image ©Toronto Star.
Incredible news that we want to share right away! In RAVEN’s 10-year history we’ve seen First Nations win so many victories but we’ve never had an avalanche like this — 3 wins in 2 days!
It all started December 17, when the BC Court of Appeal dismissed Taseko’s application for leave to appeal an injunction prohibiting Taseko from conducting exploratory drilling around Teztan Biny (Fish Lake), a culturally significant area for the Tsilhqot’in. Teztan Biny is now safe from the intrusion of Taseko’s machinery until at least 2021. The injunction is necessary because, even though Taseko’s New Prosperity Mine proposal has been federally rejected multiple times (and confirmed in the Court of Appeals – see below), the drilling program, being “exploratory”, comes under provincial jurisdiction.
That was plenty to celebrate right there!
Then, on December 18, two more huge wins! Simultaneous decisions by the Federal Court of Appeal dismissed Taseko’s applications for judicial review of (a) the Joint Review Panel report, and (b) the 2014 decision by Governor-in-Council rejecting the New Prosperity mine proposal. A panel of three justices fully affirmed a previous rejection by a lower court. They didn’t uphold a single argument put forward by Taseko!
Justice De Montigny’s interpretation of the Crown’s duty to consult is of particular interest for Indigenous rights and reconciliation. Rejecting Taseko’s argument that it had been a victim of “procedural unfairness” because Canada failed to notify the company every time the Tsilhqot’in made a submission opposing the mine, Justice De Montigny said:
“I am inclined to think that Taseko’s proposal would trivialize the duty to consult and empty it of its true content. It must be remembered that the duty to consult (and accommodate) is part of a process of reconciliation, which itself flows from rights guaranteed by section 35(1) of the Constitution Act, 1982 (…). It could hardly be said that the duty to consult supports and promotes reconciliation and re-affirms the nation-to-nation relationships with the First Nations if the Crown was equally to consult with the proponent and, for that matter, any other interested parties.” (emphasis ours)
We couldn’t agree more!
With these three court victories, the likelihood of New Prosperity mine ever being built recedes even further into unfathomable distance, where ideally it will eventually evaporate into nothingness.
What a wonderful way to begin the holiday season!
The RAVEN team’s utmost gratitude goes to you, our supporters, and the incredible tenacity with which you stood by the Tsilhqot’in through thick and thin. Thank you! Enjoy this day – you helped to make it happen!
Doing the happy dance!!!