Gathering Steam…. updates on BLCN and Fish Lake

Some important developments in both our key programs to share with you.  For both, we currently have a bit of time to raise the funds that will be needed.  It’s the pause that refreshes, so to speak.

In the category of “Patience is a virtue,” we bring you this update.  On Friday, March 22nd, the legal team for the Beaver Lake Cree joined a teleconference with the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Browne and lawyers for Alberta and Canada to discuss case management.  The Court had requested that Alberta and Canada show up with a litigation plan – that being a schedule with dates for moving to trial.  However, neither of the Crowns had dates in their plans, which left the meeting open to discuss where to go next.  The judge essentially decided to wait on further meetings until the outcome of the appeal hearing on March 28th.

CANADA CONTINUES EFFORT TO KEEP BLCN FROM HAVING THEIR DAY IN COURT –  The appeal hearing on March 28th was launched by Canada and Alberta – both decided to appeal the 2012 ruling by Justice Browne to allow the Beaver Lake Cree’s case to proceed to trial.  According to the BLCN team, the appeal hearing went well. The tenor from the bench of three judges was that neither Canada nor Alberta really had much of an arguement, and that the case should proceed forward.  However, it was a reserved decision with no deadline for release.  The legal team tells us that the trial will go forward regardless.  That means the litigation planning and work must continue while everyone waits for the judgment. 

BUDGET FOR 2013-2014 –  The estimated tally of what will be needed is over $2 million.  That covers a massive range of items, from working with elders and gathering evidence (estimated at $360K), expert witnesses ($400K), litigation planning ($400K), document disclosure ($550K), examination for discovery ($200K) and a variety of smaller categories.  So we are putting this out there on behalf of the band.  They of course will put in what they can.  Already they have contributed more than a million dollars since the legal action was launched in 2008! 

We can’t be put off by big numbers.  This is a huge task – never before done in Canadian courts.  The results will be a measurable slow-down in the expansion of the tar sands industries, which is now on pretty much everyone’s radar as the worst offender for global warming/climate change.

Meanwhile, RAVEN will join BLCN band member/activist Crystal Lameman at the upcoming Round Dance on April 13th to ‘raise the platform on the rights of indigenous people and honour the BLCN legal action!’


On March 28, 2013, the Tsilhqot’in Chiefs responded to the announcement by the Federal Review Panel for Taseko Mines Ltd.’s controversial “New” Prosperity Mine proposal that the company’s application remains deficient.  The Panel has issued a second deficiency statement and once again refused to allow the Project to proceed to hearings.

It’s also important to note that this is now the 3rd time that TML has been told they haven’t done their homework and can’t back up what they are claiming (“no significant environmental effects”).  While the Panel calls this the ‘2nd’ deficiency statement, you will recall in July 2012 that the company was told then by the federal experts that they had serious issues with their ‘draft’ EIS.  Then in December the Panel picked 50 of these and demanded more answers.  All throughout, the company has claimed that this is ‘routine’ and they never intended to have it ‘complete’.  Not sure what to say to that.

In the media release issued by TNG:  “It is not a surprise that we are here again”, said Chief Joe Alphonse, Tribal Chair for the Tsilhqot’in National Government.  “This is a company that consistently refuses to conduct even the basic baseline studies required to back-up what they are saying they can do.  Their previous proposal was rejected because of massive cultural and environmental impacts.  Now they’re telling everyone they’ve solved all of these problems – but the Panel’s deficiency statements make it clear that they haven’t done the homework to support these sweeping claims.  In doing so, they are making a mockery of the process and wasting everyone’s time and money, including the investors”.

“It’s stressful for our communities, and we are concerned about our Elders and Youth who do not understand why they must go through these processes again, after this project was already rejected once,” said Roger William, Chief of the Xeni Gwet’in, one of the Tsilhqot’in communities, “I’ve been dealing with this company for 20 years.  They’ve showed us their true colours.  The last time they told everyone there would be no impacts and they were proven completely wrong.  Now they’re back again but they still can’t back up their claims.  I feel like they’re wasting our time.  It’s time for them to fold up their tent and move on”.

The Panel’s Second Deficiency Statement can be found here:

FUNDRAISING:  From RAVEN’s perspective, this gives time to raise the funds needed for the eventual public hearings.  Though we have raised a substantial portion, a gap remains.   Currently, TNG and the Xeni Gwet’in have lined up an impressive list of scientific experts for the various water and impact studies, but they need to cover the costs of getting experts to the panel hearings – the estimated funding gap is $74,000.  Good news!  We just received word today that the Victoria Foundation granted $1500.00 from its Oolichan Fund for this effort – huge thanks to the Victoria Foundation!!  So, we are in search of $72,500. 🙂 

The environmental research and scientific process will prevail.  Let’s make sure of it by getting the right people to attend and testify at the hearings!!

Posted by Admin Tuesday Apr 09, 2013 12:47
Categories: Beaver Lake Cree, Climate Change, Environment , Fish Lake, Taseko , Teztan Biny | Tags:

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