The federal government failed to consult first nations communities properly.
That was the ruling from the federal court of appeals as they overturned the approval of Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline project. The pipeline system would carry Alberta crude from Bruderheim to the northern B.C. coast at Kitimat.
The 2-1 ruling noted that while there were some consultations, the process was “hurried and inadequate.” The government has a constitutional requirement for fair consultations, and that threshold wasn’t met.
The Harper government originally gave the go-ahead to Enbridge in 2014 under 209 conditions, following a joint review with the National Energy Board. Since then, B.C. has instituted a tanker ban on their northern coast, a move supported by the current Liberal government.
“Today’s decision is an important victory for First Nations, environmental groups, and all those who care about indigenous rights, environmental protection and public safety,” said Greenpeace Climate Campaigner Mike Hudema.
Northern Gateway President John Carruthers said they will be consulting with their “Aboriginal Equity Partners” on a path forward.
“[We] are fully committed to building this critical Canadian infrastructure project,” he said. “While at the same time protecting the environment and the traditional way of life of First Nations and Metis peoples and communities along the project route.”
The matter now goes back to the federal government for consideration on how to proceed.