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Court of Appeal overturns Northern Gateway pipeline approval

The Federal Court of Appeal has overturned the government’s approval of the Northern Gateway pipeline. It found that Ottawa did not properly consult affected First Nations, and only offered a “brief, hurried and inadequate opportunity” for discussion.

“It would have taken Canada little time and little organizational effort to engage in meaningful dialogue on these and other subjects of prime importance to Aboriginal peoples. But this did not happen.”

The project to build a twin pipeline from Bruderheim, Alberta to Kitimat, B.C. was given the green light by the federal government in June 2014. It was dependent on 209 conditions laid out by a National Energy Board joint review panel.

Included was the requirement Enbridge consult with Aboriginal people after their report was published, but the Court of Appeal says some important topics were ignored. One of the applicants of the lawsuit, Chief Fred Sam of the Nak ‘azdli nation agrees the process wasn’t done right from the very beginning.

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“I think we need to work together. Even though we won, we need to work together with Canada and make sure that they do things properly, and even with B.C. too; make sure they do things properly and make sure we’re engaged from the beginning.”

The legal challenge was launched by eight First Nations, four environmental groups and one labour union.

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