July 2, 2020 – Vancouver (Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Territory) – The Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Coldwater Indian Band have been denied leave to appeal by the Supreme Court of Canada. These three First Nations have fought and challenged the Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) Project twice at the Federal Court of Appeal.
“We are extremely disappointed by today’s decision by the Supreme Court of Canada,” said Chief Leah George-Wilson. “This case is about more than a risky pipeline and tanker project; it is a major setback for reconciliation. It reduces consultation to a purely procedural requirement that will be a serious barrier to reconciliation.”
Although today’s decision marks the end of the road for this legal challenge, First Nations have vowed to explore all legal options to protect their rights, land, water and climate.
“To say we are disappointed in this decision is an understatement,” said Syeta’ xtn (Chris Lewis), Squamish Nation Spokesperson and Councillor. “Indigenous peoples have a constitutional right to meaningful consultation and accommodation, and the courts must scrutinize that process. The Federal Court of Appeal’s decision to let the federal government be the judge and jury of its own consultation efforts was flawed in so many ways, and we are shocked to learn that the Supreme Court of Canada has failed to recognize that. Though this particular challenge is now over, we will continue to exercise all available options to hold the government to a higher standard, both for this project and for future projects in our territories.”
“We’re not deterred and are exploring all legal options. What I can tell you today is that this not the end of the story,” said Chief George-Wilson.
The Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Squamish Nation first began legal action in 2014 against the Trans Mountain pipeline and tanker project. Since the Nations’ 2018 win at the Federal Court of Appeal, they have continued to work to protect their lands and waters. Today’s decision does not change that mandate.
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