Trans Mountain court decision a key recognition of treaty rights – by Douglas Cuthand (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – September 1, 2018)

It’s been described as a win for the environment, or as a blow to the economy. In the end, the B.C. Federal Court of Appeal couldn’t ignore section 35 of the Canadian constitution.

Section 35 is the clause that recognizes and affirms treaty and Aboriginal rights. This section is becoming increasingly important when it comes to resource development. It may well be the way out of our impoverished position within Canada and place us on an even playing field with the provinces.

Several First Nations launched a case calling for a judicial review of the federal process to proceed with the Trans Mountain pipeline that transports Alberta crude oil to the west coast. They were later joined by the cities of Burnaby and Vancouver as well as the government of British Columbia.

The court ruled that the federal government failed in its constitutional duty to consult and “engage in a meaningful two-way dialogue” with the affected First Nations.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley stated that they want the case appealed or legislation passed that would push the project forward. The opposition parties blamed the incumbent governments.

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