Ng Ariss Fong, lawyers, has the distinct honour of representing Heiltsuk Nation and Kitasoo Xai’Xais Nation in their judicial review of the Governor in Council approval of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project.
Heiltsuk Nation and Kitasoo Xai’Xais Nation are First Nations who have inhabited the central coast of British Columbia since time immemorial. The proposed route for the oil tankers travels through Heiltsuk and Kitasoo Xai’xais’ territory, and the potential of an oil spill along the tanker route places the Nations’ very way of life at risk. While Heiltsuk and Kitasoo Xai’Xais were given some opportunity to express their concerns regarding the project, they do not believe those concerns were heard.
In July 2014, Heiltsuk and Kitasoo Xai’Xais sought leave from the Federal Court of Appeal to challenge the Enbridge pipeline approval, and were granted leave to have their case heard on September 26, 2014. Heiltsuk and Kitasoo Xai’Xais filed their application for judicial review at the Federal Court of Appeal on October 3, 2014. See a link to the judicial review application here.
Among other things, Heiltsuk and Kitasoo Xai’Xais say that the environmental assessment was flawed, and Crown failed to meet its constitutional duty to consult with them about the potential project risks to their rights and title. Heiltsuk and Kitasoo Xai’Xais say that approval of the project must be set aside until the environmental assessment is complete and meaningful consultation has occurred.
Lisa C. Fong and Julia Hincks