partner, Jan Whitelaw, a former Senior Environmental Policy Advisor to
former Ontario Premier David Peterson. Mr. Rudolph and his spouse, Ms.
Whitelaw, live adjacent to the Quarry Site.
…these prominent Liberal advisors were secretly able to convince
Ministers of the governing Ontario Liberal government and Premier's and
Ministers' staff members to use unprecedented unilateral Ministerial
powers targeting only lands owned by St. Marys Cement and interfering
with St. Marys Cement's vested property rights.
The opponents of the quarry admitted to the existence of personal
financial interests in stopping the quarry…In a Hamilton Spectator newspaper article on October 21, 2009, Mr. Rudolph was quoted (saying)
"we figured the average estate home in the area might be worth half a
million dollars, and that it would drop by at least 10 per cent with
the proposal in play."
The MZO was issued on political grounds. On the eve of the MZO
announcement, the Press Secretary to Municipal Affairs Minister Jim
Bradley counseled local Liberal MPP Ted McMeekin, to "trumpet your
success" at the local level. He told Mr. McMeekin to do a multi-day
celebration to get "the most media bang for our buck." He further
suggested a victory party complete with "a giant cake, some music,
In addition, Ms. Whitelaw serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of
the Greenbelt Foundation and has been a director since its founding in
June 2005. The Greenbelt Foundation has received significant funding
from the Ontario government. In 2008, Ms. Whitelaw seconded a motion to
grant $375,000 in Year 1 of a renewable two-year $750,000 grant to the
Ontario Greenbelt Alliance, managed by Environmental Defence Canada. At
the time, Environmental Defence Canada had been providing support to
Whitelaw's community group FORCE in its fight against the quarry. St.
Marys alleges that Environmental Defence Canada subsequently provided
financial and other types of support to FORCE.
A thorough search of the redacted FOI materials indicates there are no
technical or environmental data that would preclude issuance of a
"St Marys regrets having to take these exceptional actions to assert our
rights," said St Marys President Richard Olsen. "But we are confident
that if the quarry application is assessed on its merits, it would be
approved. Beyond that, the quarry would deliver substantial benefits to
the taxpayers of Ontario in building hospitals, schools and roads at
reasonable cost, in an environmentally sustainable manner."
"We are appealing to the McGuinty government to release all of the
documents we sought in our Freedom of Information requests in an
unredacted form," Olsen said. "The community, taxpayers and St Marys
deserve transparency and justice."
SOURCE St Marys VCNA, LLC
For further information:
For copies of the claim, interviews with Mr. Olsen and legal counsel: