Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Pipeline Woes - First Nations chiefs say Feds wouldn't even sit at table for "consultations"

Trans Mountain Terminal Map of Burnaby, BC

Something significant happened in Canada the other day that was barely noticed in the news.  An Alberta First Nations won a big federal court decision over a land claim.  IMO, this shows how the Federal Court and potentially the Supreme Court of Canada, as it is presently constituted, feels about First Nations land rights in Canada.  Please read the following snippet from the CBC and I will have more comments to follow:

Blood Tribe wins massive land claim battle in Federal Court

Southern Alberta's Blood Tribe, the country's largest reserve, has won part of its 40-year land claim battle against the federal government.

On Wednesday, a Federal Court judge ruled in favour of the Blood Tribe, finding that Canada shortchanged the band when the boundaries were drawn as part of 1877's Treaty 7.

The reserve stretches 1,400 square kilometres across the southwestern Alberta prairie, from west of Lethbridge and south to Cardston.

Justice Russel Zinn considered evidence including century-old government reports and maps, handwritten letters and oral history from Indigenous elders. In 2016, Phase 1 of the trial began on the Blood Reserve with elders giving an oral history of the First Nation.

Although Zinn ruled the Blood Tribe should have been more than 160 square miles larger than its current size, he denied the band's bid to have its boundaries include specific land "between the rivers to the mountains."


Lawyers for the First Nation also argued the town of Cardston and part of Waterton Lakes National Park should be included in its territory, but that part of the claim was rejected by Zinn.

Zinn did find that the band did not get all of the land promised by Canada, which used a formula to calculate how much territory it should get based on population. The judge found the Blood Tribe had a bigger population than what the government suggested and was entitled to more land as a result.

In a 205-page written decision, Zinn ruled Canada was in breach of Treaty 7 and that the Blood Tribe was entitled to 710 square miles of land. The reserve is currently 547.5 square miles.

"Canada is liable to the Blood Tribe for this breach of treaty," wrote Zinn.

A separate hearing will now be scheduled to address compensation for the First Nation.

The government has 30 days to appeal the decision on what's become known as the Big Land Claim to the Federal Court of Appeal and could take the case to the Supreme Court of Canada.

The chief and councillors for the Blood Tribe said in a statement that they are hopeful the government will not appeal."


Greencrow: Now lets apply that legal precedent [and all the other legal decisions that I've mentioned in previous posts on this issue] to the Trans Mountain situation. Here's a report from today's Vancouver Sun that says BC First Nations have had NO MEANINGFUL CONSULTATIONS WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SINCE THE GOVERNMENT WAS ORDERED TO CONSULT WITH THEM BY A PREVIOUS COURT DECISION. What?

Originally published in the National Post:

“.....I felt like I wasn’t even being respected or even listened to,”
said Coldwater Indian Band chief Lee Spahan, describing his interactions with the federal government in recent months.
In the eyes of my council and myself, it was pretty much a waste of time,” he said.

Coldwater has been among the Indigenous communities most fiercely opposed to the Trans Mountain expansion project, saying the project threatens to spoil a crucial freshwater aquifer that it has relied upon for generations.

Spahan said he met in person with Sohi only once, and was afterward forced to consult with lower-level federal officials who did not possess the authority to provide definitive answers to his questions.

The head of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation also told the National Post that discussions with federal officials did not amount to a “consent-based” process, while the leader of the Squamish Nation cast doubts on the meaningfulness of the consultations.

All three communities were parties to the federal court challenge that stalled the Trans Mountain project in August 2018. In the final court ruling, a lack of access to cabinet ministers and other high-level officials was cited as a main reason why the government failed to meet its “duty to consult.”
The Indigenous claims come as the National Energy Board (NEB) prepares for a decision on whether it will reinstate the Trans Mountain project after July 9, when a comment period on the project is scheduled to end. Such a decision would effectively allow construction of the line to move ahead.

The regulator would not say how long a reinstatement decision would take.

Trans Mountain Corporation, the public company overseeing the expansion, must still complete 34 out of the 98 pre-construction conditions imposed by the NEB, and must secure a number of construction permits, some of which will require additional consultations with First Nations. It also has yet to secure detailed route approvals for 27 per cent of the pipeline.

Leah George-Wilson, chief of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation in B.C., said her community had numerous meetings with federal officials, but said the Liberal cabinet approved Trans Mountain without a complete understanding of how diluted bitumen would interact with water in the event of an oil spill. She argues the decision was therefore premature, causing the community to lose faith in what she refers to as “consent-based” consultations on the pipeline.

