Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, Editorial Cartoonist, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday March 27, 2008
Red Hill Parkway legal fight still on, says council
Councillors have voted to continue a controversial lawsuit against Ottawa involving the building of the Red Hill Valley Parkway.
It has also removed a cap on legal costs plus decided to keep the costs from public view until the suit’s end.
Councillors voted 8-6 yesterday to support a staff recommendation to keep the lawsuit going after a two-hour closed door meeting. The decision must be ratified by council tonight.
Hamilton launched a $75-million lawsuit against Ottawa and 70 bureaucrats in September 2004, alleging they conspired to delay building the $225-million expressway by using the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act to block it. Ottawa filed a defence in 2006 denying the allegations. The highway opened last November.
Council also backed recommendations to lift the $450,000 cap for the legal costs; cease public reporting of ongoing costs by citing solicitor-client privilege until the action is over; renew efforts to mediate a settlement with the federal government; and reject Ottawa’s Jan. 30 offer to end the lawsuit and have both sides pay their own costs.
Mayor Fred Eisenberger, who came into office promising to kill the lawsuit because he did not believe it was in Hamilton’s best interests, was disappointed. He had a motion to end the lawsuit, but it never made it to the floor. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)