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What if the Federal Court of Appeal rules in favour of First Nations and overturns Trudeau’s decision on Kinder Morgan?

The Council of Canadians and allies stood on Parliament Hill on October 2, 2017 as Indigenous nations began their challenge before the Federal Court of Appeal against the Trudeau government’s approval of the Kinder Morgan tar sands pipeline.

While the Texas-based transnational corporation Kinder Morgan has given Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a May 31 deadline to ensure that the legal obstacles posed by the British Columbia government are resolved, little has been reported in the mainstream media over the last few days on the Indigenous legal challenges against the pipeline still before the Federal Court of Appeal.

The Tsleil-Waututh Nation, the Upper Nicola Band, the Coldwater Indian Band, the Stk’emlupsemc Te Secwepemc Nation, the Squamish Nation, and Sto:lo applicants were in court this past October to challenge the Trudeau government’s approval of the Kinder Morgan tar sands pipeline on their territories.

North Shore News has reported, “Seven indigenous First Nations have legally challenged federal approval of the pipeline expansion. Together with the cities of Burnaby and Vancouver and two environmental groups, they are asking the court to overturn the federal government’s decision to approve the expansion. Chief Ian Campbell of the Squamish First Nation said the federal government failed to consult or gain consent of First Nations for the expansion of the oil pipeline, so they have to try to protect their land and water in the courts.”

The Vancouver Sun adds, “A decision could be released at any time.”

And the CBC has noted, “A decision against the project would send it back for assessment, a move that would cause lengthy delays.”

Furthermore, CBC reported in September 2017, “The Federal Court of Appeal has ruled against Kinder Morgan Canada and the federal government in relation to the existing Trans Mountain Pipeline. The ruling states the federal government failed in its legal obligation to act in the best interests of the Coldwater Indian Band when it neglected to modernize the terms of a 1952 decision that allowed Kinder Morgan to use Coldwater’s reserve for the pipeline. The press secretary to Crown-Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett says she would like to work with the Coldwater leadership to address the issues in the ruling and find a path forward.” The Kinder Morgan pipeline threatens Coldwater’s drinking water aquifer.

Two-thirds of the 120 First Nations along the pipeline route have not given their free, prior and informed consent for the pipeline. One of those First Nations is the Secwepemc Nation. Kanahus Manuel has highlighted that the 1,150-kilometre pipeline would cross 518 kilometres of her nation’s territory in British Columbia.

Manuel will be a keynote speaker at the Council of Canadians annual conference on June 22-24 at Carleton University in Ottawa.