Judge says Baffinland’s financial documents are ‘not relevant’ in protest injunction

Justice Paul Rouleau ruled that Baffinland does not have to answer questions about financing, expansions or construction

Nunavut judge Paul Rouleau says Baffinland does not have to answer any questions about “company financing, expansions or construction,” as it is irrelevant to the injunction against a group of protesters who blockaded the Mary River mine in February. (Photo by David Venn)

By David Venn
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Details of Baffinland Iron Mines Corp.’s finances, as well as details of construction at Mary River mine, are not relevant to a court battle between the company and protesters who blockaded the mine in February, a Nunavut judge ruled Tuesday.

Baffinland is seeking damages for the seven-day blockade of the Mary River mine’s tote road and airstrip and was granted an injunction against the protesters in early March, which states the protesters are not allowed on the mine site until the court action concludes.

The protesters, who call themselves the Nuluujaat Land Guardians, say they blockaded the mine because they feel they’ve been unfairly excluded from a hearing on whether the Mary River iron mine should expand, and they believe the mine expansion will have harmful environmental impacts.

As Baffinland and the protesters gear up for the larger court battle, the protesters are trying to get the injunction lifted.

The protester’s lawyers sought to file two annual reports from Baffinland’s parent company, ArcelorMittal, as well as a 2018 offering Baffinland gave to investors to raise US$550 million to finance its railway and dock expansion.

They also wanted information about the amount of federal wage subsidy the company received for COVID-19 and what has been upgraded at the Mary River mine.

This information, Judge Paul Rouleau said, is irrelevant to the injunction.

“[Baffinland] is not required to answer questions about company financing, expansions, construction or litigation with third-party contractors,” he said.

However, he said some internal documents and records that were filed over the span of the protest are relevant, such as communication between Baffinland and its employees and Baffinland and the unions, morning and afternoon meeting summaries, and a log of the mine’s daily activities.

It is important to see if the way Baffinland communicated with its employees contributed to the hostility Baffinland said existed, Rouleau said.

Those documents are required to be filed, Rouleau said.

No date or timeline has been set by Baffinland or the protesters to resume a cross examination, Rouleau said, adding that he is leaving it up to the two parties to decide the next steps.

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(9) Comments:

  1. Posted by Common Sense Rules on

    Good common sense here. The only question is ow much damage to the company did the criminal trespassers do, and how much will they pay for their actions.

    The finances are meaningless in this situation.

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    • Posted by Jay Arnakak on

      I think certain budget items, such as what is spent on lobbying efforts by the mining industry and attendant public relations, might have some public importance if only to show just what “good faith” actually means to the industry.

      I’m not anti-development but I’m not deluding myself either of how much the mining industry is notorious for leaving Canadian taxpayers on the lurch for land reclamation and clean-up after the fact. Mining companies, which are private, seem to suddenly become “bankrupt” when it comes to that.

      This is a long game for all concerned; lets try and ensure fairness and ecological justice for all.

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  2. Posted by Sanity from Deputy Judge on

    It is very good that not one single judge who is resident in Nunavut would take this case on. Thankfully we can now expect reasonable decisions and not the random logic from the NCJ we normally.

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  3. Posted by ChesLey on

    Justice is skewed to those who can afford and pay for it. Time served would be more fair, $10000 to a multi millionaire is not what it is for an average wage earner. Six months in corrections for anyone wealthy or not is the same. Herein lays much of the problem with the justice system. And then there is the matter of paying for legal services, lawyers.

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    • Posted by Not Skewed Enough on

      The fact that 99% of people get legal aid is the problem. If more people had to pay for their lawyers, they’d be reasonable and take reasonable positions. Take for example trespassing on a landing strip without an ounce of right or entitlement at law. I hope the Court slaps the lot of them with thousands of dollars in damages and their lawyers who were fanning the fire with their clients instead of convincing them to stop.

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      • Posted by Jay Arnakak on

        well, big industry lobbies ensure all legislation and regulations favour their interests; skewed, you might say…

        the Nunavut Minister of Environment won’t even left a finger to put pressure on Baffinland, so there (at least in terms of optics)

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        • Posted by Not Applicable on

          Yes, but what does that have to do with a private lease signed by QIA allowing Baffinland to mine on IOL? No legislation or regulations apply to that and govern whether any Tom Dick or Harry can trespass.
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          Those that do apply to mining and impact assessment stem from the NLCA as negotiated by Inuit.

  4. Posted by Northern Baffin on

    of course the financials don’t matter in this case. one of the two parties in question is used to beating their chests and stomping around until they get their way. You can guess which one.

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    • Posted by Jay Arnakak on

      no, I can’t guess; please tell us what you mean.

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