National Post June 28/2001

Judge rules in ministry’s favour in pollution case   by Michael Friscolanti

The Ontario Ministry of the Environment is not criminally responsible for allowing dangerous pollutants to flow from an abandoned mine into a tiny village’s water because the government was working to fix the problem, a judge ruled yesterday.

Justice Celynne Dorval conceded ministry officials allowed some liquid contaminated with metals to flow into the water surrounding Deloro, Ont., but said the government is not at fault because it had taken significant steps to remedy the discharge.

The case, believed to be the first instance in which a Canadian citizen has laid criminal charges against a provincial government, focused on an abandoned mine in Deloro, a tiny village northeast of Belleville, Ont., that was once home to intense smelting and refining operations.

Lawyers with the Ontario Attorney-General’s office who prosecuted the unique case have not decided whether to file an appeal.