Northern Gateway Will Not Appeal Federal Court Decision On Pipeline

The Federal Court of Appeal has overturned approval of Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline project because Ottawa failed to consult adequately with First Nations. (Alex Panetta/Canadian Press)

The Federal Court of Appeal has overturned approval of Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline project because Ottawa failed to consult adequately with First Nations. (Alex Panetta/Canadian Press)

Court ruled Ottawa had not adequately consulted Indigenous peoples along project’s route

By Chris Hall, John Paul Tasker, CBC News, Sep 20, 2016

Northern Gateway will not appeal a recent Federal Court of Appeal decision that overturned Ottawa’s approval of the controversial pipeline project.

The court ruled in June that the federal government had not adequately consulted with Indigenous peoples who will be affected by the project, which is backed by the energy company Enbridge, and which would stretch from outside Edmonton to a marine terminal in Kitimat, B.C.

“We believe that meaningful consultation and collaboration, and not litigation, is the best path forward for everyone involved,” the pipeline’s president, John Carruthers, said in a statement.

“We believe the government has a responsibility to meet their constitutional legal obligations to meaningfully consult with First Nations and Metis.”

The former Harper government gave the go-ahead to the Northern Gateway project after a National Energy Board joint review panel gave its approval subject to 209 conditions.

But the government was supposed to meet a constitutional requirement to consult with Indigenous peoples following the NEB’s approval, something the Federal Court said was not properly done.

“We find that Canada offered only a brief, hurried and inadequate opportunity … to exchange and discuss information and to dialogue,” the ruling said. “It would have taken Canada little time and little organizational effort to engage in meaningful dialogue on these and other subjects of prime importance to Aboriginal Peoples. But this did not happen.”

Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr has until Thursday to decide whether the government will appeal the decision or pursue an alternative scenario which could include launching full consultations with Indigenous peoples that would comply with the court’s ruling.

Then, the federal cabinet could make a decision to either reject or approve Northern Gateway based on those consultations or the project could be punted back to the National Energy Board for reconsideration.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/enbridge-northern-gateway-federal-court-1.3770543

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Northern B.C. Native Leaders Speak In Unified Voice For ‘Fair’ Consultation

Chief Liz Logan, Fort Nelson First Nation, is shown in this handout photo in Vancouver, holding an original Treaty 8 medallion that was given to her great grandfather when he signed the treaty on her First Nations' behalf, on Tuesday Sept. 8, 2015. People once paddled from great distances to set up fishing camps on Liz Logan's family land in northern British Columbia, but today she says industrial pollution in the water has forced her to face off against the Crown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Kirsten Brynelsen

Chief Liz Logan, Fort Nelson First Nation, is shown in this handout photo in Vancouver, holding an original Treaty 8 medallion that was given to her great grandfather when he signed the treaty on her First Nations’ behalf, on Tuesday Sept. 8, 2015. People once paddled from great distances to set up fishing camps on Liz Logan’s family land in northern British Columbia, but today she says industrial pollution in the water has forced her to face off against the Crown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Kirsten Brynelsen

By Tamsyn Burgmann | The Canadian Press

Northern native leaders form consultation alliance

VANCOUVER – People once paddled great distances to set up fishing camps on the land where Liz Logan’s family has lived for generations in northern British Columbia. Now Tsinhia Lake has yellowed, the fish have died and her family must carry in bottled water to drink.

The damage from oil and gas industries has prompted Logan, chief of the Fort Nelson First Nation, to help form an alliance with other aboriginal leaders against the provincial government. The signatories say concerns about massive developments in their territories are not being addressed.

The group, composed of leaders from the B.C. coast to the Alberta boundary, announced its formation on Tuesday with the release of an open letter to Premier Christy Clark.

“We’re trying to get their attention. We’re calling for this government to come back and (agree to) a relationship, because right now there is no relationship,” Logan said.

It would be as if the government came and took out someone’s backyard pool without asking, she said.

Chiefs of 10 northern B.C. First Nations have signed the letter, which says the province has ignored significant legal victories by aboriginals and is blocking them from managing their own territories.

The letter was sent ahead of talks this week in Vancouver between First Nations and B.C. politicians on the topic of the historic Tsilhqot’in land deal.

The June 2014 court ruling granted aboriginal title to more than 1,700 square kilometres of land, but the chiefs say they’ve seen little change in how the province deals with their claims.

“This government is basically refusing to look at the big picture of all the developments that are happening in all of our respective territories,” Logan said.

Among the projects of concern are proposed liquefied natural gas facilities and the Site C hydroelectric dam, which entered its first phase of construction in July.

The open letter lists three major reasons the alliance believes First Nations’ interests are threatened: no “new relationship” despite successful court challenges, the government’s refusal to assess potential industrial impacts on the environment, and a provincial review process that allows industry to set the agenda for development.

“We are not opposed to development,” reads the letter, which calls on the government for a more civil, legally consistent and logical approach to project implementation.

The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said its members are being given “lip service” and will raise those concerns at meetings over the coming days, said vice-president Bob Chamberlin.

He said First Nations have given up enough benefits for British Columbians.

“When will their rights finally be first and foremost?” he asked.

Chamberlin said the alliance’s formation is a strong signal that no progress has been made despite repeated meetings with government officials.

Clark said Tuesday she would refrain from addressing the issues until after this week’s talks.

“It is always our goal to make sure we are consulting and accommodating First Nations fairly, in a way that even goes above and beyond the law of the country,” she said at an unrelated news conference.

http://www.kelownadailycourier.ca/business_news/national_business/article_8b43846b-1612-5f4a-9bbd-61fe76ce1026.html

Protester shut down Carcross Tagish First Nation offices

The main administration building of the Carcross Tagish First Nation was shut down Monday by protesters. (Karen McColl/CBC)

The main administration building of the Carcross Tagish First Nation was shut down Monday by protesters. (Karen McColl/CBC)

CBC News

‘They’re deciding our future and we don’t have a say’ says Stanley Jim

A member of the Carcross Tagish First Nation shut down a council meeting over the weekend and prevented Chief Dan Cresswell and council from entering their offices Monday, protesting his government’s lack of consultation with its members.

“Right now, all I see is they’re deciding our future and we don’t have a say,” says Stanley Jim while sitting in front of the main administrative building where he built a wooden door jamb to bar the entrance.

Jim says the tipping point for him was when his government signed a financial agreement without consent from its members, something he believes chief and council don’t have the authority to do. He argues decisions like that should be brought in front of a general assembly and he says he has the support of other Carcross Tagish members.

He says he shut down the office to make a point. “Get our word out and also put pressure on our First Nation to be accountable, to be transparent.”

Harold Gatensby is among Jim’s supporters, and says his community needs to change.

Stanley Jim

Stanley Jim says the Carcross Tagish First Nation is not consulting its people. (Wayne Vallevand/CBC)

“A lot of announcements made about wonderful things happening in Carcross but we never hear about it until it’s announced either in the newspaper or over the radio,” says Gatensby.

“Big things that change our lives: subdivisions being developed, big $44 million projects being done. Everything that’s being done over here, we don’t know. We hear about it when it comes out in the newspaper.”

The protest has spurred chief and council to have an open meeting with its members, scheduled for March, says Laurenda James, who came out to support Jim.

“I’m glad that they have set up a meeting and what not. So hopefully they won’t just brush us off again without addressing each individual’s concerns,” says James.

Jim says the building will re-open Tuesday.

CBC was not able to get a hold of Chief Cresswell or council for comment.