B.C. First Nations back in court over whether governments can restrict their fishing rights

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VANCOUVER—Five Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations are in court this week appealing a 2018 B.C. Supreme Court decision they say unduly limits their right to a commercial fishery.

The First Nations are looking to the B.C. Court of Appeal to recognize not just the right to a commercial fishery but one that is sustainable, economically viable and allows “widespread participation of our people.” MORE

Tell Premier Horgan: Use all the tools in your toolbox to stop Trans Mountain!

It’s outrageous.

Premier Horgan is in court, defending a Christy Clark-era decision and opposing the Squamish Nation’s legal challenge that seeks to stop the Trans Mountain pipeline and tankers.

This isn’t what they were elected to do. The BC government promised to use all the tools in its toolbox to stop the Trans Mountain pipeline and tankers project.

So why is Horgan now fighting to uphold the pipeline project’s approval – and against the Squamish Nation – in court?

When the project was first approved in 2016, then-Leader of the Opposition John Horgan asked of the Premier, “Why is Christy Clark hiding behind a flawed process created by Stephen Harper?” [1]

Now that he’s Premier, we’re forced to ask the same question of him.

SIGN THE PETITION

Doug Ford government loses attempt to quash cap and trade case

Greenpeace Canada and Ecojustice will see Ontario in court in April over government’s failure to consult the public after cancelling cap and trade

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Ontario Prime Minister Doug Ford attends a meeting of the premiers of Canadian provinces on Dec. 7, 2018, in Montreal. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the meeting. MARTIN OUELLET-DIOTTE/GETTY IMAGES

TORONTO, 26 January 2019 — The Ford government’s attempt to dismiss a court case against them brought by Greenpeace Canada, represented by Ecojustice, has failed. The organizations filed a lawsuit against the Government of Ontario for unlawfully failing to consult the public when it ended Ontario’s cap and trade program. In early January, the government brought a motion to stop the case, arguing that there was no point in proceeding because the regulation to revoke cap and trade is no longer in force. On Friday, the court rejected this argument and said the case should proceed.

Keith Stewart, Senior Energy Strategist with Greenpeace Canada, said:

“We are eager for Doug Ford’s government to have to answer for their actions over cap and trade, and glad that Greenpeace will get our day in court to protect the environment and Ontarians’ democratic rights. This is an important reminder that not even Doug Ford is above the law.”

Professor Amir Attaran, lawyer for the Ecojustice-uOttawa Environmental Law Clinic, said:

“The Ford government broke the law when it illegally failed to consult the public. We’re going to court to remind Premier Ford that winning an election does not give his government carte blanche to ignore the legal rights of Ontarians to be consulted on major changes to the laws and regulations that protect them from climate change.

MORE

Four things Canada can do to stop wildlife loss

Earth is losing biodiversity at a rate seen only during mass extinctions. But we can reverse that decline – if we act now.

So says a report from WWF, showing that global populations of vertebrate species have declined by 60 per cent on average in less than 50 years.


Barren-ground caribou (c) Francoise Gervais

Half of the wildlife species in Canada are declining, and of those, the decline is 83 per cent. Protected at-risk species haven’t shown signs of improvement either, the report finds.

Reversing the decline of wildlife requires immediate action from governments, businesses and individuals. Here’s how we can start heading in the right direction: MORE

How This Entrepreneur Is Taking On America’s Water Crisis


Doll Avant PHOTO COURTESY OF DOLL AVANT

 

When her father was diagnosed with diabetes out of the blue, Avant decided to do some research surrounding the water quality in his neighborhood and discovered arsenic in local water supplies. Her findings led her to ask the question, “How many health issues are related to our water supply?”

In 2014, Avant had no choice but to notice the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. After volunteering to help, she found out that there are a number of locations with lead in their water like Flint. Inspired to make a change from her time in Flint, Michigan, she dedicated herself to make water quality data accessible and help people figure out what’s in their water.

Her company, Aquagenuity, is on a mission to improve the quality of life for people in the United States who are exposed to water pollution and threatened by water scarcity every day. Aquagenuity also serves as a water quality Data-as-a-Service platform (DaaS).

The app provides up-to-date, actionable water quality for consumers, corporations and smart cities, allowing users to easily find out what’s in their water and how it impacts them from a health or regulatory perspective. Users also receive a customized roadmap so they can take action, reduce risks, and improve their total water score.

I recently spoke with Avant about data-driven sustainability, Aquagenuity’s blockchain database and how she’s made an impact with her company. MORE

Supreme Court decision means windfall for Yukon First Nations, grand chief says

Court ruling says Ottawa should fund First Nations based on citizenship, not status


‘We as Nations here in the Yukon look at all our citizens, regardless of status or non-status, as all our people,’ said Council of Yukon First Nations Grand Chief Peter Johnston. (Mike Rudyk/CBC)

he Grand Chief of Council of Yukon First Nations is hailing this week’s ruling by the territory’s Supreme Court as a huge win. Peter Johnston says the court decision will have implications throughout the territory, and result in a significant increase in federal funding for self-governing First Nations.

The Teslin Tlingit Council’s 1993 self-government agreement established the definition of citizenship.

“This definition of citizenship was a monumental achievement because it terminated the colonial and divisive status versus non-status distinction that artificially divided Yukon First Nation members,” Veale wrote in his decision. MORE

The Unist’ot’en stand-off: How Canada’s “prove-it” mentality undermines reconciliation

Wet'suwet'en Solidarity rally in Vancouver, Jan. 2019 (Photo: Eugene Kung)

…It is certainly true that, where an Indigenous nation brings a title claim in court, the court will expect that nation to prove its claim. The procedural double standard in this approach has been pointed out by observers such as Professor John Borrows, who rhetorically asks: “Why should the Aboriginal group bear the burden of reconciliation by proving its occupation of land? After all, the Crown is the subsequent claimant. Why should the Crown not have to prove its land claims?” Nonetheless it is obvious that Canadian courts accept Crown title based, as Professor Borrows puts it, on “bare words,” while expecting Indigenous nations to prove their claim to pre-existing Aboriginal title.

Aboriginal rights are inherent – not granted by Canadian law

What the RCMP statement does not address, however, and what is often overlooked in the “prove-it” approach, is that Aboriginal title and governance exist and apply in Canadian law now, even if the bounds of title lands have not been delineated in a court case.

Peter Grant, a lawyer for the Wet’suwet’en, summarized this well in his recent response to the RCMP’s media statement: “it’s not that title doesn’t exist pre-declaration, it’s that the government is refusing to recognize title before a court declaration.” MORE

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