VANCOUVER—Several First Nations led by Tsleil-Waututh have again launched an appeal against the approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, alleging that Canada did not conduct a fair consultation with First Nations.
“The federal government’s approval of the pipeline is unlawful and must be quashed,” said Chief Leah George-Wilson of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation at a news conference in Vancouver. She was joined by representatives from five other nations that have filed for a judicial review.
In June, the federal government approved the expansion project for a second time. Last summer, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and others won a major court case that forced federal authorities to reconsider the environmental risks of the increased tanker traffic associated with the project and undertake further consultation with Indigenous communities.
George-Wilson said it “feels like déjà vu” to announce yet another application for appeal to get a fair consultation process.
“Two and a half years ago, we were here announcing our latest court challenge, which we won,” she said. “Canada had an opportunity to get it right and they did not. We have not seen any significant difference in the consultation process, and in some ways it was worse.”
The First Nations maintain that building the $9.3-billion pipeline expansion is a constitutional violation, “primarily around the failure to satisfy the duty to consult, accommodate and seek consent from First Nations, and regulatory legal errors by the National Energy Board.” SOURCE
Yesterday, a joint legal challenge was filed by the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, Squamish Nation, Ts’elxweyeqw tribes, Shxw’owhamel Nation, Coldwater Indian Band and Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation.
These Indigenous Nations are challenging (again) the federal government approval (again) of the Trans Mountain tarsands pipeline and the 700% increase in tanker traffic it will bring to the coast.
We’ve been here before. And we can do it again.
Yesterday, we heard leaders of these Nations share how this federal decision was the result of another hasty and deeply flawed review process that failed to satisfy the duty to consult, accommodate and seek consent from Indigenous Nations.
Chief Leah George-Wilson of Tsleil-Waututh Nation said, “It was clear that Canada had already made up their mind as the owners of the project—they repeated many of the same mistakes again.”
We heard how the project would involve the digging up of burial grounds and sacred sites in Shxw’owhamel and Stk’emlupsemcte Secwepemc territories. It puts the Coldwater Band’s drinking water at risk. These are just a few of the many harms this project will create on the ground.
So the Nations are going back to court. I’m humbled by their leadership and their commitment to defending their lands and waters.