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Trans Mountain expansion could be delayed for years by court decision experts

first_imgVANCOUVER – The Federal Court of Appeal’s decision to quash Ottawa’s approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is likely to delay the project for years, legal and political observers say.The ruling means the National Energy Board must consider the impacts of increased tanker traffic on the marine environment and the federal government must consult more meaningfully with First Nations.The energy board should first conduct its new review, which will involve receiving written submissions, consulting with Indigenous groups and holding hearings, said Chris Tollefson, a law professor at the University of Victoria.The board’s first review took two years, and while the new assessment will be focused specifically on tanker traffic, Tollefson said the board must seriously consider the effects on endangered southern resident killer whales.“The reality is that this proposal as currently planned would impact orcas unless it is changed,” said Tollefson, who represented BC Nature and Nature Canada during the first energy board review.There are only 75 southern resident orcas left and few have reproductive potential. The project would have a serious impact unless design changes were made, such as altering shipping routes, reducing tanker speeds or the number of vessels, Tollefson said.“In light of what the court had to say, I don’t think that should be hurried. I think it needs to be done right. It’s a central feature of this project.”Once the board issues a new recommendation to cabinet, the federal government will have to redo its final phase of consultation with all the affected First Nations along the pipeline route.Eugene Kung, a lawyer who has worked for project opponent the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, warned that if Ottawa tries to rush consultation, the project could just wind up back before the court.“The federal government continues to take direction from the courts and interpret it through a lens of, ‘What is the least we can do?’ … In the age of reconciliation, but also if the federal government is looking to avoid future appeals, they need to start aiming for something higher than the floor,” said Kung.The court ruled that Canada must not only listen to First Nations during consultation, but also seriously consider their specific and real concerns and provide a response, including accommodations where necessary.For example, the Coldwater Indian Band in British Columbia’s southern Interior raised concerns about the pipeline route passing through an aquifer that is the sole supply of drinking water for the First Nation’s main reserve, but the government did not reroute the pipeline or provide a new water source.“They were undertaking the (final) consultations with First Nations in a rushed manner and not taking the time to listen, to try to accommodate and to have a genuinely two-way conversation, which takes longer than listening, taking notes and relaying them to decision-makers,” said Kathryn Harrison, a political scientist at the University of British Columbia.It’s highly improbable Trudeau’s government will be able to get the board review and Indigenous consultations done before the next election in the fall of 2019, said Harrison, who added that it’s difficult to say how the ruling will affect the Liberal government’s chances.“How does Justin Trudeau respond to (Alberta Premier) Rachel Notley’s directives to him and withdrawal from the climate plan?” she asked. “What steps can he take to reassure the oil industry that Canada knows what it’s doing in reviewing major projects?“To what degree does the government convince Canadians that buying this pipeline and committing to build a new one was a good investment of taxpayers’ dollars?“It really depends on what the Trudeau government does.”Notley announced Thursday she was pulling Alberta out of the federal climate plan until Ottawa gets the pipeline expansion back on track. She demanded that Trudeau appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court and hold an emergency session of Parliament.Trudeau said Friday he is committed to getting the project done “the right way.” He suggested he will follow the Appeal Court’s guidance on how to proceed.“We are taking the time now to understand the court ruling, which addresses two things that are very important to this government — getting the science and the environmental protections right, and making sure we are walking forward in a true path of reconciliation and partnership with Indigenous Peoples,” Trudeau said after an event in Oshawa, Ont.“We’re going to continue to move forward to get this pipeline built in the right way by acknowledging what the court has said.”Even if the federal government did seek leave to appeal and the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, that would take 18 months to two years, experts said.The expansion project would triple the bitumen-carrying capacity of the Trans Mountain pipeline between near Edmonton and Metro Vancouver and increase tanker traffic in the Burrard Inlet sevenfold.Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd. first announced the proposal in 2012 and shareholders voted Thursday to sell the pipeline to Canada for $4.5 billion.Companies in this story: (TSX:KML)last_img read more

