OTTAWA – Updated – Canada’s Federal Court of Appeal in a unanimous 3-0 decision has dismissed four legal challenges that were brought forward by Indigenous groups in British Columbia. The First Nations were appealing to the court to overturn the decision of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
First Nations Leaders Speak Out
The decision set forward for construction to continue on the project, however the First Nations will have sixty days to appeal to the Supreme Court.
Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Natural Resources, today issued the following statement regarding the decision by the Federal Court of Appeal to uphold the Order in Council approving the Trans Mountain Expansion project: “The Government of Canada welcomes the decision of the Federal Court of Appeal (FCA).
“Today’s ruling affirms that the Government of Canada’s renewed consultations with Indigenous communities addressed the issues identified by the Federal Court of Appeal in its August 2018 decision. This was a responsibility the Government of Canada took very seriously, and it is work the government did in partnership with Indigenous communities.
“From the beginning, the Government of Canada worked with communities to shape the consultation process. Ministers engaged directly, project conditions were amended and accommodations were co-developed to respond to concerns raised. The result was the most comprehensive consultation ever undertaken for a major project in Canada’s history.
“The government approved the Trans Mountain Expansion Project because it is in the public interest. This project will unlock new global markets to boost the price of a valuable Canadian resource; help advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, including through economic opportunities; and generate revenue to help fund clean energy and climate solutions.
“Since the fall, construction of the project has already created thousands of good, well-paying jobs. Construction on both Spread 1 in the Greater Edmonton Region and Spread 2 in Yellowhead is underway. Work is ongoing at various pump stations, construction yards, and more.
“The Government of Canada is committed to a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples, and it knows that consultations on major projects have a critical role to play in building that renewed relationship. Canada will continue to engage with Indigenous communities at each step of the project in the months and years to come.”
Ian Anderson, the President, and CEO of Trans Mountain Corporation says, “We are pleased with the Court’s decision to dismiss the Applicants’ challenges to the Federal Government’s approval of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project. After many years of consultation and review we are pleased to be able to continue moving forward and building the Project in respect of communities, and for the benefit of Canadians. The Government of Canada’s additional Indigenous consultation represented an immense undertaking by many parties. The Government was committed to a specific and focused dialogue with affected Indigenous communities to ensure Canada, and the Company heard their concerns and responded.”
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney states, “This is a victory for common sense and the rule of law. We are pleased the Federal Court of Appeal made a fair decision. This ruling confirms what we’ve known all along: the Trans Mountain expansion project has been held to the highest standard at every turn.
“Now that this legal hurdle has been cleared, there is absolutely no denying that it’s time to get this pipeline built. TMX will result in billions of dollars of economic prosperity for Canadians and create well-paying jobs throughout the country.
“While we respect the opinion of those who have voiced opposition to the project, the fact is the majority of First Nations communities – and the majority of Canadians – want to share in the economic benefits of responsible resource development. That’s demonstrated by the 58 mutual benefit agreements that Trans Mountain has signed with Indigenous communities across Alberta and British Columbia.
“We particularly appreciate the clarity in the decision that the duty to consult does not equal a veto.
“This marks an important milestone for TMX, but we won’t get ahead of ourselves. Completion of construction remains the one true measure of success. We will hold our celebrations until oil is flowing through the pipeline.
“Our government will continue to stand up for Alberta by advocating for increased market access and protecting the value of our energy exports to grow our economy and create jobs.”
indigenous groups have yet to respond to our inquiries.