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October 2012

Is Canada-China Investment Treaty (FIPA) an attack on Aboriginal Rights?

31 October, 2012

The Canadian government is preparing to ratify the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) possibly as early as tomorrow (November 1st) – an agreement which many individuals and organizations, including West Coast Environmental Law, have grave and deep concerns about.  But one clear legal problem with the FIPA, which has not been discussed enough, is its impact on Canada’s relations with its First Nations.  By giving new rights to Chinese investors, the treaty risks undermining Canada’s obligations to deal in good faith with First Nations. 

[Update - November 1st, 2012 - Click here to read our letter of today's date to the Department of Justice asking them to advise the Canadian government on the possible illegality of the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA).]

Upholding the Law, Protecting the Land, Sharing the Wealth

12 October, 2012

A recently announced agreement between the Province of British Columbia and the Gitanyow Nation is of deep significance not only for the people, the land, and the water of the Gitanyow territories in the mid-Nass and Skeena (upper Kitwanga and upper Kispiox) watersheds, but for all British Columbians.  West Coast Environmental Law was honoured to provide legal support to the Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs in negotiating the Gitanyow Huwilp Recognition and Reconciliation Agreement, including the Gitanyow Lax’yip Protection Plan.

 

The Gitanyow Huwilp Recognition and Reconciliation Agreement

Lessons from a fish farm defamation lawsuit

12 October, 2012

Congratulations to Don Staniford – and his lawyer, David Sutherland – who, last month, defeated a lawsuit brought against him by fish farm giant, Mainstream Canada (with help from our Environmental Dispute Resolution Fund)!   The fish farm company had sued Don for a series of mock cigarette ads with warnings related to the impacts of fish farms.  The case helps to clarify how defamation law applies to colourful statements by environmental activists – and may help those behind future environmental campaigns breathe a bit easier.  

Congratulations to Don Staniford – and his lawyer, David Sutherland – who, last month, defeated a lawsuit brought against him by fish farm giant, Mainstream Canada!   The fish farm company had sued Don for a series of mock cigarette ads with warnings related to the impacts of fish farms.

Talkin’ bout a res-o-lu-tioooooon, yaaaaaaa, we know

11 October, 2012

At the end of September, local government elected representatives from all over British Columbia listened to their constituents: On September 27, a majority of municipal councillors and mayors assembled at the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM), annual convention and adopteda resolution, proposed by the District of Saanich, to call on the provincial government and the official opposition “to use whatever legislative and administrative means that are available to stop the expansion of oil tanker traffic through BC’s coastal waters.”  West Coast lawyers Brenda Belak and Josh Paterson were at UBCM’s convention in Victoria to talk with local officials about the resolution.

At the end of September, local government elected representatives from all over British Columbia listened to their constituents.

Regulating raw bitumen exports: an extremist notion or Conservative election promise?

10 October, 2012

In 2008 the Conservative Party promised to ban the export of raw bitumen to countries with lower environmental standards.  Wow! In all the excitement of Government Ministers branding opponents of the Enbridge Pipeline and Tankers Project as radicals, Canadians have forgotten all about a 2008 election promise which, if implemented, would sink that proposal faster than you can say “oil slick." To be sure, implementing that promise wouldn’t stop oil and gas companies from shipping raw bitumen to the U.S. or to other countries with equivalent environmental laws.  But with pipeline companies banking on exports to countries with less stringent regulations, it could call into question many of the economic assumptions used to justify building pipelines to export raw bitumen. 

The Conservative Party election promise, in 2008, to bring in a Cap and Trade system to tackle climate change has recently been in the news.  But we’ve not heard any mention about another important energy-related campaign promise from the same 2008 Conservative Party platform (at p.23):