Two Canadian Opera Company Performers Seriously Assaulted In Possible Hate Crime

first_imgAdvertisement Twitter Login/Register With: LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Violent elements of the Canadian Opera Company’s ongoing production of Louis Riel appear to have spilled over into the real world, as sources involved with the opera report that an attack on their cast members took place during the early morning hours of May 1 in downtown Toronto.This morning, cast member James Westman recounted the details on Facebook. In a possible homophobia-motivated hate crime, two male dance performers from the Louis Riel production were violently attacked. The injuries sustained led to one victim’s withdrawal from the following Louis Riel performance, the other will allegedly require surgery to his clavicle. Of note also that both men appear to be of Indigenous heritage. James Westman did not respond to our request for further comment. Advertisement Facebooklast_img read more

Algonquin Nation declares state of emergency due to overhunting in Quebec wildlife

first_imgThe chief of Barriere Lake says the moose population is down in a wildlife reserve area where Algonquins have hunted for generations. File photo.Lindsay RichardsonAPTN NewsAn elder once told Barrier Lake Chief Casey Ratt that, years ago, the area around their community once had a flourishing moose population – as many as 30 could be spotted during a 45 minute lakeside commute to a neighboring community.Today, Ratt says you’re lucky to even see one.“I haven’t seen a moose, and I’m on the road every day,” he explained.Just ahead of the fall hunt, the Algonquin Nation is raising the alarm about the dwindling moose population in the La Verendrye Wildlife Reserve – an area of 12,500 km² – and demanding the Quebec government enforce an immediate moratorium on sports hunting pending further study.For generations, the Algonquin have hunted on the reserve’s grounds, relying on moose meat for sustenance.“We take what we need only,” Ratt explained. In order to feed his community and others on the territory – less than 500 people total – a cull of about 20-25 moose is needed every year.But in 2019, sports hunters – according to the Societe des Etablissements de Plein Air du Quebec (SEPAQ) website – took out at least 97 moose in four weeks.The previous year, Ratt says, they killed 116.“This is where I have a big problem,” he added. “We need to start closing the park. We need to have a moratorium in order to have a healthy moose population.”Citing a “deep concern” for the fauna in the reserve, the Algonquin Nation made an appeal last week to Pierre Dufour, Quebec’s Minister of Forests, Wildlife, and Parks, to close La Verendrye Park temporarily – a few years, if need be — so a conservation and management plan can be properly formulated and enforced.During a meeting with council members, Dufour reportedly conceded that SEPAQ does not have a strategy for maintaining a healthy moose population in the park. Ratt says data hasn’t been properly collected since 1994.“[SEPAQ] asks the hunters ‘did you see a moose in this area?’ And of course, they’ll say yes. They’ll ask the hunters how many days they’ve seen moose – but it could be the same moose,” he explained. “So it’s not very accurate, the way they’ve collected [data] on the moose population.”According to the SEPAQ website, “Moose hunting is limited by quota in the reserve and is subject to random draw.” They also issue permits for hunting partridge, bears, and goose.As a result, hundreds of hunting tags are granted each season; if yields are unsatisfactory, sport hunters are permitted to also shoot cows and calves, according to Ratt.“If there isn’t any success in previous years, they open [the hunt] to the bull, to the cow, and to the calf. That’s their management practice. And we’re saying we can’t have that – we won’t accept it,” he said.That said, the Algonquin Nation says the moose population is equally affected by factors like deforestation, diseases, parasites, and climate change.“We are therefore united to take all the necessary measures to face this state of emergency, for the best of our Nation, and for all citizens,” Kitcisakik Chief Regis Penosway said in a statement.If the Quebec government response is unsatisfactory, they say they’re ready to assume their responsibility as “protectors of the territory,” according to the statement, based on the inherent rights and jurisdictions outlined in Article 29 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).SEPAQ could not be reached for comment before [email protected]@sentimtllast_img read more

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