After more than 10 months of waiting for a decision, in late August, the Federal Court of Appeal agreed with the Tsleil-Waututh Nation’s view that the federal government’s consultation regarding the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline was inadequate, and marine shipping was illegally excluded from review. The court revoked the federal government’s permits for the project.
“We are very pleased to see the historic decision made today by the Federal Court of Appeal,” said Chief Maureen Thomas of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. “We went into consultations with the federal government with open hearts and minds, but sadly the process could best be described as window dressing. We had a strong sense that the decision had already made before we even sat down. It was clear from the timing of the decision that they did not meaningfully consider much of the information we provided. The court has agreed with us on every issue.
“We are hopeful that this can be a turning point for recognition of Indigenous rights and respect the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It is an opportunity to work together with First Nations communities on better projects and other opportunities we can all be proud to support. Now that Canada has to make a new, fresh decision with an open mind, we are confident that they will see that this project does not make sense for the economy, the climate, the environment, for First Nations and everyone who is impacted by this project.”
The three-member panel of the Federal Court of Appeal unanimously agreed with Tsleil-Waututh that the NEB and federal Cabinet approval illegally excluded a marine shipping review under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, and that the constitutional duty to consult, accommodate and seek consent “fell well below the mark set by the Supreme Court of Canada.”
The court’s decision came over five years after the Tsleil-Waututh Nation first formally rejected the proposed Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline and tanker project after undertaking an exhaustive risk assessment grounded in their own unextinguished laws.
“For many years, we have made it clear that this project represented a risk too great to accept and the rejection of these permits today is a big win for everyone who loves this coast and this inlet” said Chief Maureen Thomas said Chief Thomas.
Source: Tsleil-Waututh Nation, twnation.ca