Several B.C. First Nations have been denied leave by the Supreme Court of Canada to appeal the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)

B.C. First Nations vow to keep fighting after Trans Mountain pipeline appeal denied

Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Coldwater Indian Band made the application

A decision by Canada’s top court rejecting an appeal by three B.C First Nations challenging the second approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is a failure to uphold Indigenous title and rights, according to the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC).

In a statement, UBCIC said it shares its ‘deep’ disappointment with the Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Coldwater Indian Band on the Supreme Court decision issued Thursday, July 2, 2020.

“The court’s decision to dismiss this application for appeal is a continuation of Canada’s adversarial approach to Indigenous peoples and our rights. It is disheartening that the federal government has fought Indigenous nations in court at every turn in order to build an oil pipeline during a global climate emergency,” said UBCIC vice-president Chief Don Thomas.

“Cabinet’s commitment to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples rings hollow when they force Indigenous Nations to defend their lands and their rights in a courtroom year after year.”

The three First Nations were seeking for leave to appeal a February 4, 2020 decision by the Federal Court of Appeal upholding the second approval of the $12.6-billion project.

Read More: Supreme Court will not hear B.C. groups’ Trans Mountain pipeline expansion appeal cases

Subject to 156 conditions, the twinning of the pipeline will result in nearly a billion barrels of heavy oils such as diluted bitumen being transported daily from Alberta to B.C’s coast where it will be shipped via tankers to markets around the world. It is a project the federal government maintains that Canada needs.

Federal Minister of Natural Resources, Seamus O’Regan, said construction of Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) is underway and has already created more than 4,900 well-paying jobs. He noted the pipeline will help Canada gain access to new markets for its resources and generate revenue to help fund clean energy and climate change solutions.

Also hailing the decision from the Supreme Court of Canada as welcome news was the Trans Mountain Corporation and Canadian Energy Pipeline Association.

Tsleil-Waututh First Nation Chief Leah George-Wilson said the decision is a major setback for reconciliation.

Squamish Nation spokesperson and Councillor Syeta’ xtn (Chris Lewis) said as Indigenous people they have the constitutional right for meaningful consultation and accommodation.

“The Federal Court of Appeal’s decision to let federal government basically be the judge and jury of its own consultation efforts was in our view was very flawed in many ways…”

Read More: Trans Mountain pipeline restarts after light crude spills in Abbotsford, B.C.

Syeta’ xtn maintains Canada isn’t prepared to mitigate potential environmental impacts from the project.

Read More: Western Canada Indigenous leaders choose pipelines over poverty

“We continue to hear we’ll study this into the future, we’ll have a study on the cumulative impacts or any of the impacts the Squamish Nation has stated but yet again they just went ahead after a very abbreviated short consultation period with the Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nation in round two and approved it without having those studies done prior to that.”

Syeta’ xtn said the Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations are participating in a joint study with Canada on modelling and studying the behavior of diluted bitumen in their waters if such a spill would occur.

The Nations have vowed to explore all legal options moving forward.

“The government still has a constitutional duty to consult us on the regulatory and permitting process so we’ll continue to voice our concerns throughout those aspects.”


Do you have a comment about this story? email:
rebecca.dyok@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

First NationsSupreme CourtTrans Mountain pipeline

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta vehicles allegedly damaged in Summerland

Lug nuts loosened, windows smashed in several instances in Okanagan community

Town of Osoyoos battling sewer odour issues

The town is apologizing for the odour emitted from its sewage treatment plant

Petition calls for traffic light at intersection of Highway 97 and Skaha Lake Road

The area frequently sees collisions in the summer according to petition

VIDEO: Crews in Summerland film Christmas parade in July

Filming, on July 31, took place during the hottest days of 2020

UPDATE: Solco Creek fire east of Okanagan Falls now classified as held

13.8 hectare was classified as out of control until Aug. 3

B.C. records 146 new COVID-19 cases through long weekend

More that 28 people tested positive for the virus each day since Friday

COVID-19 vaccine efforts provide hope but no silver bullet to stop pandemic: Tam

There are more than two dozen vaccines for COVID-19 in clinical trials around the world

Passengers escape unharmed from destructive houseboat fire in Shuswap

Cause of blaze on Mara Lake under investigation, flames erupt at 2 a.m. Aug. 4

Interior Health reports nine new cases of COVID-19, 149 linked to Kelowna

Nine new cases were reported in the Interior Health region over the long weekend’s four reporting periods

Former Kelowna resident makes fundraising goal for cancer fertility treatments

Rebecca Hamilton recieved a boost in a battle against cancer - $25,000 for post chemo treatments

Study shines light on what makes LGBTQ+ youth feel safe in a community

The study goes beyond looking at school or family supports

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

UPDATE: Water bombers attack wildfire north of Sicamous above Shuswap Lake

Wildfire BC reports fire is still classified out of control, 25 personnel on ground

Most Read