Aboriginal Rights

Mining Giant Taseko Seeks to Revive B.C. Gold Mine Twice-Rejected by Harper Government

Two rejections by the federal government have not deterred a Vancouver mining company from again heading to court in an effort to quash Ottawa’s decision to turn down a proposal for an open-pit copper and gold mine in an area where the Tsilhqot’in Nation has established aboriginal rights.

Taseko Mines Ltd. is appearing in Federal Court in Vancouver this week to launch a constitutional challenge to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and ask for a judicial review of the federal government’s decision to reject the proposed $1.5-billion New Prosperity Mine, 125 kilometres southwest of Williams Lake.

Despite the project gaining provincial approval in 2010, the federal government turned down the proposal in 2010 and 2014, saying there would be severe environmental damage and immitigable adverse effects on Tsilhqot’in culture, heritage and aboriginal rights.

BC Hydro Apologizes for Bennett Dam’s 'Profound and Painful' Impact on First Nations at Gallery Opening

BC Hydro deeply regrets the impacts of the W.A.C. Bennett Dam on First Nations and will not repeat the “mistakes of the past,” Hydro’s Deputy CEO Chris O’Riley said Thursday at the unveiling of a new First Nations gallery at the dam’s visitor centre.

While we remain very proud of the engineering marvel that is the Bennett dam, and we continue to be thankful in this province for the prosperity that it underpins, we recognize a need to acknowledge those parts of the picture that we can’t be proud of,” O’Riley told representatives from six First Nations in the Peace who gathered under a tent in the rain, overlooking the two kilometre-long dam.

We recognize the need to acknowledge the adverse impacts of the dam on the environment and on the original people of the land. We think this acknowledgment is a really important part of reconciliation,” said O’Riley.

When the Bennett dam was completed in 1967 and the floodwaters of ten rivers and creeks converged to form the massive Williston Reservoir, local First Nations were not even informed, much less consulted.

Site C Not Subject to 'Rigorous Scrutiny,' Fails First Nations, Royal Society of Canada Warns Trudeau

Top-level scientists and academics from across Canada are calling on the federal government to put the brakes on construction of the Site C dam and, in an unusual move, the call is being supported by the Royal Society of Canada.

A stinging criticism of the assessment process, lack of consideration for First Nations concerns and the B.C. government’s decision to start construction despite ongoing court cases, was released at an Ottawa news conference Tuesday with a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and a statement asking that the federal government not issue any more permits for the hydroelectric mega-project until there have been additional reviews and the courts have decided on First Nations court cases.

A “Statement of Concern” signed by 250 scientists and academics, amounting to a Who’s-Who of Canadian academia, asks that the B.C. government submit the project for review by the B.C. Utilities Commission, something suggested by Joint Review Panel, but rejected by the provincial government.

There should also be a review by the Department of Justice to analyze whether the project infringes on aboriginal and treaty rights, the statement says.

Based on evidence raised across our many disciplines, the undersigned scholars have concluded that there were significant gaps and inadequacies in the regulatory review and environmental assessment process for the Site C Project,” says the statement.

Site C, LNG Break Trudeau's Promise to First Nations

This article originally appeared on the Common Sense Canadian.

It all started off so well. Justin Trudeau launched his career as Prime Minister with big promises to First Nations and the growing number of Canadians concerned about the environment. He installed indigenous MPs in key portfolios like Justice and Fisheries; vowed a new respect for Aboriginal people and their rights; re-introduced the climate to Environment Canada.

But five months later, it appears former New York Governor Mario Cuomo was right when he famously said, “You campaign in poetry. You govern in prose.” And the prose Justin Trudeau is authoring these days tells a very different story than it did on the campaign trail.

Want Free Trade? Build a West Coast Pipeline, Says China

This article originally appeared on the Dogwood Initiative blog.

With final arguments in the Kinder Morgan pipeline review underway in Burnaby, a top Chinese official is using the moment to offer Canadians a deal. During his visit to Ottawa last Friday, Han Jun, China’s Vice-Minister of Financial and Economic Affairs, said the world’s second-largest economy would be willing to sign a Free Trade Agreement with Canada — but only if we build a pipeline to the West Coast.

Signing an FTA, Han suggested, would give Canadian agriculture and energy producers greater access to China’s domestic market. In return, Beijing also wants restrictions lifted on takeovers of Canadian companies by Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs).

China has been working to gain access to Canadian oil reserves for more than a decade. As Enbridge’s first partner on Northern Gateway in 2005, state-owned PetroChina pledged to purchase up to half of the pipeline’s capacity, but became frustrated by delays and eventually pulled out of the project.

In the years following, China’s SOEs invested billions into the Canadian oil patch, culminating in the 2013 purchase of Nexen by the Chinese National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) for $15 billion. (In a tragic coincidence, hours after Han spoke in Ottawa, an explosion at Nexen’s Long Lake facility killed one worker and left another critically injured.)

B.C.'s Failure to Consult First Nations Sets Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline Back to Square One

The provincial government did not fulfill its legal obligation to consult with First Nations on the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline, the B.C. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.

