Big oil lawsuit not supported by City of Powell River Council

Date: March 8, 2024
Complete Article: The Peak Newspaper

While we’re disappointed that Powell River has chosen not to join the Sue Big Oil lawsuit at this time, we note that some councillors seem to be leaving the door open to reconsidering it in future.


City of Powell River councillors have elected not to participate in a class action suit against big oil.

Councillor Rob Southcott [had] moved that the city commit to providing up to $14,000 in funding to pursue a class-action lawsuit against large oil, gas and coal companies, contingent upon other BC municipalities joining and raising a minimum amount of $500,000 combined.

Southcott said everyone uses oil and gas every day, and the suit is not about blaming, it is about including the wealth of that industry in a collective, society-wide approach to what is increasingly seen as a colossal problem.

He said the discussion is about securing the kind of funding that Canada needs to secure futures for young people.

“There’s a moral imperative here,” said Southcott. “I would frankly be embarrassed if we don’t support this because what is being asked for is approximately equivalent to a little less than one per cent of the amount we have budgeted for road repair this year.

Other councillors, however, were not fully in alignment with proceeding with a suit against big oil.

“I’m not if favour of the motion today,” said [Councillor Cindy] Elliott. “Should I be proven wrong in the future, we can join at any time.”

“It is premature in asking our residents to put up $14,000 of their tax dollars when we are strapped at the city,” said [Councillor Jim] Palm.

Councillor Trina Isakson said West Coast Environmental Law is getting the ball rolling and this is a lawsuit in principle with details to be sorted out later. She said she had conflicting views, but she was willing to support in principle.

Councillor Earl Almeida said he was not opposed to taking actions to help the climate in general, but he was not convinced this was the direction or time to join the lawsuit.

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