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Supreme Court Here We Come

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When the Federal Court of Appeal granted leave for First Nations to appeal the re-approval of the TMX pipeline and tankers, the Pull Together community jumped into action. With your help, we’ve raised an incredible $140k — nearly ⅓ of the way to our goal of $400k. And now we are backing new cases. When a judge allowed the court cases of the Tsleil Waututh, Squamish, and Coldwater Nations to go ahead, he significantly narrowed the grounds on which the Nations can challenge the pipeline and tankers project, allowing just a fraction of the legal concerns these Nations have about TMX to be considered. 

The court refused to hear the concerns of environmental groups. There was no room for consideration of infringement of Aboriginal rights and title. Though Canada failed to obtain Indigenous consent for the new Alberta-to-BC pipeline, the court said, in essence: let’s not even go there. 

The Squamish and Tsleil Waututh Nations are going there. In fact, they are taking their arguments all the way to the Supreme Court. They filed their case in concert with Raincoast and Living Oceans Society, whose alarm about orca whale extinction also fell outside of the narrow scope of ‘concerns’ that the judge allowed to be heard. 

“The stakes are at their highest for our Nation and our relationship to this iconic group of orcas – yéw̓yews in the Squamish language,” said Khelsilem, Squamish councillor. “The Southern Residents are at a critical state, and the TMX Project would visit significant adverse effects upon them. It is of utmost importance to our Nation that the courts ensure that Canada complies with its obligations to protect this critically endangered species before the project goes ahead.” 

We expect the original Federal Court of Appeal cases to be heard Dec 16-20. This new appeal to the Supreme Court could impact the scope of the original Court of Appeal cases and, if successful, it also stands to quash the federal approval of Trans Mountain. What it also means is that there is another legal battery arrayed against Trans Mountain that we can and will support — by fundraising amongst our networks, organizing in our communities, and donating. 

Inspired by such bold Indigenous leadership, dedicated people all over are stepping up with the Pull Together campaign. Look forward to a “Pushback on Petro” dance party (Vancouver, November16), a “Pancakes over Pipelines” pancake breakfast (Seattle, November 23) and a “Braiding Cedar” live panel and music night (Salt Spring Island, November 29). We make organizing easy: get in touch to throw a party, plan a movie night,  or host a speaker where you live. Sign up to organize: we are here to support you! 

Conscious companies are pulling too: during the Week to End TMX (November 27-December 3), businesses are joining forces to raise big $$ for the cause. Check out the great restaurants, yoga studios, grocers and progressive brands who are part of The Week to End TMX here, and click here to  involve your workplace, business or solo-enterprise! As part of this determined community, you are doing incredibly important work. By acting in solidarity with Indigenous Nations, you are setting relationships right, not only in our human family but with the orcas, the cedar forests, and the living rivers that sustain us all. 

And yes, as we pull together we can build community, stoke the flames of creative resistance, and have some fun along the way. Let’s do this! 
In solidarity, with thanks for all you do,

Andrea, Maia + the Pull Together team
p.s. Squamish and Tsleil Waututh Nations are heading to the Supreme Court of Canada not only to stand up for their own  constitutionally protected rights, but also to make sure that Canada follows its own laws when making decisions. We all stand to benefit when Indigenous rights are recognized: donate here. 

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