Big Oil Madness: Gastem’s $1.5 million lawsuit against tiny Quebec village of Ristigouche

by: Obert Madondo  | Published Mon. Sept 8, 2014

Gastem, a Quebec oil and gas exploration company is suing the tiny Quebec village of Ristigouche-Sud-Est to the tune of $1.5-million.

According to the CBC News, “The Gaspésie village of Ristigouche-Sud-Est is being sued by Gastem, a Quebec-based oil and gas exploration and development company, for passing a bylaw in March 2013 establishing a two-kilometre no-drill zone near its municipal water sources.”

Now, if you don’t think that’s Big Oil madness, consider the fact that Ristigouche has a population of only 168 people. And that the lawsuit is five times its annual budget of $275,000.

The Council of Canadians announced last week that it had made a donation to Solidarité Ristigouche, a crowdfunding campaign Ristigouche-Sud-Est launched to raise money $225,000 to fight Gastem’s lawsuit.

“We see many David versus Goliath battles, but this is by far one of the worst cases I’ve seen,” says Maude Barlow, national chairperson of the Council of Canadians. “It is absolutely shameful that Gastem is suing this tiny village that is just trying to protect its residents and their drinking water.”

You can help Ristigouche push back against Gastem’s madness. Here’s an unedited Google translation of Ristigouche-Sud-Est’s urgent appeal:

$1.5 million. Restigouche pursued by oil Gastem. Help us defend ourselves!

Our small Gaspé town of 168 inhabitants, is launching an emergency appeal for solidarity among Quebecers. The donation campaign Solidarity Restigouche – objective collect $ 225,000 – is designed to help us defend ourselves in the lawsuit for Gastem. The oil we claimed $1.5 million for trying to protect our sources of drinking water in the absence of a provincial regulation. This represents 5.5 times the annual budget of our municipality.

We count on your solidarity to help us defend ourselves!

At the time of writing, Ristigouche-Sud-Est had raised just over $83,300. Here’s the link:

Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based progressive blogger, and the founder and editor of The Canadian Progressive. Follow him on

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Obert Madondo

Publisher and editor
Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based independent journalist and progressive political blogger. He's the publisher and editor of The Canadian Progressive.
  • DukeCanuck

    Big Oil?


    Is this satire?

    You progressives are too much.

    Approvals were done until the town ripped it out from under them.

    Gastem is near bankruptcy (hardly Goliath) and definitely has a case here.

    I’m a shareholder BTW. We shareholders actually should sue the town as well. You’ve help bury this company.

    We are a nation of laws. You can spin away that the laws don’t apply because it’s ‘evil’ big oil but that just silly. However, it is the ‘progressive’ way.