Reaction to the Federal Court of Appeal decision on the Trans Mountain pipeline
While environmentalists and indigenous groups rejoice, business groups and some politicians are disappointed
VANCOUVER—The Federal Court of Appeal has overturned Ottawa’s approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Here’s what some are saying about the court decision:
“As we move ahead with the project and the purchase, our government remains committed to ensuring the project proceeds in a manner that protects the public interest. That means ensuring the highest level over governance—including environmental protection. It means upholding or commitments with Indigenous peoples and it means responsibly protecting Canada’s and Canadians’ investment.”—Finance Minister Bill Morneau.
“Here we are, well into this process, and the Trudeau government has no plan whatsoever to get Trans Mountain built.”—Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer.
“We went into consultations with the federal government with open hearts and minds, but sadly the process could best be described as window dressing. We had a strong sense that the decision had already made before we even sat down. It was clear from the timing of the decision that they did not meaningfully consider much of the information we provided. The court has agreed with us on every issue.”—Chief Maureen Thomas of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation.
“Thankfully, the court has stepped in where Canada has failed to protect and respect our rights and our water.”—Coldwater Chief Lee Spahan.
“I don’t think it’s about winning and losing. It’s about the rule of law. I think what I am most satisfied with is that when we formed a government, we looked at what were the practical things we could do within the context of the Canadian family to make our arguments and I think that we’ve done that effectively.”—B.C. Premier John Horgan on his government’s opposition to the pipeline.
“This decision is a monumental win for the rights of Indigenous Peoples and all of us who stand with them in firm opposition to a project that would massively increase climate pollution and put our coast at huge risk of oil spills.”—Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson in a statement.
“Going forward, we urge politicians and other project proponents to shift their focus away from projects that lock us into dependence on fossil fuels.”—Ecojustice lawyer Dyna Tuytel.
“This decision proves that in an age of reconciliation, Canada needs to up its game when engaging in deliberative dialogues with Indigenous Peoples. Today, Ottawa received a strong legal message that its duty to consult goes far beyond the airing of grievances to actually incorporating First Nations’ concerns into all decisions about developments that affect their rights, title and territories.”—David Suzuki Foundation CEO Steve Cornish in a statement.
“This decision is yet another example of how Canada’s broken regulatory system is undermining Canadian competitiveness and driving away investment.”—Perrin Beatty, president and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
“This pipeline is a critical piece of infrastructure for our nation, and it will provide important benefits to our economy from coast to coast. It is also part of building a better, stronger, more resilient economy for all Calgarians. I will be very supportive of all future actions to move this project forward.”—Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi.
“For years, we have insisted that federal consultation with First Nations was flawed and that the federal government ignored the threat to the dwindling orca population—and today the court system affirmed that. This pipeline is dead. It’s time for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the federal government to stop wasting taxpayer money and move on.” —Tzeporah Berman, deputy director of Stand.earth.
“The Trudeau government has failed in its efforts, the rhetoric around reconciliation with First Nations’ deserves to be a meaningful endeavour, and this court decision supports that proposition. This decision reinforces our belief as a nation and as part of the coastal communities in which we live that the Trans Mountain expansion project must not proceed and we tell the prime minister to start listening and put an end to this type of relationship. It is time for Prime Minister Trudeau to do the right thing and stand by his words.”—Khelsilem, a councillor and spokesperson for Squamish Nation.