Indigenous leaders declare Trans Mountain ruling a victory

Grand Council Chief Glen Hare

M’CHIGEENG—The Grand Council Chief of the Anishinabek Nation agrees with Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde that last week’s decision by the federal court of appeal to halt construction of the Trans Mountain expansion project is a victory for First Nations rights.

“We’ve been saying all along, consult First Nations on this. I’m starting to see more and more people really focusing on talking about protecting the water and the environment,” said Glen Hare, Grand Council Chief, last Friday. “People are seeing the reality of how important this is to do.”

“The way the federal government approach issues like this has to be different, and there is a need for them to consult First Nations and other parties,” said Chief Hare. “The federal government bought into the pipeline business.”

“Yes, for sure we are happy with the court decision,” said Grand Council Chief Hare.

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde, in a statement August 30, said, “today’s federal court decision is another victory for First Nations. It’s unfortunate that First Nations must litigate to protect our inherent rights, title and jurisdiction. In this case, the government did not even meet the duty to consult standards as articulated by the courts. On behalf of the AFN, I remind all governments that the Crown also must meet the minimum standards set out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  Our right to self-determination, inherent rights and title and treaty rights have been affirmed as legal rights in Canada and internationally.”

“The decision confirms yet again why we need to work together on a better approach that leads to better decisions and better outcomes—an approach that implements and enforces rights and title, including free, prior and informed consent as set out in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This is how we avoid conflict and costly legal battles and advance reconciliation. This is how we can grow a stronger country for our children.”