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NEWS: First Nations legal challenge of Canada-China FIPA likely

UBCIC Grand Chief Stewart Phillip

UBCIC Grand Chief Stewart Phillip

APTN has reported, “Canada could face a legal challenge from First Nations over its looming investment agreement with China, says the head of a prominent British Columbia chief’s organization. Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, head of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, says Canada breached its fiduciary duty to consult before it embarked on negotiating its Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) with China which could have significant impacts on Aboriginal and Treaty rights. Phillip said the agreement has created widespread concern among First Nations leaders and taking the issue to court is an option currently on the table.”

St’at’imc Tribal Chair Chief Garry John

St’at’imc Tribal Chair Chief Garry John

The news report adds, “Phillip said China’s investment profile has been growing in Canada and its involvement in the tar sands and the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project is having an impact on First Nations’ territories. ‘I think Indigenous peoples are beginning to wake up to the potential threat to the integrity of our title that this represents,’ he said. ‘There is a duty to consult on the part of the government of Canada with respect those matters that may impact or infringe on our Aboriginal title and interest.'”

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow recently stated, “The federal government has not acted with due diligence and have clearly not fullfiled 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.”

Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy

Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy

We have also noted:
UPDATE: Chiefs of Ontario call on Harper to withdraw from Canada-China FIPA
UPDATE: St’at’imc Chiefs Council opposes Canada-China FIPA
UPDATE: Grand Chief Stewart Phillip rejects Canada-China FIPA
UPDATE: Constitutionality of Canada-China Investment treaty questioned in First Nations letters to PM, Chinese government (noting opposition from the Assembly of the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador, and the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs)
UPDATE: Open Letter: Canada – China Agreement Abrogates Rights of Indigenous People

A news report indicates that the deadline for the ratification of the Canada-China FIPA is December 31, 2012.

More soon (likely later today).