Today, the Federal Court of Appeal dismissed significant Indigenous legal challenges to Trans Mountain: a disappointing decision that vitally affects the First Nations on the pipeline and tankers route, and cuts deep for many of us.
The 100-page decision focused primarily on a narrow range of issues allowed to be litigated in the judicial review, limiting the review mostly to issues of process. The court did not engage in many of the issues raised by the applicant First Nations, such as oil spills, or the fate of Orca whales.
Yet the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, Squamish Nation, and Coldwater Indian Band brought an unanimous message of strength and determination as they filed in to issue their statements to the press to the sound of drumming and singing. Chief Leah George-Wilson of Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish councillor Khelsilem and Chief Lee Spahan of Coldwater all echoed that “This is not a done deal.” Khelsilem called on allies and friends in B.C., Canada and around the world to “continue standing with the Nations” in the ongoing fight for the “survival and viability of our society now and in the future.”
What happens next? Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish Nations have already sought leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, challenging an earlier Federal Court of Appeal decision to substantially narrow the scope of the Judicial Review. That Supreme Court decision is pending, and in the meantime the Nations are reviewing all the other possible legal options.
As Chief Leah George-Wilson said, our work is not done. Will you lean in now to support the Nations? Please give today. Together, we can ensure First Nations have the resources and staying power they need to see this historic court battle through.
Want to know more about what this decision means for Indigenous Nations, and the path forward? Please join us for an interactive webinar with Eugene Kung, staff lawyer with West Coast Environmental Law, next Tuesday, February 11, at 5 p.m. PST. RSVP here.