Federal government will not appeal Trans Mountain court decision
Canada's Federal government will re-engage First Nations in consultation regarding the proposed Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project, but will not appeal the Federal Court of Appeals decision that quashed approvals for the line earlier this year.
Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Natural Resources, said that the relationship between the federal government and Indigenous peoples is key, and that meaningful consultations were necessary to move forward on the project.
"As we have said many times before, the most important relationship to our Government is with Indigenous peoples. We will work to address concerns of First Nations and Métis communities to move forward in the right way on this project in accordance with the Court's direction. We are bringing in the best possible expertise and independent advice to ensure that we move forward in the right way," Sohi stated.
Sohi outlined the plan that the federal government will follow, starting with the decision not to appeal the Court's decision. It will re-initiate Phase III consultations with all 117 Indigenous groups impacted by the project, including a review of how to ensure the process is done right this time around. In the process, the government says it will ensure Indigenous voices are at the table going forward.
In addition, the government has appointed former Supreme Court of Canada Justice Frank Iacobucci as a Federal Representative to oversee the consultation process. He will initially provide advice on designing the process and will then oversee it to ensure that Indigenous consultations are meaningful and comply with the judgement of the Federal Court of Appeal. He will work directly with officials and other external experts, as appropriate.
In September, Ottawa requested that the National Energy Board reconsider its recommendations in the areas that were identified as problematic by the Federal Court of Appeals, surrounding project-related marine shipping and its adverse impacts on species at risk. The NEB has established a panel to review the project once again.