The Federal Court of Appeal will hear arguments on June 10 in Vancouver regarding the Hupacasath First Nation’s legal challenge of the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA).
The Hupacasath, a 300-member nation located on Vancouver Island, argued in a court challenge that played out over nine months in 2012 and 2013 that the federal government had failed to consult First Nations before signing FIPA, as required by law. The Hupacasath argued FIPA would potentially override Indigenous treaty rights and otherwise tilt the balance of power in questions of resource management from affected communities to expectant corporations.
In August 2013, a federal judge sided with the Government of Canada against the Hupacasath Nation, claiming that their case against the FIPA was too speculative. This was despite a wealth of Canadian and international evidence that investment tribunals are having an impact on governance by deciding important public policy questions outside of national courts or the reach of national constitutions.
Immediately after the decision, the Council of Canadians and dozens of organizations across the country pledged support for the Hupacasath and its legal challenge of FIPA, and helped raise the funds required for the Hupacasath to launch the appeal that will be heard on June 10.
While enough funds were raised to allow the Hupacasath to appeal the decision, they are still short of their goal and need your financial support, so if you are able to donate to this important fight, please do so!
“Hupacasath remains steadfast in our commitment to defend the people, the land and our constitutional rights for present as well as for future generations,” says Brenda Sayers, a representative of the Hupacasath Nation. “We firmly believe the FIPA will have a deep and profound impact on our inherent Indigenous rights and for all Canadians who cherish the environmental heritage we inherited from our grandparents.”
The Hupacasath First Nation was supported at the Federal Court of Canada with legal affidavits from Serpent River First Nation and the Tsawwassen First Nation along with the Union of BC Indian Chiefs and the Chiefs of Ontario. As well, the Council of Canadians, Leadnow.ca, Avaaz, BC Federation of Labour, BC Teachers Federation, Canadian Auto Workers, Communications Energy and Paperworkers Union, KAIROS and ForestEthics fully supported the Hupacasath First Nation legal action.