Trudeau’s Trans Mountain Approval “Disappointing,” not surprising; “Tsleil-Waututh Does Not Consent,” Chief Leah George-Wilson

Vancouver, BC, Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Territories

Prime Minister Trudeau today announced the federal cabinet’s decision to approve the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project, following a second round of consultations and a National Energy Board reconsideration.

The Tsleil-Waututh Nation recently engaged in a renewed consultation process with the federal government, following the 2018 Federal Court of Appeal ruling that found Canada had not meaningfully consulted First Nations during the first round of engagement. The Federal Court of Appeal also found that the National Energy Board failed to consider the effects of marine shipping, quashing existing permits and requiring renewed processes.

Despite having raised numerous significant concerns regarding the Project and its impacts, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation’s concerns remain unaddressed, demonstrating that the process again did not result in meaningful consultation.

“This decision is disappointing, but not a surprise. Tsleil-Waututh again engaged in consultation in good faith, but it was clear that the federal government had already made up their mind as the owners of the project.” said Chief Leah George-Wilson of Tsleil-Waututh Nation. “Unfortunately, this feels too familiar — Canada repeated many of the same mistakes from last time. We will review the decision carefully with our team, and we will consider our legal options to ensure our rights are protected.”

Tsleil-Waututh’s concerns include the risks and impacts of oil spills, the impacts of the project on killer whales, collapsed project economics, and the risks to Tsleil-Waututh’s Aboriginal rights and title, including their ability to practice their culture. In addition, last week Tsleil-Waututh submitted an economic analysis to Cabinet that concludes the Trans Mountain Expansion Project is uneconomic. The independent cost benefit analysis of the project, consistent with Canadian government benefit cost guidelines, finds the Trans Mountain Expansion Project results in a loss to Canada of $11.8 billion. This research builds on Tsleil-Waututh’s own impact assessment based on world-leading science and grounded in Tsleil-Waututh law.

“Right now Prime Minister Trudeau is approving a project that is a violation of our stewardship rights and our law,” says Chief George-Wilson. “Tsleil-Waututh Nation does not consent to this Project as it is currently proposed. We do not want to find ourselves back in the same position we were in in 2017. However, given what is at stake, Tsleil-Waututh is prepared to use all legal tools necessary to ensure that our rights are protected for our future generations.”

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