Global News reports, “The Hupacasath First Nation is preparing to file an injunction against the federal government, arguing Ottawa breached its constitutional obligations to consult First Nations when negotiating the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement. …Lawyers for Hupacasath First Nation have notified the Privy Council Office they will seek an injunction by mid-January, unless they receive word the deal will be ratified earlier. …The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs and Chiefs of Ontario are echoing the call for more consultation before finalizing the deal.”
“The federal cabinet just has to say the word and the investment deal could come into force immediately, provided Chinese officials have completed their own domestic ratification process. Trade deals do not need the approval of Parliament.”
The Alberni Valley News adds, “The accord contains sections that interfere with governments’ policies around the environment and resource extraction, therefore it requires Ottawa to consult First Nations, Brenda Sayers said. In Hupacasath, the impact could rear itself if the tribe didn’t want resources extracted from a sacred tribal site, or if nearby extraction compromised the site environmentally, she said. But under terms of the agreement, China can then sue Canada for loss of revenue and the liability would rest with B.C. taxpayers, she said. …Sayers said she first saw the treaty in November. An administrator who handles multiple contracts, Sayers studied the agreement in detail and foresaw impacts to Hupacasath’s interests. Her council gave the go-ahead to commence legal proceedings shortly after, she said.”
The news article notes, “The tribe solicited the help of West Coast Environmental Law, Lead Now, and the Council or Canadians in its effort, Sayers said.” The Council of Canadians has made a contribution to this legal challenge and is encouraging others to donate as well at https://leadnow.netdonor.net/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1694&ea.campaign.id=18069.
Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow has stated, “The federal government has not acted with due diligence and have clearly not fulfiled constitutional obligations they have to either First Nations or the provinces. These obligations must be met before ratifying something that will give 31 year access to the resources in a way that could undermine Indigenous rights and the environment. For Stephen Harper to rush this ratification through behind closed doors would be completely unacceptable.”
A campaign blog on the legal challenge can be read at http://canadians.org/blog/?p=18491.
The Global News article can be read at http://www.globalnews.ca/bc+first+nation+to+ask+court+to+delay+federal+investment+deal+with+china/6442782421/story.html. The Alberni Valley News article is at http://www.albernivalleynews.com/news/185808941.html.