“We’re not saying that we didn’t have any consultation, we just didn’t feel that they were meaningful,” George-Wilson said.


In the decision by the Federal Court of Appeal, the absence of high-level government was cited as a major reason for the government’s failure to meet its duty to consult.

“If there was a good opportunity for the community to present the information concerning the impact on their rights directly to the minister, then that might go a long distance in responding to the issues raised by the Federal Court of Appeal,” Newman said. “If it was a sort of meet-and-greet and then the minister handed things off to other officials and nothing came of it, that can mean a different kind of scenario.”


Spahan of the Coldwater Indian Band, for his part, said his community still believes that the government failed in its duty to consider an alternative pipeline route proposed by Coldwater, which would take a wide detour around its traditional lands.

He said his attempts to raise issues with the project with high-level officials were denied, including a request to meet with Indigenous Services Minister Seamus O’Regan.

“How could they call this a government-to-government consultation when the ministers won’t even sit at the table with the Coldwater band and council?” Spahan said.

Trans Mountain Corporation could start construction on the expansion project as early as September, company chief executive Ian Anderson said last week.

The Crown corporation already secured rights to build the expansion project along a corridor leading from northern Alberta to the B.C. coast, but has only received detailed route approvals for 73 per cent of the pipeline.

While the company seeks approvals for the remaining routes, construction is set to begin on some portions of the pipeline, particularly at the Westridge terminal in B.C. and on a section of the line between Stony Plain and Edson, Alta.

The proposal would nearly triple the current capacity of the Trans Mountain pipeline to 890,000 barrels of oil per day."

Greencrow concludes:  It seems to me that the only way that the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion will get built is if Trudeau and the Liberals fix and stock the Supreme Court of Canada with puppet factotums.  Perhaps that is the backstory to why former Canadian Attorney General/Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould and Trudeau parted company a few months back.  I did read that Wilson-Raybould, an indigenous leader in her own right, had qualms about Trudeau's ideas for amendments to the SCC judge appointment process.

If readers look closely at the map above to the top right there is a marina with boat slips.  Greencrow's sailboat is moored at one of those slips.  My partner and I will have to thread our way past the 7x greater number of huge oil tankers that will be gridlocked in a procession from English Bay through Coal Harbour under the Second Narrows Bridge to the Terminal.  Factor into that, the massive expansion of the passenger cruise liner industry which sees enormous passenger cruise ships sailing in and out under the narrow Lion's Gate Bridge passage also to Coal Harbour.

The folks in the rest of Canada have absolutely NO IDEA of what we're talking about here.  We're talking about the destruction of a city.  We're talking about the end of British Columbia as we know and love it.  Ain't gonna happen, folks.  Take your fucking pipeline and shove it!


Penny said...

"if Trudeau and the Liberals fix and stock the Supreme Court of Canada with puppet factotums"

Just watch him!

Trudeau picks the panel that will pick the next supreme court justice

He's got the time and had already been prepping

I did catch some of this going on while the SNC Lavalin distraction show was running..

greencrow said...

Hi Penny:

Thanks for the links. It's all about "harmonization" with USrael, dontcha know.

They have to degrade our SCC before the NAU. Bye bye Canada.

Trudeau is an unmitigated disaster, much like his pipeline.

Penny said...

Hey GC:
Just an fyi:
The federal government has just signed a "historic" agreement with the "Metis Nation" in three provinces.

Not sure if you're aware the Metis Nation is not a nation that has anything to do with the actual tribes that were here before the european settlers arrived

INFACT- the Metis Nation is a nation of natives that mixed with the French- therefore they are descendants of native and mostly french intermingling

"The Métis in Canada are specific cultural communities who trace their descent to First Nations and European settlers, primarily the French"

These Métis peoples are recognized as one of Canada's aboriginal peoples under the Constitution Act of 1982.....

So there is a certain misrepresentation in their 'presentation'

And this most recent 'historic' recognition of self government comes right in time for the pipeline to be owned by the native tribes- so called

greencrow said...

Hi Penny:

I believe there is still a big distinction between First Nations and Metis. The Indian Act does not cover Metis and it is the Indian Act that JOINS THE FIRST NATIONS DIRECTLY TO THE SOVEREIGN [THE QUEEN] in the Canadian Constitution. This is the factor that gives First Nations their power under the constitution. They can override the government of the day and implore directly to the Queen under The Indian Act. This is why although First Nations HATE the Indian Act...they refused to get rid of it when Trudeau Sr. tried to get them to.

Now this is what I believe is the case but of course I'm not a lawyer.