A huge win for Indigenous Justice

The team at RAVEN Trust would like to  extend our heartfelt congratulations to the GITXAALA NATION, GITGA’AT FIRST NATION, HAISLA NATION, HAIDA NATION, KITASOO XAI’XAIS NATION, HEILTSUK NATION, the NADLEH WHUT’EN BAND and the NAK’AZDLI WHUT’EN BAND. Our thoughts and prayers are with you as you celebrate this ruling today.

ON JUNE 23, 2016, the Federal Court of Appeal overturned the Order in Council thatrequired the National Energy Board to issue two Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity, on certain conditions, concerning the Northern Gateway Project. That Project, proposed by Northern Gateway Pipelines Inc. and Northern Gateway Pipelines Limited Partnership, consists of two pipelines transporting oil and condensate, and related facilities.” Paragraph [1]

Some nuggets from the Reasons for Judgement:

“Canada’s execution of the Phase IV consultation process was unacceptably flawed and fell well short of the mark. Canada’s execution of Phase IV failed to maintain the honour of the Crown.” Paragraph [230]

“We have applied the Supreme Court’s authorities on the duty to consult to the uncontested evidence before us. We conclude that Canada offered only a brief, hurried and inadequate opportunity in Phase IV—a critical part of Canada’s consultation framework—to exchange and discuss information and to dialogue. The inadequacies—more than just a handful and more than mere imperfections—left entire subjects of central interest to the affected First Nations, sometimes subjects affecting their subsistence and well-being, entirely ignored. Many impacts of the Project—some identified in the Report of the Joint Review Panel, some not—were left undisclosed, undiscussed and unconsidered. It would have taken Canada little time and little organizational effort to engage in meaningful dialogue on these and other subjects of prime importance to Aboriginal peoples. But this did not happen.” Paragraph [325]

“In order to comply with the law, Canada’s officials needed to be empowered to dialogue on all subjects of genuine interest to affected First Nations, to exchange information freely and candidly, to provide explanations, and to complete their task to the level of reasonable fulfilment. Then recommendations, including any new proposed conditions, needed to be formulated and shared with Northern Gateway for input. And, finally, these recommendations and any necessary information needed to be placed before the Governor in Council for its consideration. In the end, it has not been demonstrated that any of these steps took place.” Paragraph [327] 

“… the Order in Council must be quashed. The Order in Council directed that the National Energy Board issue the Certificates. Now that the basis for the Certificates is a nullity, the Certificates are also a nullity and must be quashed. The matter is remitted to the Governor in Council for redetermination.” Paragraph [333]

It’s because of the committed struggle of thousands of allies, in solidarity with First Nations, that this historic judgement has been reached. We’re so honoured to stand with all of you to defend our common future.

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