First Nations Persevere with a Supreme Court Appeal to Stop TMX

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Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Coldwater Band held a press conference on April 7th, 2020 to announce their appeal of the Federal Court of Appeal decision in their ongoing efforts to stop the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project approval. 

The project was initially quashed in 2018 for insufficient consultation with First Nations and the failure to take into account marine impacts. Following the second approval of the pipeline expansion in June 2019, these First Nations have challenged the project every step of the way and are now seeking leave to appeal the February 4th Federal Court of Appeal decision which found the June 2019 approval reasonable under law. 

“We are now, with our relatives, seeking leave for appeal to go to the Supreme Court of Canada and have the Supreme Court of Canada weigh whether the Federal Court of Appeal was accurate. This becomes one of the last legal battles that are available to First Nations but also the public when it comes to the fight against the Trans Mountain Expansion project…It will be a monumental battle to defend our interests as a nation…and have a more just consideration of Indigenous rights in this country. As a free people we deserve the right to choose what is integral to who we are as a people, this project represents a huge threat and risk to our future.” says Squamish Nation Councillor, Kheilselum. 

The Appeal Court’s low bar for consultation could have serious implications for meaningful reconciliation. Tsleil-Waututh Chief Leah George-Wilson said during the press conference that, “If unchallenged, it could change the way consultation and consultation cases happen in Canada, making it less meaningful for protecting our inherent constitutionally protected Aboriginal rights.”

While First Nations are under increasing pressure and safety concerns with the COVID-19 pandemic, TMX construction continues. “For the nations it’s challenging that the governments are asking us to be on lockdown for weeks or months while at the same time pushing projects through our territories,” said Khelsilem

During the Q+A briefing, Khelsilem explained the importance of moving forward with their legal challenge:

“We feel it is important to stand up and protect our rights, we have been stewards of this land with our neighbors and relatives, for thousands of years. We are disappointed to have to go to court over this over and over again with this government. We are trying to heal the inlet so we can once again enact our rights and sustain ourselves off the land. An oil spill or increase in tanker expansion would undermine these efforts.”

These Nations need your continued support as they persevere in their resolve for justice and an end to the environmentally disastrous Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project, donate to support their legal costs.

If you missed the Briefing and Press Conference on the Supreme Court appeal to TMX, you can watch them below:

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