TSLEIL-WAUTUTH NATION GRANTED LEAVE TO APPEAL THE FEDERAL DECISION ON THE TRANS MOUNTAIN PIPELINE AND TANKER EXPANSION PROJECT
For Immediate Release
Original Six First Nations from Tsleil-Waututh v. Canada (Attorney General) 2018 granted leave
VANCOUVER – Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Territories – The same six First Nations that stopped the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion in its tracks last year will have another chance at the Federal Court of Appeal.
This morning, the Federal Court of Appeal announced that it will grant several First Nations, including the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, leave to appeal the recent re-approval of the Trans Mountain Pipeline and Tanker Expansion Project (TMX).
If successful, these legal challenges could once again stop the project in its tracks by quashing or nullifying the approval announced on June 18th by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Given the additional layers of complexity resulting from Canada’s ownership of the pipeline, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation feels confident that the new approval will once again be quashed.
The First Nations applicants’ traditional territories cover virtually all of the pipeline’s route in BC. The six First Nations applicants granted leave include Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish Nation, Ts’elxwéyeqw tribes, Coldwater Indian Band, and Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation (SSN).
Legal grounds include constitutional violations, primarily around the failure to satisfy the duty to consult, accommodate and seek consent from First Nations.
“We are pleased with the decision to grant leave,” says Chief Leah George-Wilson. “It is an important step for defending our rights. We are confident that the court will once again decide in our favour. Tsleil-Waututh Nation participated in consultation in good faith again, but it was clear that Canada had already made up their mind as the owners of the project. Canada continued to do the legal minimum and in our view, fell well below the mark again. They denied the existence of documents, and provided altered versions. They approached it with a closed mind, and were in a conflict of interest.”
Chief George-Wilson concluded: “As I’ve said before, the federal government has again failed to respond to the concerns we have been raising in regards to this project. This feels like déja vu. We have no choice but to appeal again and we expect the same results – the approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline will be overturned.”
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Ben West, Tsleil-Waututh Nation Media Coordinator