The case, brought forward by the Gitga’at and other coastal First Nations, argued the province erred when it handed over decision-making authority for the project to the federal government under a provincial-federal Joint Review Process managed by the federal National Energy Board.

B.C. granted Ottawa authority over the project’s environmental review in a 2010 equivalency agreement. That agreement, however, did not release the province from the legal duty to consult First Nations, the B.C. Supreme Court found.

It’s a very significant ruling,” Elin Sigurdson, lawyer with JFK Law, said. “The coastal First Nations and Gita’at were very successful in the application to quash the equivalency agreement which means the province now has to consult with First Nations that will be affected by matters in the provincial jurisdiction and has to conduct a new environmental assessment for the project.”

"We Will Be the Ones to Stop This": Grand Chief Voices Impassioned Opposition to Energy East

Treaty 3 Grand Chief Warren White Energy East

I do not want to be the grand chief who consented to a pipeline that’s going to destroy 30 per cent of the fresh water in Ontario, in Treaty 3 territory,” Treaty 3 Grand Chief Warren White said in a speech outlining his objections to TransCanada’s proposed Energy East oil pipeline last week.

I did not come here for consultation. I came here to let everyone know what Energy East is all about…In unity in Treaty 3 we will be the ones to stop this. Our communities, our youth, our leadership are being called on by other nations,” White, while presenting at a public meeting hosted by the Ontario Energy Board in Kenora, Ontario, stated.

TransCanada “low balled” and “tried to pull a fast one” on Treaty 3 chiefs, according to White. The pipeline company agreed to participate in a consultation process based on Treaty 3 Resource Law or Manito Aki Inakonigaawin in Anishinaabe (Ojibwe), but failed to actually engaged in the process. TransCanada was a no-show for a meeting with Treaty 3 chiefs on December 21st last year.

I am very upset right now and you put that in your report that Energy East, TransCanada whatever you wanna call it, are there for the dollar signs, and nothing about the land, nothing about how we survive,” White said.

B.C. First Nations Crowdfund More than $200K to Oppose Enbridge Northern Gateway in Just Four Months

enbridge northern gateway pipeline, bc first nations, zack embree

Some of the strongest legal challenges against the federally approved Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline come from B.C.’s First Nations and supporters from across B.C. are digging into their pockets to help ensure those are a success.

Pull Together, a grassroots campaign to raise funds for the legal challenges of six First Nations, has been so successful organizers are bumping their goal from $250,000 up to $300,000 by December 31.

On Thursday the Haidi Nation announced they would join the initiative alongside the Gitxaala, Heiltsuk, Kitaxoo/Xai’xias, Nadleh Whut’en and Nak’azdli Nations to carry legal challenges forward against Enbridge’s project.

The Pull Together campaign is driven by people who care and are politically astute,” said kil tlaats ‘gaa Peter Lantin, President of the Haida Nation. “They can see how the future of the country is shaping up and want to be part of it.”

Chippewas of the Thames First Nation Granted Leave By Federal Court to Appeal Line 9 Approval

Joe Miskokomon

Yesterday (June 11th) the Canadian Federal Court of Appeal granted the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation leave to take their challenge of the Line 9 pipeline decision to court. The National Energy Board (NEB) – Canada’s energy regulator – approved the Enbridge oil pipeline project last March despite the federal government failing to fulfill its legal duty to consult with First Nations along the 38-year old pipeline’s route in Ontario and Quebec.

Line 9 goes through the Chippewas of the Thames or Deshkaan Ziibing* in the Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) language traditional territory.

We do not agree with the NEB’s decision enabling Enbridge to reverse the flow of Line 9B. While the NEB can give certain approvals, it does not give Enbridge the social license to operate. Now we are in the position of having to argue about this pipeline in the Federal Court of Appeal on the issue of aboriginal consultation,” Chief Joe Miskokomon of the Chippewas of the Thames said in a statement.

"Our Fate Rests With This Appeal": First Nation Takes National Energy Board to Court Over Line 9 Approval

Joe Miskokomon

The Chippewas of the Thames First Nation have launched a legal challenge against the National Energy Board’s (NEB) decision to approve Enbridge’s Line 9 oil pipeline project in southern Ontario and southern Quebec. The NEB – Canada’s independent energy regulator – approved the project to ship 300,000 barrels a day of oil and oilsands bitumen last month with soft conditions.

This 40-year old pipe is subject to corrosion and heavy crude is going to be shipped through in higher volumes. We feel that this raises the possibility of new impacts beyond the right-of-way and we are concerned about our water resources and the environment,” says Chief Joe Miskokomon of the Chippewas of the Thames or Deshkaan Ziibing* in the Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) language.

Deshkaan Ziibing is one of fourteen Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee (Six Nations), and Lenape (Delaware) First Nations living along or near the 38-year old Line 9 pipeline. DeSmog Canada reported last November that the federal government’s failure to fulfill its legal duty to consult with all of these First Nations could land the federal government and the Line 9 project in court.

The legal challenge was filed last Monday with the Federal Court of Appeal on the grounds the NEB approved Line 9 without the federal government “conducting any meaningful consultation” with Deshkaan Ziibing.

Pages

Subscribe to Aboriginal Rights