Representatives from the Squamish Nation and Tsleil-Waututh Nation, along with other First Nations spokespersons, react to the the Federal Court of Appeal’s Trans Mountain decision 0:00
Some B.C. First Nations are welcoming the Federal Court of Appeal’s ruling this morning to quash the approval of the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.
"The Squamish Nation celebrates the court’s ruling in favour of our Indigenous rights," the nation said in a statement Thursday shortly after the decision was released.
The appellate court decision said the government failed in its constitutional duty to "engage in a considered, meaningful two-way dialogue" with First Nations affected by the project.
"We tell the prime minister to start listening and put an end to this type of relationship. It is time for Prime Minister [Justin] Trudeau to do the right thing," Khelsilem, a councillor and spokesperson for the Squamish Nation, said in a statement Thursday morning.
Those launching the case, in an application for a judicial review of the federal approval of the project, include the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and a number of other First Nations, the Cities of Vancouver and Burnaby and two non-governmental agencies.
Leaders from both the Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations, along with others opposed to the project, are expected to speak publicly about the decision starting at 9:30 a.m. PT. The Federal Court of Appeal has overturned federal approval of the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project. (Dennis Owen/Reuters) But not all First Nations along the existing pipeline’s 1,150-kilometre route from the Alberta oilsands to the tanker terminal on the West Coast of B.C. are opposed to the expansion project, and many still hope to see it go forward eventually.
Chief Mike LeBourdais of the Whispering Pines First Nation near Kamloops, B.C., says he supports the pipeline going ahead under Indigenous control and his First Nation is part of a contingent now trying to buy it. ‘Canada fell well short’
Thursday’s court decision, which effectively halts all construction until a new federal permit meeting the court’s conditions can be approved, quashed Ottawa’s approval of the project on two grounds: The National Energy Board’s failure to consider the project’s impact on the marine environment, including the impact of increased tanker traffic on the endangered population of southern resident killer whales.
A failure in the last stage of the consultation process with First Nations — referred to as Phase III — to "engage in a considered, meaningful two-way dialogue."
"Canada fell well short of the minimum requirements imposed by the case law of the Supreme Court of Canada," said the court’s decision, written by Justice Eleanor Dawson.
"For the most part, Canada’s representatives limited their mandate to listening to and recording the concerns of the Indigenous applicants and then transmitting those concerns to the decision-makers," it said. "The law requires Canada to do more than receive and record concerns and complaints."
"As a result, Canada must redo its Phase III consultation. Only after that consultation is completed and any accommodation made can the project again be put before the Governor in Council for approval.
The court added: "The end result may be a short delay in the project, but, if the flawed consultation process is remedied, the objective of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples may be furthered."
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