The death of Trans Mountain pipeline signals future of Indigenous rights: Chiefs

The Narwhal, August 30, 2018: As a federal court quashes the controversial project, lawyers and Indigenous leaders agree it’s more clear than ever that Canada must modernize its view of Aboriginal rights.

As Grand Chief Stewart Phillip prepared for the Federal Court of Appeal decision on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion Thursday morning his expectations were low.

Like many others, he had watched the National Energy Board’s consultations on the controversial pipeline expansion and firmly believed First Nations’ misgivings were not being genuinely considered and government’s push for the pipeline would trump concerns about the environment, climate change and Aboriginal rights.

“It was pretty much a dog’s breakfast from the get-go,” Phillip told The Narwhal.

Even after the federal Liberal government put a band-aid on the defective process by adding a new layer of scrutiny, Phillip had little confidence the court would rule in favour of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, which argued that the National Energy Board’s process and findings were so flawed that the government could not reasonably rely on its report and that Canada had failed in its duty to consult Indigenous communities.

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