Province breached duty to consult First Nations: BC Supreme Court

Provincial government must conduct own consultations over Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline


The B.C. Supreme Court ruled yesterday the province failed to consult with the Haida and other members of the Coastal First Nations on the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline.

The court found the B.C. government breached its own duty to consult with First Nations when it signed a 2010 agreement that handed the whole environmental review of the project to the federal National Energy Board.

“This ruling is an important victory for our communities and presents another hurdle to the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline,” said Chief Marilyn Slett, president of the Coastal First Nations, in a Jan. 13 statement.

“It means the province must now sit down with First Nation communities across B.C. and find ways to address the severe and irreversible impacts of this project.”

According to Coastal First Nations, the ruling means no permits can be issued for the project unless the province makes its own decision on Northern Gateway.

The CHN has not yet commented on the ruling, but Art Sterritt, a member of the Gitga’at First Nation, said the court’s decision means if the project is to move forward, the province would need to restart the consultation process with the same rigorous standards it advocated for during the Joint Review Panel that advised the NEB.

“We’ve said it before: the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline is dead,” he said.

The Observer will report further on this story in the Jan. 22 edition.