Muskrat Falls challenger ponders relaunching the case

Political blogger Brad Cabana says the Muskrat Falls power project will cause him harm, and accuses the judge of personal bias

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – A man who made a single-handed legal bid to stop the Muskrat Falls hydro project says he hasn’t decided if he will relaunch the case after a Newfoundland appeal court ruled that a judge’s hostile comments toward him were enough to show she was biased against him.

The Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal said Friday in a written ruling signed by three judges that as a result of her comments, Judge Gillian Butler’s ruling last year against Brad Cabana must be thrown out.

Cabana was arguing the $7.7-billion Labrador project would cause irreparable harm to the province and it should be halted.

In an email sent early Saturday, Cabana said he hasn’t decided if he will relaunch the case and will likely make a decision next week.

In her June decision, Butler ruled Cabana failed to successfully argue that the project on Labrador’s Churchill River would cause him irreparable harm.

During the trial, the political blogger and small businessman argued that Butler shouldn’t be trying the case because she was married to a partner in a law firm that was involved in a lawsuit against him and she had represented the power utility when she was lawyer.

Cabana, who was representing himself, also argued that bias could be shown because Butler had made donations to political parties prior to becoming a judge.

The appeal court ruled that Butler’s marriage, political donations and work for Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro didn’t establish bias.

However, it found that Butler’s reaction to Cabana bringing the issue of political donations into court was “intemperate and hostile,” and showed “a reasonable apprehension of bias.”