VANCOUVER- Several First Nations in southwest British Columbia are promising to continue to fight the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion while business groups are celebrating a court decision that upheld the federal government’s approval of the project.
The Tsleil-Waututh Nation, Squamish Nation and Coldwater Indian Band were among four B.C. Indigenous groups that filed a legal challenge in the Federal Court of Appeal arguing that the government’s consultation with them was inadequate.
The court ruled in a unanimous 3-0 decision on Tuesday that the government met its duty to consult, clearing a major legal hurdle for construction to continue on the expansion of the pipeline from Alberta’s oilsands to B.C.’s coast.
Coun. Khelsilem of the Squamish Nation criticized the federal government for building more pipelines at a time when bold, swift action is needed to fight climate change, noting that B.C. and Alberta have faced devastating wildfires in recent years.
Val Litwin, CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce, says the court ruling is inspiring news for the pipeline expansion, which will create jobs in the province, but it also sends a strong message to investors that B.C. and Canada are open for business.
The B.C. government recently lost its own case before the Supreme Court of Canada and Environment Minister George Heyman says in a statement Tuesday that the government will continue to urge Ottawa to ensure that strong environmental protections are in place.