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Squamish Nation and Coldwater Indian Band Celebrate Victory Against Trans Mountain Expansion Project

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Published Date: 
31 Aug 2018

The Federal Court of Appeal quashed the approval for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project on the basis that Canada failed to fulfill its duty to consult First Nations, including the Squamish Nation and Coldwater Indian Band represented by Ratcliff & Company lawyers Matthew Kirchner, Aaron Bruce, Melinda Skeels, Michelle Bradley and Emma Hume.  

The Court found that in consultation with the Squamish Nation there was nothing “to show that Squamish’s concern about diluted bitumen was given real consideration or weight, and nothing to show any consideration was given to any meaningful and tangible accommodation or mitigation measures.” The Court also found that, “At the end of the consultation process, and at the time the Project was approved, Canada failed to meaningfully engage with Coldwater, and to discuss and explore options to deal with the real concern about the sole source of drinking water for its Reserve.”

Madame Justice Dawson, writing for the three judge panel, also found that the National Energy Board’s process and findings were “so flawed” with respect to marine shipping and resident killer whales that the Governor in Council, who approved the project, could not reasonably rely on the Board’s report. As a result, some impacts of the project will need to be reassessed and the federal Crown must fulfill its outstanding constitutional duties to First Nations. Construction on the project is halted.

The decision was a cause for celebration amongst First Nations.